How to Use Toothpaste for Cleaning Leather Shoes

brown leather shoes

I’m a big fan of leather shoes. They look good, they last forever (if you take care of them), and they’re versatile. 

However, like most shoes, leather does need to be cleaned and maintained from time to time. That’s where toothpaste comes in!

I use white toothpaste to clean my favorite oxfords and boots and it works like a charm. 

I haven’t tried this method on suede shoes and other delicate types of leather, so I suggest you look for another cleaning method for those or use professional cleaning products specifically made for them. 

For most types of leather shoes, toothpaste will work well.

In this article, I’ll show you how to clean your leather shoes using white toothpaste.

Let’s get started.

What You’ll Need:

  • White toothpaste 
  • A rag 
  • A soft brush or microfiber cloth
  • Shoe polish
  • Clean cloth


  1. Place your shoe on a flat surface and remove the laces.
  2. Use a damp rag to dampen your shoes.
  3. Apply a small amount of white toothpaste to a soft brush or microfiber cloth and gently rub it across the leather in circular motions.
  4. Use a damp cloth to wipe away any excess toothpaste, then briefly dry them with another dry cloth. Make sure to remove all toothpaste residue.
  5. Repeat steps 3-4 if necessary if you notice dirt or scuffs remain on your shoes.
  6. Let your leather shoes dry, then apply shoe polish or leather conditioner.

Why Use Toothpaste?

Toothpaste is a great cleaning product for your leather shoes. This is because it has two main advantages:

  • It’s a mild abrasive. Toothpaste contains particles of calcium carbonate, which are tiny bits of rock that can scratch away dirt from surfaces like leather.
  • It’s an effective cleaner. The cleaning agents in it work to dissolve stains and make them easier to wipe off.

How Often Should You Clean Your Leather Shoes?

How often you should clean your shoes depends on how often you wear them. 

If you wear your shoes every day, make sure to give them a good cleaning once a week

When they get wet, clean them right away (but don’t use soap). And if they are particularly dirty, it might be worth doing an extra deep clean before wearing them again.

What Kind of Toothpaste to Use

White toothpaste is the best kind for cleaning leather.

Colored toothpaste can stain your shoes, especially white ones. 

When in doubt, apply a small amount of toothpaste to test first.


As you saw, all you need to clean your leather shoes are white toothpaste plus a few other things. 

The process is easy and quick, so there’s no reason not to give this method a try. 

Not only will it save you money on shoe care products, but also time. 

Cleaning your shoes with toothpaste will keep them looking great for longer, and they will smell fresher too.

If you’re looking for other toothpaste cleaning hacks, see my article on How to Use Toothpaste to Clean Leather Car Seats.

Thanks for reading my blog.

 -Baking Soda Guy

Photo by Oluwaseun Duncan from Pexels