Last updated on March 29th, 2023 at 11:46 am
How To Clean White Shoes: The Ultimate Guide
If you’ve ever owned a pair of white shoes, you’re probably familiar with the dingy, yellowish tint they can get after a few wears.
A staple of most wardrobes, white shoes can brighten up any outfit. They can also help to reduce the amount our feet sweat in the sun – due to their ability to reflect light. With that in mind, it’s important to keep them in top condition.
But cleaning white shoes involves more than just throwing them in the washing machine. Check out these tips to keep your white shoes and trainers looking good as new for longer.
What’s on this page:
Cleaning white shoes: the basics
There are a few tried-and-tested methods of cleaning white shoes that don’t cost a fortune.
Simple household products can be just as good as cleaning solutions – if not better. These are some of the most effective cleaning methods.
Toothpaste is great for whitening the soles of trainers and shoes. Before you jump in, make sure it’s completely white and free of coloured gel.
- Squeeze a pea-sized amount of toothpaste onto a toothbrush.
- Massage the toothpaste into the affected area in a circular motion.
- Let the toothpaste sit for five minutes.
- Use a clean, damp cloth to remove the toothpaste.
Vinegar is a versatile household item that can be used for a variety of cleaning tasks, including cleaning white shoes.
One of the main benefits of using vinegar is that it is acidic, which means it can break down dirt and stains on the surface of the shoes. Vinegar can also help to deodorise the shoes and eliminate any unpleasant odours.
- To use vinegar to clean white shoes: Start by mixing equal parts water and white vinegar in a spray bottle.
- Spray the mixture onto your shoes, focusing on any areas that appear particularly stained or dirty.
- Let the vinegar solution sit for a few minutes. Then, use a soft-bristled brush to gently start scrubbing.
- Rinse your shoes with clean water and pat them dry with a clean towel.
- If you can still see some stains, repeat the process until they’re clean.
- Make sure to let your shoes completely air dry before you wear them again.
Laundry detergent is the one of the best ways to clean white shoes that have excess dirt. You’ll want to use a small amount, as too much can turn your white shoes yellow.
- Add a small amount of liquid detergent into a bowl of warm water and mix.
- Once the water turns soapy, dip a soft-bristled brush into the solution.
- Using the brush, gently rub the detergent onto your shoes to remove any dirt.
- Let the detergent sit on your shoes for a couple of minutes before using a clean cloth to wipe them clean.
- If the stains don’t budge after the first attempt, repeat the process using bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) instead.
What not to do when cleaning white shoes
When it comes to cleaning white shoes, there are some things you should avoid:
- Don’t throw your white shoes in the washing machine – this can damage the material.
- Don’t use water on suede or nubuck leather – this can leave water marks.
- Don’t dip white shoes into detergent –use a soft-bristle toothbrush to apply a small amount instead.
- Don’t let your white shoes dry in the sun – strong UV rays can turn your white shoes brown.
Something to keep in mind…
You should also bear in mind that your cleaning methods and solutions may need to change depending on your shoe material and texture. In some cases, you might need a specialist product or stain remover.
One method doesn’t work for all shoes – so keep this in mind if you’re looking to clean your favourite pair of white shoes. You don’t want to ruin them!
Take a look at our guide on how to clean white trainers for more specific information.
How to clean white leather shoes
Whether it’s waxed, oiled or suede, leather is a popular material used for shoes. But it’s also delicate and can lose its shape when wet. With this in mind, white toothpaste often works best to clean white shoes made of leather.
- Apply the toothpaste onto a toothbrush and scrub in small circles.
- Dip a soft cloth into a bowl of warm, soapy water and rub it gently over your shoe.
- Stuff your shoes with paper towels to absorb any excess water and let them air dry.
How to clean white shoe laces
Cleaning white shoelaces can be a quick and easy task that can bring new life to your favourite shoes.
To clean white shoe laces:
- Remove the laces from the shoes.
- Next, fill a bowl or container with warm water and add a small amount of laundry detergent or soap to create suds.
- Submerge the laces in the soapy water and let them soak for 15-20 minutes. This will help to loosen any dirt or grime on the laces.
- After soaking, use a toothbrush or soft-bristled brush to gently scrub the laces to remove any remaining dirt or stains.
- Once clean, rinse the laces thoroughly with clean water to remove any remaining soap or detergent.
- Finally, let the laces air dry completely before using them again. With these simple steps, your white shoelaces will look as good as new in no time.
What is the best way to protect white shoes?
There are many ways that you can protect white shoes against stains, water marks and dirt.
- Spray-on whiteners cover marks and scuffs, helping to restore the colour of your shoes – whether they’re leather or textile.
How to clean white shoes FAQs
With so many different ways to clean white shoes, it can be hard to know the best method. We’ve answered some of the top frequently asked questions.
How can I get yellow stains out of white shoes?
To remove yellow stains from white shoes, put one tablespoon of salt in a cup of hot water and mix until it dissolves. Dip a soft-bristled toothbrush in the solution and scrub over the affected area until the stains disappear. Dry with a clean cloth and you’re good to go!
How can I get mud out of white shoes?
To clean white shoes from mud, mix white vinegar and warm water in a bowl and dip a soft cloth into the solution. Wipe gently until the mud fades, then leave to dry. For suede shoes, wait until the mud has dried before cleaning with a hard-bristled brush.
Why do my white shoes turn blue?
White shoes are often stained blue through the transfer of colour from your jeans. That could be because of wearing, or due to storing the two together on a regular basis. The best way to remove blue stains from your white leather shoes is with a cotton bud and some nail polish remover. You can further protect your white leather shoes by using an appropriately coloured balm after cleaning, to prevent the leather from drying out.
Can you put white shoes in the washing machines?
Yes, you can put certain white shoes in the washing machine. Materials such as cotton, nylon, canvas and polyester are fine, but shoes made from leather, suede, rubber, and vinyl aren’t. Ultimately, it’s best to clean white shoes with a toothbrush and warm water mixed with either baking soda or vinegar.
How often should you clean white shoes?
To keep your white shoes looking squeaky clean for longer, you’ll want to wash them at least once a month. But this depends on how often you wear them. Cleaning white shoes frequently can help to keep dirt, scuffs and stains at bay. Try not to let a stain sit, because it will be harder to remove.
White shoes can be a fantastic addition to your wardrobe – especially during the summer months – however, you’re likely to pick up stains along the way.
With these tips on how to clean white shoes, you’ll be able to keep that fresh-from-the-box look for longer. For more tips and tricks, check out our guide on how to clean vegan shoes.