How to Clean White Tennis Shoes to Look Brand New

how to clean white tennis shoes

Before i jump into how to clean white tennis shoes, let’s talk about white tennis shoes. In the midst of fashion trends that offer tennis shoes with striking colors, white is still on the top of the most popular color for tennis shoes. Why is that so? The answer is simple: white matches everything. It’s another neutral tone that will uplift the entire look into more sharp and stylish. Besides that, white has been associated with tennis shoes for decades thus making it the popular color for tennis. You may have a pair in the shoe rack or closet, but do you know how to clean white tennis shoes?

Just like any other shoes you own, white tennis shoes need special care considering their tendency to get dirty quickly compared to other colors. Sure, having a pair of white tennis shoes in your wardrobe can be a lifesaver, but do you know how to take care of them properly? Afraid not, we have compiled some ways how to clean white tennis shoes and others to look brand new. Let’s jump on to the article!

How To Clean White Tennis Shoes

1. What cleaning kit do you use?

  • Shoe cleaner

A soap that is specially formulated for cleaning footwear.

  • Apron

Wear an apron to keep your clothes clean from dirt and mess while cleaning your shoes.

  • Premium brush

A soft-bristled brush made from animal hair is ideal for cleaning the upper part of shoes with different materials, such as canvas, suede, leather, synthetic leather, mesh, knit, nubuck, and others.

  • Medium brush

This brush has sturdy bristles that can remove dirt and stains that get stuck in the midsole.

  • Standard brush

You’ll need a standard brush with firm bristles to clean the extra dirty outsole.

  • Small brush or toothbrush

Use a small brush to reach the narrow and hard-to-reach parts of the shoes. Alternatively, you can substitute it with a toothbrush.

  • Microfiber cloth

A super cloth with high water absorbance to wipe the shoes after cleaning.

  • Shoetree

You’ll need this foot-like device which comes in pairs to maintain the shoes’ shape and sturdiness, as well as prevent creases.

  • Washbowl

Last but not least, you’ll need a washbowl to contain the water for dissolving the shoe cleaner and making the cleaning solution. 

2. Use the correct cleaning kits for each shoe part

  • Upper shoe

True to its name, this part covers your foot entirely and can be found above the sole. Some upper shoes are made from delicate or fragile materials that can be damaged by a rough brush. It’s best to use a premium brush to maintain their quality and avoid scratches.

  • Midsole

You can find midsoles on the side of the shoes, usually sandwiched between the outsole and insole. This part often gets dirty and scuffed due to frequent use. To make the midsole clean again, you can use a medium brush to do the job. 

  • Outsole

The hard material is located at the sole of the shoes. The outsole has direct contact with the ground, which makes the sole easy to catch dirt. Oftentimes, dirt or specks of dust gets stuck in this part of the shoe, and what you’ll need is the strong-bristled standard brush to take them out.

3. How to clean white tennis shoes

  • Prepare the tennis shoes

First method of how to clean white tennis shoes is getting a pair of dirty white tennis shoes ready for cleaning. If you notice big clumps of dirt on them, knock on the shoes first for easier cleaning.

  • Get the cleaning kits ready

Prepare the cleaning kits mentioned before. In a small bowl combine water with a few parts of the shoe cleaner well, then set aside.

  • Take the shoelaces off

Before cleaning the shoes, it’s important to take care of the shoelaces as well. Take them off and massage the lace gently with a few drops of shoe cleaner. Rinse with running clean water and set aside.

  • Put in the shoetrees

Moving from the laces to the shoe itself. Remove the insoles by pulling them out and put a shoetree inside each of the shoes. If your shoes have permanently glued insoles, don’t force remove them otherwise they get damaged.

  • Dry cleaning

Take a premium brush and dust the shoe’s surface off from debris and dirt. Use a dry brush for this step before moving on to the cleaning process.

