How to Clean White Shoes (No Matter the Material)

eHow may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story.

There's a lot to love about white shoes. They're classic, practical and wonderfully versatile. White shoes can also take the guesswork out of getting ready, as they match almost anything. The only catch? Dirt and grime are more noticeable on white footwear, even after just a few uses. Some people might leave the dirt for a worn-in look, but if you prefer bright white footwear, you might be looking for ways to clean them at home.

Advertisement

That's where these cleaning methods come in. With natural products, like baking soda and vinegar, it's possible to gently clean white sneakers, flats and boots. The same goes for white canvas sneakers, like Converse. DIY shoe cleaning doesn't always require bleach or expensive supplies. You'll be surprised at what warm water, dish soap and an old toothbrush can do!

Advertisement

Video of the Day

Are you ready to refresh your footwear? Learn how to clean white shoes made of pleather, canvas and mesh.

How to Clean White Pleather Shoes

Things You'll Need

  • Bowl

  • 1 cup warm water

  • Natural, dye-free dish soap

  • Old toothbrush

  • Soft cloth or paper towel

Image Credit: Kirsten Nunez

Tip

This cleaning method may be used for real leather shoes or leather sneakers. However, make sure to test the soapy water on an inconspicuous spot first.

Step 1

In a bowl, combine the warm water and five to 10 drops of natural dish soap. Stir it until it's soapy.

Advertisement

Image Credit: Kirsten Nunez

Step 2

Dip the old toothbrush into the soapy cleaning solution. Gently scrub the shoes to remove stubborn stains.

Advertisement

Image Credit: Kirsten Nunez

Step 3

Wipe away the water and dirt with a soft cloth or paper towel. Repeat as needed and then let the shoes air dry.

Advertisement

Image Credit: Kirsten Nunez

How to Clean White Canvas Shoes

Things You'll Need

  • Small bowl

  • 3 tablespoons baking soda

  • 2 to 3 tablespoons white vinegar

  • Old toothbrush

  • Soft cloth or paper towel

Step 1

Add the baking soda to a small bowl. Add the white vinegar one tablespoon at a time until it forms a thick paste.

Advertisement

Image Credit: Kirsten Nunez

Step 2

Using an old toothbrush, apply the paste onto the canvas shoes. Scrub the canvas and rubber soles to remove dirt and debris. Work in circular motions to help loosen grime.

Advertisement

Image Credit: Kirsten Nunez

Step 3

Let the shoes sit. Once the paste dries, scrub it off with a clean cloth or paper towel. Rinse them under running water and let them air dry.

Advertisement

Image Credit: Kirsten Nunez

Tip

To remove scuffs on the rubber soles, use a Magic Eraser.

How to Clean White Mesh Shoes

Things You'll Need

  • Plastic tub

  • Warm water

  • 1/2 cup sodium percarbonate

  • Rubber gloves

  • Old toothbrush

Image Credit: Kirsten Nunez

Tip

Remove the laces and insoles before starting. You can replace the shoelaces with new ones. Alternatively, let them soak in a mixture of hot water and all-natural laundry detergent for about 30 minutes.

Step 1

In a plastic tub, combine warm water and 1/4 cup of sodium percarbonate.

Image Credit: Kirsten Nunez

Step 2

Put on gloves to protect your skin. (Sodium percarbonate, though eco-friendly, can be irritating.) Mix well with an old toothbrush.

Image Credit: Kirsten Nunez

Step 3

Dip the toothbrush into the mixture and then scrub the mesh shoes, moving in circular motions. Focus on dirty spots on the mesh fabric. You can also use the toothbrush to loosen dirt and grime on the rubber portions. Set the shoe aside.

Discard the dirty water. Combine another 1/4 cup of sodium percarbonate and clean, warm water in the tub. Repeat with the other white sneaker.

Image Credit: Kirsten Nunez

Step 4

Rinse the white sneakers under running water and let them air dry in the sun. Once dry, replace the shoelaces and insoles.

Image Credit: Kirsten Nunez

Tip

Use a Magic Eraser to remove scuffs on the rubber portions.

Advertisement