Friday, November 7, 2014

Quick 'Fix' Friday: Cleaning Thrifted Shoes

I LOVE THRIFTING!!! I am also notorious for stating the obvious;). Thrifting is like a great treasure hunt that requires time, effort, and a love of sifting through every.single.item. in order to find the gems. That's right up my alley! I guess the not-so-glamorous side of thrifting is cleaning and disinfecting the items you decide to bring home...yes, I called thrifting glamorous ;). Take, for example, these very dirty, but oh-so-comfortable, black leather boots. Combat style, and made in Canada! Hey Canada :). These were in desperate need of a good cleaning, but for $2 I knew that I'd be up for the challenge. 


I grabbed my supplies first:

  • dirty boots
  • saddle soap
  • soft cloth/towel
First, it's a good idea to brush off any bits of dirt or dust that'll come off easily. Then, remove your laces. {I did a quick rub on the front of my boot before removing my laces just to give you an idea of how dirty these really were.} Next, dampen your cloth and rub across the saddle soap to work up a bit of lather (not suds, but essentially you're working it into your cloth). Then have at it! Rub all over your leather boots/shoes making sure to reach all of the creases and cracks. Once you've given them a good rub, you can find a clean spot on your cloth and wipe away any excess soap while buffing your shoes for a bit of shine/luster.



Here's a look at mine after the cleaning...dirty rag and all! The leather came out so pretty and is super soft/pliable (I told you they were uber comfortable). Ready for wear!


And the obligatory side-by-side shot ;). Much better.


To disinfect them, I used a pretty basic method: mixing a bit of water with hydrogen peroxide and spraying the insides. I then let them air out and dry completely. Some people prefer to use a mixture of bleach and water (just be careful not to get this on the outside of the shoes), or Lysol disinfectant, or putting them in the freezer for 24 hours to kill the germs. Pick your poison...just make sure you do it! Now, as is true with this next pair of shoes, replacing/using insoles can also go a long way in removing any unwanted germs. The boots' insoles needed to replaced and thankfully I scored 3 sets at the thrift store brand new! Granted, they were brand new in the package circa 1995, but hey, they work like a charm ;). 

I found these Minnetonka moccasins at a community swap (free!) two days after almost buying a pair exactly like this (but new) at Urban Outfitters for $20. For reals. They were similarly in need of a new insole after going through the disinfecting process. But I also felt they could benefit from a little makeover as well. 


I'm not a big fan of fringe. First, I shortened the ties to get rid of the nasty dirty bits. Then I trimmed straight across the fringe to even it out. Hmmm, not sold.


So, then I gave them another trim with a rounded 'peter-pan collar' inspired look. I tried tying the ties a couple of different ways. Which do you prefer?


Now, those free mocs are soooo much better! And with the new insoles, they are even more comfy to wear. I have to say, I am not completely sold on this after look and may mess around with these a bit more...paint, maybe? We'll see :).


So, the next time you bring a pair of thrifted shoes home, you know how to disinfect and clean them up! This quick 'fix' takes only a few minutes and can really make a huge difference to your feet :).

Happy Refashioning!
Peace,
Andrea

20 comments:

  1. Great post! I am an avid second hand shoe buyer. I must try the peroxide trick. Tea tree oil or eucalyptus oil also great for disinfecting/desmelling!
    Leather is amazingly revivable...skin is amazing. Did i say amazing?! :-D xo JJ

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    1. Tea tree oil!!! That's one that I'd read about and wanted to try and then forgot ;-p Thanks for reminding me! Oh, btw, you are amazing! hahaha, thanks for stopping by JJ :)

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  2. PS forgot to say, love the new black boots. So jealous! And i prefer the left hand tie on the mocassins. Aren't you a clever little Vegemite? (Aussie saying:-)

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    1. ;) Aren't they an awesome find? Oh, thanks for weighing in on the ties! wouldn't you know, I ended up tying the other one like the left...great minds!

