White shoes look great and flashy and go well with many people’s favorite summer outfits. But, if you have ever owned a pair of white canvas shoes or white leather sneakers, you will know that keeping them that flashy and good looking can be almost impossible, no matter how much care you take with them! White shoes of any type can get very dirty very fast, and it doesn’t take much dirt to make that lovely white surface look scuffed, stained, and scruffy. Fortunately, cleaning those marks off your white sneakers is not as difficult as you might think, as long as you know how to do it. There are a number of different methods you can use to clean white shoes, and we are here to help you get your head around how to clean white trainers, no matter how stained and scuffed they might be.

If you are looking for answers on how to clean white shoes, you need to look no further than this. We will walk you through different options for cleaning different types of white shoes, from leather to canvas, and help you learn how to clean any kind of white shoe with everyday household products that you may well already have lying around your home. Read on below to learn everything you could ever want to know about how to clean white shoes!

Tips for keeping White Shoes Clean

The easiest way to clean white shoes is to stop them from ever getting dirty in the first place. However, anyone who owns a pair of white shoes knows that is easier said than done. Sometimes, it can feel like white shoes attract dirt, becoming dirty far faster than seems at all reasonable! There are a few steps that you can take to help your shoes stay clean, though, as long as you get to them before they get dirty. Many experts recommend that you should use a stain repellent and water repellent spray on your white shoes as soon as you buy them. This is a good start, but you will need to repeatedly apply the spray, ideally once every few weeks. Protective spray products wear away with use, so this will become less effective over time unless you reapply the spray regularly. Make sure your shoes are thoroughly clean and dry before you spray them each time!

Another good preventative option is regular spot cleaning habits. It may not sound like a lot of fun, but if you put in the effort to regularly clean even the smallest of marks on your shoes, you will have a much easier time than if you leave them until your shoes look a mess. As soon as you spot a stain or a scuff, wipe it away with a gentle cleaning product such as a simple wet wipe. If you can get them before they soak into the fabric of your shoes, you will have a relatively easier time, but if you let the marks sink in, then you will struggle to get them out again, no matter what sort of cleaning methods you try to use. If you don’t manage to catch marks in time and they turn into deep-seated stains, don’t despair. There are a number of different methods you can use to get them clean again, even if the stains are old. It might take a lot of work to get your shoes sparkling and white again, but it is not impossible!

How to deep Clean White Shoes

If you are wondering how to clean white shoes, then don’t worry. We have got you covered. Let’s take a look at a few different options, ranging from simple solutions to complex deep cleaning options for removing old, dry stains that you can’t easily scrub out of your shoes. One of the easiest options is to use warm water, soap, and an old toothbrush if the stains on your shoes aren’t too bad. Soap up your shoes and then gently rub them with your old toothbrush, making sure you reach all the corners and inconvenient spots with the old toothbrush. Then rinse your shoes and leave them in a warm, well-ventilated location to air dry completely! If this option doesn’t work, which may well be the case, particularly when it comes to canvas shoes, then don’t worry. There are several other options that you can use to clean white shoes, such as toothpaste, bleach, baby powder, or baking soda.

An important tip that you should always remember is that you should never put a pair of white shoes, especially white leather shoes, into your washing machine. Washing them with clothes or on their own in the machine can spread the stain and fix it into the material even worse, making your shoes look even worse than they did before. It can also cause significant damage to the shoes themselves, thanks to the heat and movement, and you might find that the leather or canvas of your shoes starts to fall apart. Similarly, you should avoid using a dryer for shoes after you have cleaned them. The heat can cause your shoes to shrink, which can be a problem. Instead, you should air dry your shoes to remove all of the water from them. Leave them in a warm, well-ventilated place to dry until there is no water left in the material, and they are completely dry once more.

Can you use Bleach to Clean White Sneakers?

