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How to clean white sneakers to keep them looking new
How to clean white sneakers to keep them looking new

Lifehacker has collected proven and affordable ways to care for white sneakers at home.

How to clean white sneakers to keep them looking new
How to clean white sneakers to keep them looking new


Before starting the operation to return to the past, the sneakers must be prepared. This is done simply:

  • Remove dirt and dust with a dry brush, sponge or microfiber cloth. Do not put off cleaning until tomorrow, it is better to do it immediately after your walk.
  • If for some reason you had to walk in white sneakers in heavy mud, wait until it dries up. And then try to get rid of any dirty streaks as much as possible with a regular brush and suede brush.
  • Take out the laces and insoles; it is best to wash them separately with laundry soap, stain remover, or bleach.

Cleaning by hand

A budget option


Squeeze out a small amount of the paste from the tube (it is best to use a whitening one, without any inclusions), apply to the dirty area and rub it thoroughly in a circular motion with a dry toothbrush. Rinse off the paste with a napkin or sponge soaked in warm water.

Baking soda

Mix it with water until it turns into a paste. Apply to shoes, rub with a toothbrush, leave for a while, then rinse off with a tissue or sponge. For a more tangible effect, baking soda can be mixed with toothpaste.

Vinegar, soda, laundry detergent, 3% hydrogen peroxide

Mix in the following proportions: 2 tablespoons of vinegar, 1 teaspoon of baking soda, 2 tablespoons of washing powder, 1 tablespoon of peroxide. Rub the resulting paste into the surface of the sneakers and leave for 10-15 minutes, then rinse with water.

Lemon juice

If the shoes do not become snow-white after the above manipulations, mix 2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice with the same amount of water, wet a napkin and walk it over the surface.

Potato starch and milk

For white leather sneakers, a paste of potato starch diluted with milk in a 1: 1 ratio is well suited. Spread this paste thickly on the surface, and then wipe off with a napkin dipped in warm water.

Oxygen-based bleaches and stain removers

They include the Oxi mark. Suitable for fabric shoes. Mix the product with a little water, apply to sneakers for 15 minutes, then rinse.

Alternatively, put your shoes in water with bleach or stain remover for a couple of hours, and then brush over the surface with a toothpaste or baking soda brush. Final chord: Rinse thoroughly.

If your sneakers have a mesh, cleaning should be done more carefully: do not use harsh bleach, stuff the shoes with paper towels so that the product does not get inside.

Acetone and vinegar

Mix acetone and vinegar in equal proportions. Wet a cotton pad or napkin with the mixture, walk over the surface of the shoe. Rinse with water after processing.

Laundry soap

Moisten a block, rub the brush well with it and treat the surface of the sneakers. Then rinse thoroughly.

Micellar water

Suitable not only for removing makeup, but also for removing light dirt from white shoes. Soak a cotton pad in water, wipe the dirty areas thoroughly.

Nail polish remover or Pemolux

They can be used to clean the white sole. Apply liquid or cleaner to surface, rinse off after 30 minutes.

To make the sole less dirty, you can cover it with several coats of colorless nail polish.

Safety regulations

  • Use gloves to protect the skin of your hands.
  • Do not use cleaners that are designed for plumbing: they have a whitening effect, but they are very aggressive and smell strongly (as a rule, they are based on chlorine). Therefore, you run the risk of damaging the surface of the shoe.
  • First, try the folk remedy on a small section of your sneakers so you don't risk your favorite pair.

Expensive option

Specialized products are sold in shoe and sports stores. This option is suitable for white sneakers made from genuine leather or suede.

It is easy to use these products: wet the brush, apply the product and rub over the surface of the sneakers. Remove the formed foam with a microfiber cloth or a brush moistened with water.

Washing in a typewriter

  • The fabric sneakers are machine washable. But only if you are sure of their quality (the sole may come off after washing).
  • Before loading your sneakers into the machine, soak them for a couple of hours in warm water with bleach or stain remover. Then place your sneakers in a white pillowcase or wash with towels.
  • Don't use regular powder. Better to use a stain remover or liquid whitening soap.
  • It is good if the washing machine has a “sports shoes” mode. If it is not there, set the "hand wash", as well as the enhanced rinse mode, so that no yellow streaks remain. But spinning and drying must be turned off.

What to do after cleaning or washing your sneakers

  • Thoroughly rinse off the product you were using.
  • Wipe the leather sneakers with a dry cloth. The surface can be treated with a colorless shoe polish.
  • Do not put the sneakers on the battery, do not expose them to the sun. It is best if they dry on their own in a well-ventilated area or outdoors.
  • Place white paper towels inside the shoe to absorb moisture and shape the shoe.
  • Add natural flavors such as orange peels or tangerine peels to your sneakers for a couple of hours. Also, a piece of raw potato copes well with an unpleasant smell.