How to Clean White Sneakers Like a Pro


Sneakers are a top trend, so making a guide on how to clean white sneakers is essential. When they’re fresh out of the box, white sneakers seem to attract dirt the moment you slip them on. Just as there are many ways to rock a white sneaker, there are numerous methods to clean them as well. It’s time to freshen up your footwear with our guide on how to clean white sneakers.    

How to Protect White Sneakers From Getting Dirty

One of the best ways to keep your white sneakers clean is to prepare before you wear. Spraying your white sneakers with a protector product will help preserve that brand-new look. Shoe protectants like Apple Brand and Liquiproof build an invisible layer to help repel stains and water. No matter which you select, make sure that it is appropriate for the material of sneakers you are protecting. Shoe protectors come in many forms with varying features. Do your shoe-due diligence when selecting the right protectant for your kicks. Think one application will do? Always check the directions, but in general, it takes continual treatments to maintain the bright white of your sneakers.

Another constant way to preserve your white sneakers is to find a proper place to store them. Just as dust lands on the surfaces of our homes, it can also end up on your sneakers. Storing your white sneakers in a shoe bag or box protects them from open air debris that can alter the color and appearance of your sneakers. Both of these tips can prevent you from ever having to ask how to clean white sneakers again. 

How to Clean Your White Sneakers with Sneaker Cleaner

Chances are you probably have a pair of white sneakers that you didn’t protect. No worries. There are many ways to shine your sneaks. One of the main methods to clean your white sneakers is with a sneaker cleaner. Go ahead. Say it. DUH. While it may seem obvious, sneaker cleaner is often one of the last things we think to stock up on. Finding a cleaner that is specifically made to clean sneakers safely can increase the look and life of your footwear. Pinpoint the one that works for you and keep a can with your household cleaners. Most come with a handy brush to create a one-stop-shoe-cleaning-shop. Always follow instructions on how to clean white sneakers for specific shoe cleaners to ensure proper care for your favorite trainers. 

How to Clean White Sneakers with Household Goods

Scuffed up your sneakers and don’t have a sneaker cleaner? Never fear. The answer to how to clean white sneakers is no further than your own house. Your abode is full of things that you can use to bring the white sneakers that you love back to life. Let’s dive right into your cleaning closet or medicine cabinet to find a solution for your dingy footwear woes. 

How to Clean Sneakers with a Toothbrush

The first of the many household items that you can use to clean white sneakers is a toothbrush. Grabbing an old or extra toothbrush is a great start to getting your white shoes back into formation. The small brush enables you to get into the corners and crevices of the shoe. The bristles are incredibly close together, increasing the amount and depth of cleaning with every scrub. If it’s good enough for your teeth, it can certainly clean your white sneakers in an exceptional manner.

Some sneaker-cleaning connoisseurs take things a step further and use white toothpaste as a cleaning agent with the toothbrush. Use this hack on how to clean white sneakers only on the rubber portions of the shoes. Non-gel, white toothpaste can bring back those pearly white soles. Simply add toothpaste to a toothbrush. Wet the brush and use it to clean the white rubber portions of the shoe. Leave the toothpaste on the rubber areas for 10 minutes. Wipe with a damp cloth and repeat until your sneakers are restored to your desired hue of white.

How to Clean Sneakers with Detergent

Now that you have a cleaning brush, get out your gentle detergent. From laundry to dishwashing, liquid detergents are made for the toughest stains and know how to clean white sneakers with the same voracity. Mix one teaspoon of detergent with one cup of warm water. Dip your toothbrush in the soapy water and scrub your canvas and/or leather sneakers in a side-to-side motion. Continually dip the toothbrush in the cleaning mixture until the shoe is so fresh and so clean-clean. Wipe off the excess soapy water with a fresh towel or damp sponge and let your sneakers air dry completely. You may have to do this more than once for your desired result, but trust us, it will be worth it. 

How to Clean Sneakers with Baking Soda

Ever wonder how to clean white sneakers with baking soda? That’s right—baking soda doesn’t just keep your refrigerator fresh, it cleans your sneakers, too. In particular, your colorless canvas shoes will clean up with this method on how to clean white sneakers. In a small bowl, combine a tablespoon each of baking soda, hot water and white vinegar. Use your toothbrush to work the mixture on the canvas areas of your shoes in a circular motion. Leave the shoes covered in the mixture to dry (direct sunlight for 3–4 hours works best). Once dry, use the same brush to remove the dried paste or simply clap the soles of the shoes together to release the dried powder. Voila! Your white sneakers will be cleaner and brighter.

Stylist Tip: When cleaning any surface, it’s always a good idea to attempt a spot test first. This will ensure that the cleanser and cleaning method you are using works for the piece that you are washing. When scrubbing your sneakers, first try under the tongue of the shoe for style safety. 

How to Clean Sneakers with Micellar Water

Micellar water took the world by storm for cleaning faces, but it’s also an answer for how to clean white sneakers. This purified water is made from moisturizers like glycerin and mild surfactants which are compounds used for cleansing. The surfactants come together to form micelles which are powerful, yet gentle structures that pull dirt and oil from skin. In this case, the micellar water pulls dirt right out of canvas or leather, leaving your white shoes brighter. Dampen a clean cloth with micellar water and rub the cloth on your white shoes until they are clean. Set your shoes aside to air dry. Perfect. You have just enough time to read up on how to style biker shorts before sporting your refreshed white sneakers. 

