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How To Clean White Running Shoes In 5 Easy Steps

How to Clean White Running Shoes in 5 Easy Steps

Running shoes can get quite dirty after an exciting run either on the trails, through the woods, or on a sloppy day.

If you wonder how to clean white running shoes, we have answers for you. 

Are White Running Shoes Hard to Clean?

Cleaning your white shoes, or shoes of any other color, won’t be as difficult as you think. Believe it or not, you can bring those running sneaks back to their original color.

Although, you can do some prevention by keeping an older pair of shoes on hand for when traipsing through the woods or running on a rainy and muddy day.

Cleaning White Running Shoes By Hand in 5 Easy Steps

1. Remove Excess Dirt

This can be done by banging the soles of the shoes together. When you hit the hard portion of the shoes against one another, excess dirt can fall right away.

Next, you should brush off the remaining dirt.

This can be done with a soft brush or soft cloth.

2. Clean Hard Surfaces

Any part of the shoe that is not cloth can be cleaned with a soft brush like an old toothbrush or one used to wash dishes.

A gentle laundry detergent soap and water make a good cleaner.

3. Apply Stain Remover

You can use a laundry stain remover for difficult to clean spots. This can be something like a Tide to Go stick magic eraser or a spray cleaner.

Scrub the particularly dirty spot.

4. Soft Surface

Create the soap for the white portion of the shoe by mixing that laundry soap; start out with the amount you use in your washer for a small load of clothes, and mix it into a bucket of water. Using a small brush in the water, scrub away at the shoes.

Avoid completely submerging the shoes if you can to maintain the structure of the shoe upper. 

5. Rinse

Rinse the shoes well to remove all soap.

They may need to be gone over with clear water multiple times to remove all of the soap. 

How to Clean White Sneakers with  Toothpaste

A non-gel white toothpaste can help you clean white shoes while returning them to their white status.

It is important to find a toothpaste that is white and not a gel-like consistency. A tooth whitening paste is particularly useful for this type of cleaning.

Put some toothpaste on a toothbrush (not the one you brush your teeth with). Scrub away at the dirty spots using circular motions. 

You may find that the above steps are still helpful to get the shoes completely clean, but the toothpaste will help get some of those hard-to-remove marks off of your white shoes.

Using Baking Soda to Bring Back the White in Shoes

Baking soda is another household cleaning solution that can return the white to your shoes. You will want to use the baking soda mixture for certain after step one, and as part of step two and three. 

Mix together:

  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1/2 tablespoon hydrogen peroxide 
  • 1/2 tablespoon water in a bowl

Brush the paste on with a soft brush. Let the paste sit on the white part of the shoes for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes have passed, clap the shoes together to remove excess dried parts of the paste. 

Using a damp cloth, wipe away the excess paste. Rinse the shoe with clean water.

If they are still appearing stained, you can repeat the baking soda paste portion.

Brushing Bleach on Dirty Spots

Although you might be able to use bleach on the entire shoe, sometimes your white shoes have colored patches on them.

Using a toothbrush and a small amount of bleach on just the white portions of the shoe can get the most stubborn of stains and grime out. 

Can You Wash White Shoes in the Washer?

Any canvas shoe can be washed in your washing machine; however, it is not the preferred choice if you are trying to protect your shoes.

Fabric or mesh shoes can be put in the washing machine on a gentle cycle.

Wondering if you can use bleach in the wash cycle?

If your shoes are entirely white or have color-safe bleach, you can certainly use it. 

If you are planning to wash your sneakers in the washer, pay attention to these tips.

  • Remove insoles and laces.
  • Clap shoes together to remove any loose dirt or debris.
  • Pretreat dirty spots as described above.
  • Use a liquid detergent and warm water.
  • Don’t use the fastest cycles. (We prefer a more gentle cycle.)
  • Add some towels to help prevent them from clunking around too much.
  • When the wash cycle is done air dry them. Never put your shoes in a dryer!

How to Dry Your Shoes

Just in case you missed it earlier in this list of advice, never put your running shoes in the dryer. You can put them outside to dry, just avoid leaving them in direct sunlight.

Another tactic is to stuff paper towels in the shoes. The paper absorbs the liquid and helps them to dry faster. 

Once they dry, your are ready to rock your super white sneakers.

Now stay out of puddles…




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