Pointe shoes are an important part of any dancer’s wardrobe. However, they can also be one of the most intimidating pieces of apparel to maintain. Cleaning pointe shoes is a necessary step that can help extend the life of your shoes and improve comfort during performance. For pointe dancers, keeping their shoes in good condition is essential for comfort and performance.
Pointe shoes are delicate instruments that take a lot of wear and tear, so cleaning them correctly to extend the shoe’s life is important. In this blog post, we’ll walk you through exactly how to clean pointe shoes so they stay in tip-top shape during practice sessions, performances, and beyond!
Are Pointe Shoes Ruined if They Get Wet?
No! Pointe shoes are made from mostly natural materials, such as leather and jute. These materials can easily be damaged by water, but they don’t have to be ruined forever if you take the proper steps when cleaning them.
The first step is to make sure that any excess water is removed from your pointe shoes after each use. If you get caught in the rain while wearing your pointe shoes, you’ll want to be sure to dry them as soon as possible. Place a towel inside each shoe and leave it there until all of the wetness is absorbed, then remove it before putting the shoes away.
10 Methods on How to Clean Pointe Shoes
One of the best ways to clean pointe shoes is to soak them in a solution of warm water. Dish soap is gentle enough to not damage the delicate fabric of the shoes, but it is also effective at removing dirt and grime. Simply add a few drops of dish soap to a bowl of warm water and soak the shoes for 30 minutes. If the shoes are particularly dirty, you can let them soak for up to an hour. After soaking, rinse the shoes in cold water and allow them to air dry.
2. Washing by Hand
If you don’t have time to soak your shoes, you can also clean them by hand. Start by mixing some warm water and dish soap. Dip a soft cloth into the solution and then use it to wipe down the shoes, being sure to pay extra attention to any areas that are particularly dirty. Once you’ve wiped down the shoes, rinse them off with clean water and allow them to air dry. If you notice any tough stains or spots, you can use a soft brush to gently scrub them away. Once your shoes are fully dry, brush away any dirt residue on the surface. After you’ve cleaned your shoes, make sure to apply a waterproof spray or cream to protect them from future damage. This will help keep them looking and smelling fresh for a long time.
3. Using a Washing Machine
You can also clean your pointe shoes in a washing machine. Start by putting the shoes in a pillowcase or laundry bag to protect them from damage. Then, add the shoes to your washing machine along with a small amount of mild detergent. Wash the shoes on the delicate cycle using cold water. Once the cycle is finished, remove the shoes from the washing machine and allow them to air dry. Though this method is generally safe, it can be hard on the delicate ribbons and elastic of your pointe shoes. Therefore, this should only be used as a last resort.
4. Using Vinegar
Vinegar is another effective way to clean pointe shoes. Simply mix equal parts vinegar and water in a bowl and then use a soft cloth to wipe down the shoes with the solution. Once you’ve wiped down the shoes, rinse them off with clean water and allow them to air dry.
This process will help to remove sweat, stains, and odors from your pointe shoes. However, be sure to avoid submerging the shoes in vinegar or water as it can damage the glue and fabric. Additionally, don’t forget to untie the ribbons and elastics of your pointe shoes prior to cleaning them. This will help prevent any damage to the shoes caused by water or vinegar.
5. Using Rubbing Alcohol
Rubbing alcohol can also be used to clean pointe shoes. Simply mix equal parts rubbing alcohol and water in a bowl and then use a soft cloth to wipe down the shoes with the solution. Once you’ve wiped down the shoes, rinse them off with clean water and allow them to air dry. You can also use a hairdryer on the lowest setting to speed up the drying process. Rubbing alcohol is great for removing dirt and grime, but it can also dry out the fabric of the shoes, so be sure to use this method sparingly.
6. Using Baking Soda
Baking soda is another great way to clean pointe shoes. Simply mix equal parts baking soda and water in a bowl and then use a soft cloth to wipe down the shoes with the solution. Once you’ve wiped down the shoes, rinse them off with clean water and allow them to air dry. Baking soda is a mild abrasive that can help remove dirt and sweat buildup on the shoes. It’s also good for absorbing odors, so your shoes will stay smelling fresher longer. However, it’s important to be careful when using baking soda, as it can cause discoloration if used too often.
To deodorize your pointe shoes, simply sprinkle some baking soda inside each shoe before putting them away for storage. The baking soda will help absorb any odors that may have accumulated in the shoes over time. You can also put a few drops of essential oil inside each shoe if you want it to smell particularly nice. If you’re worried about ruining the shoes, you can also use a deodorizing spray that’s specifically made for pointe shoes. This will help keep your shoes fresh and smelling great.
8. Treating Stains
To treat stains on your pointe shoes, mix a solution of warm water with dish soap. Dip a soft cloth into the solution and then use it to gently scrub the stain until it starts to fade away. If the stain is particularly stubborn, you can also try using rubbing alcohol or vinegar instead of the dish soap solution.
9. Whitening Pointe Shoes
If your pointe shoes are looking a bit dingy, you can whiten them using baking soda and lemon juice. Simply mix equal parts baking soda and lemon juice together in a bowl to form a paste, then apply the paste to any areas of discoloration on the shoes using a soft cloth. Leave the paste on the shoes for 30 minutes and then rinse it off with clean water.
10. Drying Wet Pointe Shoes
It is important to make sure that your pointe shoes are completely dry before putting them away, as wetness can cause the shoes to become misshapen or grow mildew. If you’ve recently worn your pointe shoes in wet conditions, take the time to dry them out as soon as possible. Place a towel inside each shoe and leave it there until all of the wetness is absorbed, then remove it before putting the shoes away.
Things to Consider When Cleaning Pointe Shoes
1. Inspect the Shoes:
Before you begin cleaning your pointe shoes, inspect them for any wear and tear that might need to be addressed. Look for signs of damage to the tips, box, and other components. If you find any rips or tears in your pointe shoes, they may need to be replaced before they can be safely cleaned.
2. Remove Laces:
Always remove the laces from your pointe shoes before beginning the cleaning process. This will allow you to easily access all areas of the shoe without tangling up the laces. You can use a pair of scissors or tweezers to carefully cut them out if necessary.
3. Clean Gently:
When cleaning your pointe shoes, avoid using harsh chemicals that could damage the delicate material. Instead, opt for mild soaps and gentle cleaners such as baby shampoo. Use a damp cloth to clean the outside of the shoe, then use a toothbrush or cotton swab to reach small crevices and tight spots.
4. Allow Shoes to Dry:
Once your pointe shoes have been cleaned, be sure to allow them adequate time to dry before you wear them again. Air drying is best; try not to put your pointe shoes near heat sources like radiators, as this can cause damage. You may also want to stuff the toes with newspaper while they are drying, as this will help them keep their shape.
After a long day of rehearsal or performance, your pointe shoes deserve a good cleaning. By following these simple steps on how to clean pointe shoes, you can extend the life of your pointe shoes and keep them looking like new.
Plus, keeping your pointe shoes clean will help prevent blisters and other foot problems. So break out the soap and get scrubbing!