How to Clean White Shoes

White sneakers next to a bottle of white vinegar and a cloth

White shoes make a serious fashion statement in the spring and summer, but only when they’re looking fresh and clean. Removing stains from white shoes can pose a serious challenge. Fortunately, we have tips for cleaning every type of white shoe in your closet.

How to Clean White Leather Shoes

Tennis shoes, dress shoes, and specialty dance shoes are often white and made of leather. While there’s more than one way to clean white leather shoes, here’s the method we have found to be most effective:

  • Combine 1/4 cup vinegar with 1/2 cup olive oil in a medium-size spray bottle.
  • Screw on the spray top, and then shake the bottle vigorously to combine the ingredients. (The solution separates naturally, so repeat this step each time you clean your white leather shoes.)
  • Spray your shoes with the vinegar and olive oil mixture, coating the entire surface thoroughly. Apply more solution to particularly dirty or discolored areas.
  • Let the solution sit for five minutes. The vinegar and olive oil should soak into the leather and bring strains to the surface.
  • Wipe off the solution with a soft, dry cloth. As you do, the stain should come off with it.

How to Clean White Canvas Shoes

Canvas is the ideal material for casual shoes. It’s soft and comfortable—and, unfortunately, attracts stains. Here’s how to hand-wash your white canvas shoes with baking soda and laundry detergent:

  • Fill a bucket with a gallon of warm water and one cup of baking soda. Add a drop of laundry detergent for a boost of cleaning power.
  • Remove the shoelaces and submerge your shoes in the solution for at least an hour.
  • Lift the shoes out of the water and scrub them clean with a small brush, such as an old toothbrush.
  • Rinse your shoes with clean water and set them out to air dry before lacing them back up.

You can also clean white canvas shoes in the washing machine. Find more details about that method in a past Molly Maid blog post.

How to Clean White Mesh Shoes or White Fabric Shoes

Are your white mesh tennis shoes or fabric slip-ons dirty? Get them as clean as the day you bought them with these tips:

  • Sweep dirt off your shoes with a soft-bristled brush.
  • Combine warm water and a few drops of mild laundry detergent in a small bowl.
  • Prepare a second bowl of clean water to rinse your shoes as you go.
  • Apply the soapy solution with a soft cloth, sponge, or brush. Clean one section at a time using small, circular motions.
  • Periodically rinse the cloth or brush in the second bowl of clean water to prevent spreading the stain around.
  • You can use this method to clean the inside of your shoes as well.
  • Dip an old toothbrush in soapy water and scrub the rubber parts of your white mesh or fabric shoes.
  • Dampen a clean cloth with water and wipe the shoes to remove soapy residue. You can also dunk fabric shoes in water to rinse them, but avoid fully submerging mesh shoes to prevent affecting their shape.

While the professionals at Molly Maid don’t clean shoes, we can tackle other household chores while you work on that project. Our housekeeping services free up your time, so you can get outside and enjoy summer in your fresh, clean white shoes!

Contact your local Molly Maid today to discuss a cleaning plan that’s right for you.