5 Ways to Clean White Shoes and Make Them Like New

Clean White Shoes
Credit: Pxfuel

We’ve all been there. You put on new Vans and while strutting your stuff, you get splashed. At that moment your clean white shoes are a mess and will likely never look the same.

Fact: A white sneaker can be the perfect finish to an outfit or a super comfortable slip-on for daily chores:

However, a white shoe only looks the part if it’s clean. Even the smallest scuff or speck of dirt will make white sneakers look a mess.

Related: 4 Oven cleaning hacks that will make your appliance look like new.

So, if you’re looking to clean a pair of mucky white tennis shoes, whether Converse, Nike, Adidas, or any other brand on the market, these 5 tips will help.

Baking Soda And Detergent – Ideal For Fabric Shoes

First up is home brew solution #1:

All you need is baking soda, detergent, and a toothbrush.

What you do is mix 1 cup of baking soda with 1 and 1/2 cups of detergent. Then remove the laces and soles. Then using the toothbrush scrub the mixture into your shoes.

Once thoroughly scrubbed, clean away the mixture with a damp cloth. Then wrap the shoes in two towels and wash them in your washing machine. The towels stop your sneakers from scuffing in the drum.

Let your laces soak in hot water with detergent while your shoes are in the washing machine. Once done, let your shoes and laces dry.

You can find Arm & Hammer baking soda on Amazon.com here for around $10.

Baking Soda And Vinegar – Ideal For Leather Shoes

king soda and vinegar

Next up is home brew solution #2. Which also uses baking soda.

What you need is 3 tablespoons of baking soda and 6 tablespoons of white vinegar mixed into a cup of warm water.

Remove your laces and soles, then apply the mixture to your sneakers, scrubbing until clean.

This mixture is best used on leather shoes as it requires a lot of elbow grease.

We recommend putting your laces into hot water with detergent and washing your shoes again after letting them dry.

Toilet Paper And Hot Water – Ideal For Canvas Shoes

If you’ve got delicate canvas sneakers with yellow staining, this toilet tissue method is the best way to get clean white shoes.

What you need is a lot of toilet tissue and warm water.

First, remove the laces and soles, then soak pieces of toilet tissue in the water.

Then take each soaked piece of tissue and start covering your sneakers. Covering fully, until none of the trainer’s fabric can be seen.

When complete, let your sneakers dry overnight. Once the tissue feels dry, peel it off.

This process should leave clean white shoes, without any yellow staining.

Related: 3 Microwave cleaning hacks that are quick and easy to do.

Toothpaste – Ideal For Mesh Shoes


Sometimes a baking soda mixture (#1 and #2) won’t fix mesh areas on a pair of sneakers.

So instead of more elbow grease, an alternative solution is to use toothpaste.

All you need to do is apply white-gel toothpaste to the mesh area on your sneakers. Then with an old toothbrush, scrub.

Toothpaste can also be used on leather and canvas shoes, however baking soda methods are better for those materials.

Once the toothpaste is scrubbed in, use a damp cloth to wipe it away before letting your sneakers dry.

Magic Eraser – Ideal For Cleaning Soles

magic eraser

If you’re rocking Converse or any other sneaker with rubber soles, a great way to get them clean is with a Magic Eraser.

All you need to do is add water to the Magic Eraser and rub. The white foam can remove any marks just by rubbing.

You can find Magic Eraser’s on Amazon.com here for $14.

Related: 8 Simple ways to clean up your Apple Mac and optimize its speed.


What’s better than making white shoes clean? Keeping them clean in the first place.

To give your sneakers the best chance of staying clean, treat them with leather or fabric protection. It’s super affordable and available from Amazon.com.

Hetti Misenti, a seasoned writer for FamilyProof.com, brings her unique perspective on family finances and lifestyle to our readership.... More about Hetti Misenti

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