How To Clean White Sneakers, Everything You Need To Know

Picture this: you’ve just purchased a brand new pair of sparkling white sneakers and you can’t wait to wear them out for the first time.

How To Clean White Sneakers, Everything You Need To Know

After a few uses, you discover that your white sneakers aren’t as white as they once were. In fact, they actually look a little dirty – is there anything you can do to return them back to their original condition?

In this guide, we are going to be taking a deep dive look into everything that you need to know when it comes to keeping your white sneakers sparkling white and clean as can be.

This guide is suitable for anyone who owns white sneakers and wants to keep them clean, no matter what type of brand they might be from.

So, without further ado, just keep on reading to learn more about how to clean your white sneakers here. You know what to do – just scroll on!

How To Clean White Canvas Sneakers

For total convenience while navigating this guide (as well as to ensure that you can effectively clean your sneakers without any damage) we will provide you with instructions on how to clean both canvas and leather sneakers.  

In this section, we are going to be starting with canvas white sneakers. So, whenever you’re ready, just keep on reading to discover our simple instructions that will keep your canvas white sneakers looking brand new:

What You’ll Need

What You’ll Need

There are a few things that you are going to need to make sure that you have in order to effectively clean up your sneakers. 

Here is a quick breakdown of the basic equipment and materials that you are going to need to make sure that you have prior to following the instructions that we are going to be providing you with.


  • Eraser sponge or Magic Eraser (optional)
  • Toothbrush
  • Vinegar
  • Baking soda


1. After you have made sure that you have all of the necessary equipment to clean your white canvas sneakers, you will then be ready to begin.

To start, you are going to want to begin by removing any and all loose dirt that you can see across the surface of your white sneakers.

In order to do this, you are going to want to go ahead and take a dry toothbrush (or an alternative type of soft-bristled brush) to scrub away all of the surface dirt that you can see. 

2. Once you have done this, you can then go ahead and begin cleaning the canvas of the shoes with your vinegar and baking soda.

Simply mix them together in a bowl in order to form a paste, and then dip your toothbrush into the mixture and then transfer it to the surface of your sneakers.

From there, all you will need to do is gently massage the paste in circular motions throughout the entirety of the sneakers. Allow the paste to saturate until washing it away.

3. If you have opted to use a Magic Eraser, you should place it onto the rubber soles in order to clean them. Apply the product to the rubber soles and then allow it to saturate,

Then, after you have done this, you can then go ahead and gently begin to rub away at the areas that have dirt and stubborn stains that you want to get rid of.

4. After you have cleaned the dirt and stains away from all areas of your sneakers, you can then go ahead and allow your sneakers to air dry before wearing them again.

If you want, you can look over the sneakers one more time to double-check for any stubborn spots that didn’t lift the first time. If you can see any stains, wash them away by repeating the steps we have just talked you through above.

Top Cleaning Tip: Cleaning white canvas sneakers can be a little trickier to do than if you were to clean white leather sneakers.

While leather sneakers can be wiped down easily, fabrics like canvas are more challenging because the surface is a type of woven fabric that is made out of cotton.

This can make it much harder to lift away stains than if you were to be cleaning a leather fabric.

With that being said, when it comes to cleaning white canvas sneakers, you are going to want to gently rub the paste into the surface of your sneakers in a circular motion.

By using a circular motion, you will help to lift out the stains in the canvas of your white sneakers without damaging the fabric or dulling the dye. 

How To Clean White Leather Sneakers

Now that we have covered how you can effectively clean white canvas sneakers, we are now going to be focusing on how you can easily clean your leather white sneakers. 

What You’ll Need

What You’ll Need

Just like with the canvas sneakers, we are going to be starting off with what supplies you are going to need:


  • White vinegar
  • Clean cloth
  • Warm water
  • Magic Eraser (optional)
  • Toothbrush


1. To clean your white leather sneakers, you are going to need to begin by mixing 50 parts water and 50 parts white vinegar into a bowl. Give it a stir to make sure that the mixture is thoroughly combined together. 

2. Once you have done this, take your sneakers and set them in a well-ventilated place, so that they will be ready to be cleaned. If you have windows, make sure that you open them so that there will be air circulation throughout the area.

3. Take a clean cloth and submerge it in the bowl with the white vinegar and water mixture. Then, squeeze the cloth and immediately begin to rub in circular motions across both sneakers to make sure the mixture is fully saturated in the sneakers.

4. Once you have saturated both of your white sneakers in the white vinegar and warm water mixture, you can then leave the sneakers to soak for around 15 minutes.

During this time, the mixture will be able to break down the dirt and stains on the surface of your sneakers.

5. After you have given your sneakers around 15 minutes to be treated by the mixture you have applied, you can then go ahead and gently wipe off any excess with the cloth and this should bring off all of the dirt and stains to make your sneakers white and sparkling. 

6. If, after removing the excess mixture with the cloth, you notice that there are still a few stains on the surface that were not removed, it is recommended that you repeat the process once again. This should help to get rid of stubborn stains.

7. If there are stains and dirt in hard to reach areas, you might need to grab a toothbrush!

In some instances, difficult to reach stains might not be removed when you follow the method above, so you might need to use a toothbrush to scrub away any remaining stains. 

How To Maintain Your White Sneakers, No Matter The Material

Now that you have learned about all the different ways that you can clean sneakers, both canvas and leather, we’re sure that you’ll be keen to learn a little more about the different ways that you can maintain the cleanliness of your sneakers once they are back to tip-top shape.

