How to Clean ballet shoes, canvas slippers and satin ballet shoes


Differences between satin, leather and canvas

As these are the fabrics usually used in the crafting of ballet shoes it is important to know what differentiates them in order to choose the right pair.

  • Leather ballet shoes have a longer lifespan comparing to satin and canvas ones, being much more durable. They also form very well to the shape of your feet once you break them in. One of the downsides is that they are typically more expensive than the other kinds.
  • Canvas shoes are the least expensive of the bunch, but unfortunately, they wear off quicker than leather shoes. One of the biggest advantages is that they offer the most breathability and don’t require any break in as the leather ones do.
  • Although satin ballet shoes have a classy and elegant appearance – that is why often times they are used during performances – they can have a relatively short lifespan.


You may be unsure regarding what to choose between full or split soles. Well, ballet flats can either have a sole split into two segments - one being on the ball of the foot, while the other on the heel - or the sole could be connected. Split sole shoes are more expensive, but they truly emphasize the foot’s arch, contributing to a prettier design.

As ballet shoes are more delicate than other dance shoes, they can be a little more difficult to maintain. Dance floors are not always squeaky clean and even if they are, you still can’t avoid sweating. To keep them in good shape you need to clean them regularly. But if the washing machine isn’t a good option, what is?

Tips for cleaning leather ballet shoes

When it comes to soft leather or imitation leather shoes, they are best cleaned with a damp paper towel. The areas that are dirty should be lightly and carefully scrubbed. It is important not to get the shoes wet because leather shrinks when it gets wet, while it also can get easily cracked.

For a deeper clean you may use regular detergent or neutral soap. After gently rubbing the dirty areas, you should wipe the surface of the shoes clean with a dry, soft cloth. Another great option is using a window cleaning product by spraying it on a paper towel and also lightly scrubbing. However, you should avoid using cleaners too often because they can dry out the leather.

If the shoes are still wet after you wipe them with a dry rag, it is best to put them on and wear them for at least half an hour or until they're dry because they will perfectly mold to your foot.

Tips for cleaning canvas slippers

Canvas ballet shoes can get cleaned in the same way as leather shoes. All you need to have are a damp paper towel, a dry cloth, and some soap or detergent.

Tips for cleaning satin ballet shoes

  • Always use a neutral soap like coconut soap
  • A great tool for cleaning could be an old soft toothbrush
  • For the finishing touches, a cloth will probably come in very handy

Start by diluting some neutral soap in water. Next, put the bristles of your toothbrush in the solution and begin cleaning the fabric in the same direction as the satin fibers. It is recommended that you only clean small bits of fabric this way. After they are squeaky clean, make sure you remove any excess soap from the shoes by using a cloth soaked in water. Once again clean in the direction of the satin fibers. Always wet them as little as possible to avoid any kind of deformation.

If you only have small stains or spots you could use some makeup powder that resembles the color of the shoes as much as possible. By not using water at all you can make sure that the satin shoes don’t soften or get misshapen.

All in all, there are quite a few methods of cleaning your ballet shoes. If you don’t mind spending a little money you can even have them cleaned and detailed by a shoemaker.