A question we get asked all the time is how to clean your ballet shoes. Depending on the type of shoe, there are some cleaning tips we can provide, however, the best method is to try and keep them as clean as you can from the beginning.

How to keep your shoes clean:

-Don’t wear them outside

-Make sure your feet/tights are clean before putting your shoes on

-Help with keeping the studio floor swept and clean

-Keep your shoes in a special bag so they don’t get dirtied by other items in your backpack.

-Wear booties or socks over your shoes if waiting backstage or between classes


Cleaning Canvas shoes

Canvas shoes are the easiest to wash because you can just pop them in the washing machine, and voilá, they’re clean! Just remember to stuff them with plastic bags or put your foot in them while they are still damp so that they don’t shrink. And definitely keep them out of the dryer!

Cleaning Leather shoes

Leather shoes are a bit more tricky as you want to use minimal water to avoid damaging the leather.  Soapy water and a soft toothbrush (or lightly damp sponge) should get most surface dirt off the shoes without scuffing the leather. And then thoroughly dry the shoe afterward – giving them a good polishing as you do so!

Cleaning Satin Shoes and Pointe shoes

With Satin shoes (including pointe shoes which are almost always satin),  keeping them clean from the beginning is the best way to go because it can be tricky getting even superficial dirt out of satin without scuffing them. As soon as satin gets wet or endures friction, it starts losing its shine. Again a very soft toothbrush, mildly damp with just water can be stroked in one direction along the satin to remove superficial dirt without scuffing the satin too much.  Baking soda can also be used to spot clean – put a paste of baking soda and water on the dirty spot and leave overnight, wiping off with a gentle cloth the next day.

Often the best way to ‘clean’ satin shoes is to paint over the dirt – what dancers call pancaking your shoes. This does get rid of the satiny shine, but a uniform matte pink will be restored.

Read how in our next blog: How to Dye your Ballet Shoes