How to clean your white shoes so they look brand new

Clean white shoes can make most outfits look marvellous.

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White shoes are a blessing and a curse, they are fashionable and affordable, but they get stained quickly. There is no point of buying a pair of white shoes if you’re not going to keep them sparkling clean. A single stain on your white shoes and they look ridiculous. You’ll need to learn how to clean white shoes if you want to them to look pristine 24/7.

There’s something about white sneakers that draw attention to your feet. Clean white shoes are beautiful and make an outfit stand out, making you look perfect and sharp while dirty white shoes drag everything down, making you look dull.

Do not throw away your dirty Converse or Stan Smith white sneakers; our extensive guide has the best and easiest ways to clean dirty white shoes.

How to Keep White Shoes Sparkling Clean

Prevention is the first line of defence in keeping your white shoes spotless. Before you put your white shoes on, you need to apply a stain repellent. Do this once every two weeks to keep your white sneakers dirt and stain free regardless of the weather or where you plan to wear them.

Another useful tip that you should try is spot cleaning. Wiping off any stain that you find on your white shoes seems like a lot of work (it also makes you look like a clean junkie), but it's worth it because you’ll find it easy cleaning them thoroughly. To do this, you need to have a cleaning agent or wet wipes every time you put on white sneakers to wipe off dirt and stains. Wiping off dirt and stains once you see them is crucial because stain won't have enough time to penetrate the fabric.

What You’ll Need to Clean White Shoes

The first item that should be on your list of must-haves for cleaning white shoes is a toothbrush. Using a bristled toothbrush is an easy way to get to those hard to reach places. Use light and straightforward motions to brush away the dirt and add some pressure for stubborn stains. You’ll need warm water and soap to get the dirt out, but if that doesn’t work, you’ll need to add bleach, toothpaste or baking soda.

One thing that you should never do is throw your shoes into the washing machine. If you throw them in with laundry or even by themselves, you’ll make the stains even worse, or permanently damage your shoes. The cleaning motion of a washing machine is harsh on shoes, whether leather or canvas and can cause tears, leather breakdown and loose threads. Throw your white shoes in the washer, and they’ll never look the same again.

Create a DIY Cleaning Solution

There are home ingredients that you can use to clean white shoes. These DIY products are cheap and get the job done; they include:

Baking Soda and White Vinegar

These two are probably the most popular DIY home cleaning agents of all time. Baking soda makes your fridge smell fresh and white vinegar freshens the scent of your home. One thing that you probably didn’t know is that you can use white vinegar and baking soda to clean white shoes.

Combine equal parts of baking soda, white vinegar and hot water (one tablespoon) in a bowl and stir until you get a paste-like consistency. Scoop the paste with a toothbrush and gently apply on the canvas area of your white shoes. Brush in circular motions and sundry for three to four hours. Clap the shoes together until the dry mixture falls off or brush it all off with a toothbrush. Your shoes should be sparkling.


Toothpaste is a gentle product that whitens your teeth and keeps the mouth fresh. 

It’s these same qualities and properties of toothpaste that make it an excellent product for cleaning white shoes. Do not use coloured toothpaste which will stain your white canvas shoes even more.

Cleaning white shoes with toothpaste is easy, grab a non-gel toothpaste and squirt it on an old toothbrush. Apply the toothpaste to your dirty shoes using circular motions and add pressure on the stained areas. Once the toothpaste soaks into the fabric, let it sit for fifteen minutes and once the time lapses, use a damp cloth to wipe it off. Repeat the process until there is no stain left.

Use a Dedicated Shoe Cleaner

If you love your white sneakers and you can’t stand the site of them being dirty, buy a shoe cleaner from the store. You’ll find different types of shoe cleaners, but you should buy the one with natural ingredients. Stay away from shoe cleaners with harsh chemicals because they wear away your shoes.

Natural shoes cleaners are gentle on different materials and loosen a variety of food, grass and soil stains.

How to Clean White Leather Shoes

Count yourself lucky if you own a pair of white leather shoes. Leather does not absorb as much water as suede or canvas, and cleaning it is easy.

  • Materials - Regular soap, an old t-shirt, paper towels, and Mr. Clean Magic Eraser (order online if it's not available in your local store).

  • Get Rid of Surface Dirt - Wet the paper towel in a bowl and squeeze out excess water. Wipe the outside of the shoe to get rid of the dirt and stains. Air dry the shoes and proceed to the next step.

  • Clean the Sole - Get the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser and put it in water, remember to squeeze out excess water. Wipe the soles until they’re sparkling clean. Sneaker Rescue Wipes are natural and work great on the soles too, use them to get scuffs off the soles.

  • Scrub - Grab the old t-shirt and lather it up with regular soap. Slowly clean the upper part of the shoe until its back to its original white colour. Wipe off any excess soap and air dry the shoes for ten minutes.

How to Clean White Canvas Shoes

Cleaning white canvas shoes seems like a daunting task but it's not, as long as you have the right tips and cleaning products. All you need is white vinegar and baking soda. Check the Baking soda and white vinegar part on this article for the cleaning process.

How to Clean Suede Shoes

Suede is a delicate fabric that stains easily and is tricky to clean. This is the reason you won’t find any true white suede shoe. Use the following process to clean your white-ish suede shoes.

Step 1: Materials

You’ll need white vinegar, soft cotton cloth, paper towel, a suede brush, and a pink pencil eraser.

Step 2: Blotting

Using the soft cloth, blot the shoes to remove moisture and slowly rub the stains with a pink pencil eraser.

Step 3: Drying

Dry the shoe with the paper towel but avoid rubbing the dirt as it could stain other parts of the shoe. 

Step 4: Remaining Stains

Dip the cloth in a white vinegar solution and rub off the remaining stains. Air dry the shoes and rub them in circular motions with a suede brush to get the velvety texture back.

Don’t Forget the Laces

Do not pair your perfectly white shoes with a pair of dirty and ugly shoelaces. Remove the laces and dip them in a mild cleaning solution. Gently wash the laces, rinse, and hang them out to dry.

I Still Can’t Get the Stains Off, What Do I Do?

It’s time to call the professionals if you cannot get the dirt off your white shoes. There are plenty of trusted laundry cleaners near you who will get the job done in minutes. A laundry cleaner knows how to clean white shoes and get them back to pristine condition.

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FAQs on How to Clean White Shoes

Yes, you can, but you have to dilute the bleach, or it will turn your white shoes yellow. Mix one part of bleach to five or six parts of water. Dip a toothbrush in the solution and scrub gently. Rinse with warm water and allow the shoes to air dry. Repeat the process until you get the right results.
You need a stain repellent for your type of shoes and apply it before you wear them to keep them stain and dirt free. Use a water repellent to protect your shoes from snow and rain. Use a leather stain repellent for leather or suede shoes and any stain repellent (such as Scotchguard) for white canvas shoes.
Use the same cleaning method for the outside of the shoe to clean the insoles and the inside of the shoe. Once you clean all areas, leave them out to dry, and the bad odour will be gone.

White shoes turn yellow from direct and prolonged exposure to sunlight. The yellowing results from ultraviolet rays in sunlight that trigger a chemical reaction with the shoe’s dyes or any excess detergent left in the shoes. 

To avoid yellowing, stuff the shoes with paper towels to absorb excess moisture and dry them in a clean area not directly exposed to sunlight. You can also use a fan to speed up the drying process. 

When using baking soda as a paste to clean white shoes, you can leave it on for about three to four hours. By then, the baking soda has hardened, and you can remove it by wiping with a soft cloth rag. You can then remove any residue with the same cloth dampened with warm water.

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