One of the greatest mysteries around the home is how to clean white shoes. Useful and practical as they may be, white shoes are notoriously hard to keep looking fresh and pristine after being taken out of the box. If you've ever struggled with this chore, don't feel bad: We searched high and low to find the best tips on what to use to clean white shoes so you master this task once and for all. From bleach to baking soda to toothpaste, here's a look at the best ways to keep your white shoes in great shape.
Remember: While it is possible to figure out how to clean white shoes, it does take a little extra time and commitment and a few brilliant cleaning shortcuts. If you're up for the challenge, the results are worth it. Who knows; you may even have people asking if your white shoes are new, long after you bought them. A little effort can go a long way!
How to Clean White Shoes
First things first: Prevention is key. Before you even put your new shoes on for the first time, experts recommend that you treat them immediately with a spray-on stain and water repellant. Repeat the spray-on process every few weeks to keep your shoes protected no matter where you plan to wear them or what type of weather, spills, or grime you come in contact with during your day.
Another wise tip: Make spot-cleaning a habit. It may seem tedious, but regular spot-cleaning will lend a huge hand toward how to clean white shoes completely. To do: Wipe off any stains or scuffs as soon as you see them with a gentle cleaning agent or wipe. Otherwise, they might sink into the fabric, and your task of getting them perfectly white again will be that much more challenging.
What to Use to Clean White Shoes
One of the must-haves for cleaning your white shoes? An old toothbrush, which can help you target hard-to-reach smudges. Use it scrub your white shoes (gently!) using just warm water and soap, and you'll probably make a difference to the condition of your shoes. But if that doesn't work, know that a variety of household items — baking soda, bleach, baby powder, and even toothpaste — can all help you get your stained shoes white again.
An important piece of advice: Never, ever put your white shoes or sneaker in the washing machine with the rest of the laundry, or even in the wash by themselves. Doing so can this make the stain and discoloration of white shoes even worse, but more importantly it can cause permanent damage. You may notice tears, loose threads, or a breakdown in your shoes' leather or fabrics; in short, your shoes may never look the same again after that initial wash. Our vote: Skip it altogether.
Can you clean white shoes with bleach?
Wondering if you can use bleach on white sneakers? The short answer: Yes, you can — but it's not your most gentle choice. In fact, the caveat with using bleach to clean white shoes is that you have to dilute it carefully. As for how much bleach to use to clean white shoes: It varies, but most shoe-care guides suggest mixing one part bleach to five parts water. Any more bleach used will increase your risk of turning your white fabrics a weird yellow tone.
It's important to note: Household bleach (sodium hydroxide) is not technically speaking considered corrosive or toxic, even if ingested, but bleach exposure can cause irritation in the eyes, mouth, lungs and on skin. You should also follow the standard bleach safety tips you'd use anytime you're working with bleach for regular loads of laundry: Mainly, staying in a well-ventilated area and protecting your eyes and skin.)
To clean white shoes with bleach: You'll need bleach, a container, water, a toothbrush, and a fan or a nearby open window. Mix a small amount of bleach with at least five times as much water in a well ventilated area. Dip your toothbrush in the diluted bleach solution and scrub the shoes gently. Rinse with warm water when you're finished, and then let the shoes air dry for at least several hours; overnight is better.
How to Clean White Shoes With Baking Soda
Sure, it freshens your fridge, but baking soda is just another tool in your arsenal of what to clean white shoes with — and it's one of our favorite DIY cleaning tricks because it really works. To play it safe, you'll also need a splash or two of white vinegar, which in addition to freshening up the scent of your home is a pretty useful cleaning agent as well.
To clean white shoes with baking soda: Combine one tablespoon of hot water, one tablespoon of white vinegar, and one tablespoon of baking soda. Mix until it reaches a paste-like consistency, and then work (using an old toothbrush) to brush the mixture onto the canvas areas of your shoes. Work in circular motions for best results. Once the shoes are covered, leave them outside in bright, warm sunlight for 3-4 hours. Once the mixture is dry, clap the shoes together to remove it; brushing again with a toothbrush should remove it all. Shoes should be several shades whiter. (Side note: Baking soda can also be used to easily clean cookie sheets and other common kitchen and household items, making it a must-have for your fridge at all times.)
How to Clean White Shoes With Toothpaste
Sure, it whitens your teeth — but can it whiten your shoes? It can, believe it or not. Clearly, you'll need to stay away from colored toothpastes (no pinks, blues, or greens, thanks very much!) which can stain white shoes further. The bonus here is that you know your cleaning agent is gentle; you use it in your mouth, after all.
To clean white shoes with toothpaste: Use a non-gel white toothpaste and an old toothbrush. Similar to how to clean white shoes with baking soda, you'll apply the toothpaste to your dirty shoes, working in circular motions on your extra-dirty spots. Once you have worked the paste into the fabric of the shoes, let it sit for about ten minutes. Use a damp towel to wipe the toothpaste off your shoe; repeat the process if necessary.
There you have it: Your dirty white shoes don't have to stay that way forever — and you don't have to throw them out and get a new pair. With a few brilliant cleaning hacks and a little time and effort, you can clean white shoes effectively and cheaply... and put off your shoe-shopping for that much longer. Talk about a win-win!