  • Clean the outsole and midsole

Dip a standard brush into the cleaning solution, then use it for cleaning the outsole. Do the same process with the midsole by using a medium brush. Scrub the surfaces thoroughly to remove dirt and stains. Wipe the suds off with a microfiber cloth to reveal a clean surface and repeat the process if you still notice some impurities.

  • Clean the outer and inner upper shoes

Dip a premium brush into the cleaning solution, then work gently on the upper shoes. To reach the narrow parts where the premium ones can’t get in, you can use either a small brush or a toothbrush and do the same. Wipe the suds with a microfiber cloth. Don’t use a standard brush to clean this part to prevent scratches and possible damage.

  • Detailing

After you ensure that the major area has been cleaned, damp the microfiber cloth and use it for cleaning small details on shoes, like the eyelets. I recommend using microfiber cloth because it does a better job of absorbing water and dirt compared to an ordinary cloth or even paper towels.

  • Drying

After ensuring all parts of the shoes are clean and no spot is missed, let the shoes and their laces sit by the fan to dry for about 2 hours of maximum. Never use a hair dryer or a heatgun to dry the shoes because the glue might bristle and the shoes’ shape is changed, making them uncomfortable to wear again. Don’t put the shoes under direct sunlight because they can get discolored.

  • Finishing

Take the shoetrees off and put the insoles back after ensuring that the shoes are completely clean and dry. Don’t forget to put on the shoelaces as well, and now your white shoes are as good as new!

2. How can I get my white tennis shoes white again?

how to clean white tennis shoes

To get your tennis shoes white again, there are many ingredients you can utilize for cleaning them. The following are some of my recommendations on how to make your tennis shoes white and crisp again

Baking soda

  • Knock the shoes off to remove big chunks of dirt or mud for easier cleaning.
  • Take the shoelaces off and brush the surface to remove loose debris.
  • Create a smooth and thick paste with one tablespoon of baking soda water and hydrogen peroxide (half a teaspoon each) in a small bowl.
  • Dab an old toothbrush into the paste, then scrub the surface just enough in a circular motion.
  • Apply the paste once again and let them dry for about 3 to 4 hours. Use the remaining paste to clean the shoelaces.
  • Knock the shoes again or brush the dry paste to reveal now white tennis shoes.
  • Rinse thoroughly to ensure no particle is left.
  • Dry the shoes and laces away from the sun to prevent yellowing.

Multi-purpose cleaner

  • Spray the cleaner onto the tennis shoes.
  • Scrub the surface gently and thoroughly using an old toothbrush.
  • Wipe the excess suds with a soft cloth, then repeat the process until you get the desired result.
  • Wipe with a dampened cloth and leave to dry completely.


  • Dilute one part of bleach with 4 parts of water in a container.
  • Use a toothbrush to apply the solution to the tennis shoes.
  • Scrub the dirt and stains carefully until you’re left with crisp white shoes.
  • Rinse with cold running water and leave to dry entirely.

3. How to clean white shoes with magic eraser

how to clean white tennis shoes

Melamine sponge, popularly known as the magic eraser, is one of the easiest cleaning kits if you need to clean your white canvas shoes of dirt and stains. In my case, it’s the quickest and the most simple method if you need to clean them in rush. Here’s how to do it, based on my experience.

  • Brush or wipe the shoe’s surface to remove the first layer of dirt and debris. You can also knock on the shoes if you notice clumps of dirt or mud on the sole.
  • Cut the sponge into small pieces (about 2 inches) then dampen it in water. Make sure you don’t let the sponge drench.
  • Scrub the dirty or stained area of the shoes thoroughly in a circular motion. While doing this step, make sure you lay a newspaper on the floor to gather the crumbling sponge.
  • Repeat the process until you get the desired result, then wipe the shoes and allow them to dry entirely.

4. How to clean white tennis shoes with micellar water

how to clean white tennis shoes

Can you believe that micellar water isn’t just for removing makeup from the face? This gentle cleansing agent is a perfect choice if you need to know how to clean white tennis shoes from delicate materials, such as leather, suede, and rubber. It seemed to me that this makeup remover helps break down dirt and stains from white shoes and lets them shine again. Here’s how to clean using micellar water.

