How to Clean Sperry Shoes Perfectly? [Full Guide]

Published by Hala Zaqqout on May 21, 2022 | Last updated on May 14, 2023

Have you ever wanted to clean your sperry shoes that got wet from wearing day in and day out? They’re pretty muddy and smelly now and need some type of cleaning.

Yuck! You may be wondering how to clean sperry shoes and get rid of bad odors.

In this Cleaners Advisor article, we will focus on some of the most effective means of how to clean sperry boat shoes using varied methods and ingredients, along with materials and tools you should keep in hand for this process.

We will take you through how to clean sperry shoes whether yours are made of canvas, suede, or leather. You’ll know how to restore your Sperrys to perfection the next time they get muddy!

Types of Sperrys

There are several types of shoes available under the Sperry brand and we will focus on showing how to clean these types.

  • Leather Sperry
  • Canvas Sperry
  • Suede Sperry

Materials and Tools Needed

  • Bucket
  • Rubber Gloves
  • Cold Water
  • Mild Laundry Detergent
  • Shoe Brush or Toothbrush
  • Paper Towels
  • Leather Shoe Cleaner, for Leather
  • Soft Cloth
  • Leather Conditioner and Polish, for Leather
  • Cornmeal, for Suede
  • Suede Brush
  • Suede Bar
  • Suede Protection Spray
  • Sandpaper

How to Clean Sperry Shoes?

Sperrys give a unique cleaning dilemma because they are made of a combination of canvas and leather or suede, requiring suitable precautions. Here are different methods of how to clean sperry shoes types.

A. Leather Sperrys

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Wondering how to clean leather sperrys? The following are the steps you can follow to clean leather sperry shoes:

1. Remove Dirt

Remove caked-on dirt using a bristle brush; carefully brush dirt and debris from the surface of the shoes with your shoe brush or toothbrush. Use gentle strokes across the shoes in the same direction.

2. Mix a Cleaning Solution

Put your rubber gloves on first. Then mix cool water and a few drops of dish soap in a basin.

3. Clean the Shoes

Dip your microfiber cloth into the cleaning solution. Apply gentle pressure while rubbing the cloth along the shoes in circular motions. Dirt and scuffs will be removed. The shoes should not be soaked, but they should be somewhat damp.

4. Dry the Shoes

Wipe your sperrys dry with a microfiber cloth after they’ve been washed with water. Remove the scuffs with the same circular motion you used to remove them. Continue wiping your sperrys until they are dry, then move on to the next step.

5. Apply Leather Conditioner

Apply leather conditioner to your sperrys before polishing them. Apply a thin layer of conditioner to the leather of your shoe with a soft cloth. Allow 10-20 minutes for the conditioner to seep into the shoe before removing it with a dry section of the cloth.

6. Buff Your Shoes

Buff your shoes in a circular motion with a soft microfiber cloth again, applying direct pressure to the shoes. Apply a few drops of water to the cloth before buffing your sperrys for further shine.

Check out this video to know more about how to clean leather sperry shoes.

B. Canvas Sperry

Courtesy of “”

Follow the steps below of how to clean sperry shoes properly:

1. Mix a Solution

Wear your rubber gloves and mix warm water and enough mild laundry detergent to make a solution. If liquid detergent isn’t available, powdered detergent can be used instead.

Swirl the solution until all of the detergents has been dissolved. If bubbles appear and the surface is worked into a lather, your solution is ready to be used.

2. Scrub

Scrub the shoes with a bristle brush dipped in the solution. Scrub the exterior of the shoe with a gentle toothbrush or sponge while holding it above the bucket or water basin. Most dirt, debris, and stains will be removed. If the caked-on filth won’t come off with the brush, gently soak the shoes in water and scrub them again.

Avoid submerging the shoes entirely, as wet shoes are more likely to mildew.

3. Rinse

Rinse your sperrys with warm, clean water. Dip a soft cloth into warm water and wring it dry after you’ve done cleaning spots. Then wipe down your sperrys until there are no more soap traces on the shoe.

4. Put Your Shoes in the Washing Machine

To clean heavy stains, put your shoes in the washing machine. Set your washing machine to a gentle cycle with cool water if your sperrys still have stains after hand-washing.

Allow your washing machine to complete a full cycle with half the normal amount of laundry detergent.

5. Air Dry Your Sperrys

After one cycle in the washing machine, hang your shoes to dry in the sun. Remove the insoles and set them aside to dry. This can help your insoles dry faster and prevent them from molding.

To keep the shape of your canvas shoes as they dry, stuff them with newspaper. And do not use the dryer to dry your shoes. High temperatures can cause shoe glue to melt and your sperrys to fall apart.

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C. Suede Sperry

Follow the steps below to clean the suede sperrys perfectly:

1. Brush the Shoes

Brush the shoes gently in short strokes in the same direction with the suede brush. This cleans the dirt and debris off the surface.

2. Use Sandpaper

Scuffs that are particularly matted down can be lifted by scraping the area with sandpaper.

3. Use a Suede Bar or Eraser

For stubborn scuffs, use a suede bar or an eraser. Rub a suede bar or a piece of crepe rubber over scuffs that won’t come out with a brush or sandpaper.

Apply gentle pressure to the scuffs, increasing as you reach tougher areas. A pencil eraser can also be used in place of a suede bar.

4. Clean the Shoes

For water stains, dab a slightly damp sponge over the shoe’s exterior. Remove any excess moisture with a dry microfiber cloth.

For tough water stains, dampen your sponge with vinegar and rub over the stain.

For oil stains, sprinkle cornstarch over the affected area. Allow 10 minutes to pass. With a cloth, wipe it away. The oil should be absorbed by the cornstarch, allowing you to wipe the shoes regularly.

5. Steam

If the shoes are still dirty, use steam from your kettle or a garment steamer to remove stains. When the dirt is loose, wipe it away with the suede brush.

6. Protect Your Shoes

Spray the shoe’s exterior with the protector spray.

7. Stuff Your Shoes

Then roll up a newspaper and stuff your shoes to keep their shape as they dry. This should take about 24 hours.

For a detailed demonstration, check out this video below!

How to Clean Sperry Shoes FAQ

To Wrap Up

There you have it! We think the question of “how to clean sperry shoes?” has been successfully answered. With our tips and tricks on how to clean sperry shoes, they will look as good as new!

You’re now ready to take perfect care of your sperrys.  

Share your drying tips for shoes and tricks of how to wash sperrys with Cleaners Advisor in the comments below!