Expert Guide: 5 Proven Methods of How to Clean White Shoes

how to clean white shoes

If you love shoes, then I believe you also have a pair or two white shoes at home, right? White shoes are cool and they go well with everything you wear. But in terms of maintenance, they require extra care and therefore, you need to know how to clean white shoes and how to apply special cleaning method to keep them clean and fresh.

Since I love shoes, I have been trying so many cleaning methods on how to keep them clean and fresh. After several trials and errors, I finally found the best one and I am here to share everything I know about cleaning white shoes with you, so you can clean your white shoes using this method, too.

I. Cleaning Kits and Their Functions

First things first, you need to know the cleaning kits need to clean your white shoes. One quick tip, it is better to separate the cleaning kits for your white shoes with those used for other shoes.

Cleaning Kit ImageCleaning Kit ItemFunction
how to clean sneakersShoe CleanerRemove stains or dirt from your shoes.
how to clean sneakersApronProtect your shirt from stains and dirt while cleaning.
Premium BrushClean the upper part of your shoes.
Medium BrushClean the midsole area of your shoes.
Standard BrushClean the outsole area of your shoes.
how to clean sneakersSmall Brush or ToothbrushClean narrow area and inside part of your shoes.
Microfiber ClothWipe the dirt off your shoes.
Shoe TreeKeep the shoes in shape.
how to clean sneakersWash BowlPlace to mix your shoe cleaner and water.
Shoe PerfumeAdd fragrance and keep your shoes fresh.

II. 5 Ways to Clean White Shoes from an Expert

After you understand the cleaning kits and their functions, it’s time to clean the shoes for real! Here is my tutorial on how to clean white shoes.

There are two best options of solutions that you can use to clean your shoes; shoe cleaner or laundry detergent. Let’s find out the difference between the two ways below.

a. Clean White Shoes Using Shoe Cleaner

Step 1: Prepare the white shoes that need cleaning

how to clean white shoes

First, prepare a pair of dirty white shoes that you want to clean.

Step 2: Prepare the cleaning kits

how to clean white shoes

After the shoes are ready, now let’s prepare the cleaning kits. Take the shoe cleaner, various types of brush (premium, medium, standard, and small), a microfiber cloth, two shoe trees, a washbowl filled with water, and shoe perfume. Also, don’t forget to wear an apron so you won’t get dirt on your clothes.

Step 3: Take the shoelaces off

how to clean white shoes

Cleaning the shoelaces is as important as cleaning the shoes themselves. The next step is taking the shoelaces off the shoes.

To clean the shoelace, mix water with shoe cleaner in a separate bowl, then submerge the shoelaces into the mixture for 15 to 20 minutes. Rinse the shoelaces and set them aside.

Step 4: Put a shoe tree on each shoe

how to clean white shoes

Next, remove the insole and put a shoe tree on each shoe to maintain its shape and keep it sturdy. The same goes for the irremovable insole.

Step 5: Dry cleaning

how to clean white shoes

Now let’s start cleaning! Take a premium brush, then rub the upper shoes gently to remove dirt and stains there.

Step 6: Clean the outsole and midsole

how to clean white shoes

After you’re done cleaning the upper shoe, now it’s time to clean the outsole and midsole. Take a standard brush, then dip it into the water and shoe cleaner mixture to scrub the dirt and stains off the outsole.

For the dirty midsole, follow the previous step. But, this time, use a medium brush to remove dirt and stains there. You need to scrub thoroughly and pay attention, so you don’t miss any dirt or stain there. Wipe the dirt with a microfiber cloth and repeat the process until it’s all clean.

Step 7: Clean the upper area of the shoes

how to clean white shoes

Take a premium brush, then dip it into the water and shoe cleaner mixture before scrubbing the upper shoe. Repeat the process until there’s no more dirt and yellow stain on the shoe.

Again, don’t use a standard brush to clean the upper shoe because it might cause scratches and damage.

Step 8: Clean the inside of the shoe

how to clean white shoes

The next step is cleaning the inside part of the shoe. Dab a small brush into the water and shoe cleaner mixture and scrub the inside part until it’s clean. You can replace the small brush with a premium one, but don’t force the brush to get into the narrow inside. After the scrubbing is done, wipe the dirt off with a microfiber cloth.

Step 9: Detailing

how to clean white shoes

The next step is cleaning the small details and parts of the shoes, also known as detailing. Use a wet microfiber cloth to clean the dirty details of the shoes, like the eyelets, as the cloth has excellent absorbance and the ability to remove dirt and stain.

