One of the great perks of summer is weddings and other warm-weather outdoor events like graduations and cocktail parties. But when we’re dressing to celebrate outdoors, there’s a big problem: the elements can be nasty with our special occasion shoes, leaving them stained with grass and mud.

As wedding season approaches, we’ve consulted with the pros to put together this guide to cleaning grass and mud from shoes and sneakers, including finicky suede and light-colored fabrics.

How to clean mud from shoes and sneakers

Rosa-Lan Jarman, Vice President of Retouching for David’s Bridesays that when it comes to cleaning mud from dress shoes, “It’s important to understand the fabric of your shoes. Different fabrics require different treatment methods. So make sure you understand what material(s)( x) your shoes are done before undertaking any cleaning action.

Jason Angsuvarn, the founder of Jason Mark, echoes Jarman’s advice, “Avoid careless cleaning,” he says. “Take a minute to write down what you actually clean. For example, shoes can have several materials that require different techniques or specific brushes to maintain them. For more sneaker care tips from Angsuvarn, check out our guide to keeping white sneakers white.

Before applying any cleaning products to the shoe, remove as much dried mud as possible using a shoe brush or tapping the shoes together to loosen the dirt.

Method Foaming Hand Soap

Method Foaming Hand Soap

Most fabric-covered shoes that have become muddy can be cleaned easily with soap and water, just like leather sneakers. “I always recommend starting with warm water and soap,” says Jarman. “I recommend starting with mild cleansers and gradually exploring stronger/more abrasive options – not all materials react to cleansers the same.” A foaming soap is recommended by fabric care experts because its formula is gentler than concentrated liquid soaps.

Buff Pro Multi-Surface Microfiber Cleaning Cloths

When cleaning cloth shoes, use a white or light-colored cloth or sponge to avoid transferring dye to the shoe, and do not overload the cloth or sponge with water. “Start slow and slowly incorporate some muscle power,” advises Jarman, adding, “Don’t wait too long — the longer you wait to clean the stains, the harder it will be to fix.”

Jason Markk Store Suede Cleaning Kit

Suede shoes and sneakers should not be cleaned with soap and water; Instead, use a suede brush to remove dirt, mud, and other debris from the shoe, and a suede eraser to remove any stains.

Before applying a stain treatment product to grass-stained cloth shoes, it is important to remove dried grass and dirt to prevent liquid cleaners from flooding the stain, turning it into mud.

Pink Miracle Multi-Purpose Shoe Cleaning Brush

“Dry brush the entire shoe to remove any embedded dirt that may have accumulated,” says Angsuvarn, “then give them a good general scrubbing, giving the stained areas a little more attention. Repeat as needed and let air dry.

Krud Kutter Sports Laundry Pre-Treatment Stain Remover

Grass and mud stains are protein stains, which should be treated with an enzyme treatment product such as Krud Kutter Sports Stain Remover. To learn more about types of stains and treatments, check out our comprehensive guide to stain removal.

How to protect shoes from grass and mud stains

As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is better than cure; these products can help prevent grass and mud stains from soiling dress shoes in the first place.

Kiwi Select All Protector

“There are stain and water repellent sprays designed for shoes,” says Jarman, adding “I recommend doing your research first – there are different products depending on the material of your shoe.” Consideration of the footwear material when choosing a protective overlay product is paramount; Universal protectors are a smart choice because they can be used on a wide variety of shoe fabrications.

Gear Aid Revivex Suede and Water Repellent Fabric Protector for Shoes and Boots

Gear Aid Revivex Suede and Water Repellent Fabric Protector for Shoes and Boots

Suede is notoriously temperamental and is particularly sensitive to water and humidity. A suede protector covers the shoes to prevent water from damaging the delicate and difficult to clean material.

Scotchgard fabric and padding protector

Scotchgard fabric and padding protector

“Another method I’m a fan of is Scotchgarding for fabric,” says Jarman. “Be careful as this can leave a slight discoloration, but it’s a very common method used for furniture, and can be used for shoes if the textile is similar.”

high heel protectors

If you’re attending a wedding or outdoor event this summer and you know a muddy driveway or soggy yard will be part of the festivities, a set of heel guards can help keep you from sinking into the lawn. and damage the heels of your shoes.