Bleach is an option for cleaning white shoes, but it might not be the best thing to use. Bleach is quite powerful, and you will need to dilute it carefully before using it to clean your shoes. As a general rule, you want to dilute it with at least five parts water to every one part bleach. If your bleach cleaning solution is too strong and you haven’t used enough water, then you run a significant risk of staining your white shoes an unappealing yellow color. Household bleach is a dangerous substance that can cause irritation to your eyes, mouth, skin, and lungs. You should follow sensible safety precautions when you use bleach for cleaning white shoes or anything else, even when it is diluted. Work in a well-ventilated area, preferably outdoors, and wear goggles to protect your eyes from exposure to the bleach.

If you want to have a go at cleaning your shoes with bleach, you will need normal sodium hydroxide household bleach, warm water, a toothbrush, a bucket or similar container, and a well-ventilated area to work in. Start by mixing a small amount of bleach with at least five times as much water in the bucket. Using a toothbrush, gently scrub your diluted bleach and water solution into the shoes, and leave them for a couple of minutes. Then, using warm water, rinse your shoes clean. Once you have rinsed out the bleach, let your shoes air dry for several hours, or overnight if possible.

How to Clean White Shoes using Baking Soda and Vinegar

Almost everyone has some baking soda and white vinegar somewhere in their homes. Both of them are extremely useful for cleaning and cooking, and they can provide a cheap and easy option for cleaning white shoes at home. For this technique, you will need some hot water, an old toothbrush, some white vinegar, and some baking soda. This option works best for canvas shoes, and won’t be particularly effective on leather shoes! Mix together equal amounts of white vinegar, baking soda, and hot water. Around a tablespoon of each should be sufficient. Mix this white vinegar, water, and baking soda mixture together until it makes a coarse paste, and then apply it to the canvas parts of your shoes with a toothbrush. Using circular motions to apply the baking soda paste, make sure you work it into all of the corners and difficult to reach areas!

Once you are happy with how well you have covered your shoes in baking soda paste, just leave them outside in the sun for a few hours so the mixture can dry. Once your mixture is dry, simply clap your shoes together to beat the dried paste off. Going over it again with a toothbrush should be effective for removing any particularly stubborn patches.

How to Clean White on Shoes with Toothpaste

Toothpaste is great for making your teeth white, but did you know that you can also use it to make your shoes white? As long as you ensure you are using a white toothpaste rather than a colored toothpaste, it can be an easy and effective way to clean your white shoes. All you will need for this method is a non-gel colorless toothpaste and a toothbrush. Just like the baking soda method, you will want to apply the toothpaste to dirty areas of your shoes, working it in with circular motions and focusing on the dirtiest spots. Once you have worked the toothpaste in properly, leave it to dry for ten minutes or so, and then wipe your shoes clean with a damp cloth.

Using a Magic Eraser to Clean Soles and Rubber Parts of White Shoes

The methods we have listed above are great for cleaning the cloth and leather parts of your shoes, but what about rubber areas and the soles? Fortunately for you, those are some of the easiest parts to clean. All you will need is some warm, soapy water and a magic eraser, which is easy to find in the cleaning supplies section of most department stores. Dip your eraser into warm, soapy water and wring out any excess water, just like you would with a cloth. Wipe it back and forth in short motions across the surface of your shoe, and keep on going until the scuffs and marks are removed. It might take a while, but it should be effective in the end! This can also be very effective for cleaning stained leather areas of your shoe.


Whitening sneakers isn’t a particularly easy process, but it is one that is very doable with a little determination and the right supplies. With the techniques above, you should be able to make any shoe whitened again using supplies that you probably already have in your home. The longer you leave your white sneakers before trying to whiten them, the more difficult and time consuming the cleaning and whitening process will be. If you put some work into dealing with stains and marks quickly when you first notice them, you can save a great deal of time and effort in the long run by putting in a little bit of work every time.

There is no need to worry if you miss a mark, though; using the instructions we have collected for you above, even the most stained and battered of sneakers can be restored to whiteness and great looks with a little time and effort!

About the Author

Hey, I'm Lilly Harvey. If there's two things I'm passionate about in life, it's shoes and writing!

Combining both my passions with my Fashion Design degree, I've helped create Shoe Adviser to help readers choose the best shoes for them, enjoy!

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