How to Clean Peshawari Chappals
The Peshawari chappal has a rich history and cultural importance in Pakistan and the surrounding region. Handmade from leather or fabric, these traditional sandals are associated with the Peshawar region and Pashtun culture. Their signature floral or geometric embroidery make them visually striking.
Peshawari chappals are commonly worn, gifted during weddings, and seen as a symbol of Pashtun identity. Properly cleaning them preserves their beauty and longevity.
Why Proper Cleaning Matters: Maintaining Beauty and Longevity
Peshawari chappals are often passed down for generations or resold in vintage markets. With gentle care and routine cleaning, their vibrant colors, intricate designs, and smooth texture can be maintained for years beyond first wear.
However, neglecting to clean embroidered leather or delicate fabrics allows stains, cracks, odors and mould to accumulate and permanently damage the footwear. Creating a proper cleaning routine enhances longevity and preserves cherished keepsakes.
Different Types of Peshawari Chappals and their Cleaning Needs
Peshawari chappals are commonly made from leather, fabric, or suede. Leather chappals may feature hand embroidery, seed beads, or metallic accents. Fabric uppers come in cotton, silk or synthetic blends. Proper cleaning methods differ considerably based on materials and components.
Always identify fabrics and finishes before attempting cleaning. Delicate materials require more care to prevent water marks, dye loss, fraying, and structural damage during the cleaning process.
General Cleaning Guide
A. Essential Tools and Supplies
Assemble cleaning kits for leather, fabric and suede chappals tailored to each material’s needs:
- Soft-bristle brush for dry debris removal
- Microfiber cloths
- Gentle leather or fabric cleanser
- Saddle soap or mild soap for leather
- Fabric shampoo for delicates
- Clear water and clean rags or sponges
- Suede brush, eraser
- Stain removers
- Leather conditioner
B. Preparation: Removing Loose Dirt and Debris
Before wet cleaning, dry brush embroidered leather or fabric chappals with a soft brush to remove dried mud or surface dust without pushing debris further into embroidery. Check seams and linings for small pebbles or debris. For suede, use a suede brush in short quick motions with the nap. This prevents grinding dirt into the delicate suede.
C. Step-by-Step Cleaning Method
a. Dry brush then wipe with clean damp rag to remove dust and surface dirt. Allow to fully dry.
b. Apply small amount of saddle soap working into a light lather with a damp sponge. Avoid oversaturating leather.
c. Dip corner of sponge in clear water and gently wipe suds without rubbing too hard at seams or embroidery.
d. Allow to fully air dry away from direct sunlight or heat. Apply leather conditioner once fully dry.
a. Handwash delicate fabric chappals by filling a basin with lukewarm water and mild detergent solution. Agitate gently to loosen dirt. Rinse thoroughly.
b. Air dry naturally while periodically reshaping, stuffing toes with rags to hold form. Do not machine dry or wring excess water.
a. Use suede brush in short quick strokes to lift dirt and refresh nap. Avoid scouring too hard.
b. Blot liquid stains immediately with clean rag. Sprinkling corn starch or talcum powder can help dry excess moisture faster.
c. When fully dry, use a soft rubber suede eraser to gently lift dried mud or stubborn marks.
D. Deep Cleaning Tips
Over time, neglect can lead to buildup of odors, stains, salt residue and other damage requiring more intensive cleaning. For muddy or monsoon-soaked chappals caked in stubborn dirt, allow to fully air dry first before attempting cleaning. Oils, saddle soap or liquid cleansers help break down deeper grime that brushing alone cannot remove.
Rinse thoroughly after heavy-duty cleaning, allowing 24 hours or more to dry before wearing again. Stuff toes with acid-free tissue or rags to hold shape as they dry.
Additional Care Considerations
A. Preventing Future Stains and Wear
Waterproofing sprays or beeswax polishes protect leather and suede from moisture damage during monsoons or outdoor wear. Rotate chappals between wears and use shoe trees for proper airflow when storing. Dusting and dry brushing after each use prevents buildup over time.
