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How to clean your white shoes and trainers

Want to know how to clean white converse and how to wash white shoes? Read on for some simple and unusual solutions.


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Keeping your white shoes and trainers free of scuffs and stains can seem like a losing battle. Even when you’re careful, it’s normal for white shoes to change colour over time. But there are many unusual allies to help you clean white shoes — from white nail polish to Jif cream. Here are some secret ingredients you may not have considered.

Always try your chosen cleaning solution on a small, hard-to-see part of the shoe first to check that it does not damage or stain it further. Follow the cleaning care instructions for your shoes before applying strong chemicals like bleach or detergent and don’t use bleach-based cleaners on real leather.

How to clean white sneakers with Jif cream

Jif is a highly versatile cleaner that you can apply to all types of shoes — canvas sneakers, rubber soles and synthetic leather. Squirt a drop of Jif onto a cloth or toothbrush and lather it onto the stain. Rinse with water. Once washed, hang your sneakers up to dry.

How to clean white converse with bleach and baking soda

Bleach is a powerful whitener and so it’s no surprise that it’s ideal for battling canvas fabric that becomes faded and discoloured over time. Take a spoonful of hydrogen peroxide, bicarbonate of soda and water and mix into a paste using an old toothbrush. Cover the stains with the mixture and leave to dry in the sun. Once dried, scrunch up the laces to remove dried paste and brush off excess residue.

How to wash white shoes with detergent and baking soda

This is a variation on the above for canvas shoes but using detergent instead of bleach. Mix one and a half tablespoons of baking soda with one tablespoon of detergent and mix together with a toothbrush. Scrub the canvas sneakers with the mixture using the toothbrush and leave for 20 minutes. Thoroughly rinse the surface of your shoes with clean water (don’t put this in a washer as this can shrink your shoes) and then leave to dry.

How to clean soles with an eraser

Mud stains on your rubber soles? A school eraser might just be what you need. Brush off excess dried mud and then scrub off any remaining stains on your shoes. Make sure the eraser is clean before you start using it to avoid creating more marks.

How to clean white shoes with toothpaste

Select a white, non-gel-based toothpaste and use an old toothbrush to apply it to the stains on your shoes. Leave for at least 10 minutes before wiping it away with a damp cloth.

Cleaning shoes with white nail polish

And when all else fails, sometimes covering up a stain can be the best that you can do. If you’ve tried everything and a sharp black mark still remains, use white nail polish to cover it up. This is especially effective on soles and faux leather, which naturally have a plastic-like sheen, but may not be effective on canvas fabric.

Getting white sneakers and converse shoes to look straight-of-the-box new is a challenge when they stain so easily. But now you’re never short of simple solutions to get them gleaming again.

  • Choose your cleaning method depending on the fabric of your shoes

  • Detergent and bleach can be effective for cleaning canvas fabric

  • Cover marks using white nail varnish for severe stains

Originally published