Buoy Will You Love These Tips for How to Clean Sperrys

Isn't a-boat time you cleaned your Sperry boat shoes? Here's the best way to do it.

Published April 17, 2023
Shot of two people's Sperry boat shoes from above

You're staring at your Sperrys, your boat shoes, your topsiders, wondering just how in the heck you can clean them. No need to get that sinking feeling. You can definitely keep your shoes afloat with the best ways to clean your Sperrys not only quickly, but easily. Even those dirty leather Sperrys don't stand a chance against these cleaning tips. Ahoy - let's get cleaning.

How to Clean Canvas Sperry Boat Shoes

It couldn't be easier to clean canvas and other non-leather boat shoes or topsiders like Sperrys. With some mild soap (think dish soap or a mild detergent) and room-temperature or cold water, you can scrub those shoes clean.

  1. Brush off any loose dirt or rocks before splashing in!
  2. Then fill a bucket or sink with water and a tablespoon or so of mild soap. Dunk your shoes and swirl, swish, and gently wipe using a soft cloth or soft-bristled brush.
  3. Rinse the shoes under cold or room temp water.
  4. If the shoe has a removable insole, pull it out to air dry on its own. Then stuff your boat shoes with newspaper.
  5. Wait for the shoes to try fully.

Never put your Sperrys or boat shoes in the dryer, or else you risk damaging the soles, altering the shape, or melting the shoe glue.

Fast Fact

Sperrys recommends giving your boat shoes a quick rinse with fresh water anytime they get a dip into some salt water.

How to Clean Quickly Canvas Top Siders

If you don't have 24 hours and change to wait for your shoes to go from dirty to clean to dry, this approach speeds up the process. You'll still need the same supplies, but a whole lot less water.

  1. In a bucket or your sink, mix a tablespoon or so of mild soap and fill with room temp or cold water. Then mix the soap and water to create a sudsy mix.
  2. Brush off any loose debris before scrubbing.
  3. Dip a cloth or soft brush into the suds, then clean the shoes until all the dirt and grime is gone.
  4. Using clean, nonsoapy water, wipe the soap off with a clean cloth or brush.
  5. Wipe dry with another cloth. If you need to dry them more, stuff with newspaper. You can lace them up and be on your way once they're totally dry.

How to Safely Clean Leather Sperrys

Before you start cleaning your leather boat shoes, you'll want to remove the laces. Set those aside, as they have a different cleaning routine. Since you're working with leather, you'll want to take special care while cleaning your boat shoes.

While you may think water is the best option to spot clean, it can damage the oils and ultimately damage the shoes over time. So what now? Leather cleaner.

  1. After you brush off any dirt or loose debris that's clinging to your shoe with a cloth or soft brush, you can get to work cleaning deeper.
  2. With a small dollop of leather cleaner on a clean soft brush or cloth, work over the shoe by gently brushing in circles and back and forth. Continue to carefully and gently clean until the leather boat shoe sparkles like water in the sunshine.
  3. Take another clean cloth and wipe off the cleaner.
  4. Your next step is up to you: you can enjoy your freshly cleaned leather Sperrys as is, or you can treat it with leather conditioner. With a small dab of the conditioner, apply to the clean leather boat shoe using a circular motion.
  5. The last step is easy: buff the shoe, and then you're ready to go.
a pair of red leather Sperry shoes
Quick Tip

To clean your shoelaces, grab yourself a small to medium bowl. Add a splash of dish soap, then fill with cold water. Drop in your shoelaces and give them a few swirls until they're clean. Rinse under cold to room-temperature water, then hang them up to dry for a day or two.

Sparkling Clean Sperrys

A quick recap on how to clean your Sperrys: your best friend is a soft cloth or brush, soap for canvas, and leather cleaner for your leather boat shoes. Your Sperry boat shoe enemy is the dryer - avoid that nemesis at all costs. So now, go click your clean boat shoes together! There's no place for feet like clean Sperrys.

Buoy Will You Love These Tips for How to Clean Sperrys