I believe you can also use a cloth or wet tissue as an alternative, but they might not be as effective as the microfiber cloth. Submerge some tissue papers into the water, then cover the upper shoe with them. Wait until dirt and stains get absorbed into the tissue paper.

Step 10: Drying process

how to clean white shoes

After your shoes are clean, it’s time to dry them. Avoid drying shoes under direct sunlight, and use a fan to dry the shoes and shoelaces for around 1 to 2 hours.

Step 11: Finishing

how to clean white shoes

After the shoes are dry, check again to make sure they’re clean and white, with no dirt and stain left behind. Take the shoe tree off and put back the shoelaces. Now your white shoes are clean and ready to wear!

b. Clean White Shoes Using Laundry Detergent

how to clean white shoes

If you don’t have a shoe cleaner, don’t worry! You can replace it with laundry detergent, both powder and liquid ones work well for getting rid of dirt and stain from the shoes. Here are some steps on how to clean white shoes with detergent:

  • Prepare the laundry detergent, and make sure that it doesn’t have ingredients that can damage your shoes.
  • Pour the detergent into a bowl or container, then mix with cold water until the water turns soapy.
  • Take off the shoelaces and prepare a different container or bowl and mix a small amount of detergent with cold water, and then use a soft brush or toothbrush to brush the shoelaces to clean them.
  • Apply the mixture to the outsole, midsole, and upper shoe with a small brush. Scrub gently on each part to remove dirt and stains.
  • Let them sit for an hour, then wipe off the dirt with damp clothes.
  • Leave the shoes for air drying, or use a fan to speed up the drying process, and then put the shoelaces back.

And that’s it, you’re done. Your shoes are now ready to wear and look clean!

c. Clean White Shoes Using Toilet Paper

Since I am obsessed with clean shoes, I found out about a new hack to make shoes clean again, and guess what? I only need to use toilet paper. Yes, that’s the toilet paper that we all have at home. Here are the steps on how to use toilet paper to clean your white shoes:

  • Soak the shoes with water and pour liquid soap on the shoes.
  • Scrub the shoes using a utility brush all over, especially on the stained areas.
  • Rinse the shoes with water and repeat until the shoes are cleaner.
  • Cover the wet shoes with squares of toilet paper until all areas of the shoes are covered. The toilet paper will soak up the stains that would otherwise settled into the shoes.
  • Place the shoes in direct sunlight to dry.
  • Once the shoes are completely dry, peel off the toilet paper.

And that’s it, you’re done. Pretty easy, right?

d. Clean White Shoes Using Dish Soap

Cleaning your white shoes using a dish soap is very similar to using a detergent. However, a dish soap is known to be a mild soap therefore it becomes a more friendly solution to make your white shoes clean again.

  • Prepare the cleaning tools like a bowl, a brush or toothbrush, soft cloth and of of course, the dish soap.
  • Using the dry brush or toothbrush, remove loose dirt from the shoes’ outsole, midsole and uppers.
  • Mix warm water with a small amount of dish soap.
  • Take off the shoelaces and use the solution to hand wash the laces, and then place them in direct sunlight to dry.
  • Apply the solution to a soft-bristle brush and clean the outsole and midsole thoroughly.
  • Apply the solution to a soft-bristled brush to clean the uppers. Make sure to wash gently to avoid damaging the material.
  • Air dry the white shoes at room temperature, and not place them under direct sunlight.

e. Clean White Shoes Using Shaving Cream

Next up we have the steps on how to clean your white shoes using shaving cream.

  • Remove the lace from the shoes.
  • Spray a dollop of white shaving cream into a cup. You don’t too much of it since you only need enough amount to cover both shoes.
  • Dip your fingers into the shaving cream and spread a thick layer over the surface of both shoes, including the tongues.
  • Allow the shoes to sit for about half an hour.
  • Scrub the shoes with a dry toothbrush, and pay more attention to stained or heavily soiled areas.
  • Dampen a soft cloth and squeeze out the excess water out of it, and wipe the shoes clean.
  • Wash the laces in the washing machine, and allow the shoes and the laces to dry before lacing them again.

See, it’s not that hard to keep your white shoes clean, right?

III. Do’s and don’ts


  • Scrub the dirt and stain off the shoes thoroughly, and don’t miss a spot.
  • Scrub the shoes gently to avoid scratches and damage.


