Velvet is one of the most luxurious clothing materials available. However, cleaning and protecting it can be a bit of a nightmare, especially if you don’t know how! In this guide, we’ll teach you how to clean velvet shoes so you can make a statement with them wherever you go.
Types of Velvet
Before you do anything else with your velvet shoes, it’s important to note that there are two different common types of velvet. The most common type is polyester-blend velvet, but some more luxurious shoes might be a silk and cotton blend instead.
The reason to make this distinction is that the silk-and-cotton blend velvet, as well as any more uncommon types, should be taken to a dry cleaner or shoe cleaner for any severe stains. However, you should be able to handle watermarks, dirt and mud, and the mildest stains on your own. For polyester velvet, you should be able to handle all but the worst stain removals.
Removing Dirt from Velvet Shoes
Fortunately, removing a little bit of dirt from velvet shoes is one of the most natural things to do. It’s not a good idea to wear your fancy velvet shoes out into the mud, snow, or rain, of course, but if you do, this is the way to get any mud and dirt safely off your shoes.
If you’re wondering how to clean velvet shoes of dirt and mud, the first thing you need to do is let them dry out. Resist the urge to wipe or scrub the dirt particles off of your shoes, as this will only work them deeper into the fabric and damage the velvet fibers.
Once the mud on your shoes is dry, brush it away gently with a scrub brush or old toothbrush. Finish things off by cleaning the velvet with the grain, as this will make everything shine and have the shoes looking like new again.
It’s a good idea to take a few minutes to brush your velvet shoes after each use, too. Even if you don’t see too much visible dirt on them, your velvet footwear has likely collected some dust and debris anyway. Cleaning them of dirt and debris after each use will reduce the upkeep you need to do later on, and it will protect the integrity of the velvet nap, too.
Removing Water from Velvet Shoes
Velvet is not a particularly water-resistant material. As such, you’ll want to avoid wearing your velvet footwear out in the elements whenever possible. You’ll also want to dry them quickly when they do get wet.
The best way to do this is to blot at the moisture with a microfiber towel as soon as it happens. This will discourage the moisture from setting into the velvet and could save you some time and effort later, especially since watermarks left to soak into velvet tend to be permanent.
Removing Stains from Velvet Shoes
If you manage to get a stain or discoloration on your velvet footwear, all is not yet lost. You’ll need to know the specific way for how to clean velvet shoes of stains without damaging them, but as long as you use gentle cleansers and tools, you should be able to lift most stains out and away from the fabric.
We recommend using either dishwashing liquid or lemon and baking soda for this. For the dishwashing liquid method, do the following:
- Fill a bowl or cup with warm water
- Add a teaspoon or two of gentle dishwashing soap
- Mix until the solution is sudsy
For the lemon and baking soda method, do this:
- Add 1 part baking soda to 1 part lemon juice
- Mix until a foamy paste forms
Once you’ve created your gentle cleaning solution, scrub it gently into the stain on your velvet shoes with an old toothbrush or a soft scrub brush. Be conservative with the amount of solution you use; it’s better to apply too little at first and add more later than it is to add too much.
Let the cleaning solution sit on your shoes for a short time before wiping your footwear clean with a damp cloth. Be very careful not to saturate your footwear. Use only enough water to remove your stain-fighting solution. When that’s done, blot any remaining moisture with a microfiber cloth. If you want your shoes to dry faster, you can use a hairdryer on cool, too.
If your stain is oil-based, you may want to try sprinkling some calcium carbonate powder onto the stain. This will help absorb the oily residue without needing to subject the velvet to any water or soap.
If your stain doesn’t come out the first time, don’t lose hope just yet! Some velvet stains take more than one pass with a stain remover before they come out entirely. However, don’t stress the stained area too much, either, as too much rubbing could lead to balding of the velvet. Instead, if it doesn’t look like you’re making any headway with the stain, send your shoes in for a private cleaner to fix
Protecting Velvet Shoes
Protecting your velvet shoes from the next spat of water or dirt takes a lot of the trouble out of knowing how to clean velvet shoes. After all, if your shoes don’t get dirty in the first place, there’s no need to expend the effort to clean them.
