Simple Ways to Clean Your Sperry Boat Shoes

Sperry boat shoes are more than just footwear, they’re a style statement and symbol of adventure. After your journeys and daily wear, your boat shoes may need some TLC. Cleaning Sperry boat shoes doesn’t have to be hard. In this blog post, we’ll guide you with simple steps.

We’ll show you how to remove laces, clean off dirt, and make a cleaning solution. Learn how to clean boat shoes effectively for a fresh and clean look. We’ll also give tips on rinsing, drying, and maintaining soft leather Sperrys. Our guide will help you maintain your boat shoes for your next adventure.

Steps to Clean Sperry Boat Shoes

To keep Sperry boat shoes looking good and lasting longer, they need to be cleaned. Here’s how to clean your Sperry boat shoes step-by-step:

Best Ways to Clean Sperry Boat Shoes

1. Materials You’ll Need

  • Mild soap or a specialized shoe cleaner
  • A soft brush (a toothbrush or a shoe brush works well)
  • A bowl of warm water
  • Clean, dry cloths or paper towels
  • A shoelace (optional)

2. Remove Laces (If Any)

Examine your Sperry boat shoes closely. Remove laces before cleaning. Removing laces makes it easier to access the entire shoe. It keeps laces dry while cleaning. After removing the laces, you can clean them separately or replace them if needed. Clean laces improve shoe appearance.

3. Remove Loose Dirt

First, remove any loose dirt and debris from the shoe’s surface before starting the cleaning process. There are effective ways to do this. Tap shoes together to remove dirt and particles. Using a soft brush, like a toothbrush or shoe brush, can help remove dirt better. Pay extra attention to the shoe seams and crevices.

4. Prepare Cleaning Solution

After removing laces and dirt, prepare a cleaning solution for stains and grime. Here’s how to make a cleaning solution:

Fill a bowl with warm water. Water should be warm, not hot or cold. Add soap or shoe cleaner to warm water. Use mild soap to protect leather or fabric. Shoe cleaners remove stains without damaging shoes. Avoid harsh detergents or bleach as they can damage your Sperry boat shoes.

5. Clean the Uppers

Dip brush: Use the soapy water to clean the uppers of your Sperry boat shoes. Dip a soft brush into soapy water. Soapy water helps clean shoes.

  • Gently scrub the shoes with a soapy brush. Start with big, circular motions, targeting stained or spotted areas. Be gentle to avoid damaging the shoe. When cleaning, make sure to clean all parts of the shoe, including seams, stitching, and textured areas.
  • For Sperry boat shoes with leather uppers, handle with care when cleaning. Leather is delicate, so scrubbing can cause scratches or scuffs. Be gentle and patient when removing dirt or stains.
  • Be careful with boat shoes made of fabric to prevent fraying. Gently scrub the fabric, and avoid applying too much pressure in one spot. For tough stains, focus on those spots but be careful with the fabric.

6. Clean the Insoles

Check if the insoles are removable. Remove them before cleaning. This improves cleaning and drying. Clean insoles separately.

  • If insoles aren’t removable, you can still clean them well. Use a damp cloth or paper towel with the soapy water. Wring out water to avoid odor or shoe damage.
  • Wipe insoles gently with a damp cloth or towel. Clean the entire surface, focusing on dirty or stained areas. Remove soap residue from insoles to avoid discomfort or damage to shoes.

7. Rinse and Wipe

Remove Soap Residue: After cleaning your Sperry boat shoes, make sure to wipe off any soap residue. Use a damp cloth or paper towel. Use clean water, not a soapy solution, to dampen the cloth. Clean the whole shoe, including uppers and insoles. Check seams and textured areas for soap residue.

Switch to a softer brush or cloth if needed. Stiff brushes may not be needed for this final phase. Use a soft cloth or brush with softer bristles to safely remove soap residue from the shoe.