  • Don’t clean white shoes with a washing machine, especially if it uses synthetic leather, because it will leave scratch marks on the shoes.
  • I highly discourage everyone from drying shoes under direct sunlight because it can cause damage and make your shoes turn yellow or even brown.

Now that you know the best methods on how to clean your white shoes, I know that sometimes can need to deal with stubborn stains that are very hard to remove. Read on to know ho to tackle those kinds of stains off your white shoes.

IV. Tackling Stubborn Stains: Pro Tips for persistent Marks

It can be a little bit tricky to remove stubborn stains from your white shoes. But you don’t have to worry, because it doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to be done. You just need to go a little extra to clean them. After all, having white shoes means that you need to give extra attention to their cleanliness, right?

If you are still looking for the best method to remove those stubborn stains from your white shoes, I am happy to share my experience with you. Based on what I have experienced with my own white shoes and after several trials and errors, I finally found the best method to clean those stubborn and annoying stains that just don’t want to come off the shoes.

So, make sure you follow the steps below and see you the results with surprise you:

  • Prepare the cleaning tools including a bowl, baking soda, a damp cloth and a medium brush.
  • Mix baking soda with enough water until they form a thick paste.
  • Apply the paste of the mix solution to the stained area and make sure all stubborn stains are covered by the paste.
  • Grab a medium brush and scrub the stains gently.
  • Let it dry and the brush off as much residue as possible.
  • Wipe the using a damp cloth and you are done.

However, do bear in mind that som stains can be more difficult to clean than others. If such condition happens to your white shoes, then you can repeat the steps again until your shoes are completely stains free.

V. Drying and Storage: Keeping Your White Shoes Pristine Post-Cleaning

  • Don’t store shoes in a humid environment
  • Don’t keep shoes in the box with no air circulation
  • Wear shoes regularly to avoid yellowing
  • Avoid wearing white shoes for outdoor activities
  • Add some silica gel packs while storing shoes
  • Don’t stack the shoes
  • Clean shoes once every month for easier cleaning

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VI. Frequently Asked Question

1. How to clean white shoes with toothpaste?

Cleaning white shoes with toothpaste is one of my favorite tips! There are many steps you can take to clean white shoes with toothpaste. First, damp the shoe or the specific part of the shoe you want to clean.

Next, apply some toothpaste to the dirty or stained parts, then scrub them off with a toothbrush in circular motions. After your shoes look clean, wipe the excess off with a microfiber cloth and let dry for a few minutes. Your shoes will look clean and crisp again!

2. How to clean white shoes in the washing machine?

I don’t recommend cleaning white shoes in the washing machine. The reason is the shoes, especially the leather ones, might get scratched up. Some shoes have shoe care instructions saying that hand-washing is the only acceptable method.

There are still a lot of safer methods for cleaning white shoes, such as cleaning them by hand with different types of ingredients.

3. Do vinegar and baking soda clean white shoes?

Yes, vinegar and baking soda can clean white shoes and make them look brand new. Vinegar is a well-known ingredient, often used for removing dirt and stains, as well as getting rid of bacteria and odors. Baking soda is useful in removing dirt and grease without leaving scratches.

Here are some steps you can take to clean your white shoes with these ingredients. First, you’ll need to mix vinegar, baking soda, and hot water, one tablespoon each, until it forms a paste-like consistency. Next, dab the paste with a toothbrush and scrub with circular motions on the dirty or stained area until they’re gone. Let them dry. And then, tap the shoes or brush them to remove the dry paste. Now your white shoes look clean and ready to be shown off!

4. How to whiten the yellow soles on my shoes?

Once your white shoes turn yellowish, you will need a stronger chemical mixture to make them white again! I believe that you may use baking soda and hydrogen peroxide. Create a paste from the two ingredients and use a toothbrush to scrub the yellowed soles.

In an extreme case, I think using bleach can work too. But be careful because this compound is super strong and may damage your shoes and their colors. Make sure that you only apply the bleach on the soles and rinse it thoroughly!

For a safer alternative, I recommend using toothpaste. If you are wondering how to use toothpaste to clean your white shoes, read my tutorial above!

VII. Conclusion

White shoes require a lot more care. After all, stains and dirt will be very noticeable on the white background. By following my deep cleaning method, your white shoes will look new again!

You do not have to own expensive cleaning solutions and tools to clean your shoes. As long as you are gentle, household items like toothbrushes and toothpaste can be your alternatives.

In any case, never let your white shoes stay dirty for too long because the stain will become permanent. Follow my instructions, and put some effort into cleaning. I believe that it’ll be worth it!