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How to Clean
White Shoes

June 16, 2021

It’s a wonderful feeling to unbox a brand new pair of white shoes—and the first time you wear them, you feel awesome. But just like white T-shirts, white dresses, and white pants, the crisp, clean look of white shoes has an Achilles heel: stains and dirt. That’s why you need to learn how to clean white shoes like a pro—so you can keep enjoying your footwear’s pristine appearance!

We’ve all had our share of spills and stains on our clothes, but none sound the alarm like stains on white clothes and shoes. After all, your shoes are at the bottom of the spill totem pole; anything you spill has a good chance of landing around your feet. But accidents aside, your white shoes also have to endure dirt, grass, and anything else you walk through regularly.

Whether you’re cleaning white shoes made with leather, canvas, or synthetic materials, we’re going to show you the best way to clean white shoes, how to get stains out of white shoes, and keep them looking newer, longer.

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How to Wash White Shoes

The following method works well if you’re cleaning tennis shoes, running shoes, and even certain types of leather footwear. But even manufacturers seem divided on the best way to clean your footwear; before getting started, check the care label or online to make sure your white shoes are washable, especially if they’re leather.

Here’s how to wash white shoes in your washer:

  • If your shoes have laces, pull them out and put them in a mesh bag. If they are exceptionally dirty or worn, this is a good time to replace them.
  • Remove the insoles and scrub them with a damp cloth and baking soda. Rinse them in the sink and let them air dry.
  • Rinse the outside of your shoes in the sink to remove dirt and debris.
  • Use a toothbrush and baking soda to scrub stains.
  • Put the shoes in the mesh bag with the shoelaces and put the bag in the washer with dirty towels and regular laundry detergent.
  • Wash with warm water on the gentle cycle, then choose the extra rinse cycle.
  • Remove the shoes from the washer and shake off extra water.
  • Stuff your shoes loosely with white cotton washcloths or white tissue paper to aid in drying and help them keep their shape.
  • Let your laces and shoes air dry in a well-ventilated space or outside.

How to Clean White Canvas Shoes

Save your white shoes from the wear and tear of machine washing by learning how to clean white canvas shoes by hand. You can give grass and other stubborn stains the extra scrubbing they need and get rid of scuffs. When your Converse All Stars start looking dingy and tired, it’s time to get them looking good and back in the game.

  • Remove the shoelaces and wash them by hand in your sink. If they’re worn out, just toss them and buy a fresh pair.
  • Remove the insoles and scrub them with water and baking soda, then rinse and let them air dry.
  • Use a dry toothbrush to scrub away mud and dirt from the outside of the shoes, the soles, and the tongue.
  • Mix baking soda and distilled white vinegar to form a cleaning paste.
  • Dip the toothbrush into the paste and scrub the shoes gently to remove dirt and stains.
  • Use a damp Mr. Clean Magic Eraser to buff away scuff marks and stains on the white soles of the shoes.
  • Wipe down the shoes with a clean damp cloth and let them air dry.

How to Clean White Leather Shoes

White leather shoes can be easier to clean than some materials because they don’t absorb as much water. But you still have to go easy so you don’t damage the leather. Here’s the best way to clean white shoes made of leather to get them looking new again:

  • Remove the shoelaces and the insoles, wash them in the sink with baking soda, rinse, and let them air dry.
  • Dampen a white cloth and wipe down the outsides, soles, and tongues to remove dirt and debris.
  • Rinse the cloth well and wring it out.
  • Use a toothbrush and baking soda to gently scrub away stains.
  • Dab your damp cloth on some Ivory soap and gently scrub the outside of the shoes.
  • Rinse the cloth and wipe off the sudsy residue.
  • Use a damp Magic Eraser to get the soles white and bright, then let your shoes air dry.

How to Clean White Tennis Shoes

They often made running shoes and white tennis shoes with mesh, rubber, foam, and other synthetic materials. Since machine washing can be rough on synthetics, you can often make your shoes last longer and stay whiter by hand washing them.

  • Take out the insoles and shoelaces, wash them in the sink, and let them air dry.
  • Use a toothbrush to remove excess dirt and mud from the shoes, soles, and tongues.
  • Add two tablespoons of clothes detergent to a bowl of warm water.
  • Scrub stained areas with baking soda and a toothbrush.
  • Dip the toothbrush in the bowl and start scrubbing, but be gentle when you’re scrubbing a mesh area so you don’t rip a thread.
  • Scrub off scuffs and stains from the soles with a Magic Eraser.
  • Use a clean damp cloth to wipe down the shoes and remove any residue.
  • Let the shoes air dry and enjoy that new white shoes feeling once again!

So now you know how to clean white shoes and keep them looking good. Want to learn more about how to get rid of dirt, stains, and germs around the house? Check out our extensive library of DIY cleaning and disinfecting guides. Whether you tackle dirt and germs on your own or let us help out with one of our popular residential cleaning services, The Maids wants every home to be a clean and healthy place. Find out about affordable, flexible house cleaning in your neighborhood when you get your free estimate.

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