How to Clean Slingback Flats: A Step-by-Step Guide

Slingback flats are a popular and stylish choice of footwear. Whether you have a pair of leather, suede, or fabric slingback flats, keeping them clean and well-maintained is essential to ensure their longevity. In this step-by-step guide, we will explore the different materials of slingback flats and provide you with the necessary supplies and techniques to effectively clean them.

Understanding the Materials of Slingback Flats

Slingback flats come in various materials, each requiring specific cleaning methods. Understanding the material of your flats is crucial before embarking on the cleaning process.

When it comes to slingback flats, the material plays a significant role in their overall look, feel, and maintenance. Different materials require different care, so it’s essential to know what you’re dealing with to ensure your flats stay in top condition for years to come.

Leather Slingback Flats

Leather slingback flats are a classic choice that offers durability and versatility. The natural properties of leather make it resistant to wear and tear, making these flats an excellent investment for your wardrobe.

To clean leather slingback flats, you’ll need to follow a specific set of steps to maintain their quality for years to come. Start by wiping off any surface dirt or dust with a soft, dry cloth. Then, using a leather cleaner or mild soap mixed with water, gently scrub the flats with a soft brush or sponge. Rinse off the soap residue and pat dry with a clean cloth. Finally, apply a leather conditioner to keep the leather soft and supple.

Regular maintenance is key to preserving the beauty of leather slingback flats. You can also use a leather protector spray to create a barrier against stains and water damage. Remember to store them in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight to prevent fading or cracking.

Suede Slingback Flats

Suede slingback flats exude a sense of luxury and elegance. The soft and velvety texture of suede adds a touch of sophistication to any outfit. However, cleaning these delicate flats can seem daunting, as suede requires special care to avoid damaging the material.

To clean suede slingback flats, start by using a suede brush or a soft toothbrush to gently brush off any surface dirt or debris. Be sure to brush in the direction of the suede’s natural nap to avoid damaging the fibers. For stubborn stains, use a suede eraser or a mixture of water and vinegar on a clean cloth to gently dab the affected area. Avoid saturating the suede and allow it to air dry naturally.

Preventive care is essential for suede slingback flats. Consider applying a suede protector spray to repel water and stains. Additionally, store them in a dust bag or a box to protect them from dust and keep them away from direct sunlight to prevent fading.

Fabric Slingback Flats

Fabric slingback flats are a popular choice for their lightweight and breathable nature. Whether made from cotton, canvas, or other textile materials, these flats offer comfort and style. However, due to their fabric construction, they can easily accumulate dirt and stains.

To keep fabric slingback flats looking fresh and vibrant, start by removing any loose dirt or debris by gently brushing or shaking them off. If the flats are machine washable, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for washing and drying. For non-machine washable flats, spot clean the stains using a mild detergent and a soft cloth. Gently dab the affected area, avoiding rubbing, as it may cause the stain to spread.

After cleaning, allow the fabric slingback flats to air dry thoroughly before wearing or storing them. If necessary, you can use a fabric freshener spray to eliminate any odors and keep them smelling clean.

Remember, different fabric materials may require specific care, so always check the care instructions provided by the manufacturer. By following the proper cleaning methods, you can ensure that your fabric slingback flats stay in excellent condition and last for a long time.

Gathering the Necessary Supplies

Before you begin cleaning your slingback flats, gather the following supplies:

Soft Bristle Brush

A soft bristle brush is an essential tool for removing dirt and debris from your flats. Ensure that the brush is gentle yet effective in cleaning the material without causing any damage.

When selecting a soft bristle brush, look for one with bristles that are densely packed but still flexible. This will allow you to effectively remove dirt and grime from the surface of your slingback flats without scratching or damaging the material.

It’s also important to consider the size of the brush. A brush with a smaller head will allow you to clean hard-to-reach areas and intricate details on your flats. However, if your flats have a larger surface area, a brush with a larger head may be more efficient.

Mild Detergent or Soap

Using a mild detergent or soap specifically designed for the material of your slingback flats will ensure effective and safe cleaning. Avoid harsh chemicals that may damage the material.

When choosing a detergent or soap, opt for one that is specifically formulated for the type of material your flats are made of. For example, if your flats are made of leather, look for a leather cleaner that is gentle and non-abrasive.

It’s important to avoid using harsh chemicals, such as bleach or ammonia, as they can strip away the natural oils and damage the finish of your flats. Stick to mild detergents or soaps that are specifically designed for delicate materials.

Clean Cloth or Sponge

You’ll need a clean cloth or sponge to apply the cleaning solution and remove any residue from the flats. Choose a soft, lint-free cloth, or a sponge that won’t leave behind any marks.

