Women's Sneakers

How To Clean White Sneakers, So That They Would Look As Good As New?

Lifehacker.com has collected proven and affordable methods to care of white sneakers at home. We hope you enjoy it!
Before you launch the operation on going back to the past, you have to get your sneakers ready. It’s very easy:

  • Get rid of dirt and dust with the help of dry brush, microfiber napkin or a sponge. Never put off the cleaning until tomorrow, you’d rather do it right after going for a walk.
  • If for one reason or another you had been walking in white sneakers through heavy dirt, wait until it gets dry. After that try to remove the dirty stains as much as possible. Use an ordinary brush and a suede brush.
  • Take out the laces and inner soles: it’s better to wash them separately with lye soap, eradicator or bleacher.
    Hand cleaning

white sneakers clean

Lowcost Method

If you can’t afford wasting money on chemical cleaning, don’t worry. We’ve collected a number of ways to clean your sneakers, using the products that everyone has at home.


Squeeze some toothpaste from the tube (it’s better to choose whitening paste without interspersing), apply it to the dirty spot and rub it in circular movements, using a dry toothbrush. You need to wipe out the paste with a wet cloth or sponge.

Baking Soda

Mix it with water, to make a paste. Apply it to your sneakers, and then rub with a toothbrush. Leave it for some time, and then wash out with a napkin or sponge. For a more perceptible effect, you can mix soda with dental cream.
Vinegar, soda, laundry detergent, 3% hydrogen peroxide
Mix the ingredients in the following proportions: two tablespoons of vinegar, one teaspoon of soda, two tablespoons of laundry detergent, one tablespoon of peroxide. Rub the paste into the surface of the sneakers and leave it like that for 10-15 minutes, and after that wipe it away with water.

Lemon Juice

If after all the above mentioned actions your footwear hasn’t got snow-white, blend two tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice with the same amount of water, wet a napkin and wipe the shoes.

Potato Starch and Milk

A paste made of potato starch, diluted with milk in a ratio of 1: 1 will be helpful for white leather sneakers. Apply a thick coating of the paste to the surface, and then wipe it with a moistened napkin.

Oxygen-Based Bleachers and Spot Removers

They have the “Oxi” mark in their composition. They’re suitable for fabric footwear. Mix the product with a small amount of water, apply it on the sneakers for 15 minutes and then wash out.
Another option: put the sneakers for two-three hours into the water with the bleacher or spotter and then wipe the surface with a toothbrush with dental paste or soda. Final chord: swill the shoes thoroughly.
If there is a net on sneakers, you should clean them more carefully: don’t use aggressive bleachers, fill the shoes with paper towels so that the product doesn’t get inside.

Acetone and Vinegar

Mix acetone and vinegar in equal proportions. Moisten a cotton pad or a napkin with this mixture, wipe the surface of the shoe. After processing, rinse it with water.

Lye Soap

Moisten the bar of soap, rub well the brush with it and treat the surface of the sneakers. Then rinse thoroughly.

Micellar Water

It can be used not only to take-off make-up but to remove small dirt from white footwear. Moisten the cotton pad in the water and then wipe carefully dirty spots.

Nail Polish Remover and “Pemolux”

With their help, you can clean the white sole. Apply liquid or detergent to the surface, wash out thereafter thirty minutes.
If you want the soles to foul less, you can cover them with several layers of colorless nail polish.

Safety instructions

Before you use one of the suggested methods, be sure that you know the basic safety rules:

  • Perform all the manipulations in gloves in order to protect arms’ skin.
  • Don’t use cleaning products for plumbing: they have a whitening effect, however, they are very aggressive and have a strong smell (usually, they’re based on chlorine). Therefore, you risk damaging the surface of the sneakers
  • At first, test home remedy on the small area of the sneakers not to risk your favorite pair.

Another Option

Specialized products are sold in shoe and sports shops. This option is suitable for white sneakers made of natural leather or suede.
Using such products is simple: wet the brush, apply and rub the product on the surface of the sneakers. Remove the formed foam with a microfiber napkin or a wetted brush.

Laundry Washing

Laundry washing can seem more effective but there’re also some details you need to know to do everything properly.

  • Fabric sneakers can be washed in the machine. But only if you are assured in their quality (after washing, the sole might peel off).
  • Before putting the sneakers into the machine, soak them for a couple of hours in warm water with bleach or stain remover. Then put the sneakers in a white pillowcase or wash them with towels.
  • Don’t use ordinary laundry detergent. It’s better to use a stain remover or a liquid whitening soap.
  • It’s good if the washing machine has a “sports shoes” mode. If it doesn’t, choose the “hand wash” mode, as well as the intense rinse, so there won’t be any yellow stains. But the wringing and drying modes must be turned off.

What To Do After Cleaning Or Washing Sneakers

  • Thoroughly wash out the product that you used.
  • Wipe leather sneakers with a dry cloth. The surface can be treated with a colorless shoe cream.
  • Don’t put your sneakers on the battery, don’t expose them to the sun. It’s better if they dry themselves in a well-ventilated room or outdoors.
  • Place white paper towels inside the sneakers, they will absorb the moisture and shape them.
  • Put natural flavoring into the sneakers for a couple of hours, for example, you can use tangerine or orange peels. Moreover, a piece of raw potato copes well with an unpleasant odor.

We hope that you’ve enjoyed the article and singled out some useful tips that will help you save your white sneakers in the future.

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