Tips and tricks for clean white shoes 

There’s nothing like pulling those new Converse All-Star high tops out of the box or slipping on your Vans for the first time. That new-shoe smell …there’s nothing better…except maybe the beautiful white canvas. 

And then…summer happens. The white fades. They just don’t have that “pop” anymore – little mud, some dirt, maybe a bit of grass staining because you forgot to take them off before cutting the lawn. Don’t fret. Your ultra-cool shoes can make a trendy comeback. Follow the tips below to make your shoes white again. 

How to make shoes white again 

With all of these methods, make sure you start by removing any big chunks of dirt with a soft brush, clean out the treads and remove any shoelaces. That way, no matter how you make shoes white again, the cleaners can go to work on the tough stuff. 

Machine washing 

  1. You may want to secure your shoes and separated laces together in a mesh bag. 
  1. Set your washing machine on a gentle cycle with cold water. 
  1. Use a gentle detergent, but don’t add it until the machine has filled halfway with water. Use half of the detergent you would for a normal load. 
  1. If you have a top-loader, add the shoes when the tub is about three-quarters filled with water. 
  1. Air dry when the cycle is finished. 

Hand wash with baking soda 

  1. In a small bowl, mix 1 tablespoon of baking soda, one-half tablespoon water and one-half tablespoon hydrogen peroxide to create a smooth paste. 
  1. Gently brush the mixture into the shoe’s surface with an old toothbrush, just firm enough to work out any loose dirt and work the paste in. 
  1. Brush on a second coat of paste. 
  1. Stir the shoelaces into the remaining paste mixture. 
  1. Set your shoes and laces in the sun for 3 to 4 hours, or until the paste is dry and cracking off. The brighter the sun and hotter the weather, the whiter and brighter your shoes will get. 
  1. Brush off any excess paste and re-lace. Your shoes should be many times whiter than before. 

Hand wash with all-purpose cleaner 

  1. Spray your shoes with a multi-purpose cleaner. 
  1. Scrub all dirty areas with an old toothbrush. 
  1. With a soft cloth, wipe off any excess cleaner. 
  1. Keep the toothbrush wet and scrub your shoes until they’re beautifully white again. 

Hand wash with bleach 

  1. Make a solution of 1 part bleach to 4 parts water. 
  1. Dip an old toothbrush in the solution, then scrub the dirty parts of your shoes. 
  1. Rinse the scrub brush with water, then, keeping it wet, scrub the stains until they’re gone. 
  1. You can enhance the whitening power by letting the shoes sit out in the sun for a while after bleaching. 

Show off your clean white shoes 

While they may not have that new-shoe smell, they definitely will have the fresh, out-of-the-box look. So, get out there and show off those cool scoots.