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Children, Families

How to Take Care of School Shoes So They Last Longer

Have you just forked out a small fortune on school shoes? Me too. The good thing is I have a few tricks up my sleeve to take care of your kid’s school shoes, so they last longer.

It’s back-to-school season. You’ve got the school uniform, the school supplies, and then you’ve spent an eye-watering amount of money on school shoes. Whilst kids are not known for their respect for footwear, the good news is that with a little bit of love and care, you can make your kid’s school shoes last as long as they fit in them.

How To Take Care of School Shoes So They Last Longer

Picture of school shoes on desk with stationery, and a blue text box that says how to take care of school shoes so they last longer.

Here are six tips I use to prolong the life of my kids’ shoes:

Label Them

Kids are notorious for losing stuff. When it comes to PE time, it’s easy for shoes to get lost or mixed up with others. Add a name label to the inside of each shoe, or simply write their name using a permanent marker on the inside. When this starts to fade, make sure to re-write their name. This is the first step in this guide because you can’t care for your school shoes and make them last longer if they are lost!

Use A Waterproof Spray To Make Them Last Longer

Waterproofing your school shoes is essential to help keep the elements out, and to keep them looking their best for longer. Water causes leather to shrink and it may dry the leather out over time, so it really pays to waterproof them.

Before you reach for any old waterproofing spray, bear in mind that some waterproof shoe sprays are better than others. Look for a PFC-free and fluorine-free waterproof shoe spray.

PFC stands for per- and poly-fluorinated chemicals, that are used to weatherproof clothing and shoes. This sounds innocuous, however, these chemicals accumulate in the environment. In fact, for some PFCs there is evidence that they cause harm to both the hormonal and reproductive systems in both humans and animals, as well as being carcinogenic. They’re often referred to as forever chemicals, because of how persistent they are in the environment. Greenpeace has written more on the issues of PFCs if you wish to find out more.

I’ve been using this PFC-free spray from Wildling Shoes. In the interests of full disclosure, this was gifted to me as part of a previous campaign I worked with them on but was under no obligation to include them in this post. I reapply this spray on a regular basis for best results: it’s not something you can spray on once.

If They Do Get Wet, Dry Them Properly

Kids’ shoes get wet, these things happen. When their shoes do get wet, don’t dry them on a radiator or other heat source, or in a tumble dryer. Instead, the best way to care for your kid’s school shoes is to crumple up sheets of newspaper into balls, and pop them into the shoes. Then allow the shoes to dry naturally. The newspaper will absorb the water, and won’t cause the leather to crack or dry out.

Care for Your School Shoes with Polish

School shoes get scuffed. It’s a fact of life. The easiest way to care for them is to buy a scuff cover. These products quickly and easily cover scuff marks, and help restores colour and shine, to help keep your shoes looking smarter for longer. I don’t have any specific recommendations yet – I’m trying out a few different ones. However, I will update in due course which ones I feel work the best. If you have any recommendations then I’m all ears!

Tackle Nasty Niffs Naturally

If your kid’s shoes start to develop an unpleasant odour, then fear not. You can tackle these bad smells naturally with bicarbonate of soda. Simply sprinkle in a little bit of bicarbonate of soda (enough to cover the insole). The next morning, empty out the bicarbonate of soda. The odour should be gone.

Keep Them Clean

To care for your kid’s school shoes, don’t let dirt and mud settle on them. Giving them a good wipe, with a soft damp cloth, at least once a week (or more) helps the dirt from becoming ingrained. Occasionally you may want to bust out the leather cleaner. I’m working on a homemade leather cleaner as we speak. In the meantime, shop-bought leather cleaners can easily be picked up. I like to use a soft brush and cloth, in conjunction with the wax to really get them clean and keep them conditioned.

Any further tips on taking care of kid’s school shoes? Do pop them in the comments below!

Babies, Families

How To Treat Nappy Rash Naturally and Effectively With Chamomile

Learn how to treat nappy rash naturally and effectively, using my tried and tested chamomile tea natural remedy.

It’s been a little while since my kids were in nappies. In fact, my youngest daughter started school this week, which completely blows my mind. While it’s been a few years since we’ve used nappies, a few of my friends have had babies lately. I’ve really been enjoying being able to meet up with them for a cup of coffee and marvel at their tiny humans, all whilst being able to pass their babies back as soon as they start to cry!

One friend I met with recently was in a bit of tizz because her baby had developed a rash on its bottom. She wondered if reaching for the Sudocrem was the best solution for how to treat nappy rash. Then I remembered one of the best tips my health visitor ever gave me to treat nappy rash naturally…

What Is Nappy Rash?

First off, what is nappy rash? Well, nappy rash is a skin condition common in babies. The NHS says that nappy rash can be caused by:

  • your baby’s skin being in contact with wee or poo for a long time
  • the nappy rubbing against your baby’s skin
  • not cleaning the nappy area or changing the nappy often enough
  • soap, detergent or bubble bath
  • alcohol-based baby wipes (try these eco-friendly baby wipes instead)
  • and/or your baby recently taking antibiotics

From experience, I’d also add to that list that nappy rash can definitely be triggered by teething.

It’s quite easy to identify nappy rash. The whole of your baby’s bottom may be red, or it could be limited to red patches. You might find spots, blisters, or pimples, and the area may look sore and feel hot to touch. Nappy rash can be very uncomfortable, but the good news is that it can be really easy to treat.

How To Treat Nappy Rash With Chamomile Tea

A cup of chamomile tea, on a white surface surrounded by chamomile flowers with a blue text box that says "how to treat nappy rash naturally using chamomile tea".

When my eldest daughter developed a bad case of nappy rash when she was teething, our health visitor recommended an amazingly simple natural remedy. She told us to make up a cup of chamomile tea in the normal way – one chamomile tea bag in a cup of boiled water – and then leave the teabag in to steep. When the tea has cooled, soak a cloth in the tea and then use that to wipe her bum. Alternatively, you can decant the tea into a sterilised spray bottle, and then use that at nappy change time in combination with a reusable baby wipe.

Our health visitor didn’t normally hand out natural remedies. I knew, coming from her, that this was the real deal. And it was because the nappy rash cleared up amazingly quickly after using the chamomile tea. It turns out this natural nappy rash remedy works because chamomile has mild antiseptic, antimicrobial and antifungal properties, and is incredibly soothing. Chamomile also rapidly aids the skin’s healing after a nappy rash appears. It’s all-round magic in a teabag!

Other Top Tips

There are some other top tips you can follow to help treat or prevent nappy rash:

Firstly, if your child is suffering from nappy rash then making sure that you change their nappy more frequently is a good first step. This helps to minimise the time they are in a damp nappy, helping the rash to clear up.

Secondly, air is brilliant at helping nappy rash to subside. Nappy free time really helps to get the circulate around your baby’s bottom. It sounds silly, but think about when we cut ourselves. We know that once we have stemmed the blood flow then letting air in rather than suffocating it behind a plaster is often the best course of action. It’s the same with nappy rash. For babies that aren’t yet mobile, then simply place a towel down on your baby changing mat, and letting them enjoy some nappy free time can really help.

Finally, minimising the use of scented lotions and potions can be helpful. For example, scented bubble bath was always a no when our kids had nappy rash.

Any other tips for treating nappy rash?