Below, we’re going to be sharing with you a few tips that you can follow to keep all of your white sneakers clean. Let’s take a look at them below:

Cover Scratches With Nail Polish

If your sneakers have scratches that you just can’t seem to clean away, it might be tempting to replace them with a new pair.

However, before you swap them out for a fresh pair of white sneakers, did you know that you can cover scratches with white nail polish?

That’s right! Believe it or not, if you have superficial scratches on the surface of your white sneakers and you don’t like the way that you look, you can easily opt to simply cover them up with white nail polish. 

In order to cover up scratches with white nail polish, all you are going to need to do is simply take out your favorite pair of sneakers, grab your go-to white nail polish and gently paint over the scratches to instantly give the sneakers a pristine appearance once again.

Alternatively, if you don’t have any white nail polish to hand or you would like to achieve a more professional look, you could even opt to use sneaker paint.

There are plenty of sneaker paints on the market that are available in a variety of different colors, including white. 

Regularly Spot Check For Stains

Regularly Spot Check For Stains

Instead of letting the dirt build up on your sneakers, why don’t you consider simply giving them a clean each time you notice that there is a mark or stain on the surface of them?

If you have a magic eraser, you can easily use it to clean away stains as they happen. What’s more, you could even throw your Magic Eraser in your purse or bag to clean on the go.

But, if you don’t happen to use a Magic Eraser (or a similar product) then this is totally fine as there are plenty of alternatives to consider.

That being said, if you are in need of a good alternative to go for, you can also opt to use vinegar to clean away surface stains on the surface of your sneakers. 

Besides being an ideal alternative for people who might not have a cleaning product tailored towards sneakers, the vinegar method will also help to keep your white sneakers in pristine condition in-between deep cleans. 

Alternatively, if you have stains that are on the surface of leather sneakers, you could simply opt to use a cleaning cloth as this will be able to wipe the dirt stains right off without damaging the surface of your sneakers.

Avoid Putting Your Sneakers In The Washing Machine

As you might have already guessed by now, you should make sure that you are refraining from machine washing your sneakers.

This is because a washing machine, even on a gentle wash, is still going to be far too vigorous for sneakers to withstand, especially canvas. 

Instead, it is important that you are only ever opting to hand wash your sneakers, and this goes for all types of sneaker materials.

By making the decision to hand wash your sneakers, you will be able to lower the chances of your sneakers becoming damaged while cleaning them. 

Remember, when it comes to washing sneakers, it’s always a bad idea to machine wash your sneakers. Why? Well, besides the fact that the majority of sneakers on the market just aren’t designed to be suitable for washing in a machine, cleaning your sneakers in a washing machine can also lead to your sneakers becoming damaged as it’s just a little too rough. 

This is especially true when washing white sneakers, as any signs of damage can show up much more easily.

So, with that being said, even though it might seem tedious, you should make sure that you only hand wash your sneakers when they are in need of a cleaning.

Clean Awkward Areas With A Toothbrush

We’ve briefly touched upon this in a previous point above, but we think that it should be given its own spotlight in this guide!

Even though the instructions that we have provided you with above will be able to clean up your sneakers and return them back to their original glory, there might be some instances where stubborn stains that are hard to reach might stick around.

In these instances, you should grab an old toothbrush (that you aren’t planning on using) and give the stubborn stains a good scrub to lift them away from the surface of your white sneakers.

If you can’t get rid of them, you should grab some warm water and gentle dish detergent to help get rid of the stains. 

Hand Wash Dirty Laces

Similar to the body of your sneakers, when it comes to maintaining the pristine condition of your sneakers, you should also make sure that you are only ever handwashing your laces, rather than putting them in the washing machine. 

Of course, while it certainly might be tempting to simply throw your white laces in your washing machine, you should instead opt to hand wash your sneaker’s laces by hand with warm water and a bar of gentle soap.

This will help to prevent the color from running out of them, as well as help to prevent the delicate nature of your laces from getting damaged.

Use Protective Spray

Use Protective Spray

This is a great tip that not everyone knows about – protective spray! If you want to keep your white sneakers protected from rain, surface stains, and even from getting creased, you should consider using a protective spray. 

Once you have cleaned your white sneakers, simply go ahead and give your protective spray a few spritzes across the surface of your white sneakers and then allow them to dry.

It’s as simple as that and will help to keep your sneakers from getting dirty in everyday wear.

Be Careful While Wearing Your White Sneakers

Last but not least, the final way that you can help to maintain the pristine condition of your white sneakers is by being extra careful while wearing them.

The last thing you want is to clean your white sneakers, only to wear them out to a muddy park or somewhere that you know there is a strong chance that they are going to be getting dirty.

Of course, while it’s always a good idea to make sure that you are giving your white sneakers a protective coating (such as with a spray, like we have recommended you to do above) this isn’t going to be a total preventative to getting them dirty. 

If you know that you’re going to a park or on a hike, make sure that you’re swapping out your sneakers for an older pair of shoes that you don’t mind getting dirty.

By being mindful of when you should (and shouldn’t) style your white sneakers, you’ll help to keep them in a clean condition for longer.

The Bottom Line

Now that you have taken the time to read through everything that we have talked you through above, we are hoping that you now have a much clearer understanding of how you can keep your white sneakers white.

Before you go, why don’t you consider giving this page a bookmark? That way, if you ever need to come back and refresh your memory on how to keep your sneakers white, clean, and totally pristine – you will know exactly where to find this page. 

Thanks for reading, we hope you enjoy returning your sneakers back to their pristine condition with this guide!

Jessica White
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