What Is a Shoe Mitt and How to Use It

What Is a Shoe Mitt and How to Use It

Last Updated on August 18, 2022 by Nicholas

I’m currently having coffee in the front garden of my favorite Airbnb on the outskirts of Bergen and I am still smiling, amused while thinking about what a shoe mitt is.

The place we are renting is an apartment in a big house with a Japanese style garden. We usually use Airbnb, because it is cheaper, but this one is by far my favorite because the hosts really go out of their way to create a 5-star hotel experience.

The price is still fair, so I assume they are doing it for the love of the game. One of the items I found this time in the bathroom was the shoe mitt and I actually had to ask the host, with whom we’ve grown close over the years, what exactly that was and here is the short answer.

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.

What is a Shoe Mitt?
What is a Shoe Mitt? by Shoe Mastery

Looking For The Best Shoe Mitt?

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 be using 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 as 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 just 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 indeed 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 be able to contain the water and the 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, you should consider 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 by the shoe rack, unboxed but clean, 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

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 than there are plenty of other items that could make better use of it.

For one, you can clean any laptop, tablet or phone with them. Myself, I am still currently using mine as an emergency windscreen cleaning cloth. When I am at home I do have a special cloth I like to use, but on long trips, I may notice a speck or shadow that has the potential to 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 imaginations, and, of course, whether the hotel allows you to take yours or not.

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