  • Wipe or brush the shoes dry to remove dust and debris.
  • Pour some micellar water into a clean cloth or cotton.
  • Always check whether the product leaves stains or not in a hidden spot. After confirming it doesn’t stain, work the product into the dirty or stained area.
  • Repeat the process until you get the desired result, then allow the shoes to air dry.

5. How to clean white sneakers with baking soda

how to clean white tennis shoes

As you might know, baking soda is one of the most popular home ingredients for cleaning various things, including white sneakers. Below is how I clean white sneakers with baking soda.

  • In a small bowl, mix baking soda with warm water with a ratio of 1:1 until forms a thick paste.
  • Use a toothbrush to work the paste into each of the white sneaker’s dirty and stained surfaces. Scrub thoroughly in a circular motion.
  • Let the paste dry for half an hour in a cool room with minimum sunlight exposure.
  • Knock the excess paste off and rinse thoroughly with running water to remove the residue.
  • Allow to air dry entirely.

6. How to clean white tennis shoes mesh

how to clean white tennis shoes

Dubbed the most lightweight and breathable material for sports shoes, mesh has gained popularity nowadays. Just like the others, mesh tennis shoes need special care to prevent tearing and damaged materials. The following is the best method how to clean white mesh tennis shoes based on my trials and errors.

  • Remove the laces first and scrub the shoes with a soft-bristled brush to remove loose dirt and debris.
  • Damp a washcloth with water then wipe the shoes.
  • In a separate bowl, mix warm water with a few drops of dish soap until forms bubbles.
  • Dip a toothbrush and work the cleaning solution into your shoes thoroughly.
  • Rinse with clean water and allow the mesh tennis shoe to dry in a warm place away from the sun.

7. How to clean white Adidas shoes

how to clean white tennis shoes

Different shoe brands offer various ways how to clean their white shoes, including Adidas. On their official website, the three stripes brand explains how to clean their white shoes. I’ve tested this method and the result is impressive! Here is Adidas’ guide about how to clean white shoes.

  • Knock the soles to remove clumps of dirt and mud, then take a dry brush to remove the remaining.
  • Dilute a few parts of mild laundry detergent with warm water until it gets soapy, then apply the mixture to the shoes with a washcloth.
  • Scrub the sneaker’s outsoles as well to remove dirt and stains.
  • Wipe the excess suds and soap from the sneakers with a dampened washcloth.
  • Leave the shoes to air dry at room temperature.

8. How to clean white Nike shoes

how to clean white tennis shoes

The swoosh brand offers various methods for cleaning white shoes with different ingredients. Here’s my most recommended method for cleaning white Nike shoes according to the official website

  • Mix some mild laundry detergent with warm water until the water turns soapy.
  • Blot the upper shoes with a toothbrush that has been dipped into the cleaning solution first.
  • Brush the midsole and outsole of the shoes as well.
  • Damp a clean cloth then wipe the shoes’ surface clean before letting them dry completely.

9. How to clean white leather shoes

how to clean white tennis shoes

Many people considered leather shoes elegant and timeless but take a big effort to care because the material itself is can be affected easily by harsh chemicals. Below is how you clean white leather shoes based on what I did.

  • Remove the shoelaces and dust the shoes off with a soft-bristled brush.
  • Add 3 to 4 drops of dish soap into a cup of warm water and stir until all is incorporated.
  • Dip a toothbrush into the cleaning mixture then scrub the surface gently and thoroughly.
  • Take a small piece of magic sponge and damp it with water before scrubbing the soles to remove scuff marks and stains.
  • After all is clean, stuff the shoes with a dry newspaper and wipe the surface with a clean cloth.
  • Allow white leather shoes to dry in a cool temperature room.

