How to Clean Velvet Shoes

Velvet shoes are a luxurious and stylish addition to any wardrobe, but they require special care to maintain their plush texture and vibrant colour. Unlike other materials like leather or canvas, velvet is delicate and can easily become matted, stained, or damaged if not properly cleaned. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the steps to clean your velvet shoes and keep them looking as good as new.

Clean Velvet Shoes

The Nature of Velvet

Before we dive into the cleaning process, it’s important to understand the unique characteristics of velvet. Velvet is a tufted fabric made from cotton, silk, or synthetic fibers. It has a distinctive pile that gives it a soft, luxurious feel and a rich, lustrous appearance. However, this pile can also make velvet shoes prone to snagging, crushing, and absorbing dirt and stains.

Types of Velvet

Not all velvet is created equal. Here are the main types you may encounter in velvet shoes:

  • Cotton Velvet: The most common and affordable type of velvet, made from cotton fibers. It has a shorter pile and a more matte finish.
  • Silk Velvet: A luxurious and expensive type of velvet made from silk fibers. It has a longer, denser pile and a rich, shimmering appearance.
  • Rayon Velvet: A synthetic velvet made from rayon fibers. It has a similar look and feel to silk velvet but is more affordable and easier to care for.
  • Crushed Velvet: Any type of velvet that has been intentionally crushed or flattened to create a unique texture and appearance.

The type of velvet will determine the specific cleaning methods and level of care required.

Preparing for the Cleaning Process

Before you start cleaning your velvet shoes, it’s essential to gather the right tools and materials. You’ll need:

  • A soft-bristled brush or velvet brush
  • A clean, damp cloth
  • A dry towel
  • A mild soap or velvet cleaner (optional)

It’s also a good idea to work in a well-ventilated area and to have a clean, flat surface nearby to place your shoes on while cleaning.

Step 1: Brushing Away Loose Dirt and Debris

The first step in cleaning velvet shoes is to remove any loose dirt, dust, or debris that may have accumulated on the surface. Take your soft-bristled brush or velvet brush and gently brush the shoes in the direction of the pile. This will help lift any loose particles and prevent them from becoming embedded in the fabric.

Step 2: Spot Cleaning for Stubborn Stains

If your velvet shoes have any stubborn stains or marks, you’ll need to tackle them with a spot-cleaning method. Here’s how:

  1. Mix a small amount of mild soap or velvet cleaner with water to create a gentle cleaning solution.
  2. Dip a clean, damp cloth into the solution and wring it out until it’s just slightly damp.
  3. Gently dab the stained area with the damp cloth, working in the direction of the pile.
  4. Avoid rubbing or scrubbing too vigorously, as this can damage the velvet fibres.
  5. Once the stain has been lifted, blot the area with a dry towel to absorb any excess moisture.

Common Velvet Shoe Stains and How to Treat Them

While the spot-cleaning method above works for most stains, some stubborn stains may require special treatment. Here are some common velvet shoe stains and how to treat them:

Stain TypeTreatment
Mud or DirtLet the stain dry completely, then brush off as much as possible before spot cleaning.
Grease or OilSprinkle cornstarch or baking soda on the stain, let it sit for a few hours, then brush off before spot cleaning.
Red Wine or JuiceBlot the stain immediately with a clean cloth, then use a mixture of one part white vinegar to one part water for spot cleaning.
Ink or Permanent MarkerUse a small amount of rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball to dab at the stain, then spot clean as usual.

Step 3: Cleaning the Entire Shoe

After removing any loose dirt and spot-cleaning any stubborn stains, it’s time to clean the entire shoe. Here’s the process:

  1. Dampen a clean cloth with water or a mild soap solution (if needed).
  2. Gently wipe the cloth over the surface of the shoe, following the direction of the pile.
  3. Avoid saturating the velvet, as this can cause water stains and damage the material.
  4. Once you’ve gone over the entire shoe, use a dry towel to blot away any excess moisture.
  5. Allow the shoes to air dry completely before wearing them again.

