Everyone hesitates before they buy something white. It’s the age-old question. What if it gets dirty? When you buy a pair of white shoes, it’s even more concerning. After all, they’re hardly practical.
One accidental step and your white shoes are stained or scuffed for life. Or...are they? Regardless of what you may think, it is possible to keep your white shoes as sparkly and pristine as the day you bought them.
You only need to know how to clean them properly. White sneakers, whether they’re for men or women, are pretty easy to clean. Moreover, you don’t need to buy fancy cleaning supplies. You can use small staple items you probably already have in your home.
Let’s explore these seven ultimate ways to clean your white shoes. With the hacks in this article, you can rid your white sneakers of all kinds of grub and stains.
The Seven Best Ways to Clean Your White Shoes
White shoes are the ultimate fashion staple. They’re very versatile as they can be matched with any outfit. In the eighties, pairing white sneakers with denim was all the rage. Now, the eighties are making a comeback, and you don’t have to compromise fashion for practicality.
White shoes can be practical. They simply require regular cleaning.
Luckily, there are many ways you clean white shoes. However, the method you choose depends on a couple of things.
For one, how bad is the stain? If it’s very bad, try bleaching (Method 4). Oily stains, ink stains, and alcohol stains are the worst of the lot. Food and sweat stains are much easier to get out.
Secondly, what type of shoe do you have? Asking this question is very important as specific hacks don’t work as efficiently on some materials.
For example, white mesh sneakers are challenging to clean with regular cleaning pads and require a stiff-bristled toothbrush. We’ve elaborated on this in the next section.
For now, let’s get into our hacks.
1. Try Soap and Water
This is the most obvious way to go about things, and chances are you’ve already tried this. However, have you tried it effectively?
Here’s how to clean white shoes using soap and water:
- Pour two teaspoons of dish soap into 240 ml of warm water.
- Stir the solution until everything’s dissolved. (However, be mindful; you want the water to be soapy yet clear).
- Dip an old toothbrush into the mixture.
- Start brushing the stain gently. (Use circular motions).
- Repeat the process until the stain is entirely out, and the shoe color looks even.
This method requires a lot of patience. If you’re short on that (as many of us are), it’s best to use another way.
You can use this hack for all kinds of white shoes, including white sneakers, fabric shoes, and white leather loafers.
2. Use Magic Erasers
What’s a magic eraser? It’s a common name for Melamine foam, a resin with a foam-like texture. It’s a very versatile cleaning tool, so you should definitely keep one around the house.
Additionally, using magic erasers is very straightforward. You just need to add some water and rub the stain/scuff until it fades. Make sure the foam is damp, or else you can damage the shoes.
However, it’s better to use magic erasers with white sneakers for men. White sneakers for women are generally less sturdy and resilient. The foam has a rough texture that may scuff women’s shoes.
3. Mix Baking Soda and Detergent
Using baking soda to clean is a timeless hack. Baking soda gets stains out of carpets, clothes, curtains, and even light-colored shoes.
So, what do you have to do?
Follow these steps:
- Firstly, collect your ingredients. You need baking soda (one third) and laundry detergent (two thirds).
- Mix the two, but don’t add any water. The mixture should be dry and powder-like.
- Pat the powder onto the shoes with the back of a spoon.
- Let the shoes rest for at least an hour or two.
- Brush the powder off, and rinse the shoes with warm water.
- Lastly, put the shoes in the washing machine. Use the lowest/delicate wash setting.
This is a neat hack for white fabric shoes. However, if you use vegan waterproof footwear, like Loom, there are two extra steps. To maintain the hydrophobic qualities of such a pair of shoes, remember to remove the laces and inner soles. Also, let the shoes air dry instead of machine dry.
If you do that, your pair of Loom will be clean in no time. They’re actually one of the easiest types of shoes to clean because the antimicrobial material prevents mold and sweat buildup.
4. Use Bleach for Heavy Stains
Bleach is like the knight in shining armor for tough stains. It has excellent results in cleaning both white shoes and clothes.
But─remember to use bleach very carefully. It’s a potent chemical, and too much exposure can cause skin redness, burning, and breathing difficulties.
