How to Clean White Shoes?

A pair of white shoes goes really well with almost any outfit, but it can be a pain to maintain them because they catch dirt pretty quickly. Thankfully there are simple ways to clean the white shoes using household products and make them look like new ones.

In this tutorial, we will show you the methods that you can use to get rid of all kinds of stains from your white shoes, regardless of whether they are made of canvas, leather, or mesh type.

Steps to Clean White Shoes

It may appear tricky to clean a pair of white shoes, but actually it can be done in a straightforward manner. There are four basic steps in cleaning any type of shoe−

  • First, remove the loose dirt off the shoes.

  • Next, use a cleaning solution to clean the shoes.

  • Clean the rubber soles next, with a hard−bristled brush.

  • Finally, use a dampened soft cloth to wipe off any left−out dust.

Now, let's see how you can clean different types of white shoes. Remember, you have to apply a cleaning technique based on the type of material used in your shoes. For example, if you use a hard−bristled brush on a mesh shoe, then it will probably damage the fabric of the shoes. Similarly, you cannot use too much water or harsh chemical agents to clean a pair of white shoes that is made of leather.

How to Clean White Canvas Shoes?

Don't get tempted to machine−wash your canvas shoes. You can clean them easily without using your washing machine. Here are the steps for cleaning white canvas shoes−

Step 1: Get rid of the loose dirt

First take the shoes out and remove the dry mud by knocking the soles together. Next, use a dry brush with soft bristles or an old cloth to brush off loose dirt.

Step 2: Prepare a cleaning solution and apply on the shoes

You have various options available to prepare a cleaning solution. For example, you can use a mix of baking soda and white vinegar paste or a mix of baking soda and a mild detergent. Use the combination of white vinegar and baking soda to remove stubborn stains. There are other options like using a white toothpaste as a cleaning agent, which we will discuss later.

Prepare a paste by mixing the two cleaning agents. Next, use a toothbrush and rub the paste all over the white shoes. Scrub the paste gently over the shoes to remove the stains. Before cleaning the shoes, take the laces out so that you can easily reach and clean all parts of the shoe. Soak the laces in a solution of water and a pinch of detergent.

Step 3: Wipe off the Paste

Keep the shoes aside with the paste on it and let it dry for an hour or so. The paste will eventually become hard and dry off. At this stage, you can use a brush to remove the hardened paste.

Wash the shoes with a solution of warm water and detergent and then rinse both the shoes and the laces in clean water. Wipe the shoes with a damp cloth.

Step 4: Clean the Shoe Soles

The next step is to clean the shoe soles. Prepare a solution by mixing a spoon of detergent in a cup of water. Dip a cloth in the solution and rub it over the soles to remove the stains. Finally, air−dry both the shoes and the laces and put the laces back on the shoes.

How to Clean Mesh Shoes?

Mesh shoes are made of delicate material and hence, you should always use a soft brush to scrub them. Here are the steps to clean a mesh shoe−

Step 1

Use a soft−bristled brush to remove the loose dirt off the shoes.

Step 2

Prepare a soapy mixture by mixing a few drops of liquid detergent in a cup of water. Dip a soft cloth in the soapy mixture and apply it over the mesh shoes. Apply the mixture on the soles too.

Step 3

Rinse the shoes with a clean damp cloth and let the shoes dry before using them.

Note − You should be careful while cleaning a Mesh show because using a strong cleaning agent or excessive scrubbing may damage its delicate material.

How to Clean White Leather Shoes?

Leather shoes are expensive and delicate, so you need to be extra careful while cleaning them, else they will lose their shine. Follow the steps given below to clean your white leather shoes −

Step 1

Remove the shoelaces and use a brush to remove the loose dirt. Then, you can apply a "leather cleaning product" to clean the shoe or try one of the methods below.

  • Mix a few drops of liquid detergent in a cup of water to prepare a soapy solution. Dip a toothbrush in the solution and then rub the toothbrush gently over the white shoes to remove the stains.

  • You can use micellar water (which is normally used as a makeup remover) to remove the stains from a leather shoe. All you need to do is to pour some micellar water on a soft clean cloth and then use the cloth to wipe the shoes.

