How to Clean & Care for Vintage Skates

Hi there! I have found over the years that vintage skates sell extremely well from my antique booth right around Christmas. Because of that, I always keep my eye out for them when I’m vintage shopping. Recently, I picked up an entire box of them at a church sale for just two dollars. So I thought today I’d share with you how I clean and care for vintage skates.

Other posts about caring for vintage and antiques that you might enjoy: old bottles, vintage luggage, and rusty metal.

How to clean and care for vintage skates adirondackgirlatheart.comSometimes when you find skates at sales, they just need a light wipe down. Other times, they need a more refined approach in order to remove the dirt, grime, and scuffs. That was the case with the pair you see here. These leather beauties cost just $2 but are obviously in need of a little TLC.

Supplies for Cleaning Vintage Skates

Supplies used to clean vintage skates

*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links for products I use and love. If you use my links to buy these–or any other–products, I’ll receive a commission that helps keep my blog going. Thanks in advance!

Here are the basic supplies you’ll need to clean vintage skates:
1) LA’s Totally Awesome spray cleanser
2) Quick Erasers (or Mr. Clean Magic Erasers)
3) SAS Soft Leather Cream (white)
4) Sponge with a scrubby side (not shown)

Clean with Awesome & Scrubby Sponge

Vintage Leather Skate Washed with AwesomeStep 1. The first step in the cleaning process involves spraying the skate lightly with LA’s Totally Awesome spray cleanser (find it in your dollar store or here in my Amazon shop) and scrubbing lightly with a sponge that has a scrubby side. It should remove a good bit of the surface dirt, but as you can see, the skate is still pretty dirty.

Shout-out to Kathy A., a reader who introduced me to Awesome, which has come in very handy. She explained to me that you can spray it on dirt and grime and watch it slide right off, and she didn’t steer me wrong! Keep in mind that it’s pretty strong stuff, so you don’t want to use too much of it or let it sit on the leather for too long.

BONUS TIP: I just discovered that it removes hard water deposits off of Corian® sinks (you know, around and behind the faucets).

Clean with Quick Eraser & Apply White Wax

Vintage Leather Skate used Awesome, Magic Sponge, & White Wax
Step 2. Next use the dollar store Quick Eraser (or Mr. Clean’s Magic Eraser), spritzed with some Awesome, to remove the last of the grime and scuff marks. Don’t be afraid to rub those marks aggressively and plan on using up one eraser completely.

Step 3. After letting the skates dry, apply a light coat of SAS Leather Wax in white to give it some protection from the elements and to whiten the leather and the stitching up a bit. Buff after allowing the wax to dry for ten minutes or so.

Before & After Cleaning Vintage Skates

Dirty Skates & Clean Skates side-by-side comparison adirondackgirlatheart.comPretty amazing results, right? It took me a total of about ten minutes to clean both skates and another ten to wax and buff them. I sell pairs of skates easily for $25, so it is well worth the effort to clean them up before hand.

Decorating with Vintage Skates

Close up of vintage white skates decorated for ChristmasTo decorate for Christmas/winter, tuck some pine branches and red berries in the top of each skate and hang them on your front door or on a sled.

I’ll be cleaning another five pair of vintage skates, including one pair of men’s, which also sell well, to bring to my shop at the Gristmill Antique Center in Troy (NY) and to sell at the Shaker Christmas Craft Fair which starts at the end of October. I better get busy!

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How to clean and care for vintage skates

How to clean and care for vintage skates

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  1. How fun to find vintage skates. Not something we see much of here in the South! Your blog is always so informative!

  2. It sounds like you love Awesome as much as I do. I ALWAYS have a refill jug ahead! Don’t know how I ever lived without it! Great tutorial. I am busy making smaller projects for our church bazaar and scored a 12 yard roll of upholstery jute strapping with green stripes for 6.99 this week! Thot of you when I found it! Now to work!

  3. Thanks for that tutorial, Diana! I’ve never tho’t of purchasing vintage skates before. Wonder if they would sell up here in Michigan. You’d think so since we have cold, snowy winters. I do like them used for decoration, though, too.

    Can’t wait to see what other goodies you found at the church rummage sales!

    Hope your week is a good one! Happy Labor Day!

  4. Must be that time of year — my favorite church rummage sale starts later in the week, I can’t wait! I also hang skates from a sled on my front porch each Christmas. Great cleaning tips! Good luck with your upcoming show! And thanks for sharing with Vintage Charm. xo Kathleen|Our Hopeful Home

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