Cleaning Vintage Baby Shoes

A white pair of baby shoes.
Stored vintage baby shoes may require cleaning it you are looking to reuse them with your children or grands. Depending on the material from which they were made you may need to vary the cleaning process. This page offers some good advice for cleaning the shoes and/or removing odors.

2 Questions

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March 10, 2020

I'm expecting my first grandchild, a girl, in May. I saved most of my daughter's baby things and now want to give them to her as an heirloom gift for her daughter. I'm washing the clothes using a good strategy, but am stuck as to what to do with the leather baby zip and walking boots, as well as the little girl's Sunday shoes.Cleaning and Deodorizing Vintage Baby Shoes


The little zip up boots were actually mine as a baby and are now over 50 years old. I think I'm probably going to be forced to trash the little Berber butterfly sneakers, because when I unpacked them, I got white shoe polish on my hands from the inside top band of the shoes. Right now I've only found one of the zip up boots, but I'm on a search mission for the other one. I can clean the outside, but how do I safely remove the smell of being shut up for almost 30 years out of the shoes?

Thank you.


Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 105 Posts
March 10, 20200 found this helpful
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I would suggest that you make your own leather cleaner from 1 tablespoon of vinegar and 2 tablespoons of food-grade linseed oil. Dab a clean white cloth in your solution and gently scrub the shoes clean. Wash the laces separately.

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Silver Post Medal for All Time! 433 Posts
March 11, 20200 found this helpful
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Take a soft cloth and use baby shampoo and rub in a circular motion.Also wash the sole of the shoe.Wash out the inside,with vinegar to get rid of the smell.

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Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 196 Feedbacks
March 11, 20200 found this helpful
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Are you giving them just for decorating? If so, I would leave them as is.

If they have a smell, just let them air out in the sun for a few hours.


They are sweet. I can see them being displayed, as is, in a pretty wreath or affixed to/ on to a lamp base with a sweet shade.

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Gold Answer Medal for All Time! 617 Answers
March 13, 20200 found this helpful
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Leaving them out in the sun, or inside the car on a hot day can take care of the shut-up smell. Of course you don't necesarily want to leave them in the light of the sun itself for many hours, less they get bleached out

also never understimate the power of baking soda. Just put some in a satchet with maybe some coffee grounds in the shoes themselves

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December 17, 2013

This is a page about cleaning and preserving satin baby shoes. Those adorable baby shoes can be kept as an heirloom or passed down to another beautiful child.

Satin Baby Shoes

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