Stylish, versatile, comfortable – it’s no wonder why white sneakers are staples in every shoe closet. As practical they can be, white shoes can be quite high maintenance. After a week or two in the wild your kicks will no longer be in the pristine white it once was. It would be impractical though to buy a new pair every time this happens but keeping your shoes white is not as hard as you think.

However, there’s no standard way of cleaning your white kicks. It’s crucial to determine the material first, otherwise, you may end up ruining your kicks instead of preserving it. Some cleaning ingredients can be harsh to certain materials and can even do more harm than good.

  • Before doing anything, if your sneakers have laces, remove them first.

How Should Your Clean Your Dirty Shoelaces?


  1. Wash it with hand soap using cold water, as hot water just sets the stains in.
  2. (Optional Step) In a small container with bleach and cold water, soak your laces. Wear gloves and scrub it well.
  3. Drain the bleach, replace it with clean water and laundry detergent, then scrub again. Leave for one hour.
  4. Rinse THOROUGHLY with clean water to remove the any residue, unless you want your laces to change colors.
  5. Pat dry with a microfiber cloth. Leave it out to fully dry.

How to Clean White Leather Shoes?

White leather shoes can be easy to clean however, if not handled properly, may lose their shape once they get wet. To prevent this, use a shoe tree while cleaning them. If you don’t have shoe trees, a good alternative is to stuff your shoe with newspaper. In order to get rid of the stains on the leather, you can use either Clorox Disinfecting Wipes or Mr. Clean Magic Eraser.

  • To use a magic eraser, simply wet it to activate the micro-scrubbers inside. Wring out any excess water, then scrub it against the desired area.

For the sole, you can clean it using a cream-based toothpaste. Yes, you read it right. Toothpaste can turn your teeth white and clean, unsurprisingly, it can give the same effect on shoes too. Cover the leather with a cloth while applying the toothpaste as it can be abrasive to the leather.

  • Rinse it using a lightly damped cloth and let it dry for one hour.
  • White leather sneakers require special care and maintenance to prevent damage and further discoloration.

How to Clean White Canvas Shoes?


Whether you own a Converse Chuck Taylor or Gap denim slip-on sneakers, removing dirt and stains from white canvas might seem daunting. Since they’re made of cotton, thus making them highly absorbent, they can hold on to stains easily.

These are tried-and-true methods given by CleanMyTribe local Lafayette house cleaning maids. Our teams often toss out bags of shoes for Purdue students during their yearly moveouts. Many can still be salvaged with these easy methods, there’s no need to give up on them:

  • Laundry Detergent

Put some detergent into a bowl with water. Mix it while aiming for a paste-like consistency. Dip an old toothbrush into the mixture and scrub the stains on your canvas in a circular motion. Rinse with warm water and let it dry.

  • Hydrogen Peroxide and Baking Soda

Take one tablespoon of baking soda and half a tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide, mix it with warm water respectively, creating a paste-like consistency. Using an old toothbrush, apply the mixture over the affected areas or on the whole shoes. Leave it for 30 minutes, then rinse off with warm water.

  • Baking Soda and Vinegar

Baking soda and vinegar are great cleaners on their own, more so if you use them together. Combine one tablespoon of baking soda, vinegar, and water. This 1:1:1 ratio will form a paste-like consistency suitable for smearing on your shoe. Grab an old toothbrush to spread the mixture evenly onto the canvas areas of your shoes and scrub in a circular motion for best results. Leave it for 3-4 hours under the sun. After drying, rinse off with lukewarm water and let it dry fully.

  • Lemon

Lemon is a terrific ingredient used for health benefits to cleaning magic. A highly citrus fruit that acts as a type of bleach and disinfectant. Squeeze some fresh lemon into 4 ounces of water, then mix it. Dip a toothbrush or sponge and apply it to the stain. Scrub into a circular motion.

If the scrubbing process doesn’t work, set it out in direct sunlight for 2-3 hours with the lemon mixture in it. The combination of sunlight and lemon will bleach the stain. Rinse it with plain water after.

Proactive cleaning is still the best way to keep your white shoes look good as new. It will just be harder to remove the stain the longer you let it sit on there. Moreover, regular cleaning keeps bacteria and shoe odor at bay.

Why is Proper Drying of your Shoes Important?

You don’t want your white sneakers to develop a musky smell or mold, right?

Although white canvas sneakers can dry quickly when exposed to direct sunlight, the heat can damage them. As an alternative, you can dry them under a fan then wrapping them in a newspaper to absorb any excess moisture. You can also crumple newspaper and put it inside.

Prevention is Better Than Manual Labor

Cleaning your shoes now and then can be exhausting because white shoes are undeniably dirt magnets. Fortunately, you can use water and stain repellent spray as spectacular shoe protection that creates an invisible barrier that repels spills.


However, consider the following before applying the repellent spray:

  • Make sure your white sneakers are clean and dry
  • Make sure that you are using the right repellent spray for your shoe type. Some are made for suede while others are for canvas or leather.

Tip: If you want to save a few bucks, repellent sprays like Crep Protect Ultimate Rain and Stain Spray, or Bickmore Gard-More Water and Stain Repellent are both designed to work for most kinds of shoe materials.

This also creates a layer of protection against bacteria and germs you may encounter outside your house. Your shoes and any microorganisms on them tag along home with you each and every day. So before you wander out to grimy areas, your best bet is to shake and spray a thin coating first!

When to Toss Them?

While it may be hard to say goodbye to your favorite pair of shoes, some shoes are just stained beyond recovery.

No matter how hard you try, they will reach the point when the discolorations are stubborn beyond belief. They’re discolored at multiple places on the inner and outer linings, the fabric, and the deepest soles no longer have any resemblance to the original. Any blemishes at this point will be exceptionally hard, if not impossible, to drive out. Do yourself a favor, toss them, and don’t let your next pair get to this level.