10. How to clean white canvas shoes

how to clean white tennis shoes

Unlike leather, white canvas shoes are easier to be taken care of. Some shoes are even safe to toss the shoes for cleaning, although you can also wash them manually to ensure the shape and condition of the shoes. It seems to me that you can do either way to achieve a pair of sparkling white canvas shoes. Here are some ways how to clean white canvas shoes.

By hand

  • Bang the soles to remove some big chunks of dirt and mud, then dust the shoes with a brush to remove the first layer of debris.
  • In a bucket filled with water, add a cup of baking soda and some mild laundry detergent. Stir until form a homogenous mixture.
  • Remove the shoelaces and soak them along with the shoes in the bucket. Let them sit for about one hour.
  • Take the shoes out and scrub all parts, including the inside. Massage the shoelaces as well.
  • Rinse thoroughly with clean water and allow the canvas shoes and their laces to air dry entirely.

With a washing machine

  • In a small bowl, dissolve one tablespoon of baking soda with some water.
  • Take the shoelaces off the shoes and soak them in the mixture.
  • Put the shoes in a mesh laundry bag (use a pillowcase if you don’t have one) before throwing them in the washing machine.
  • Add a few parts of mild liquid detergent.
  • Run the washer with cold water on a gentle cycle and wait until finished.
  • Take the shoes and their laces out and let them dry.

11. How to clean white rubber shoes

Let’s take a look at how to clean white rubber shoes from dirt and mud. I have tested the following method and want to share this useful tip with you.

  • Scrape off big clumps of dirt or mud from the soles with a plastic knife or scraper for easier cleaning.
  • Remove the remaining dirt with a strong-bristled brush.
  • Fill a plastic container with warm water, then add a teaspoon of laundry detergent and mix until all is incorporated.
  • Soak your white rubber shoes in the mixture for about 5 minutes.
  • After soaking, scrub the shoes thoroughly inside and out.
  • Rinse with running water and allow to air dry in a cool area away from the sun.

12. How to clean white running sneakers

The following is an explanation of how I clean white running sneakers after a few times of outdoor use and make them look charming again. 

  • Combine 1 tablespoon of baking soda, a half cup of baking soda, and a quarter cup of warm water until a thick paste is formed.
  • Dust the sneakers first and remove the shoelaces.
  • Use a toothbrush to apply the cleaning paste onto the sneakers. Coat them evenly and let the paste dry. Use the rest of the paste to coat the shoelaces as well.
  • Brush the now-dry paste to reveal freshly-cleaned sneakers. You can also rinse the shoes and laces with water to ensure no paste is left.
  • Leave them all to air dry before reassembling the sneakers.

13. How to clean white shoes at home

I have tried these two methods to clean white shoes at home. One uses the ingredient from the kitchen counter, while the other uses the product you’ll find in the bathroom cabinet. 


  • Get yourself a tube of whitening toothpaste. Avoid using the gel ones because they leave stains that make your white shoes ugly.
  • Squeeze some of the paste into an old toothbrush, and start scrubbing the shoes in a circular motion just like brushing teeth. 
  • Leave the paste to sit on the surface for about 10 to 15 minutes, then wipe them off with a damp clean towel.
  • Repeat the process if necessary.

Baking soda

  • In a small bowl, mix an equal part of white vinegar, and baking soda until form a thick paste.
  • Use a toothbrush to apply the mixture onto the sneakers and laces.
  • Let them dry under shade for 4 hours.
  • Clap the sneakers to remove the dried paste and reveal the crisp white color.

14. How to clean white shoes without washing

Follow this tutorial that I have tried several times to clean white shoes without washing them.

  • Brush the shoes to dust them off.
  • Dip a cotton ball into the nail polish remover and blot the stains. For this, I urge applying the remover to the soles only because it can damage canvas and even leather upper shoes.
  • Change the cotton ball to absorb all stains until they’re not visible anymore.
  • Use a damp clean cloth to wipe the excess acetone off the shoes.