Cleaning Velvet Shoe Soles and Heels

While the focus is often on the velvet upper portion of the shoe, it’s important not to neglect the soles and heels. Here’s how to clean them:

  • Leather Soles: Use a leather cleaner and a soft-bristled brush to gently scrub away any dirt or scuffs. Avoid getting the leather cleaner on the velvet portion of the shoe.
  • Rubber Soles: Mix a small amount of dish soap with warm water and use a clean cloth to wipe down the soles, removing any built-up dirt or grime.
  • Heels: Depending on the material (leather, plastic, or wood), use the appropriate cleaning method to remove any scuffs or marks.

Step 4: Reviving the Nap (Optional)

If your velvet shoes have lost some of their lustre or the pile has become matted or crushed, you can try reviving the nap (the raised surface of the velvet) with a few extra steps:

  1. Once the shoes are completely dry, take a clean, dry cloth or towel.
  2. Gently rub the cloth or towel over the surface of the velvet in the opposite direction of the pile.
  3. This gentle friction will help lift and revive the nap, restoring the shoes’ plush appearance.

Using a Velvet Brush or Reviver

For an extra boost in reviving the nap, you can use a specialized velvet brush or reviver product. These tools are designed to gently brush and lift the pile, restoring the velvet’s soft, lustrous appearance.

Some popular velvet brush and reviver products include:

  • Monge Velvet Brush
  • Scotch Velvet Brush and Reviver
  • Angelus Suede & Nubuck Reviver

Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using these products, as improper use can damage the velvet.

Caring for Your Velvet Shoes

Proper care and maintenance are key to keeping your velvet shoes looking their best. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Avoid wearing velvet shoes in wet or muddy conditions, as moisture can easily stain and damage the material.
  • Store your velvet shoes in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight or heat sources.
  • Consider using shoe trees or stuffing the toe area with acid-free tissue paper to help maintain the shoes’ shape.
  • Rotate your velvet shoes with other pairs to prevent excessive wear and tear.
  • Have your velvet shoes professionally cleaned and revived periodically by a reputable shoe repair or dry cleaning service.

Professional Velvet Shoe Cleaning and Restoration Services

While you can certainly clean and maintain your velvet shoes at home, there may be times when professional cleaning and restoration services are necessary. These services can help revive heavily soiled or damaged velvet shoes and extend their lifespan.

Here are some reputable professional velvet shoe cleaning and restoration services to consider:

Be sure to research and compare services, pricing, and turnaround times before sending your velvet shoes off for professional cleaning or restoration.

When to Replace Your Velvet Shoes

Even with proper care and cleaning, velvet shoes will eventually show signs of wear and tear. If the pile becomes severely matted, crushed, or damaged, or if the colour has faded significantly, it may be time to consider replacing your velvet shoes.

Here are some signs that it’s time to invest in a new pair of velvet shoes:

  • The velvet pile is completely flattened or crushed, and no amount of brushing or reviving can restore it.
  • The velvet fabric is torn, ripped, or has significant bare patches.
  • The colour has faded or become dull, and no amount of cleaning can restore the vibrancy.
  • The soles or heels are worn down to the point of affecting the shoe’s stability or comfort.

When it’s time to replace your velvet shoes, consider investing in a high-quality pair from reputable brands known for their velvet craftsmanship. Some popular options include:

Remember, investing in high-quality velvet shoes and properly caring for them will ensure they last for years to come.


Cleaning velvet shoes requires a gentle touch and the right techniques to preserve the material’s delicate texture and rich appearance. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can keep your velvet shoes looking their best and extend their lifespan. Remember, proper care and maintenance are key to ensuring your investment in these luxurious shoes pays off for years to come.

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As the founder of Clean It Spotless, I am Melissa Walker, a leading expert in removing tough stains from fabrics, carpets, and upholstery. With over 10 years of experience in the cleaning industry, I have developed my own natural, non-toxic stain-fighting formulas that lift stains while preserving the integrity of the underlying material. My stain removal tutorials are widely read online, and I have appeared on local TV segments demonstrating my techniques. I also present popular stain removal workshops at community centers and schools.

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