Whitening Guide – The Best Way To Clean White Shoes!

I think that we all know the feeling. You buy a pair of white shoes, you are ecstatic to try them on for the first time and then one week later they are completely ruined.

The colour white is a rather nice cooling colour. It looks great if you want to subtlely tell people that you have been on vacation and gotten a tan.

And it is also the best colour to wear on a hot day since lighter colours actually cool you off when you are in direct sunlight.

But one of the most annoying things about white clothes is their ability to for some reason attract stains and dirt and don´t get me started on how everytime I decide to make pasta with marinara sauce I’m always wearing white.

It’s not even a conscious decision it just something that happens!

But shoes are no exception to the “white always gets dirty” rule. They are actually more at risk since you most likely use the same pair of shoes most days of the week if not all the week.

But luckily in an age of non-stop information, people with that same problem who´ve found some magical way to fix it, have shared their knowledge on the best way to clean white shoes


It may sound too good to be true but most stains are actually cleaned off by applying a water/soap mixture.

I´ve already mentioned this method in my guide on how to prepare sneaker for painting. But I thought I would mention it again. Take about 2/3 of warm water and then mix in about 1/3 of hand dispenser soap and then mix it all together.

The temperature isn´t important just make sure that it isn´t too hot. You are looking for a lukewarm temperature mix.

Then you just take a shoe brush or one of those cheap toothbrushes and begin to scrub that mixture all over the shoe in question.

I´ve also read about people who switch out the soap with either laundry detergent or universal cleaner.

personally, I´ve only switched it out with universal cleaner and gotten pretty good results. using laundry detergent just seems a bit too chemical for me.

But it seems that other people have gotten pretty good results with that as well. So if nothing seems to work try and switch up to laundry detergent and you might also want to alter the mix scales

Another great trick that I found was to use toothpaste as the fluoride found in almost all toothpaste has a whitening ability. I tried a mixture of 3/4 water and 1/4 toothpaste for a pair of Adidas ultra boost that I bought off eBay.

They were rather cheap but came with a stain that was almost impossible to get out and I didn´t want to spend more money than I already had.

Then I tried the toothpaste mix and woopti! it was gone. So make sure to keep that in mind next time you have a hard stain that won´t come out


Throw Them In The Washer

One of the newer methods I´ve read online and watched on youtube is throwing your shoes in the washer. At first, I was scared that they might actually ruin the shoe in question and using this method can certainly can, if you don´t do it right

Most people would just throw their shoes in, add a pod, close the lid and then wash away. This is an example of what NOT TO DO.

Here are the steps that you should follow if you intend to wash your white shoes in the washer


  1. Separate the shoes themselves from the laces so they don´t get ruined and also get washed properly
  2. Throw everything in a pillow case or washing bag. This is to make sure that everything stays in one place
  3. If you can, then wait washing your shoes until you also have to wash towels. This helps fill up the washer itself so your shoes don´t fly around too much.
  4. Check your shoes label about instruction on how to wash them properly, if it doesn’t have any then keep the temperature of the washer to 30*
  5. Throw that bad boy in there with a pod or use laundry detergent and let the machine do the rest
  6. Take them out and let them dry


Shoe Pens

Shoe pens are a rather interesting alternative to just painting you sneakers with acrylic leather paint. And while I myself would highly recommend painting your sneakers instead of using this method, in the end, it’s up to you.

Shoe pens is paint in pen form and they function as you would think. The results vary from brand to brand and they are also a relatively new product on the market so I would highly recommend you go read a products user reviews before buying it

But one area where shoe pens shine is when it comes to painting the midsole.

A lot of shoes more specifically, shoes like The Converse All-Star and the Adidas Ultraboost both have the most annoying midsole I´ve ever tried.

They are very comfortable don´t get me wrong but keeping the colour white especially on the Ultraboosts is annoying.

Luckily there is an alternative to a troubling white midsole and that is to use shoe pens to paint over them. You just give them a good rinse with water and soap, get as much dirt off as possible and then proceed with the pen in question.

For some reason, people tend to have better results with using a white pen to paint their midsole instead of a coloured one for their sneakers. But I guess its just easier to paint the materials of the midsole instead of the whole shoe


The Cat Mom Method

Okay, I know the name sounds strange but stay with me. On the internet, there has been a Twitter user by the name of Cat Mom who has surfaced with an almost magical way to clean her white low Converse.

By using some ordinary house remedies that you properly have lying around, she turned her dying sneakers into something that almost looks factory new.

don´t believe me?


The way of approach is rather easy and is listed for you here

  1. rinse shoe
  2. 1:1.5 baking soda & laundry detergent (any will do)
  3. scrub with a toothbrush
  4. let it sit
  5. put them in the washer
  6. put baby powder on them and let them dry


Before you go out use any of the more chemical filled methods I would highly suggest that you, first of all, find out what kind of material your shoe in question is made out off and then go on google to find out if there is anything you should know before washing it with chemicals.

Synthetic leather, suede, canvas etc.  don´t react the same way to every cleaning method. Trust me on this, I once had a pair of puma suedes I cleaned with a shoe brush I used for all my other shoes. I almost broke down in tears…

But I hope you found some new ways to best clean your white shoes and if not then I hope you at least got some of your questions answered

And if not then just leave them in a comment down below and I will get back to you!


  1. Nikalos,
    Great article and one I have to share with my wife and daughter. Both have white shoes, too many get tossed. The price tag alone gives me hope they will follow your advice.

  2. Hi Nikolas, pretty good post and to me it is very helpful since I have been avoiding to get tennis shoes or any shoes in color white. The article is clear, simple and detail orientate on how to perform the drill on the miracle of cleaning your whites. Like the imagery and photos, orderly fashion of your topics and you made sure to give the proper credit to your quoted “cot mom” method.
    I think you are doing fine buddy.

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