When selecting a cloth, opt for one that is made of a soft and absorbent material, such as microfiber or cotton. These materials are gentle on the surface of your flats and won’t scratch or leave behind lint.

If you prefer using a sponge, look for one with a soft texture that won’t cause any abrasion. Avoid sponges with rough surfaces or abrasive materials, as they can damage the material of your flats.

White Vinegar or Lemon Juice

White vinegar or lemon juice can be used as a natural cleaning agent for certain materials. Ensure that you dilute them with water before applying to avoid any adverse effects on the flats.

White vinegar and lemon juice are both acidic substances that can help break down dirt and grime on your flats. However, it’s important to dilute them with water to prevent any potential damage to the material.

To create a cleaning solution using white vinegar or lemon juice, mix equal parts of the acidic substance and water in a small bowl or container. This diluted solution will be effective in removing stains and freshening up your flats without causing any harm.


Water is a vital component of the cleaning process. Ensure that you have access to clean water throughout the cleaning process.

Having access to clean water is essential for rinsing off the cleaning solution and removing any residue from your flats. Ensure that you have a source of clean water nearby, whether it’s a sink, a bucket, or a hose.

It’s important to use clean water to avoid introducing any additional dirt or contaminants to your flats. If possible, use filtered or distilled water to ensure the best results.

Preparing the Flats for Cleaning

Before diving into the cleaning process, it is essential to prepare your slingback flats. This involves removing dirt and debris and treating any stains or spots.

Removing Dirt and Debris

Using a soft bristle brush, gently brush off any dirt or debris from the surface of your flats. Pay close attention to seams and crevices where dirt can accumulate. This step will make the cleaning process more effective.

Treating Stains or Spots

If your flats have any stains or spots, take steps to treat them before proceeding with the cleaning process. Blot the stains gently with a clean cloth or sponge, using a mild detergent or soap diluted with water.

Cleaning Leather Slingback Flats

Leather slingback flats require special attention due to their delicate nature. Follow these steps to clean your leather flats and keep them looking their best.

Wiping Down the Surface

Begin by wiping down the surface of your leather slingback flats with a clean cloth or sponge dampened with water. This will remove any initial dirt or residue.

Conditioning the Leather

Apply a small amount of leather conditioner to a clean cloth or sponge and gently rub it into the leather surface. This will help restore moisture and keep the leather supple and soft.

Polishing and Buffing

After conditioning, use a separate clean cloth to polish the leather surface, applying gentle pressure in circular motions. Buffing the leather will bring out its natural shine and maintain its appearance.

Following these steps will help you effectively clean your leather slingback flats and ensure they remain in top condition.

In the next sections, we will explore the cleaning methods for suede and fabric slingback flats, providing you with the necessary guidance to tackle any dirt or stains effectively.

Cleaning Suede Slingback Flats

Suede slingback flats are known for their velvety texture, but this material requires specific care to avoid damage. Follow these steps to clean your suede flats while preserving their luxurious look.

Brushing the Surface

Using a soft bristle brush designed specifically for suede, gently brush the surface of your flats in one direction. This will help remove any dirt and revive the texture of the suede.

Removing Stains

If you encounter any stains on your suede slingback flats, use a suede eraser or a clean cloth dampened with white vinegar or lemon juice diluted with water. Gently dab the stained area, being careful not to rub or smear the stain further.

Drying and Brushing

Allow your suede slingback flats to air dry in a well-ventilated area. Once dry, use the soft bristle brush to restore the texture and remove any residual cleaning agents.

By following these steps, you can effectively clean your suede slingback flats without compromising their delicate material.

Cleaning Fabric Slingback Flats

Many fabric slingback flats are machine washable, but it’s important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. If machine washing isn’t recommended, follow these steps to clean your fabric flats by hand.

Spot Cleaning

If you have any visible spots or stains on your fabric slingback flats, mix a mild detergent or soap with water to create a cleaning solution. Dip a clean cloth in the solution and gently dab the stained area, working from the outside in to avoid spreading the stain.

Hand Washing

If your fabric flats can be hand washed, fill a tub or basin with cool water and a mild detergent. Gently agitate the flats in the soapy water, ensuring all areas are being cleaned. Rinse thoroughly with clean water to remove any soap residue.

Air Drying

Once cleaned, allow your fabric slingback flats to air dry naturally. Avoid exposing them to direct sunlight or heat sources, as this may cause damage or fading.

Following these steps will help you effectively clean your fabric slingback flats and maintain their vibrant appearance.

Remember, caring for your slingback flats by regularly cleaning and maintaining them will extend their lifespan and keep them looking fresh and stylish. With the right supplies and techniques, cleaning your slingback flats can be a simple and rewarding task. So, go ahead and give your flats the care they deserve!