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How To Clean White Shoes

Whether white running shoes, white gym shoes, or even white casual shoes, versatility is one of the big perks of having shoes this colour. White shoes can be paired with any outfit or style more often than not. In saying that, white shoes have a downside that can put shoe shoppers off; they can look dirty fast. But this shouldn’t deter would-be white shoe owners off, as there are several simple cleaning techniques you can do at home. In this guide, we will explore some of our favourite ways to clean white shoes. Here are the main talking points: 

Is it possible to clean white shoes?
The best time to clean your white shoes
How to clean white canvas shoes
How to clean white fabric shoes
How to clean white leather shoes
How to clean white shoelaces
How to know when to replace your white shoes
Does toothpaste clean white shoes?

Let’s get started!

Is it possible to clean white shoes?

In short, yes! In fact, there are many different cleaning techniques for white shoes.  The best technique for cleaning white shoes will largely depend on the type of shoe you’re working with whether that be white casual shoes or even white leather shoes.

Some shoes will require a light touch as to not damage the shoe, while others may need the assistance of detergents and chemicals and a bit of elbow grease. Beyond cleaning shoes yourself, you may want to chat to a dry cleaners about their shoe cleaning service if your shoes are particularly messy or stained. Although, this could cost more money than it would if you’re doing a home job.


Top tip:
If you want to keep your white shoes clean for longer, it may be worth investing in a protective shoe spray. These protective sprays can help to repel water and stains.  

The best time to clean your white shoes

How often you should clean your white shoes will depend on several variables, including how often you wear your white shoes and your idea of clean. If you want your kicks to look like brand new all of the time, it’s recommended you should wash your white shoes every couple of weeks. Other reasons for regularly cleaning your white shoes include:

  • Regular cleaning can help to prevent your shoes from getting messy to begin with
  • The longer you leave your shoes dirty, the longer stains and grime sit, making it harder to get out
  • It won’t take you as long each time you clean

Top tip:
If you have white running shoes, it’s good to clean them every two weeks for hygiene reasons anyway. 

Step 1: Give your shoes a brush to remove loose dirt  

Before you get started, it’s a good idea to brush down your canvas shoes with a sturdy brush to remove any loose dirt and debris. Pay special attention to the soles of your shoes and dislodge any small stones thay may be stuck.

Step 2: Combine your mixture

In a thick bucket, mix together one tablespoon of bleach with 1 litre of water. Be careful not to spill bleach on the floor or on your skin. 

Safety tip: You must wear gloves when dealing with bleach. Otherwise, it can damage your skin.

Step 3: Stir things together 

Starting slowly, mix together the solution until the water and bleach combine. Be sure not to mix with anything from the kitchen that you’d use to cook or eat. 

Step 4: Put in some elbow grease 

Get hold of a sturdy brush like an old dish brush and get to work. The best way to scrub your white canvas shoes is in a circular motion. 

Top tip:
If you need a specialist shoe brush, it can be good to buy a shoe cleaning kit with a specialist brush and microfibre cloth to finish.

Step 5: Rinse the shoes

To finish, get rinse your canvas shoes with water to wash away the grime and the remaining cleaning solution. The best way to do this is with paper towels or a microfibre cloth. 

And there you have it! It’s worth noting only to use bleach if your canvas shoes are white. Our friends at Puma have some tips for cleaning canvas shoes in different colours

Step 1: Mix it up

To begin, mix a small portion of your laundry powder with lukewarm water. Any old laundry powder you have at home is fine, and you can use a bucket or your laundry room sink for mixing. 

Step 2: Get scrubbing 

Using a soft brush like a soft-bristled dish brush or old toothbrush, get stuck in with your soap mix. Be nice and thorough when applying the solution to your white fabric shoes. 


Step 3: Rinse and remove dirt

Then, just like with white canvas shoes, give your white fabric shoes a good rinse and wipe away any muck. Do this with a cloth or paper towel.
Our friends at adidas also have some tips on keeping your running shoes clean after you’ve finished the job.

Top tip:
An instant cleaner aerosol, water proofer aerosol, and sneaker balls are also helpful with regular running shoe maintenance.
There are packs available at Rebel Sport that have all three.

Step 1: Measure portions out

To start, add one tablespoon of bicarbonate of soda and two tablespoons of white vinegar to a cup of water.
It’s preferred if the water is lukewarm. 

Step 2: Combine your ingredients 

As with our other cleaning techniques, it’s time to get mixing. You’ll want to mix until you see a reaction occurring. 




Step 3: Gently clean

Now, it’s time to get cleaning. Unlike with our other methods, you need to be delicate with leather. Carefully use a soft brush to remove grime and muck from the white leather shoes. Then, gently wipe the footwear down with a cloth or paper towel. 

Step 4: Give your white shoes a polish

Not all white leather shoes will need this step, but if you think your shoes are in need of some extra TLC, apply shoe polish, shoe whitener or shoe protector. This can give your white leather shoes that extra bit of brightness. 

Top tip:
If you have leather football or rugby boots beyond repair, check out our boot buying guide