Our expert tips will get your shoes looking good as new.

assorted white shoes
Credit: Courtesy of Raymond Hom

While wearing your favorite footwear out and about is always a treat, keeping them clean can be a challenge—especially when it comes to white shoes. Whether it's a small scuff or a run in with a muddy puddle, cleaning white shoes that have started to look a little worse for wear can be daunting. Luckily, it's possible to get them back in tip-top shape, and all you need are a few everyday cleaning products that you probably already have at home. To help you get your shoes as clean as possible, we spoke to footwear and cleaning experts so you can put your best foot forward.

How to Clean White Canvas Shoes

According to Clorox's in-house cleaning expert Mary Gagliardi, otherwise known as "Dr. Laundry," the best way to freshen up your beloved pairs of white canvas shoes starts with bleach. "With a dry nylon brush, brush the shoes to remove loose dirt or soil. This makes them easier to clean. Remove the shoelaces and set them aside to clean later," Gagliardi says. "Add one tablespoon of bleach to one quart of water and stir to mix. Working on one shoe at a time, dip the brush in the bleach and water solution, and then gently scrub the canvas in a circular motion. Dip the brush again as needed to keep applying the bleach solution to the canvas until the entire shoe has been treated."

Wait a few minutes before cleaning the rubber part of the sole. Once you've cleaned the entire shoe, spray the whole exterior with three percent hydrogen peroxide, then rinse with water. To clean shoelaces, soak them in the bleach and watery mixture for about five minutes, rinse them, and lay them out to dry. 

How to Clean White Shoes Made of Other Materials

Looking to clean your white shoes made of another material? Jenesis Laforcarde of Reshoevn8r, suggests using all-natural ingredients when handling shoes of different fabric. Using a cleaning solution made with coconut and jojoba oils can help clean white shoes made of leather, canvas, suede, and mesh. Another pro tip? Tossing your shoes in the washing machine with detergent, like the Reshoevn8r Sneaker Laundry Detergent ($20, reshoevn8r.com), can help brighten them—material permitting.

Safety Is Key

When tackling this project, it's important to put your safety first. "Allow [the white shoes] to dry indoors in a well-ventilated area," Gagliardi says. "Replace shoelaces once the shoes and shoelaces are both completely dry." It's also important to make sure you've properly diluted the bleach before using it and follow the cleaning instructions of any product you choose to use. To ensure your own well-being during cleaning, avoid getting the solution into your eyes or mouth. Using a face mask and goggles can also help you stay safe, Laforcarde adds.


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