  • Prepare a paste by mixing one tablespoon of baking soda with two tablespoons of white vinegar in one cup of water. Then apply this paste on the shoes using a soft cloth to remove the stains.

Step 2

Next, take a damp cloth and wipe the soles of the shoes to remove any left−out stains. After the cleaning is over, take a bunch of tissue paper and wad it inside the shoes. It will absorb the moisture and help the shoes dry up faster.

Let the shoes and the laces dry before wearing them again.

How to Clean the Shoelaces?

You cannot use dirty shoelaces on clean shoes, so it is necessary to clean the shoelaces too while you clean your shoes. You can take the following steps to clean your white shoelaces −

Step 1

You can wash them by hand by using a soap or detergent solution. Or, you can use a mesh laundry bag and toss them into your washing machine.

Step 2

Don't put the shoelaces in the dryer because heat can damage the plastic tips. Always air−dry the shoelaces. In case you want to whiten the shoelaces, soak them in mild bleach for 5 minutes and then rinse them thoroughly in clean water.

Household Products that You Can Use as Cleaning Solutions

There are several options available when it comes to choosing a cleaning solution for your white shoes, but you should select the best option based on the material used in your shoes. Here is a list of cleaning solutions to clean white shoes −

Warm Soapy Water

Create a soapy solution by mixing one teaspoon of dishwashing liquid or detergent in one cup of warm water. Dip a soft cloth or toothbrush in the solution and gently scrub the shoe to remove the stains. Clean the insides of the shoes too and soak the excess water with a cloth.

Baking Soda and Detergent

Mix one teaspoon of baking soda with two teaspoons of detergent and pat this mixture on the shoes using a brush. Keep the shoes aside for two hours and then brush the powder off and rinse the shoes in warm water.

Baking Soda and White Vinegar

Mix one tablespoon of baking soda with one tablespoon of white vinegar solution and one tablespoon of warm water to create a thick paste. Apply the paste to your shoes with the help of a toothbrush and leave the shoes for at least 2 to 3 hours. Then, brush the dried paste off the shoes and rinse thoroughly in warm water.

White Toothpaste

You can use white toothpaste as a cleaning solution, but make sure you don't use any gel−based colored toothpaste. Take an old toothbrush and squeeze some white toothpaste on it, and then scrub it gently on the shoes. Cover all the areas gently and evenly. Pay extra attention to soles because that part is normally heavily cutting. Leave the paste on the shoes for 10 to 15 minutes and then wipe it off with a soft damp cloth.

Bleaching Agents

You can consider bleaching for cleaning the shoes with heavy stains. It is a strong chemical agent, so make sure you use it only in limited quantity. Create a solution by mixing one part of bleach in five parts of warm water. Don't use excess bleach because it will leave a yellowish stain on the shoes. First, remove the loose dirt from the surface of the shoes by using a toothbrush. Then take a microfiber towel, dip it in the bleaching solution, and pat the towel uniformly over the shoes. Finally, use a damp cloth to wipe the bleach solution off the shoes and let the shoes dry in a well−ventilated room.

How You Can Take Care of Your White Shoes

You should not toss your white canvas sneakers into the washing machine. Canvas shoes are made up soft fabric and cleaning them in a washing machine will damage its shape.

There are stain and water repellent sprays available in the market that you can use on your canvas shoes to keep them clean for a longer period.

If you step onto something that may leave a stubborn stain, then use a cloth to dust if off quickly. After reaching home, clean the shoes to remove such stains as soon as possible. If you leave such stubborn stains longer, then they may become permanent.

White shoes can quickly get dirty, so it is always better to take some preventive measures so that you don't end up cleaning them repeatedly.


You should choose one of these tried−and−tested methods based on the type of shoes you have and the type of stain you want to get rid of. For example, you wouldn't want to spoil your mesh sneakers by scrubbing them with a hard brush. Using warm water with a mild soap is the best option to clean a pair of mesh sneakers. Don't just experiment a cleaning method unless you are sure about it because one misstep may leave a permanent yellowish stain on your expensive white shoes.

Updated on: 09-Nov-2022


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