How to clean white shoes

How to clean white shoes

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Sneakerheads know the excitement of getting a brand new pair of sneakers, and then the pain of almost not wanting to take them out and about for fear of scuffs and marks. Luckily there are some simple ways to clean your white shoes without causing too much damage and to help keep them looking fresh. Learn all you need to know about cleaning white shoes in this Canstar Blue guide. 

Can shoes go in the washing machine?

Cleaning shoes in washing machine

Shoes can go in the washing machine, however it will depend on the material the shoe is made of, as the excessive water and washing machine drum can cause damage. Leather shoes ideally shouldn’t go in the washing machine because the water can warp the leather and cause damage. Canvas and fabric shoes however are a little safer in the washing machine.  

The best way to clean your shoes without causing too much damage is by cleaning them by hand then leaving them in a breezy spot to dry. True sneakerheads will use products like protection sprays and specific wipes to clean their shoes to prevent damage and not cause any further damage. Some washing machines fortunately now have a wash setting catered to shoes which helps to minimise damage. 

Prepping shoes for the washing machine

Before you go ahead and throw your shoes into the washing machine there are a few things to keep in mind and do to prepare, including: 

  • Remove laces and insoles. Place the shoelaces in a garment washing bag and hand wash the insoles. 
  • Place the shoes in another garment washing bag to help protect the surface of the shoe. 
  • If your washing machine doesn’t have a shoe specific setting, place it on a standard wash but add a couple of towels to help minimise too much shaking around from the shoes tumbling.
  • Set the washing machine to a cold wash only. Hot or warm water can warp the shape of your shoes and cause damage. And do not tumble dry any shoes. 

How to clean white canvas shoes

White canvas shoes like Converse Chuck Taylors are some of the easiest shoes to clean because of the canvas material they’re made of. For a white pair of canvas shoes you’ll need a couple of ingredients and a small scrubbing brush or toothbrush to clean them. 

In a bowl mix:

  • 1 tablespoon of baking soda
  • ½ tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide
  • ½ tablespoon of water

Once mixed into a paste, use the brush to work the mixture into the dirty and stained areas of the shoes. If there are darker colourways on the shoe try to avoid them with the peroxide as it may cause discolouration. Scrub until the marks begin to lift then give the shoes a good rinse under the water until all the paste is off and leave in a breezy undercover spot to dry for 24 to 48 hours.

If you want to throw them in the washing machine for a deeper clean, rinse the paste off and throw them in the wash (inside a laundry bag) for a regular wash setting and leave outside to dry in a shady spot for 24 to 48 hours. 

How to clean white leather shoes

Leather shoes are a different ball game when it comes to cleaning. Once white leather is scuffed or marked it can be tougher to get darker marks out but there are some products that can help. If you’re after a homemade remedy you can use white toothpaste mixed with baking soda to buff out any scuffs in your white leather shoes. This option isn’t necessarily guaranteed to get every mark out but is worth a try if you’re on a budget.    

How to keep white shoes clean

Although we all want to throw on our sneakers immediately and wear them out, there are some ways to help prevent marks, water damage and scuff marks. You can find plenty of sneaker protection sprays and pastes that help to protect your sneakers and create a barrier against the elements. A notable brand of sneaker protection spray in Australia is Crep Protect, which sells a spray you use on your shoe when it’s brand new to create a barrier against the outside world. 

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Original Author: Tahnee-Jae Lopez-Vito

Kate King
Casual Content Producer
Kate King was a content producer at Canstar Blue until 2024, most recently in the Home & Lifestyle section. She holds a Bachelor of Creative Industries from the Queensland University of Technology, majoring in Journalism and Media and Communications.

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