Those crisp white sneakers you loved for ages might have become your new gardening shoe thanks to dirt and grime. For whatever reason, white footwear attracts dirt and quickly becomes dingy and dull. Don’t worry, there are many ways to clean your white shoes and still style them up with your favorite pair of women’s jeans. This guide to cleaning white shoes will help you keep your kicks crisp.
White canvas sneakers are a must-have accessory. Why? They go with virtually any outfit from a cute combination of tunics and leggings to a relaxed day in boyfriend jeans and a tank top. Versatile footwear keeps you comfortable and gives you a sense of clean and crisp style.
Your white shoes will inevitably get dirty at some point. However, you can extend the time between washes by protecting your white footwear. First, remove any obvious dirt with a soft brush (an old toothbrush works great) and take out the shoelaces. If you’re starting with a clean pair of shoes, simply remove the shoelaces.
Next, you’ll want to use a protective, spray-on waterproofing solution. Follow the instructions on the can before you get started. This puts an added protective coating on your white canvas shoes, extending the time between cleanings. Let your shoes dry completely in the sun before wearing them.
If you find your shoes are dirty, you may be able to wash them in your washing machine. First, remove any clothing from the washer such as turtlenecks, pants, and other laundry items. With your shoes in a mesh bag (laces removed) and nothing else in the washer, put the machine on a gentle cycle with cold water. Use mild detergent only at half the amount you would use for a load. If you have a top loader, wait until the tub is half full of water. For front loaders, add a quarter of the normal detergent into the dispenser. After washing, leave the shoes to air dry. Some front-loading dryers have a special tray for footwear. If you use this feature, just be sure to keep the heat on low to avoid melting your footwear.
One of the great things about white shoes is, like your coveted women’s white blouse, you can use a mild bleach solution to clean your footwear. First, place one part bleach into four parts water. You’ll want a diluted solution to clean your footwear. Next, using an old toothbrush, dip the brush into the bleach solution and scrub the dirt on your shoes. Rinse the brush in plain water to keep it wet and continue to scrub until all dirt stains are gone. Make sure the shoe is cleaned evenly then set out in the sun to dry.
If bleach is too much, consider using baking soda to clean your shoes. This works well for other footwear, too, such as winter snow boots and other dirty footwear.
Start by mixing one tablespoon of baking soda with one-half tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide and one-half tablespoon of water. This creates a paste you’ll use to clean your shoes. Using an old toothbrush, brush the paste on the dirty part of the shoe. Next, put another layer of paste on, this time scrubbing slightly harder. Put shoelaces in the paste and remove them. Now everything should be covered in a chalky layer of paste. Leave out in the sun for three to four hours until the paste hardens and cracks. Remove the excess paste with a brush and your footwear should be bright and new. If this process doesn’t get the desired result, use the bleach method described above.
Some white shoes can be cleaned with an all-purpose cleaner if they aren’t too dirty. Simply spray on the cleaner, wait the allotted time on the packaging, then scrub with your old toothbrush. Afterward, wipe off any excess cleaner with a soft cloth. Get the toothbrush wet and continue to scrub until the stains are removed. Repeat these steps until your shoes are sparkling clean.
These techniques will get your white shoes bright and light as new! It’s just as good as having a brand new pair, giving your footwear a fresh breath of life. After you’ve cleaned your footwear, be sure to put a new protective spray coating on them so you don’t have to fuss with cleaning your footwear every few weeks.