How to Clean Sneakers with a Magic Eraser 

Another effective tool for your sneaker cleaning kit is the Magic Eraser. One of Mr. Clean’s greatest creations, the Magic Eraser is exactly what it sounds like. It literally erases stains like magic. Mind, blown. It’s a sponge eraser made from melamine, a delicate abrasive that rapidly lifts dirt and grime. Combat anything from grass stains on the soles of denim sneakers to mud on canvas slip-on sneakers in three easy steps. Simply wet the Magic Eraser, wring out the excess water, rub the stained area and watch it disappear. No need for detergents. The Magic Eraser stands alone and knows how to clean white sneakers in a snap. Dry your sneakers with a clean cloth—abracadabrayou are ready to step out in style.  

How to Clean Sneakers with Bleach

Knowing how to clean white sneakers with bleach is a complicated process. Bleach is a very powerful substance that can turn your white shoes yellow if used incorrectly. We don’t do yellow snow and we don’t do yellow sneakers (unless purchased as so, of course). Do not bleach shoes in an actual washing machine and never bleach a leather pair of sneakers. Furthermore, do not bleach a shoe that is not completely white—the bleach will damage the colored parts of the sneaker. What about off-white sneakers? Bleach will damage them, too. If your canvas sneakers are not 100% white, bleach is not a cleaning solution that you should use. 

Now that the disclaimers are out of the way, here are steps to bleach your white canvas sneakers to make them brighter. For every one part bleach, you must dilute it with six parts water. Use a toothbrush to scrub the solution onto the canvas sneaker, rinse well with warm water and allow the shoes to dry. 

The best and safest use of bleach for white shoes is to restore their white laces. Place the laces in a delicate laundry bag. Submerge the laces in a solution of 3 tablespoons of bleach and one gallon of water then allow them to soak for 5 minutes. Thoroughly wash the laces while inside of the bag with hot water and detergent. Hang up the laces to air dry and you are one step closer to fresh white sneakers.  

How to Clean Using the Washing Machine

Can you clean white sneakers in a washing machine? In short, yes. Most shoes will include information whether they are machine washable. Check the washing instructions, usually found on the inner side of the shoe or under the tongue. You can also search brand websites to learn more about your individual pair. Cleaning white canvas sneakers (never leather or running shoes) in the washing machine sounds like an easy task. However, there are a few steps you must take before starting the cycle.

First step in how to clean white sneakers in the washing machine is to prepare the shoes. Take out the laces and brush off as much dirt as you can. Don’t ignore the soles of your shoes, which could contain embedded mud and small rocks. After surveying the soles, place your sneakers in the washing machine. Secure the laces in a small laundry bag and add them to the machine as well. If you can, wash your sneakers along with something like towels or sheets. It helps to create a buffer for the loud clanking of the shoes. This also acts as protection for the shoe itself from the thrashing of the wash cycle. Based on the amount of items in the washer, add the appropriate amount of detergent and wash the sneakers using the gentle or delicate mode.

Once the cycle has concluded, do not throw your white sneakers in the dryer. Always let them air dry to avoid shrinkage and damage to the soles. To help retain the shape of the shoe while drying out, stuff the toes with light fabric like nylon mesh. Once dry, re-lace them and you are good to go.

How to Clean White Leather Sneakers

Now that we know how to clean white sneakers, before we go, let’s dive into how to clean white leather sneakers. When you purchase white leather sneakers, be sure to add a leather shoe protectant to your shopping cart. It helps to prevent stains and damage like cracks to the leather itself.

If dirt finds its way in, it’s important to never submerge your white leather sneakers in water or use bleach in any way. Always use water mixed with detergent, soap, baking soda and/or vinegar to clean the surface of the leather. Apply mixture with a brush, such as your handy toothbrush, and wipe off the excess with a clean towel. 

Stylist Tip: Leather loves ivory bar soap. It’s gentle, effective and the perfect pairing for cleaning your favorite pair of white leather sneakers.

For the rubber portions of the shoe, utilize the Magic Eraser. Always air dry indoors and never in direct sunlight. This can cause irreversible damage to your white leather sneakers by encouraging the leather to crack. Clean the laces using the process outlined above, and you have a pair of white leather sneakers that are as close to new as can be. 

Stylist Tip: Your white leather sneakers aren’t just for women’s loungewear looks. They are the perfect shoes to wear with jumpsuits and casual dresses for a more relaxed vibe.

How to Clean White Suede Sneakers

Does this cleaning process for how to clean white sneakers apply to suede? We are glad that you asked because it’s an entirely different ballgame. Suede is a high-quality leather with a delicate, soft texture. If you get a stain on your suede leather shoes, blot it immediately. Do not rub the stain as this can cause it to spread. 

After you remove as much of the stain as possible, gently buff the stain with a pink pencil eraser. Yes, that’s right—add this everyday item to your new set of at-home cleaning supplies. Dip a soft cloth in white vinegar and blot the remaining parts of the stain. Let the area fully dry, once again, out of the sunlight. One final step is to brush your shoe with a suede brush to revive the fine texture of this luxe leather.      

Now that you know how to clear white sneakers, are you ready for a crisp new pair? Take your style quiz, order a Fix and ask your stylist for a pair of crisp white kicks. You’re never required to schedule more than one Fix at a time and shipping and returns are always free.

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