our everyday life

How to Clean Cork Wedge Shoes

by Lisa Finn, studioD

Wedge shoes are worn with everything from ripped jeans to sophisticated dresses. The high wedge heel is a favorite among women because it gives height and makes for a flattering, sexy leg; lower wedges look great with summer short outfits and whimsical dresses. Either way, your cork wedge shoes will eventually become soiled, but you can easily keep them looking sharp with the right tools and products.

Fill the bucket with a gallon of warm water. Add 4-5 drops of mild dish-washing detergent. Pour 1/2 cup of white vinegar into the solution. Dip the spoon into the bucket and stir for 30 seconds. Don't expect to see a bubbly solution.

Dip a clean cloth into the detergent-vinegar solution and wring dry. Hold the first shoe in your hand and brush off any loose dirt and debris you see. Make sure to get the entire shoe -- even the straps or details that are not cork -- at this first cleaning pass.

Place the cloth back into the solution and this time wring it out a little less. Put the cloth to the top of the cork and gently begin rubbing in circles. Move your fingers to a fresh spot on the rag as you continue down the wedge. Assess the shoe and dip the cloth into the solution again, wring out and rub the cork in the areas with stuck-on dirt.

Wipe down the cork with a clean cloth once it appears that all dirt, grim and debris is removed. Make sure to get inside the shoe and any areas that are hard to reach. If you still see a dirty spot, use the solution-filled rag again directly on that spot and rub with a firm hand in a circular motion. Wipe clean with a dry cloth.

Allow the shoes to dry overnight. After two days, you will see a freshly colored cork shoe. If you notice a persistent stain, gently sand the stain in a circular motion with a light sanding paper. This removes the cork at hand, so make sure to use light pressure and watch closely as you sand.

Items you will need
  •  Bucket
  •  1 gallon warm water
  •  Mild dish-washing detergent
  •  1/2 cup white vinegar
  •  Long-handle spoon
  •  2 clean cloths
  •  Light sand paper


  • Use a soft-bristle scrub brush if the dirt is persistent.
  • Dip a toothbrush into the solution for areas that are delicate or hard to reach.


  • Be careful when purchasing shoe cleaner for cork. Make sure the ingredients are mostly natural so the cork does not crumble.

About the Author

Based in Los Angeles, Lisa Finn has been writing professionally for 20 years. Her print and online articles appear in magazines and websites such as "Spa Magazine," "L.A. Parent," "Business," the Famous Footwear blog and many others. She also ghostwrites for mompreneurs and business owners who appear regularly on shows such as Ricki Lake, HGTV, Carson Daly and The Today Show.

Photo Credits

  • Nicky Loh/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images