For Lovers of Light-Colored Shoes: How to Clean White Sneakers from Dirt and Yellowing

Here are a few tips on how to clean white sneakers at home with a minimum amount of money and energy.

White sneakers or sneakers are an essential attribute of any summer or spring. But taking care of snow-white shoes is not so easy!

We offer you a few best practices, how to clean white sneakers at home, as well as, what means for cleaning white shoes you need to have in the house.

How to remove dirt from white shoes

First of all, pay attention to what material your sneakers are made of:

  • cloth shoes are machine washable,
  • leather, suede, or nubuck shoes will need to be cleaned by hand.

To clean white sneakers made of different elements – both fabric and leather – you should pay attention to some cool cleaning methods that are available at home.

For example, micellar water used to remove makeup is great for small stains on sneakers. To clean white leather sneakers, simply wipe the shoes with a damp cotton pad.

Also can help with starch and milk: mix them in equal proportions and wipe the surface of the sneakers, then wash with a damp cloth.

For older sneakers are suitable for special bleach. But keep in mind that the bleach must be applied to the entire fabric of the shoe, otherwise you risk getting stained sneakers.

A universal home remedy for cleaning white sneakers is laundry soap – it can be used on leather and textile shoes, but washing suede or nubuck is not recommended – the remedy can leave stains and streaks.

How to clean white leather sneakers from yellowing

To get rid of yellowing on sneakers, you can use toothpaste and lemon juice with water.

For example, whitening toothpaste works just as well as bleach and will help get rid of the grayness or yellowing on the soles of your sneakers. Simply apply the toothpaste to your shoes and scrub well with a brush, then rinse with water.

How to Clean White Sneakers in a Washing Machine

How do you clean white cloth sneakers? This is a little easier: textile sneakers can be washed both by hand and in the washing machine. But pay attention to the temperature of washing and drying of sneakers:

  • Do not wash sneakers at high temperatures – the shoes may decrease in size, but cold water may not wash difficult stains, so you should stick to the golden mean;
  • Choose a gentle mode of 30 degrees Celsius;
  • It is advisable to wash your sneakers with old towels or put shoes in special bags for washing or in an old pillowcase;
  • Dry your sneakers after washing them in the machine should naturally be outdoors. Automatic drying in the machine can deform and damage the shoes.

How to clean suede sneakers

For suede, you need to use a special brush to lift the pile and remove dirt. To do this, give your sneakers a good lather of the cleaner with the brush and remove it after cleaning.

In addition, to preserve the look and shape of suede shoes, we advise you to stuff the inside of the sneakers with newspapers or tissues when drying and leave them to dry completely.

Now you know how to clean white sneakers with toothpaste, how to clean white mesh sneakers from dirt, how to clean white sneakers from yellowing, as well as how to wash white leatherette sneakers. We hope these tips will be useful to you.


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Written by Emma Miller

I am a registered dietitian nutritionist and own a private nutrition practice, where I provide one-on-one nutritional counseling to patients. I specialize in chronic disease prevention/ management, vegan/ vegetarian nutrition, pre-natal/ postpartum nutrition, wellness coaching, medical nutrition therapy, and weight management.

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