The best way to protect velvet shoes without damaging the fabric is to use a fabric-protecting spray. Make sure to find one that specifically says it’s safe for velvet, and even then, you may want to spot test an inconspicuous area first. If you decide that the spray is safe to use, follow the manufacturer’s directions on the product and reapply it as necessary.
Caring for Velvet
Because velvet is such a particular type of fabric, it can require special care, too. The most crucial care ritual for how to clean velvet shoes is the importance of brushing them. Brushing velvet shoes keeps the velvet nap straight and tidy. You can do this with an old, soft toothbrush, but if you want to make your velvet shoes shine, we recommend explicitly buying one meant for velvet.
Deodorizing Velvet Shoes
Just like any other shoe, velvet shoes can accrue odors when they’re worn often. Since the inside of your shoe is likely not made of velvet, deodorizing the interior should be much simpler than cleaning the outside was! You can use hundreds of different things to make your velvet shoes smell nice, such as:
- White vinegar
- Baking soda
- Shoe deodorizers
- Sanitizing sprays
- Dryer sheets
Our favorite methods of the above, because of their accessibility and their effectiveness, are both the vinegar and the baking soda methods. Both vinegar and baking soda also have antimicrobial properties, which means your velvet shoes will be slower to develop odors again in the future, too.
For the vinegar method, you must first fill a spray bottle with one part water and one part white vinegar. Then, spritz the mixture carefully along the insides of your velvet shoes. Be very careful not to reach the outside of the footwear with the spray. Let the velvet shoes dry next to a fan, or dry them with a hairdryer set on cool. Once the vinegar smell fades, the other odors should be gone, too.
If you’d rather not use a saturated solution, you can use baking soda to deodorize your velvet shoes instead. It’s easy – all you need to do is sprinkle a tablespoon or two of baking soda through the inside of your shoe. Let it sit overnight, then vacuum the baking soda out the next day, and your odors should be gone!
Storing Velvet Shoes
When you’re done wearing your velvet shoes for the day, don’t just kick them aside or throw them in the closet. Because velvet is a fabric with piles, it can be crushed or damaged easily if it’s stored the wrong way. Laying velvet shoes on their sides, for example, is an excellent way to end up with strange marks on your precious shoes.
Instead, always store your velvet shoes standing up, and try to place them in a cotton bag or an acid-free box before storing them, too. By storing them in a breathable bag, your velvet shoes won’t collect dust between the fibers over time. However, never store your velvet shoes in a plastic bag, as this will trap moisture, leading to moldy shoes down the road.
Repairing Velvet Shoes
If you weren’t thinking one day and stored your precious velvet shoes on their sides or against each other, all is not yet lost. Some mild velvet crushing can be fixed with an unlikely ally: steam. Where water can damage your velvet shoes if misapplied, vapor can breathe new life into them!
To fix velvet crushing with steam, sit your shoes in the bathroom with the shower on hot while you wash. When you finish with the shower, gently brush any velvet back into place with a toothbrush or velvet brush.
Removing Lint from Velvet Shoes
Because of the piled nature of velvet fabric, it’s especially vulnerable to building up dirt, dust, and lint between its fibers. However, with a few simple remedies, you can remove this lint from your velvet shoes and get them looking fresh and new again. If you want to how to remove lint and dust from velvet shoes, make sure you have one of the following on hand:
- Masking tape
- Packing tape
- Lint brush
- Lint roller
Any lint-removing device should work for removing dust from velvet fabrics. However, if you don’t have a lint brush or roller handy, you can accomplish the same thing with some plain old tape. Just wrap some tape (sticky-side up) around your hand, then press it repeatedly (and gently) to the velvet in question. The tape will lift any loose lint and fibers from the velvet’s surface without damaging the fabric itself.