8. Let them Dry

Air dry your Sperry boat shoes after wiping off soap residue. Place shoes in a well-ventilated room at room temperature. Avoid heat sources like radiators, heaters, or hairdryers as they can damage or crack leather. Let the shoe air dry, which can take a few hours to a day, depending on humidity.

To maintain the shape of boat shoes, stuff them with newspaper or use shoe trees while they dry. This keeps shoes from collapsing. Shoe trees absorb moisture and are helpful for wet shoes.

9. Rebuild

Re-lace if needed: Once dry, re-lace Sperry boat shoes if laces were removed during cleaning. Proper lacing improves shoe look and fit. Tighten the laces securely but not too tight for easy wearing.

Sperry boat shoes are ready to wear after cleaning, rinsing, drying, and re-lacing. Cleaning and maintaining them has preserved their appearance and extended their life, so you can continue to enjoy their style and comfort.

10. Optional: Condition Leather Uppers

Use Leather Conditioner: Apply a leather conditioner to your Sperry boat shoes with leather uppers after cleaning and drying. Leather conditioner keeps leather soft and prevents drying, cracking, or losing luster. Conditioning leather footwear is important for its quality and longevity.

Follow the instructions on the label when using a leather conditioner. Apply a bit of conditioner to a cloth and rub it into the leather in circles. Apply, moisturize, wipe off excess conditioner. Some conditioners may also recommend letting the shoes sit for a specific amount of time before wearing them.

Clean and maintain Sperry boat shoes regularly for better appearance and durability. Clean them every few weeks or as needed.

Are there any Alternative Methods to Clean Sperry Boat Shoes?

The methods I listed above are the most common and suggested for cleaning and preserving Sperry boat shoes, but you can also use other procedures depending on the materials and level of cleaning needed. Some alternatives:

Vinegar-Water Solution

A homemade Sperry boat shoe cleaning prepared from equal parts white vinegar and water is flexible. Its inherent cleaning characteristics make vinegar efficient against stains and odors. Gently wipe the shoe surface with vinegar, then wipe with a moist towel to remove any vinegar odor. The vinegar fragrance may require more blowing out of the shoes to eradicate.

Commercial Shoe Cleaners

Cleaning boat shoes with a commercial shoe cleaner formulated for certain shoe materials is convenient and effective. Choose a shoe cleaner that fits your material, follow the instructions, and target stains and soiling. They are safe and effective for many materials, ensuring a comprehensive cleaning process.

Baking Soda Removes Odor

If your Sperry boat shoes smell bad, baking soda can help. Sprinkle baking soda inside shoes and let set overnight or for several hours. Baking soda absorbs odors well, but shake or vacuum it the next day. Baking soda deodorizes naturally, making it great for shoe interiors.

Oxygen Cleaners

Oxygen-based cleansers can remove tough stains. The cleaner’s instructions usually require combining it with water to make a solution. Apply it to stained areas, let it remain, then gently scrub with a cloth or brush. Rinse and air-dry shoes. Oxygen-based cleansers remove stubborn stains.

These different procedures give versatility depending on your cleaning needs and Sperry boat shoe materials. When trying a new cleaning method, be careful and patch test to avoid damage or discoloration. The manufacturer’s care instructions for your shoe model may suggest different cleaning procedures.

Final Words

You can confidently clean, freshen, and protect your leather, suede, or fabric shoes by following this method. The initial steps emphasize gentle cleaning and safe material-specific treatment, while various procedures allow flexibility to address unique challenges. Proper cleaning and care will keep your Sperry boat shoes looking great and providing the comfort and durability they deserve. With some effort and attention to detail, your boat shoes can last many land and sea voyages.


Hi, I'm Asim! I love giving you cleaning guides, tips and tricks that will make your place sparkle and shine. Through years of practice, I've learned effective ways to clean and can't wait to help you. From tough spots to general cleaning, I can help you. Come along with me on this cleaning adventure, where I'll give you tips and tricks to make your cleaning process easier. Let's work together to make clean haven.

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