Make your white shoes look new again

If you’re anything like me, you hesitate before you purchase something white. But white shoes have become the ultimate footwear choice this past year and I’ve given in to the hype.

Whether you’re rocking a suit, a sundress, or classic jeans and a T-shirt, white sneakers may be one of the most versatile items in your wardrobe.

Unfortunately, scuffs, stains and dirt can quickly make your bright white shoes look dull and worn. Cleaning shoes typically isn’t as easy as popping them into the washing machine as this could damage them.

Read: How to clean you UGG boots

Here’s how to keep your shoes looking fresh, whether they’re canvas, leather or mesh.

Canvas shoes
Sneakers such as Converse All Stars and Vans are very popular paired with everything from jeans to a sundress right now, but you’ll want to keep them nice and bright.

What you need:

  • toothbrush
  • 3 tablespoons baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • paper towel or cleaning cloth
  • bleach and gloves if needed
  • eraser sponge.

First, untie and remove the laces, so you get can into all the nooks and crannies. Loosen caked-on mud by giving the shoes a good shake and bash outside. Then, use a dry toothbrush to scrub the shoes and remove any remaining loose dirt. Be sure to brush along the rubber soles and outer edges of the tongue.

Next, mix together the baking soda and vinegar to form a paste. Dip the toothbrush into the mixture and apply the paste all over the shoes, scrubbing softly to remove dirt and stains.

Wait until the mixture has completely dried and hardened on the shoes then brush off the larger bits and wipe off the remainder with paper towels or a cloth.

For stubborn stains try dabbing the spot with some bleach on a cotton bud and leaving it for five minutes (don’t forget to wear gloves). Then wash the area with hot water and liquid detergent.

Finally, you want to make sure those soles are spick and span. An eraser sponge such as Mr Clean Eraser Pad can remove scuff marks or streaks of dirt. Simply wet the sponge and scrub the rubber sole, remove any excess water with paper towels and leave to air dry completely.

Read: Stylish sneakers: Some of the best black runners of all time

Leather shoes
Get that fresh-from-the-box look again.

What you need:

  • toothbrush
  • liquid dish soap
  • 1 cup warm water
  • eraser sponge
  • soft cloth
  • paper towels.

Again, remove the shoelaces, so you can access every part of the shoe and use a dry brush to remove any loose dirt. Mix a few drops of liquid dish soap into the cup of warm water and use the toothbrush to scrub the soapy water all over the shoes.

Use a wet eraser sponge such as Mr Clean Eraser Pad to remove scuffs and stains then wipe any excess soap or water off the shoes with paper towels or a cloth.

When you’re done, stuff the shoes with paper towels to absorb any excess moisture and to help the shoes maintain their shape as they dry.

Make sure they’re completely dry before wearing.

Mesh shoes
White mesh sneakers are challenging to clean as it’s a delicate fabric that can be snagged or damaged easily. You’ll likely need a softer touch than if you were cleaning canvas or leather.

What you need:

  • toothbrush
  • 1 tablespoon liquid laundry detergent
  • warm water
  • soft cloth
  • bleach and gloves
  • eraser sponge
  • paper towels.

Remove any loose dirt by gently brushing it away with a dry, soft-bristled toothbrush.

Add a dash of liquid laundry detergent to the warm water, dip in a soft cloth and apply the cleaning solution to the shoes in gentle circular motions. Rinse the cloth with warm water as you go to avoid spreading the dirt.

For stubborn stains, use the toothbrush with soapy water or try dabbing the spot with some bleach on a cotton bud and leaving it for five minutes (don’t forget to wear gloves).

Read: Best travel walking shoes for men and women

Finally, give them a rinse, but avoid submerging mesh shoes in water as this can affect their shape. Wipe down the whole shoe with a wet cloth and fill them with paper towels to help them retain their shape while drying.

Clean the shoelaces
Now your shoes are fresh and bright, you need to make sure the shoelaces match.

What you need:

  • rubber gloves
  • white mesh bag
  • 3 tablespoons bleach
  • laundry detergent
  • three litres of warm water.

Bleach will clean and whiten those shoelaces but remember to wear gloves while working with it. Pop the shoelaces in a mesh bag and soak the bag in a bleach solution of three tablespoons bleach to three litres of water. Use a small plate to keep the bag fully submerged if necessary.

After five minutes, remove the laces from the bleach solution and wash them in the washing machine using regular detergent. Let the shoelaces air dry.

Prevention is better than cure
It’s tough to get white shoes looking as good as new, so treat them with a stain and water repellent treatment the moment you get them home.

Most shoe shops sell leather protectors or fabric protectors, just ask when you hit the checkout.

Do you regularly wear white shoes? How do you keep them clean and fresh? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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Written by Ellie Baxter

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