How to Clean White Shoes

Keeping your white shoes looking nice and clean is important, but it can seem tricky. Whether you have white sneakers or fancy white leather shoes, we’re going to show you how to make them look brand new again.

How to Clean White Shoes
How to Clean White Shoes

We’ll go through each step, from getting the right stuff to clean them with to using some easy methods to remove dirt, stains, and marks. By the end, you’ll know how to make your white shoes look super clean and fresh. Let’s get started!

Best Ways to Clean White Shoes 

Here are some of our favorite ways to clean white shoes:

  • Baking Soda and Vinegar: This method is great for cleaning lightly dirty white canvas shoes.
  • Soapy Water: Mix water with liquid dish soap to clean white leather shoes effectively.
  • Laundry Detergent: For mesh or cloth shoes, use a mixture of laundry detergent and warm water.
  • Bleach: To tackle deep stains like blood or grass, a bleach pen works wonders. For white shoelaces, a mixture of bleach and water will make them look bright again.
  • Toothpaste: Grab an old toothbrush and some white toothpaste to scrub away dirt and grime from almost any type of shoe.

These methods will help you keep your white shoes looking clean and fresh.

What You’ll Need 

Here’s a simple breakdown of the equipment/tools and materials you’ll need to clean different types of white shoes:


Canvas Shoes:

  • Bleach pen (if needed)
  • Eraser sponge (like Mr. Clean Magic Eraser)
  • Toothbrush
  • Soft cloth or paper towels

 Leather Shoes:

  • Eraser sponge
  • Toothbrush
  • Soft cloth

For White Mesh Shoes:

  • Eraser sponge
  • Toothbrush
  • Soft cloth


  • Rubber gloves
  • White mesh lingerie bag


Canvas Shoes:

  • 3 tablespoons baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar

Leather Shoes:

  • Liquid dish soap
  • 1 cup warm water
  • White paper towels

For White Mesh Shoes:

  • 1 tablespoon liquid laundry detergent
  • White paper towels


  • 3 tablespoons bleach
  • 1-gallon water
  • Laundry detergent

These are the items you’ll need to clean your white shoes depending on the material and type of shoes you have.


How to Clean White Canvas Shoes with Vinegar

This method is great for keeping your white canvas shoes, like Converse All Stars or Vans sneakers, looking clean and fresh.

First: Remove Loose Dirt

  • Take off the shoelaces to access all parts of the shoe easily.
  • To get rid of big chunks of dirt or mud, give your shoes a gentle shake outside.
  • Use a dry toothbrush or a soft brush to scrub away any remaining loose dirt. Make sure to brush the rubber soles and the outer edges of the tongue.

 Second: Clean the Shoes with Baking Soda and Vinegar

  • Mix the baking soda and white vinegar in a small bowl to create a paste.
  • Dip your toothbrush into the paste and gently scrub the shoes to remove dirt and stains.
  • Let the paste dry on the shoes. When it’s completely dry, brush off the bigger pieces and wipe away the rest with a soft cloth or paper towel.
  • For tough stains that won’t go away (like grass or blood stains), use a bleach pen on those spots. Wait about five minutes, then wash the solution off with hot water and liquid detergent.

Third: Clean the Rubber Soles

  • To get rid of scuff marks or streaks on the white soles of your shoes, use a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser.
  • Wet the sponge eraser with water and gently scrub all sides of the rubber sole.
  • Dampen a clean cloth or paper towel with water and wipe down the shoes.
  • Let your shoes air dry completely before wearing them again.

By following these steps, you can easily keep your white canvas shoes looking clean and spotless.

How to Clean White Leather Shoes

Follow these steps to clean your white leather shoes and make them look brand new.

Step 1: Clean the Shoes with Soapy Water

  • First, take off the shoelaces.
  • Use a dry toothbrush to brush away any loose dirt from the shoes.
  • Mix a few drops of liquid dish soap into a cup of warm water.
  • Dip the toothbrush into the soapy water and gently scrub all over the shoes.

