Reconditioning and Re-Purposing Old Shoes


I love kids’ shoes but now that I almost have two teenagers, they don’t like the “cute” shoes mom suggests for them.  One of them pretty much sleeps in his cow-dung covered cowboy boots and the other has a pair of athletic shoes for every sport.  But…I still have a 9 yr old who will appease his mom by wearing “cute” shoes every now and then.

So you can imagine my delight the other day when I did a routine hit of Missoula’s Bargain Corner and discovered this adorable pair of Converse high top tennis shoes in my son’s size.  They were so unique looking and they just screamed his name.  Yup, they were coming home with me!

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The only draw back was they were pretty dirty and the white rubber was scuffed up and filthy.  Since they were only $3.00, I figured I could do some cleaning and they could just be used for around the house and yard.  (By the way, if you recognize these as shoes you donated…thank you!  Wow, they are awesome and fit my son perfectly.)

Once I arrived home with my super deal of the week, I cracked out a Magic Eraser.  If you haven’t see or heard about these cleaning items, you need to check them out!  They are even making generic brands now so you can get them fairly cheap.  Located in the household cleaning aisle, they are a white sponge sold individually or in packs.  Now I say they look like a white sponge but they are so much more than just a sponge.  I don’t know the science behind it but whatever it is, works incredibly well!

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I use Magic Erasers on the wood floors when there are black scuff marks and on walls that have dirty handprints.  But the other day, I used it to erase away the dirt and grime on these tennis shoes.  It worked wonders on the white rubber. It returned that part of the shoe to almost brand new!  I was thrilled!  I highly recommend Magic Erasers for all households.  You may not use it everyday but when you do use it, you’ll be grateful you have it.

The fabric part of the shoe needed a little attention as well.  After spraying it with OxyClean prewash, I tossed them into the washing machine.  An hour later, the pair of shoes which I threw in that washer were NOT the same that came out!  The ones which now sat in my hand were close to being brand spanking new.  I put them on the heat register to dry and in a few hours my son was delighted with his new “cute” shoes!

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A lot of times, people pass up great deals at the thrift store because it is dirty, grimy or stained.  Most of that can be removed using the right cleaners or tools.  If I had just used a soapy wash rag on these shoes, it wouldn’t have worked but I found the right cleaner/tool and it worked beautifully.

Yes, it took me some time…about 15 minutes to scrub and spray and an hour in the washing machine.  So, really it wasn’t a huge time investment and I’d say for $3…it was worth it. Especially since they came out shiny and new!

So, next time you’re faced with a “cute” shoe dilemma or another terrific deal at the thrift store or a garage sale, don’t pass it up.  Invest in a Magic Eraser or other necessary cleaning supplies and use a little elbow grease to see amazing results. Totally worth it!

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Erin Eisenman-Turner is proud to be a native Missoulian. Along with her husband and three sons, they raise chickens, pigs, rabbits, and vegetables at Turner Family Farms in the Orchard Homes area. When the farm chores are done, the coupons clipped, and the blog written, you can find Erin exploring Montana, collecting antiques, and trying to maintain a well-run, happy, and organized home for her family.

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