White shoes are a closet staple, pairing well with just about every outfit. But they can also be difficult to keep clean. White sneakers, especially, can quickly become dingy and dirty looking, even with just a few wears. Thankfully, there are some straightforward home remedies that can help you get your white shoes (and shoelaces!) bright and shiny again.
The first step is to remove any caked on dirt or mud with a soft brush and a damp cloth. You should also take this opportunity to hose down your shoes, removing any dirt or dust that has collected on the soles. Then you can start with the deeper cleaning.
Several different methods can be used to clean your white shoes, depending on what material they are made of. Most methods use household items that you most likely have in your home. A few of the most common include using toothpaste, baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, and bleach. If you are considering bleach, please note that it can damage wool or cotton shoes, so please spot-test your shoes before attempting this method.
One of the most effective ways to clean white sneakers is by using whitening toothpaste. Just like you would when brushing your teeth, rub the whitening toothpaste into the sooty spots of your white shoes, then wipe away the excess paste with a damp cloth. This is especially helpful for the soles of your shoes, where stains are often found.
Another common method for cleaning white shoes is to use a hydrogen peroxide solution, which you can buy at most pharmacies. A 1:1 ratio of water and hydrogen peroxide in a spray bottle is usually recommended. Spray the solution on the stains in your white shoes, and leave it for a few minutes to allow the solution to penetrate the fabric. Then, use a clean cloth or sponge to wipe off the shoes.
Baking soda can also be an effective deodorizer for your white shoes. Sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda in your shoes, and let it stand for a few minutes before wiping off the shoes. This will eliminate any odors that have accumulated in your shoes, and it will also keep them fresh and clean.
Bleach is a safe and effective way to clean white shoes, but only when it is used sparingly and in combination with other cleaning agents. Bleach can fade or yellow leather shoes, and it may also discolor canvas or wool shoes. Bleach should be diluted with water or other cleaning agents, and it should be applied in a small area to make sure that the shoes are not damaged by the bleach.
Once you have cleaned your shoes, it is important to allow them to dry completely before wearing them again. You can speed up the process by placing your shoes in a sunny window or near a fan. It is also a good idea to wear socks while your shoes are drying, as this will absorb any sweat that might otherwise linger in the shoes and cause odors.