B. Dealing with Common Issues
- Treat leather cracks with conditioner. Consult a cobbler for seam or lining repairs needed from heavy use or age.
- Remove odors between wears with absorbing powders or charcoal inserts. Allow to fully air out before storing.
- For mould or mildew, wipe down leather with diluted alcohol or non-gel toothpaste. Dry thoroughly before conditioning. Retreat suede with waterproofing spray after cleaning mould growth. Discard fabrics too far gone.
C. Professional Cleaning Options
For extremely delicate embroidery, neglected vintage chappals, or cleaning attempts gone awry, seek professional help. Experienced cobblers have commercial equipment and solutions to deep clean, restore structure, mend damaged areas and give a second life to well-loved chappals.
Specialized Cleaning Techniques
Beyond the basics, chappals with ornate finishes require special care.
Use extra care around decorative hand stitching. Avoid saturating and let air dry fully extended to prevent uneven shrinking. For stubborn embroidery stains, spot clean gently with Q-tip and delicate laundry soap instead of immersing entirely.
Inspect beadwork routinely for loose or missing embellishments needing replacement. Clean surface dirt around beading cautiously using a very lightly dampened towel to prevent water from loosening thread and causing bead loss. Air dry thoroughly.
Prevent tarnish buildup on gold or silver toned accents by wiping down periodically with mild jewelry cleaner and soft rag. Rinse and dry completely. Regular polishing maintains shine.
DIY Cleaning Recipes and Solutions
Whip up specialty cleaners at home using gentle, natural ingredients:
Natural Leather Cleaner
Combine 2 parts olive oil or almond oil with 1 part apple cider vinegar or lemon juice. Apply lightly to problem areas, rinse with clean water and dry thoroughly before conditioning.
Fabric Stain Remover for Colors
Mix 1 tsp clear dish detergent with 1 tbsp white vinegar and 2 cups warm water for a chemical-free stain fighting solution. Test colors for fastness before immersing entirely.
Suede Stain Removal Paste
For oil-based stains, allow corn starch or talcum powder to fully absorb excess grease overnight. Gently brush off following day. For water spots, homemade paste of equal baking soda and water gently lifted with suede brush once dried pulls stains from fabric without rings.
Frequently Asked Questions
A. Cleaning Frequency & Schedule
How often should you clean Peshawari chappals? It depends on usage and environment. In heavy use, clean fabric interiors weekly, leather exteriors bi-weekly. Pre-treat stains immediately when possible. Deep clean suede once or twice annually. For special occasion or vintage pairs, gently surface cleaning whenever visibly soiled is sufficient.
B. Safeguarding Against Sunlight & Water Damage
Avoid direct hot sunlight which can dry out and crack leather. Waterproof sprays protect against staining from wet environments for leather and suede alike. Avoid soaking fabric bases fully underwater. For drying, never machine dry or use direct high heat which causes uneven shrinkage over time.
C. Choosing the Right Cleaning Products
The gentlest cleaners are best. Look for formulations specifically tailored to each material like saddle soap for leather. Test specialized suede shampoos and fabric detergents in inconspicuous areas first. Mild baby shampoo, white vinegar, olive oil and other pantry staples make excellent DIY solutions for vintage chappals needing special care.
Like any heirloom textile, Peshawari chappals passed down over generations or resold to new lovers require gentle care and cleaning to enjoy decade after decade. Following basic material guidelines for leather, fabric and suede keeps them looking vibrant.
Catching problems early before permanent damage arises preserves their integrity much longer and avoids costly repairs down the road. With some TLC, the signature artistry and cultural legacy of Peshawari footwear endures for generations.
Caring properly for cherished chappals doesn’t need to be complicated or labor-intensive. Simply staying vigilant against dirt buildup or stains through quick dusting, pre-treating spots and routine cleaning according to each material’s needs keeps Peshawari chappals looking their best for years of enjoyment.
Pay mind to preventative care between wears as well and these special sandals will remain a lasting testament to Pakistan’s remarkable craft legacy.