15. How do you clean white sneakers that look like new?

There is a way to clean white sneakers to get that crisp brand new look. After some testing, I have found some of the best methods to turn the grimy white sneakers into a pair of freshly cleaned shoes as if you’re just getting them out from the box. The basic cleaning agent is baking soda, which is later combined with several other chemicals or home ingredients. From my experience, here are some ways you can try to clean white sneakers to look like new ones.

Baking soda mixed with detergent

  • Take the insoles and shoelaces of the sneakers.
  • Combine one part of baking soda with one and a half of detergent.
  • Using an old toothbrush, dab the product into the surface and scrub in a circular motion.
  • Rinse thoroughly and throw them into the washer. I suggest putting the sneakers inside a laundry bag to prevent possible damage from banging.
  • Run the washer with a delicate cycle and use cold water.
  • Dry the shoes in a cool temperature room.

Good ol’ baking soda and vinegar combo

  • Pour 1 tablespoon of baking soda, 2 tablespoons of vinegar, and 1 cup of water into a small bowl. Combine all of them until homogenous.
  • Apply the mixture onto the white sneakers with the help of a toothbrush.
  • Let the paste sit and wait for about 30 minutes.
  • Rinse thoroughly with running water and dry the sneakers away from the sun.

Baking soda and hydrogen peroxide

  • Take the laces off and remove loose dirt and debris from the shoes’ surface with a brush.
  • Make a paste from hydrogen peroxide, water, and baking soda with a ratio of 1:1:2.
  • Rub the mixture gently over the shoes and scrub thoroughly so you don’t miss any spots.
  • Let the paste sit on the shoes for about 30 minutes.
  • Rinse from top to bottom and allow the mesh shoes to dry completely.

Do’s and don’ts 


  • Clean your shoes quickly if they’re getting dirty.
  • Pay attention to the shoe’s material. Some delicate ones, like leather or suede, need extra care and gentle treatment.
  • Store the shoes in a well-ventilated room.


  • Don’t store your shoes in a box or plastic bags.
  • Don’t dry the shoes under direct sunlight.
  • Make sure you clean the shoes thoroughly and not just the outside parts.

Shoe care tips

  • Clean the tennis shoes as soon as you finish the game, especially after playing on outdoor courts.
  • Use a specialized cleaning agent and the proper cleaning method to minimize the shoes’ damage.
  • Store the shoes in a cool room.
  • Clean the inside parts of the shoes as well to prevent offensive odor.

Keeping your white shoes clean

Now that you’ve understood how to clean white shoes, it’s also important to take good care of them. Just like you all, I don’t want to spend my time only cleaning white shoes for them to get dirty all over again. Afraid not, here are some of my tips on what you can do to keep your white shoes clean for a longer time.

  • Apply stain protector spray for all occasions

As mentioned in the name, the spray creates a layer of protector or shield to repel water from seeping in and stains from sticking to the shoes. The material is still breathable even after you spray some layer of protection onto the shoes. After applying, there’s no need to worry about wearing white tennis shoes on rainy days or for a game on the grassy court.

  • Get sneaker wipes for the on-the-go

Isn’t it frustrating to notice your recently cleaned white sneakers get stained the minute you head out? Stains or dirt are better to be cleaned as soon as possible for easier cleaning. Always prepare a pack of sneaker wipes to help you clean them in rush. 

  • Stain remover pen to cover stubborn stains and scuffs

Sometimes, no matter how hard or frequently you clean the shoes there’ll be some persistent stains or even scuff marks that won’t go away. A stain remover pen is an answer to this issue. Simply apply the pen to the stained area and voila, your white shoes look crisp as new again!

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Summary or Conclusion

As popular as they seem, white shoes are more prone to attract dirt and stains. With proper maintenance and care, you can clean them to look crisp without buying a pair of new shoes. Different materials of white shoes need different ways of cleaning, so make sure you understand what’s the best method.