If you have a penchant for going for the heights of fashion, you most likely own a pair of exotic skins shoes or two. One of the most common types is alligator leather shoes. Because of its rare nature, it has to be taken care of specially. During its production process, there are even special oils used to maintain its soft and comfortable quality. That’s how high maintenance it can be.
In case of mismanaged care and incorrect cleaning materials, exotic skin shoes can get discolored and damaged. This then shortens its life span. So, if you want to keep your exotic fashion shoes functional and breathtaking for a long time, you have to know how to take care of them right.
However, cracks become inevitable over time because the special oils begin to wear off. Thus, the shoes’ durability and aesthetic gradually decrease. So, in this guide, we will also teach you how to restore your exotic skin shoes to their former glory.
What Cleaning Products Should You Use?
You wouldn’t try to clean jewelry with floor wax. In the same way, you shouldn’t dare use inappropriate cleaning equipment on your exotic skin shoes. There are specific cleaning products that are fit to be used for them. These include:
- Warm water
- Conditioning cream
- Soft-bristled shoe brush or horse-hair brush
- Reptile leather cleaner
- Extra fine beeswax (crocodile/alligator leathers)
- Mink oil (matte leathers)
- Saddle soap
- Low solvent mirror gloss (optional)
Keep in mind that you should NEVER try using any common household cleaning agents on your exotic skin shoes. This can cause weakening or even permanent damage to the expensive and sensitive material. Do not use heat or alcohol-based cleaners to try and remove any stains as well.
Cleaning and Restoring Process
After using your exotic skin shoes a few times, the protective oils applied during the manufacturing process begins to strip away. By this time, you have to clean it to prevent dirt from permanently settling in. Here are some simple steps you can take to clean your exotic skin shoes:
- Wipe off all the dirt on the shoes using gentle cloths (preferably cotton chamois) before cleaning.
- Wash the shoes with warm water and saddle soap or even a reptile leather cleaner, whichever you prefer.
- Gently pat dry the leather with a clean cloth.
- You can use mink oil, extra-fine beeswax, or conditioning cream to maintain the shoes’ quality.
- Let the conditioner sit for about 15 minutes.
- Using either a horsehair brush or soft-bristled brush, brush your shoes until it shines.
- For better results, using a low solvent mirror gloss is also advised.
After following these steps, your shoes will surely return to their former glory.
Care Tips for Exotic Skin Shoes
Now that you’ve learned how to properly take care of your exotic skin shoes, remember these tips to ensure that your luxury shoes’ quality and durability are maintained for a long time.
- Give your shoes time to breathe. Let one day pass before using them again. Doing this will give your shoes a chance to air out, dry out and rest.
- Do not store your exotic skin shoes in a warm and hot place. Hence, stay away from radiators or boilers and other sources of heat that can damage your shoes. It is best to put them on a wooden shoe tree or keep them in a cool, dry place. This maintains the cleanliness and durability of the shoe leather, as too much heat will cause it to crack.
- If you don’t have a wooden shoe tree, do not store your exotic skin shoes in sealed plastic bags. Instead, store them in a cloth bag. This will allow the leather to get air.
- Always clean your shoe leather first. This should be done at least two to three times a year.
- Clean it immediately after getting dirty by wiping any dirt off using a clean cotton chamois.
- Do not leave them out to dry after getting wet. You can use a soft rag to dry them.
- Do not leave the shoes in water for extended periods as you clean. Too much water damages it.
- Do not ever use acid, alcohol-based chemicals on the shoes. Using these will dry out the leather.
- Do not apply conditioning products on the shoes before cleaning.
- Test the cleaning products (e.g., wax, conditioner, etc.) on a small area before applying them to the leather.
By following these steps and tips above, you’re surely going to be able to keep your exotic skin shoes in the best condition and enjoy your investment for many years!