How to clean white shoes and get them looking like new again
Here's how to clean white shoes in just a few simple steps
If your fresh footwear are looking worse for wear, you'll need to know how to clean white shoes and keep them spotless, you've come to the right place. White shoes, whether made of canvas, leather or mesh, look great when new, but they soon build up with dirt and grime when worn. Cleaning these can be an intimidating task — some brands can be very expensive and the fear of causing damage puts many off the job.
Although cleaning white shoes may seem tricky to do, it's actually very straightforward with a few household products. Here, we will take you through exactly what to do step-by-step so you can get your white shoes gleaming again. Here's how to clean white shoes.
Dealing with sneakers? Be sure to check out how to clean sneakers for more detailed guidance.
Dish soap/laundry detergent (optional)
Baking soda (optional)
Hydrogen peroxide (optional)
Magic eraser/toothpaste (optional)
Some canvas shoes claim to be machine-washable, although this can damage them if you don't follow the care label instructions exactly. If you do decide to go down this route, remove the laces and place them along with your shoes in a secure mesh bag.
Follow the care label instructions, or use a cold wash on a gentle cycle. Pad out the drum with towels if you’re using a front-loading washing machine to prevent damage. Use a gentle detergent and only use a small amount. If your shoes are valuable, we don't recommend machine-washing, follow these steps instead:
1. Remove the shoelaces and brush away any obvious dry dirt. You can use an old toothbrush to get into the crevices on the sole, and a toothpick to shift any lodged stones. You can also try clapping the shoes together outside for a quick way to break away the dirt.
2. Hand wash your canvas shoes using one of the following methods:
3. Rinse your chosen solution from your shoes with a damp microfiber cloth.
4. If the soles still look grubby, you can try using a magic eraser, such as Mr. Clean Magic Eraser ($12.10, Amazon) around the edges and on the underside. Simply wet the sponge and start to scrub. Then rinse again. Alternatively, toothpaste can also be used to clean the soles.
5. Leave your shoes to dry completely. Place them in sunlight to brighten them even more.
There you have it — your white canvas shoes should look like new again.
Dish soap (optional)
Leather cleaner (optional)
Baking soda (optional)
White vinegar (optional)
Micellar water (optional)
Magic eraser (optional)
Leather is a little more delicate, so you need to take care how you clean these. First of all, never machine wash, follow these steps instead:
1. Follow the first step as for canvas shoes, removing the laces and removing any initial dry dirt.
2. Next, use a shoe tree to help them hold their shape as you clean, or alternatively you can just stuff each shoe with paper towels.
3. Then use one of the following cleaning methods to remove stains:
4. Rinse your solution away with a damp microfiber cloth.
5. Fill your leather shoes with fresh paper towels to help absorb the moisture as they dry.
6. Leave to dry completely before wearing again.
Bleach pen (optional)
The thing to remember about mesh shoes is that they’re actually quite delicate. So you need to use softer cleaning tools and you shouldn't scrub as harshly as you would on canvas.
1. Remove the laces and gently brush away any excess dry dirt with a soft-bristled toothbrush.
2. Mix a few drops of dish soap with some warm water to create a soapy mixture. Then apply gently to the mesh shoes using a microfiber cloth. Gently wipe in a circular motion, rather than scrub, and move to fresh sections of the cloth to avoid spreading the dirt.
3. If you’re dealing with stubborn stains, you can try gently scrubbing the soapy water solution in with a soft bristled toothbrush. You can also try using a bleach pen — we recommend OxiClean On The Go Stain Remover Pen ($8.99, Amazon).
4. Rinse with a clean, damp microfiber cloth.
5. Leave the shoes to dry completely before wearing them again.
Don't forget to give the laces a clean as well. You can wash these by hand with warm soapy water, or alternatively they can be machine-washed in a mesh bag, using a cold wash on a gentle cycle. Don't put them through the dryer though as this can melt the plastic ends. Instead, leave to air dry.
If you want to whiten them, you can also soak shoelaces in bleach. While wearing gloves, mix three tablespoons of bleach to one gallon of water. Secure your laces in a mesh lingerie bag, then submerge them in the water. You may need to pop something heavy on top to hold it down. After five minutes, chuck the mesh bag into the washing machine and run a cold wash on a gentle cycle. Alternatively, wash thoroughly by hand, then leave to air dry.
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Katie looks after everything homes-related, from kitchen appliances to gardening tools. She also covers smart home products too, so is the best point of contact for any household advice! She has tested and reviewed appliances for over 6 years, so she knows what to look for when finding the best. Her favorite thing to test has to be air purifiers, as the information provided and the difference between performances is extensive.
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By Cynthia LawrenceMay 28, 20231. Remove the shoelaces brush away any obvious dry dirt 2. Hand wash your canvas shoes Soap and water — Baking soda and hydrogen peroxide — Bleach — 3. Rinse damp microfiber cloth 4. magic eraser toothpaste can also be used 5. Leave your shoes to dry completely 1. removing the laces and removing any initial dry dirt 2. shoe tree to help them hold their shape 3. use one of the following cleaning methods Soap and water — Leather cleaner — Baking soda and white vinegar — Micellar water — Magic Eraser — 4. Rinse your solution away 5. Fill your leather shoes with fresh paper towels 6. Leave to dry 1. Remove the laces and gently brush away any excess dry dirt 2. create a soapy mixture apply gently 3. gently scrubbing the soapy water solution in 4. Rinse 5. dry completely