If you have a lint brush, gently brush it against the grain of the velvet fabric. This should pull any stubborn dust and dirt from between the velvet’s fibers. However, be very careful not to damage the material in the process.
Things to Know About Velvet
While velvet had its heyday several decades ago, it now seems to be making a bit of a comeback, both in home decoration and in clothing. As such, it’s great to know more about the fabric than just how to clean it. Here are a few more things you might be surprised to know about velvet.
Velvet is Sturdy
While velvet is a bit of a high-maintenance fabric, believe it or not, it’s not fragile! If you make sure to take care of this fabric properly, it can last for many, many years. Why do you think there are so many old velvet sofas from our grandparents’ age for sale at thrift stores?
Velvet does indeed tend to accrue marks and stains quickly over its lifetime, but it holds up to abuse exceptionally well. An old velvet chair or couch is full of character and could probably tell many stories! While we surely want our velvet shoes to be pristine and new-looking, an old velvet sofa or chair only becomes more beautiful as it ages.
Velvet Is Tidy
As long as you’re not spilling water or other drinks on your velvet items, the fabric itself is rather tidy and easy to care for. Since it’s not water-safe, it’s not a particularly comfortable fabric to make shoes out of, but in other places around the house, velvet can show its true colors. Because of the nature of the piled material, dirt and dust tend to sit on top of the fibers rather than sinking in.
Because of this, cleaning velvet couldn’t be more natural! While vacuuming a pair of shoes isn’t always practical, it’s usually all a velvet furniture piece needs to look like new again.
Velvet Has History
Velvet fabric has been around for hundreds of years, and time and time again, it’s been considered a royal material because of its luxuriousness. At one point, the King of France decreed it so velvet was only to be worn by himself and his family, it was coveted so much!
Velvet has an exciting creation style, as well. While factories don’t use traditional looms nowadays, in history, velvet was made by weaving two bolts of fabric at the same time. In the end, the fabric pieces would be carefully cut apart, exposing two pieces of cloth with beautiful upright piles.
While most modern velvet is made of polyester or other synthetic fabrics, “true” velvet is often made using the following:
“Velveteen,” an imitation fabric similar to velvet, is usually made with cotton or a combination of cotton and some other fiber.
Styling Velvet Shoes
Today, velvet is still considered something of luxury fabric, but more and more people are incorporating it into their everyday clothing and footwear. With how beautiful and attractive velvet is, it’s no wonder that the fabric is making a comeback! However, because of its uniqueness as a fabric, there are some unspoken rules to follow when styling velvet footwear with other articles of clothing.
The most sure-fire way to match your velvet shoes with your other clothing is to embrace a cold-weather style! Winter and fall months are the best months to bring out your velvet accessories, as velvet always gives the impression of warmth and softness. Who doesn’t like curling up with a plush, warm blanket during the colder months of the year?
As such, velvet currently seems to be associated with an air of “coziness,” and most people style it as such. Velvet fabric in the bedroom gives a feeling of warmth, coziness, and intimacy, and it can bring the same feel to other areas of the house, too.
Unfortunately, walking the line between rocking your fall outerwear and avoiding unfriendly weather conditions can be a bit tough. Since velvet doesn’t do well with water, it tends to end up confined to the closet or to the house when inclement weather comes rolling in. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your velvet outfits and footwear during the winter months!
Consider investing in a pair of velvet loafers or slippers to wear around the house when temperatures start to drop. Just because you can’t wear them outside doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy some of the other benefits of velvet!
All in all, as long as you know what to expect out of a pair of velvet shoes, you should be able to enjoy their attractiveness, comfort, and luxury for a long time. After all, once you know the weaknesses of a pair of velvet shoes, they become just as easy to care for as a pair of tennis shoes. Any fashion-forward individual should think about adding an attractive pair of velvet shoes to their wardrobe for these reasons and more!