Therefore, you have to wear gloves, and you must be in a well-ventilated room.
If you’ve done this, here’s how to clean white sneakers using bleach:
- Mix bleach (one part) with warm water (five parts). (Warning: don’t use more bleach than this or you’ll turn your shoes slightly yellow).
- Use a sponge or toothbrush to loosen surface stains. You can use a lot of pressure but focus on the soiled areas.
- Now, dampen a small microfiber towel in warm water.
- Squeeze out excess water from the towel.
- Gently dab the towel over the shoes. If you’re cleaning sturdier shoes like boots, you can run them under the water tap.
- Finally, let the shoes dry for five to six hours in a well-ventilated room.
Afterward, your shoes will undoubtedly look brand new.
5. Micellar Water Helps Too
Micellar water is traditionally a makeup removing product. However, you can use it for many other creative purposes, cleaning white shoes being one.
There are only two steps to this method. Firstly, pour some micellar water onto a clean cloth. Secondly, rub the cloth on your shoes until they’re clean.
It’s that simple. Micellar water is a great hack for white leather, suede, or rubber shoes.
The water absorbs all dirt and leaves a spectacular white finish. Therefore, it’s an excellent hack for shining white shoes as well.
However, be warned; it doesn’t work well for deeper stains like oil or ink.
6. Let’s Not Forget About White Toothpaste
Last but not least, white toothpaste is a classic shoe-cleaning hack. Again, it’s very straightforward.
You just have to squeeze some toothpaste onto an old toothbrush and start rubbing your shoes. (Stay away from gel and colored toothpaste as they can stain your shoes).
Of course, you should concentrate on dirty areas. But─make sure all areas are covered evenly. When you’re done, let the shoes dry for 15-20 minutes.
In the end, just wipe the toothpaste off with a damp cloth.
Things you Should Keep in Mind While Cleaning your White Shoes:
There you have it, folks. You’ve gone through all seven ways to clean your white shoes.
However, there are still some things you should know. What are they?
Let’s find out.
- Always Take Care of Your White Shoes
If you’re going to buy white shoes for men or women, you have to care for them right out of the box. That means keeping them in a dust-free area, appropriately covered.
These days there are micro dust particles everywhere. These particles aren’t visible, but over time, appear prominently on white surfaces, including white shoes. Therefore, you should store your shoes in a box with shoe covers.
To go the extra mile, you can spray the shoes with a sneaker protector. Sneaker protectors are liquids (readily available at shoe stores) used to protect shoes from liquids, stains, and dirt.
However, waterproof shoes like Loom footwear don’t really need such protectors. Loom sells spectacular white shoes for women and men, which are resilient in all outdoor conditions. Shoes designed for outdoor purposes are already pretty resistant to liquids, stains, and dirt.
- Consider Your Shoe Type
As promised, here’s a quick guide on how to clean what type of shoe:
Leather, rubber, or plastic shoes
Magic erasers for deep stains and micellar water for normal ones.
All types of methods work on these. However, if the fabric has mesh, be careful. As mentioned, don’t use any cleaning tool except a toothbrush
Patent leather and faux leather shoes
Baking soda or toothpaste
Soap and water usually work for these
Athletic shoes (white sneakers or joggers)
Baking soda and detergent for regular stains
- Don’t Scrub
It’s better to rub or brush your white shoes. Scrubbing any shoes, especially leather, suede, or rubber shoes, can cause scuff marks.
Consequently, you have to be gentle with your movements and apply pressure gradually. Sneaker experts say you should always begin cleaning the shoes’ fabric. Afterward, you can move onto harder surfaces like the insoles.
Speaking of, when you’re cleaning your shoes, always remove the insoles and wash them separately. Insoles absorb the most sweat and dirt, so you need to wash them properly.
To sum it up, these were the seven ultimate ways to clean your white shoes. If you use these hacks and consider these tips, your white shoes will undoubtedly look brand new again. As mentioned, always take care of your white shoes.
Even if they weren’t expensive, you can keep them in optimal condition for years with regular maintenance. Therefore, you can keep your fashion staples without worrying about ruining them.