Good quality nursing shoes are essential to a job where you’re going to be on your feet most of the day or night.
When you invest in a pair of good quality nursing shoes, you also want to make sure they can last for as long as possible.
This is why it’s important to know how to keep them clean.
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Check Your Shoes First
If you’re new to the job of nursing, you need to make sure you do a good job of keeping your shoes clean.
Given how durable and comfortable you need them to be, it’s also important to ensure that you treat them in the right way when cleaning them.
Before you do anything with your new pair of nurse's shoes, you should check what material they are primarily made of.
This will determine how best to clean them.
If you’re lucky, the manufacturer of the shoes might even have included some optimal cleaning and care instructions.
Related Article: How Often Should Nurses Replace Their Shoes?
How to Clean Your Nurse Shoes
How to Clean Non-Leather Shoes
These days, nurses' shoes are not all made from high-grade leather.
Many are made from synthetic materials that are still hard-wearing. The advantage is that they are lighter in weight and don’t cost as much.
The easiest way to clean these shoes is to simply wash them in the washing machine.
If you’re worried about damaging them, you can put the shoes in a wash bag and the laces inside a pillowcase first and then use cold water and normal detergent.
This usually does a great job of keeping them clean (source).
You should really spot clean a small area of the shoe first, to make sure the water and detergent do not damage the shoe.
What you probably should avoid is throwing clog style nurses' shoes into the washing machine like this.
Heavier shoes and heavy clog nurses' shoes can get damaged during a wash cycle due to their weight and more rigid material structure.
How to Clean Leather Shoes
While you could theoretically put your leather shoes into a washing machine, this can damage the leather and scuff them up.
It may even bang them out of shape and cause them to become uncomfortable on your feet.
Some people simply wipe the leather over each night with a wipe.
In fact, if you can’t wash them at all, using a disinfectant wipe can kill any bacteria and ensure they look good for your next shift.
You can use disinfectant on any nursing shoes, and many people do this as a quick way to keep them clean day after day.
The real issue is that the disinfectant can be very harsh on the leather.
In this case, you should ensure that you moisturize the leather at least once a month to maintain the suppleness, flexibility, and look of the leather material.
Perhaps the better way of cleaning leather shoes is to use a homemade solution of cold water and white vinegar.
Just use equal parts of both and then carefully wipe the leather over.
This will kill any bacteria and disinfect the shoe in a more gentle way.
Related: 10 Best Leather Shoes for Nurses
What About White Leather?
If you have white leather shoes, just make sure you clean them gently.
If the white leather becomes discolored or marked, you can try some nail polish.
If this doesn’t work, try putting some baking soda on the marked spot overnight and then rubbing it out the next morning.
What About Scuffs and Marks?
Nurse shoes take a beating on every shift and they are bound to develop scuff marks.
Whether you have black, brown, or white leather shoes, you can find the appropriate shoe polish for that color.
Just follow the instructions and buff out those scuffs and scrapes so they look professional again.
To make it easier, you can give them a quick clean over with a nice microfiber cloth.
A little buffing with this cloth will get out the lighter marks and keep them in good shape.
Drying Them Properly
It’s also important to ensure you dry your shoes properly.
Nurse shoes are expensive and you don’t want to damage them in a regular dryer.
Whether they're leather or non-leather, tossing them in a dryer can bang them around and damage them.
It may even shrink the materials so they don’t fit properly and become uncomfortable to wear on long shifts.
The best way to dry them is simply to air dry them.
You can place them in a well-ventilated location, but if you don’t want to wait, just put them outside in the sun or turn on a fan nearby to circulate the air.
If you happen to let them sun dry, the sun’s rays will also kill any bacteria and may get rid of any odors.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How long do nursing shoes last?
Nursing shoes will usually last about 7 months. Because of that nurses should plan on replacing their work shoes two times a year.
For more information read this article “When Should Nurses Replace Their Work Shoes?“
Nurse shoes are an investment in everyday comfort and durability, but they need to be well taken care of and cleaned.
If you also happen to have more than one pair, rotating them daily can make it easier to keep them clean and extend their life span.
Just make sure you treat them well and they’ll serve you well.