How To Clean White Shoes

How to clean white shoes

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White shoes are stylish and bright when they’re new and clean, but they can get dirty very quickly from normal wear. Luckily, it’s super easy to clean your shoes and remove stains with items you’ve already got at home. Whether you’re rocking your favourite sneakers, canvas lace-ups, or white leather shoes, we’ve got a solution for you. Get ready to freshen up your kicks with our step-by-step guide to making your white shoes look new again.

In a nutshell, we will tell you:

  • The easiest way to clean white shoes of any material is with dish soap and water.
  • For canvas shoes or mesh sneakers, you can also use diluted bleach, baking soda, or even toothpaste to remove stains.
  • To clean the soles, start with soap and water and a damp cloth, then use a melamine sponge to remove scuffs and yellowing.

Method 1: Clean White Shoes Using Soap And Water (Or Vinegar)

How To Clean White Shoes Using Soap & Water or Vinegar
Clean white shoes

Soap and water work best on all kinds of shoes, including canvas shoes, tennis shoes, etc. 

However, if you have a pair of leather shoes, then you should follow different steps to clean your white leather shoes.

You will have to create a mixture of soap and water. Mix dish soap into 240 ml of warm water. Any liquid dish soap will work for cleaning your shoes. Use about 1 teaspoon (approximately 4.9 ml) of soap so the water is sudsy but still clear. Stir the cleaning solution so it’s evenly mixed.

Alternative: If you don’t want to use dish soap, you can substitute 1⁄2 cup (120 ml) of white vinegar.

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Now, you can follow these steps:

  • Gently scrub the entire shoe

    Gently scrub the shoes with the mixture, working in circular motions with a cloth or toothbrush. Make sure you flip the cloth every time it turns dirty.

  • Scrub stains with a stiff-bristled toothbrush

    Dip the head of the toothbrush into the water so the bristles are wet. Work the bristles in small circular motions on the surface of your shoes, focusing on heavily stained areas. Use a slight amount of pressure to work the cleaning solution into the shoe’s fabric.

    Pro - Tip: If your white shoelaces are stained, take them out of your shoes and scrub them with your toothbrush separately.

  • Clean the soles and rubber pieces

    Dip a clean white microfiber cloth or magic eraser into your soapy water and wring it out. Wipe in short back and forth motions along parts of your shoes made of leather, rubber, or plastic. Keep working the eraser until all scuffs and stains are removed.

    Magic erasers can be found in the cleaning section of your local department store or on online sites like Amazon, Flipkart, etc. 

  • Pat excess water away with a towel

    Use either a cloth or paper towel to pat the soapy water and dirt off of the shoe. Avoid wiping the towel across the shoe’s fabric since you could spread the dirt across the fabric again. Don’t try to completely dry your shoes with the towel. Just lift off the excess cleaning solution from the surface.

  • Let your shoes air dry

    After you initially pat them with a towel, put them in a well-ventilated area in your home so they can dry completely. Leave them alone for at least 2-3 hours before wearing them again.

In case there is a tough which you can’t clean at home, you can get a shoe cleaning service. Because professional experts have access to special chemicals that can remove old and tough stains completely without damaging the shoe fibres.

Method 2: Clean White Shoes Using Bleach Solution

How to clean white shoe using bleach
Dirty white shoe

Dilute 1 part of bleach with 5 parts water. Work in a well-ventilated area in your home, and mix the bleach and water in a small container. Be careful not to use more bleach or else it could give your white shoes a yellow tinge.

Now follow these steps:

  • Bleach works best for white fabric shoes.
  • Wear nitrile gloves while working with bleach to prevent any skin irritation.
  • Work a toothbrush in small circles to loosen stains. Dip the toothbrush in your bleach solution and start scrubbing your shoes. Focus on soiled areas and deep stains, applying slight pressure to the fabric. You should notice the stains lift out of the fabric.
  • Start with your shoes’ fabric before moving onto harder surfaces, like the soles.
  • Wipe the bleach solution off your shoes with a damp towel. Wet a soft microfiber towel in clean warm water and wring it out until it’s damp. Apply gentle pressure as you wipe the towel over your shoes.
  • You can also remove the insoles from your shoes and run your shoes under the faucet.
  • Let the shoes dry in a well-ventilated area. Leave your shoes in the room to dry for at least 5-6 hours before you plan on wearing them again. Try to let them dry overnight if you can to dry completely.
  • Put a fan in front of your shoes to speed up the drying process.

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Did you know?

Bleach is an excellent cleaning agent. It acts as a strong stain remover and whitener. 

Refer our article to know more details – All about using bleach in laundry.

Method 3: Clean White Shoes Using Baking Soda and Vinegar

Air drying clean white shoes
Air drying clean white shoes

Mix baking soda, vinegar, and hot water into a paste. Stir 1 tablespoon approximately 15 ml of hot water, 1 tablespoon (approximately 15 ml) of white vinegar, and 1 tablespoon, approximately 14 g of baking soda together in a bowl. Continue mixing the solution together until it forms a thick paste. The baking soda and vinegar will start to fizz and bubble as it reacts.

Pro-tip: We suggest you prefer hand washing as frequent agitation of the washing machine may damage the shoe fabric. And it might look dull or worn out after consistent wash cycles.

Baking soda works best if you’re trying to clean canvas, mesh, or fabric shoes. Here’s how you can use it:

  • Apply the baking soda paste into your shoes using a toothbrush.
  • Dip the head of the toothbrush into your paste and brush it into the fabric of your shoes.
  • Apply gentle pressure to the bristles so the fabric absorbs the paste.
  • Cover all of the exterior surfaces of your shoes with the baking soda paste.
  • Rinse your toothbrush thoroughly when you’re finished so the paste doesn’t dry in the bristles.
  • Let the paste dry onto the shoes for 3-4 hours.
  • Put or hang the shoes in direct sunlight so the paste can dry or harden.
  • Leave them outside until you can scratch the dried paste with a fingernail. If you can’t keep your shoes outside, put them near a sunny window or in a well-ventilated room.
  • Use a dry brush to remove the dried paste.
  • Hit the soles of your shoes together outside so the paste breaks apart and falls to the ground.
  • If there’s any dried paste chunks leftover, scrape them off with a dry toothbrush until your shoes are clean again.

Baking soda and vinegar are two   ingredients which you help you to a great length in laundry. Hence, you should also check out other ways to use baking soda and vinegar in laundry

If you have to clean leather shoes, then you will need to go through an entirely different process. Check out – How to clean leather boots, and clean your leather footwear without damaging them. 

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Frequently asked question on how to clean white shoes

If you’re cleaning sneakers, you can usually clean them by wiping them down with a little warm water and mild laundry detergent on a washcloth. Use a toothbrush to scrub the edges of the soles. You can also use a little leather conditioner if your Adidas shoes are made of leather.

Suede is tricky to clean because water can damage it. Use a soft cloth or paper towel to blot up any moisture. To remove dried-on stains, scrub them off with a pencil eraser. You can also try rubbing away stubborn stains with white vinegar. After the shoe dries, rub it with a suede brush to restore the texture of the suede.

You can refer to our blog – How to clean suede shoes. It contains detailed information in this regard and will be helpful for you.

No, it is not hard to clean canvas shoes. You can clean them at home by using your regular laundry detergent. Even stain removal can be easily done by using easily available products like nail paint remover, hairspray, sanitiser, etc. You can follow the step-wise guide in the blog and make the cleaning process hassle-free.

You can also check our specific guide on How To Clean Canvas Shoes

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author. They do not necessarily purport to reflect the values or views of Tumbledry.

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