Step 2: Clean the Soles and Let Them Dry

  • If there are any scuffs or stains, you can use an eraser sponge (like we explained earlier).
  • Use a damp cloth to wipe down the shoes.
  • After you’re done cleaning, stuff the shoes with white paper towels. This helps soak up any remaining moisture inside and keeps the shoes in their shape while they dry.
  • Make sure your shoes are completely dry before you put them back on.

By following these steps, your white leather shoes will look as good as new and ready to wear again.

How to Clean White Mesh Shoes with Laundry Detergent

Give your white mesh sneakers a refresh with these simple cleaning steps.

1: Brush Away Dirt

  • Mesh fabric is delicate, so you’ll need to be gentle while cleaning. Think of it like handling something fragile.
  • Use a soft-bristled dry toothbrush to carefully brush off any loose dirt from the outside of the shoes.

2: Clean the Shoes with Soapy Water

  • Create a soapy cleaning solution by adding a small amount of liquid laundry detergent to a bowl of warm water.
  • Apply the soapy solution to the shoes using a soft cloth, working in circular motions. Rinse the cloth periodically with warm water as you clean it to prevent spreading dirt or stains.
  • If there are stubborn spots like grass stains or ground-in dirt, gently scrub the mesh fabric with the toothbrush and the soapy water or use a bleach pen.

3: Rinse the Shoes and Let Them Dry

  • Be careful not to submerge your mesh shoes in water as it can damage the insides or affect their shape.
  • Instead, use a clean damp cloth to wipe down the outside of the shoes.
  • Fill the shoes with white paper towels to help them keep their shape.
  • Allow the shoes to air-dry completely before wearing them again.

By following these steps, your white mesh shoes will look clean and ready to wear once more, and you’ll protect their delicate fabric.

How to Clean White Shoelaces with Bleach

If you want to give your white shoelaces a deep cleaning and restore their brightness, you can use bleach. Just remember to protect your hands by wearing rubber gloves when working with bleach. Here’s a simple guide:

Step 1: Remove and Soak the Shoelaces

Start by taking the laces out of your shoes and placing them inside a white mesh lingerie bag. Then, soak the bag in a bleach solution for five minutes. You can make the solution by mixing 3 tablespoons of bleach with a gallon of water. To ensure the laces stay submerged, you may need to use a small plate.

Step 2: Wash the Laces

After soaking, take the laces out of the bleach solution and put them in the washing machine along with your regular detergent. Once they’re washed, let the shoelaces air dry.

How to Bleach White Shoes

If your white shoes need a quick and effective cleanup, using bleach is a great option. You can use a bleach pen for small, stubborn stains or dilute liquid bleach with water for an overall clean. Here’s how:

  • Mix 1 part bleach with 4 parts water and put on protective gloves.
  • Use a toothbrush to gently scrub the shoes with the bleach solution.
  • Rinse the shoes thoroughly and allow them to dry.

Cleaning White Shoes with Toothpaste

If you have toothpaste on hand, you can use it to clean your white sneakers in a pinch. Here’s what to do:

  • Choose an all-white toothpaste, preferably one with baking soda.
  • Take a toothbrush and gently scrub the entire surface of the shoes.
  • Let the toothpaste sit on the shoes for 15 minutes.
  • Afterward, use a damp washcloth to wipe away the dried toothpaste.

These methods will help you keep your white shoelaces and shoes looking fresh and clean.

Frequently Asked Questions

What causes white shoes to turn yellow?

White shoes can develop a yellowish tint for several reasons. Prolonged exposure to sunlight, especially right after washing, can lead to yellowing. Residue from detergents or cleaning products left inside the shoes can also contribute to this.

Normal wear and tear, as well as the accumulation of sweat and dirt in the fabric or leather, can further exacerbate yellowing.

Can you use bleach on white shoes?

You can clean white fabric shoes using a diluted bleach solution, but it’s not advisable to soak them. To do this, mix one part bleach with five parts water and apply the mixture to stains using a cloth.

However, be cautious when using bleach on white fabric shoes, as it may potentially cause them to yellow even more.



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