How-to-Clean-White Shoes

How to Clean White Shoes 


Having a pair of white shoes is a must-have fashion item since it will never go out of style. White shoes match great loads of outfits; making the wearer look simple or fashionable depending on their chosen style. However, there's one great dilemma common to all white-shoe owners. They get dirty rather easily after a week or two. Learning how to clean white shoes to keep them so pristinely white is something that is greatly important if you want to keep them on your shoe rack.

What’s Great with White Shoes?

White shoes predominantly come out during summer. The reason is quite obvious: there aren’t a lot of mud puddles on the roads. Also, they match quite great with summer outfits. You can go for a minimalist look, go for an urban and trendy look, go sockless, etc. The options are endless. However, the only time you aren’t supposed to wear white shoes is on rainy days when the mud and dirt are easily accumulated on the shoe fabric. White shoes require great TLC and can be a cause of hassle when it comes to cleaning.

Prevention is the Key

Protect your squeaky clean and white shoes before they become dirty! If it's your first time to wear a new pair, spray them with a stain and water repellant. Spray the repellant evenly on the shoe surface and let dry overnight. After a few weeks, repeat the process just like how you'd do it with your winter boots.

Pre-treating your shoes can be a time saver in the long run as the repellant prevents the white shoes from getting dirty right away. Repellants are available in shoe stores and be sure to check if the product matches with the shoe material.

Follow the Initial Steps

But what if you weren't able to spray any stain repellant on your white shoes? There's nothing to worry about as you can always go manual. There are a lot of cleaning methods available, and we've listed the fastest and most efficient processes that will comfortably cater to your available resources and time.

However, before performing the methods, there are two things that you must comply. First one is to practice spot cleaning. This is about wiping off the spots or stains as soon as possible before they set into the fabric or leather. 

So, pack with you some tissue wipes.

The second thing to do is to remove the shoelaces from the eyelets. If you do so, removing allows easy access to the eyelets and tongue of the shoe for later brushing or to allow the chemicals to penetrate. Then, dampen the shoelaces in a tub of lukewarm water. 

Method 1: Use of Soap and Water

How to Clean White Shoes

Many of us know that this is the most accessible and the most practical thing to when it comes to cleaning. For shoe cleaning method, you should create a consistency between the hot water and detergent powder soap. The aim is to produce a paste-like solution for an enhanced cleaning power. Choose a soap that doesn’t contain bleach so that the fabric won’t fade. 

The first thing to do is to dampen the shoes in lukewarm water. This would soften the dirt that had been accumulated on your shoes. Then, with a toothbrush, dab small amounts of the soap onto the affected areas of the shoe. Scrub the areas with the toothbrush in a circular motion repeatedly to remove the stains. Afterwards, rinse the shoe with warm water. If there are still stubborn stains left on the shoe, repeat the process. Finally, let the shoes dry under the sun or have them air-dried.

Another alternative for this method is to use your dishwashing liquid. It has the same cleaning effect as the detergent powder. Pour only a small amount of the liquid into the water and stir well until the solution shows some bubbles. You don't need to do the rinsing when you use this product. A damp sponge shall complete the process.

Method 2: Use Your Shampoo

Your favorite shampoo cleans your head on a daily basis, so why not try it on cleaning your white shoes? A gentle shampoo is proven to be enough in dealing with the stubborn stains and dirt on the surface of the shoes. Just do the same as in the previous method with the toothbrush and warm water. Let the shoes air-dry though. Don't throw them into the dryer or you'll risk the fiber shrinking due to the heat.

Method 3: Baking Soda for Cleaning

Now for a material that is found in every kitchen, the baking soda is widely known to not be just an ingredient for baking. It's also popular when it comes to household cleaning. It is a type of salt (we don't mean the table salt but the chemical structure) that has a slightly higher pH. A baking soda masks and absorbs odors and reacts with vinegar which is another cleaning partner of mothers out there. Ultimately, it works wonders more than your typical soap!

To use baking soda alone, just sprinkle it on the affected areas of your white shoes. Gently rub it in to push it deeper into the fabric. Let the shoes sit overnight. Then, in the morning, just wipe the baking soda off the shoes with a warm, damp cloth.

Method 4: Baking Soda Plus Vinegar

These two are a strong combination when it comes to cleaning household items. They are readily available in a pantry and can be bought cheap. To make a mixture, you also need hot water. The recipe in making a paste mixture is to put in equal amounts of baking soda, vinegar, and hot water into a small container. Afterwards, dab the paste onto the shoe surface and rub it in. It's best to scrub in circular motions with an old toothbrush. 

After doing the deed, rinse the shoes with lukewarm water while scrubbing them to fully remove the stench caused by vinegar. But, if you still spot some stains not removed from earlier, just repeat the scrubbing until there are no spots left. Then, let the shoe dry naturally.

Method 5: Baking Soda Plus Hydrogen Peroxide

The second great partner for baking soda is the hydrogen peroxide. The hydrogen peroxide is available in almost every medicine kit but seldom used. So, we think that it would be a good notion to put your hydrogen peroxide into use such as cleaning your white shoes.

To make a mixture, combine a tablespoon of baking soda, a half tablespoon of hot water, and another half tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide. These create a paste mixture. Just like the previous methods, gently brush small amounts onto the dirtied surfaces. Furthermore, be sure to apply multiple coats on the shoes and also to the shoelaces.

However, a little tweak on this method is to let the shoes bask under the sun. The sun helps in the chemical reaction of the mixture with the dirt. After several hours, the mixture becomes dry and shows cracks all over the shoe surface. Brush the flakes off your shoes and observe them to be just like how you wore them the very first time!

Method 6: Clean with Toothpaste

That's right; toothpaste can also work wonders on your dirty white shoes aside from your teeth. However, in this case, you ought to use only white and non-gel toothpaste. Of course, using a colored toothpaste would stain the fabric or material of the white shoes. 

To use toothpaste, get a toothbrush that you'll no longer use. Apply and rub amounts of the paste onto the surface like the previously explained methods. Then, let it sit for about 10 minutes. The toothpaste can then be removed using a damp cloth. You can repeat the same process until you get your desired whiteness.

Method 7: Use a Nail Polish Remover

It's certainly possible to remove stains with an acetone-based nail polish remover. It's very easy to use and doesn't need any additional step after applying the volatile liquid to the stained surfaces. You see, the acetone evaporates after a few minutes leaving a dry and clean white shoe in its trace. 

The same effect can also be achieved with the use of rubbing alcohol. It's mainly good for removing scuffs and ink stains.

Method 8: Lemon Juice for Stain Removal

A home remedy known to removes stains and make clothes whiter is the use of lemon juice extract. If you intend to use the extract with water alone, follow the 1:4 ratio. The larger number denotes the warm water needed for the mixture. After scrubbing the stain, rinse the area with water.

Another use of lemon is to make a paste mixture with the cream of tartar. If you have one of each, combine equal amounts in a container and apply on the affected area. Let the paste mixture sit for an hour and remove it with a damp sponge afterward. 

Method 9: Magic Eraser to Erase Stains

Magic Erasers are commonly used for cleaning walls and other items in the house, but they also serve the same purpose as with your dirty shoes. Simply wet the edge of the eraser and then brush it onto the dirt marks and spots. The yellowing areas can be made into sparkling white with a Magic Eraser.


The best practice is to clean the shoes once they get dirty. Don’t let the stains become a day older or you will have a hard time. Through any of the methods mentioned above, learning how to clean white shoes becomes easier and more practical than giving them up in favor of a new pair. As a popular saying goes, little efforts become big in the long run!

How to Clean White Shoes 
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