How to Wash White Shoes: Keep Your Footwear Looking Fresh and Clean

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 White shoes can be a versatile and stylish addition to any outfit, but keeping them clean can sometimes be a challenge. Whether you're dealing with scuffs, stains, or general dirt buildup, proper cleaning techniques can help restore your white shoes to their original glory. In this article, we will provide you with step-by-step instructions on how to wash white shoes effectively.

How to Wash White Shoes: Keep Your Footwear Looking Fresh and Clean


White shoes are prone to showing dirt and stains more visibly compared to shoes of other colors. Regular cleaning is essential to maintain their pristine appearance and prolong their lifespan. By following the right cleaning methods and using appropriate supplies, you can keep your white shoes looking fresh and clean.

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Gather the necessary supplies

Before you begin washing your white shoes, gather the following supplies:

  • Mild detergent or shoe cleaner
  • Soft brush or toothbrush
  • Clean cloth or sponge
  • Warm water
  • White vinegar (optional)
  • Baking soda (optional)
  • Having these supplies on hand will make the cleaning process more efficient and effective.

Preparing your white shoes for washing

To prepare your white shoes for washing, follow these steps:

a. Remove shoelaces and insoles

Take out the shoelaces and remove the insoles if they are removable. This will allow you to clean these components separately and ensure a thorough cleaning for your shoes.

b. Brush off loose dirt and debris

Using a soft brush or toothbrush, gently brush off any loose dirt, dust, or debris from the surface of your white shoes. Pay extra attention to the seams and crevices where dirt tends to accumulate.

c. Treat stains and discoloration

If your white shoes have stains or discoloration, treat them before washing. For fabric shoes, mix a small amount of mild detergent with warm water and gently scrub the stained areas using a clean cloth or sponge. For tougher stains, you can add a teaspoon of white vinegar or baking soda to the mixture. For leather shoes, use a specialized leather cleaner or follow the manufacturer's instructions.

Choosing the appropriate cleaning method

The cleaning method for white shoes depends on the material they are made of. Here are a few options to consider:

a.Hand washing

Hand washing is a safe and effective method for most white shoes. Fill a basin or sink with warm water and add a small amount of mild detergent or shoe cleaner. Dip a clean cloth or sponge into the soapy water, wring out excess moisture, and gently scrub the shoes in circular motions. Rinse the shoes with clean water and remove any soap residue.

b. Machine washing

Some white shoes, particularly canvas shoes, can be machine washed. However, it's important to check the manufacturer's instructions before proceeding. If machine washing is suitable, place the shoes in a mesh laundry bag to protect them during the wash cycle. Use a gentle cycle with cold water and a small amount of mild detergent. Avoid using bleach or harsh chemicals.

c. Using specialized shoe cleaners

There are specialized shoe cleaners available in the market that are specifically formulated for white shoes. These cleaners can effectively remove stains and dirt without causing damage to the material. Follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer to achieve the best results.

Washing white canvas shoes

Canvas shoes are a popular choice for many people, and here are the steps to wash them properly:

a. Hand washing canvas shoes

Fill a basin or sink with warm water and add a small amount of mild detergent. Submerge the shoes in the soapy water and use a soft brush or toothbrush to gently scrub the surface, paying attention to any stained areas. Rinse the shoes thoroughly with clean water to remove all the soap.

b. Machine washing canvas shoes

If your canvas shoes are machine washable, place them in a mesh laundry bag and add a small amount of mild detergent. Set the washing machine to a gentle cycle with cold water. Once the cycle is complete, remove the shoes from the bag and let them air dry.

Washing white leather shoes

White leather shoes require special care to prevent damage. Follow these steps to wash them safely:

  • Prepare a mixture of warm water and mild detergent or use a specialized leather cleaner.
  • Dampen a clean cloth with the cleaning solution and gently wipe the surface of the shoes, focusing on any stained areas.
  • Rinse the cloth and wipe away any soap residue.
  • Use a dry cloth to remove excess moisture from the shoes.
  • Allow the shoes to air dry naturally, away from direct heat sources.

Drying and air-drying

After washing your white shoes, it's important to dry them properly to avoid damage. Here are some tips:

Gently remove excess water using a clean towel.

Stuff the shoes with crumpled paper towels or newspaper to help them retain their shape while drying.

Place the shoes in a well-ventilated area and allow them to air dry naturally. Avoid using direct heat sources like heaters or hairdryers, as they can cause the shoes to warp or crack.

Tips for preventing future stains

To keep your white shoes looking fresh and clean for longer, consider the following tips:

  • Apply a stain-resistant spray or protective coating to your shoes.
  • Avoid wearing white shoes in muddy or extremely dirty conditions.
  • Regularly clean your white shoes to prevent dirt buildup.
  • Store your shoes in a clean and dry area to avoid moisture and mold.


With the right techniques and proper care, washing white shoes can be a straightforward process. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can maintain the pristine appearance of your white footwear and keep them looking their best for longer.


How often should I wash my white shoes?

It is recommended to wash your white shoes whenever they appear dirty or stained. Regular cleaning can help prevent dirt buildup and keep them looking fresh.

Can I use bleach to clean white shoes?

It is not recommended to use bleach on white shoes, as it can cause discoloration and damage the material. Stick to mild detergent, specialized shoe cleaners, or natural cleaning solutions.

Are all white shoes machine washable?

Not all white shoes are machine washable. Check the manufacturer's instructions or label on your shoes to determine if they can be safely washed in a machine.

How do I remove stubborn stains from white shoes?

For stubborn stains, you can try using a mixture of mild detergent, warm water, and a soft brush to gently scrub the affected area. If the stain persists, consult a professional cleaner.

Can I dry my white shoes in direct sunlight?

It is not recommended to dry white shoes in direct sunlight, as it can cause discoloration or damage the material. Air dry them in a well-ventilated area instead.

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