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How to Clean White Shoes

White footwear is a basic wardrobe essential. This versatile colour complements practically every ensemble, making it an excellent option for daily wear. The downside is that the slightest stain seems magnified on white shoes, making them appear old and quickly faded.

If you’ve been thinking of keeping aside your whites for work around your house or relegating them to the back of your closet, think again! While cleaning white shoes may seem tricky, a few household products and a little patience can go far. The Love Your Shoes team has cleaned thousands of shoes–check out our shoe cleaning and repair gallery here– and we’ve got some advice to restore your white shoes to their original beauty. Before you begin, double-check the material of your shoe, read directions, and gather together your cleaning supplies.

Consider the Shoe Material

The material from which your shoe is made will play a critical role in cleaning your shoe.

Shoe MaterialsCleaning Methods
Leather, rubber, or plastic shoesMagic erasers for deep stains and micellar water for normal ones
Fabric shoesEasiest to handle. But if the fabric has mesh, be careful. Don’t use anything harsher than a toothbrush.
Faux leather shoesBaking soda or toothpaste
Sporty shoes (white sneakers or joggers)Soap and water work well

Now that you’ve had that quick sneak peek, let’s get into the nitty-gritties!

How to Clean White Canvas Shoes

Cotton canvas shoes have a vast ‘appetite’ for dirt and stain. Here’s the lowdown on keeping your white canvas shoes spotless.

How to Clean White Canvas Shoes in Etobicoke

What You’ll Need

  • A toothbrush
  • 3 tbsp. baking soda
  • 1 tbsp. white vinegar
  • A soft cloth or paper towel
  • A bleach pen
  • An eraser sponge

Remove Loose Dirt

  • Untie the shoelaces to access all shoe components. 
  • Take the shoes outside and tap the soles to dislodge caked-on dirt or mud. 
  • Scrub the shoes using a dry toothbrush or tiny, soft-bristled brush. 
  • Brush the soles and tongue edges.

Clean Shoes with Baking Soda and Vinegar

  • Make a paste with baking soda and white vinegar.
  • Scrub the shoes gently with the paste using the toothbrush.
  • Let the paste solidify and dry thoroughly.
  • Now, brush off the bigger particles and clean the residue with a soft cloth or paper towel.
  • For stubborn stains, use a bleach pen and wash with hot water and detergent after five minutes.

Clean Rubber Soles

  • Scrub the rubber sole with a magic eraser. 
  • Wipe the shoes with a damp cloth or paper towel. 
  • Air-dry them before wearing.

How to Clean White Leather Shoes

Follow these procedures to refresh white leather shoes.

How to Clean White Leather Shoes in Etobicoke

What You’ll Need

  • A toothbrush
  • Liquid dish soap
  • 1 cup warm water
  • An eraser sponge
  • A soft cloth
  • White paper towels

Clean Shoes with Soapy Water

  • Remove shoelaces from the shoe.
  • Use a dry toothbrush to remove dirt. 
  • Mix dish soap into warm water. 
  • Scrub shoes with a soapy toothbrush.

Clean Soles and Let Dry

  • Use an eraser sponge to remove scuffs and stains. 
  • Wipe shoes with a wet towel. 
  • Stuff shoes with white paper towels to absorb moisture and hold shape.


Cleaning agents that use alcohol or other harsh abrasives can do more damage than good. Sometimes, it can lift patches off the leather coating. Cleaners and conditioners made for cleaning leather interiors of cars or sofa sets may sometimes be worth exploring if you possess an expensive pair of leathers. Before you wear them, it’s advisable to spray leather shoes with a protectant to prevent stains in the first place and respray every few weeks.

How to Clean White Mesh Shoes

Revive your white mesh sneakers with these cleaning tips.

How to Clean White Mesh Shoes in Etobicoke

What You’ll Need

  • A toothbrush
  • 1 tbsp. liquid laundry detergent
  • Warm water
  • A soft cloth
  • A bleach pen
  • An eraser sponge
  • White paper towels

Brush Away Dirt

  • A fragile fabric that’s readily snagged, mesh sneakers will need a gentler touch than canvas.
  • Use a dry soft-bristled toothbrush to remove dirt off the shoes.

Clean Shoes with Soapy Water

  • Make a cleaning solution by adding liquid laundry detergent to warm water. 
  • In circular motions, apply this solution to the shoes with a toothbrush. 
  • Rinse the cleaning cloth with warm water to avoid spreading dirt or stains. 
  • For grass stains or ground-in dirt, use a toothbrush, soapy water, or a bleach pen.

Rinse Shoes and Let Dry

  • Avoid submerging mesh shoes in water as it could ruin their form. 
  • Wipe the shoes with a wet towel. 
  • Fill the shoes with white paper towels to retain their form and let them air-dry.

How to Clean White Suede Shoes

Being a delicate fabric that stains readily, keeping suede shoes clean can be challenging. To downplay the dirt, most manufacturers make suede shoes off-white rather than white. However, like pure whites, off-whites too are susceptible to staining. Here’s how you can gently and effectively clean suede shoes.

How to Clean White Suede Shoes in Etobicoke

What You’ll Need

  • A soft cotton cloth
  • A suede/pencil eraser
  • White vinegar
  • A suede brush

Begin by Blotting

  • Blot your shoes with a soft cloth to remove moisture.
  • Gently rub stains with a suede eraser or a colourless pencil eraser. If this doesn’t work, gently rub a nail file back and forth over the dry stain.
  • You can also rub the dirt out of suede with a slice of stale bread! Make sure the bread is stale enough to be hardened and rough, so it can effectively buff out the stain.

Dry with a Paper Towel

  • Place a paper towel onto any wet stain and apply pressure.
  • Make sure not to rub the dirt and stains, as they could spread across the shoe.

Get Rid of Remaining Stains

  • Dip a soft cloth in white vinegar and gently rub off any remaining stains.
  • Allow your shoes to dry out.
  • Rub the outside of each shoe with a suede brush to bring back its velvety texture.

Tips to Maintain Clean White Shoes

How to Keep White Shoes Clean in Etobicoke

Prevention is the best way to keep your shoes white and clean. Instead of waiting for your white shoe to become grubby, make it a practice to clean them regularly instead, as this will prevent the dirt from becoming entrenched in the shoes. Here are a few quick tips from our shoe cleaning team at Love Your Shoes.

  • Before wearing your new white sneakers for the first time, spritz them with a stain-and water-repellent spray.
  • Make it a habit to spot-clean your shoes. 
  • Use dish soap to remove any stains or scuffs as soon as you see them.
  • Keep a magic eraser on hand since it can be a go-to tool for keeping your whites white.
  • Periodically remove your shoelaces and gently wash them in a soapy solution bath.
  • Remember to spot clean the areas between the shoelaces.
  • If there’s a long gap between wears, store your shoes in a shoe box.


Also Read: Tips to keep your feet smelling good

How Love Your Shoes Can Help You Clean Your White Shoes

If you’ve tried all of the tips and tricks in this blog and are still struggling to get your shoes back to their original white colour, contact Love Your Shoes. We specialise in shoe cleaning, footwear colour restoration and shoe repair, and we are confident that we can get your white shoes white again! 

Call us today or fill out our online quote form and learn more about our services.

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