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  3. I always use baby wash to clean my leather. I purchased a bottle of store brand baby wash in a scent I liked (didn't know if the scent would stay around, but it usually doesn't). I put a good dollop in a little water, and use a sponge; wet the sponge, then squeeze so it's still wet but not sloppy or drippy. Then, I clean my item, refreshing the sponge as needed. I used to use a sponge in plain water to wipe afterward, but now I just wipe the item with a few cheap paper towels to remove most moisture then let it air dry. To condition leather and make it somewhat waterproof, I use something I made: it's supposed to be a wood polish, made with beeswax and olive or mineral oil (do a web search for recipes), but I tried it on a leather purse I purchased from a thrift store, and I loved it! I just rub in in with my hand, all over. It looks alarmingly blotchy at first then evens out completely. I use the wash on leather shoes, bags and garments, and the oil on shoes and bags. I typically use Lysol to disinfect, never thought of peroxide or the oils, will have to try that! Also, if you get shoes, new or thrifted, and they still have a gummy gooey tag stuck in them or the goo from the tag still inside, a little WD-40 and a paper towel will take it right out. I found that out after buying some new with tag Coach shoes from Ebay. Left no residue.

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    1. Great tips! Thanks for passing them on :)

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  4. I found some Minnetonka moccasins at a thrift store recently for $3.98! I was so happy. I like the fringe but I also like how you did the Peter Pan collar thing. Smart! I like the ties on the left. Now I gotta go get me some Dr. Shoals. Good idea!

    P.S. These clean up good with a toothbrush, a little water, and some soap too.

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    1. Score! That's an awesome deal :) And thanks for the tip on cleaning suede! They could use a refresher on the outside as well, so I'll be trying it out.

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  5. The typical way to decorate mocs is with beading. You could use short strings of beads for a different fringe look - OK, you probably wouldn't :) or just a design. You will need an awl to make holes for threading the beads.

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    1. ;) you're right...i won't, but only because i have a pair with beading (no fringe) that I thrifted a few years back. But, maybe I would if I used one color of beads and strung them in a simple design...hmm, now you've introduced an idea that I THOUGHT i wouldn't entertain! Thanks!!!

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  6. Andrea loving all your tips and tricks with thrifted footwear. I can relate big time as this is the condition of most of my landfill finds. I will share your blog post on Rude Record at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Rude-Record-Personal-Blog/787373754616693?fref=ts

    Great REvival of both pairs of footwear!

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    1. Thanks for sharing my post, Karen! I didn't realize that I hadn't liked your Facebook page ;-p, so I did that right away!!!

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  7. Thanks for all the great tips! I love secondhand shoes as well, but have passed up on some I thought were beyond help. Now I'll give those a second chance in the future. For the mocs, I like them knotted at the ends, like on your left foot in the final photo. I think adding fabric to the top of the toe, under the formally-fringed flap, might get it up a notch. I would suggest something with a Native Amerian/tribal feel. Maybe grab an old blanket at a thrift shop, use a couple bits on the shoes and make a cozy winter skirt with the rest. Whatever you decide, I'm sure they'll be awesome!

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    1. I LOVE the idea of adding fabric!!!! Oh my, too many good ideas. I totally went with them knotted at the ends ;) Now I need to scour my scraps stash for the perfect pieces...oh, and decide which way to go. ;) Thanks, Carissa!

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  8. I wonder if you can get laces in different colours? If so, it would change the look a bit to re-lace them. I can never find used shoes to fit me, my feet are so wonky; heck, I can barely find brand new ones to fit - so I envy you :)

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    1. Absolutely! I have been lucky on the shoe front these past few weeks...but that's not typical! Not a lot of size 9s at my local thrift stores, usually.

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  9. jenny_o - I have found many interesting laces including neon green and black, gold and black. Some have glitter. I have worn unusual laces on fairly boring shoes and had compliments.

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    1. Love the idea of changing the laces ;)

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    2. Thanks, kitblu.

      Actually I meant to re-lace the moccasins, but re-lacing anything would be something to consider!

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  10. I like those kind of shoes, I found a secondhand shoes seller websites and they are very nice and good quality. If you want to visit their site, you can browse them all here: http://www.boex.tv/

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