What Is a Shoe Mitt and How to Use It

A shoe mitt is a tiny piece of fabric that is typically made like a glove for ease of use and is given to you by hotels or restaurants so that you can clean your shoes. When traveling, cleaning your shoes is a quick and simple operation that costs nothing because the hotel management supplies it. The cost for a Shoe Mitt is very low, so we made a list of available shoe mitts on the market to put as a standard item in your luggage.

What-is-a-Shoe-mitt-how-to-use-it
What is a Shoe mitt and how to use it?

Here is a quick How-to list for the best use of a shoe mitt

  • Ensure your fingers are firmly positioned in the designated slots as you insert your hand into the shoe mitt.
  • Use your cleaning lotion to coat the mitt, but it will work without as well
  • Gently scrub your shoes’ surface, paying close attention to any scuffs or stains.
  • After thoroughly rinsing it, take the mitt out of your hand and let it air dry.

Savvy Pro Tip 1: Clean your shoe mitt frequently, especially after using it to remove stains or significant amounts of dirt from shoes.

Savvy Pro tip #2: Try using a small brush, like a toothbrush, together with the shoe mitt to clean nooks and crannies on your shoes, including the grooves on the bottoms. Related: Best Boot Scraper Brush in 2022

What is a Shoe Mitt?

A shoe mitt is a small piece of cloth, usually shaped like a mitt for ease of use, that hotels put out so you will have something to clean your shoes. While it is not as big as efficient as a brush and shoe polish cream, it will get the dirt off and can be used to get some sheen back, provided you get the most out of it.

Looking For The Best Shoe Mitt?

Related: Best Wax Shoe Polish: how to revive your shoes? Best Liquid Shoe Polish: Does liquid polish work?

How to Use a Shoe Mitt

  1. Use one side of the shoe mitt to wipe off as much of the dirt off your shoes as possible. Note that you will use the other side later on, so try not to get it dirty.
  2. Take the mitt off your hand, fold it in half, and spread a few drops of the hand moisturizer the hotel provides to deep clean and moisturize the leather of the shoes. Again, note that you will need the other half, so do not use so much cream at once to get it to penetrate on the other side.
  3. Use the final quarter of the shoe mitt to buff the shoes to a nice, clean shine.

Keep in mind!

The guide above refers to leather shoes, man-made leather and other shoes with a glossy or semi-glossy finish. Do not attempt to use hand moisturizer on suede or textile materials. In those case, all you can do is a dry rub – check our guide on how to clean suede properly. Anything else will get the dirt to go deeper into the fabric.

How to use a shoe cloth or mitt by FootFitter

Can a Shoe Mitt Damage Your Shoes?

Shoe mitts are usually made from a lower-grade cotton than the towels, but they are still cotton so there is no way a shoe mitt would damage your shoes.

Higher quality, more modern shoe mitts are made from microfiber cloth. The one my host provided for us at our Airbnb in Berge was a microfiber one and he said I could keep it which was great news for me. I have been using microfiber cloths in the first stages of cleaning my shoes for years, so I can guarantee that they are perfect for this type of job.

The only potential problem with shoe mitts is if you were to get them wet to clean your shoes better. Even with leather shoes, getting most of the dirt off while the mitt is dry is important. Once it is wet, because it is so small, it will not contain the water and dirt, and you will have quite a big mess on your hands.

Can You Take the Shoe Mitt Home?

In most hotels shoe mitts are part of the overnight amenities like toothbrushes or sewing kits, so you can take them home if you’d like.

However, it would be best if you considered that some hotels provide the customer with shoe mitts, so they will not use towels to clean their shoes. If that is the case, the mitts will probably have an embroidered logo and be washed and used again, so you should not feel you can take them.

The easy way to tell if you can take a shoe mitt home or not, beside the existence of the embroidered logo, is to look at where they are placed. If they are provided in a box, next to the shower gel, cap, tea, then your probably can have yours home. If they are left unboxed but clean by the shoe rack, then there is good chance they are expecting to find them there after you have left.

How to Use a shoe mitt (hotel version) explained (video)

Hotel chain’s shoe polishing mitt by quid

Alternatives to Shoe Mittens

What else can you do with a Shoe Mitt

In my opinion, a microfiber shoe mitt is a bit of an overkill because of the quality of the material which is why I saved mine to clean my phone.

If your shoes are dirty, of course, you should use the shoe mitt to clean them, but if they are not, or if they could go a few more days, there are plenty of other items that could make better use of it.

You can clean any laptop, tablet or phone with them. I am still using mine as an emergency windscreen cleaning cloth. When I am at home I have a special cloth I like to use, but on long trips, I may notice a speck or shadow that can bug me for the entire trip.

I have even heard of older people using shoe mitts as cases for their tablets, so the only limit here is your imagination, and, of course, whether the hotel allows you to take yours or not.

Related Shoe Care Guides