How to Clean Shoes With Toothpaste

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Toothpaste can be more than a tooth cleaning essential. This gentle abrasive also removes dirt, scuffs and marks on tennis shoes and canvas footwear.

Rubber Scuff Remover

Invest in some ​non-gel, white toothpaste​ to remove dark scuffs and grimy buildup that appear on the rubber part of sneakers. Apply a little white toothpaste to an old, soft, clean toothbrush. Scrub the toothpaste over the scuffed areas using thorough circular motions. Keep massaging until the scuff marks have lifted.


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Remove excess toothpaste and leftover residue with a clean, damp cloth. Be sure to thoroughly remove any traces of toothpaste to avoid a milky residue.

Avoid applying toothpaste to ​leather, suede or silk,​ which are sensitive and likely to absorb the toothpaste instead of getting clean.


Canvas Recovery

Non-gel toothpaste also works wonders on lightweight canvas and canvas-covered shoes to remove dirt and grime. Remove any loose dirt or buildup on the shoe, and then dampen the problem area just slightly.


Apply a pea-sized drop of toothpaste to a clean cloth. Massage the toothpaste into the stained area and gently massage for a couple of minutes to lift the stain. The toothpaste should foam as it works on the damp area. Promptly remove any leftover toothpaste on the shoe with a damp, clean cloth and allow the fabric to air dry completely.



Spot test these techniques​ on your shoes in a small, unnoticeable area to ensure that the fabric does not react to the toothpaste.

Overall Wash

If your tennis shoes need an overall clean, and not just a spot treatment, mix together 1 tablespoon of toothpaste with 1 or 2 tablespoons of water to form a paste. Apply the mixture all over the shoe and scrub using an old toothbrush or scrub brush.


Rinse off the shoe to remove leftover toothpaste, and then wash in the washing machine following the care instructions for your tennis shoes.



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