How to Wash Shoes the Right Way! (2024)

Need to revive your shoes but not sure how to tackle white shoes, canvas or leather?

We’ve all been there, staring at our once-pristine white kicks, wondering how on earth to bring them back to life.

After countless attempts and a few mishaps, we finally nailed down the essentials of keeping them spotless.

This straightforward guide has become our go-to for effective cleaning strategies tailored to each material.

Trust us, it’s all about the right techniques and a bit of patience.

Dive in and discover how to keep your shoes looking as fresh as the day you bought them, without any fluff.

Short Summary

  • When washing white canvas shoes, start by removing dirt with a brush, hand wash with mild soap, and air dry away from direct sunlight to prevent yellowing.

  • For white leather shoes, gently clean with a soapy water solution, tackle tough stains with a baking soda paste, and let them air dry stuffed with towels to retain shape.

  • Clean white mesh shoes with a soft brush and gentle detergent mix, rinse with a damp cloth, and air dry away from heat, while shoelaces can be cleaned separately and bleached if super dirty.

Topics in This Article:

  • Decoding the Cleaning Process for White Canvas Shoes

    1. Preparing Your White Canvas Shoes for Washing

    2. Hand Washing vs. Machine Washing

    3. Drying Your White Canvas Shoes Properly

  • Mastering the Art of Cleaning White Leather Shoes

    1. Gentle Cleaning With Soapy Water

    2. Targeting Tough Spots on Leather

    3. Ensuring a Complete Dry

  • The Delicate Task of Washing Suede Shoes

    1. Spot Cleaning Without Water

    2. Handling Stains on Suede

    3. Finishing Touches for Suede Shoes

  • How to Brighten White Mesh Shoes

    1. Brushing Off Excess Dirt

    2. Crafting the Perfect Cleaning Mixture

    3. Drying Mesh Shoes the Right Way

  • Reviving White Shoelaces to Their Former Glory

    1. Removing Laces for Individual Treatment

    2. Bleaching Laces Safely

  • Final Words

  • Frequently Asked Questions

Decoding the Cleaning Process for White Canvas Shoes

Clean white canvas shoes are a staple in many wardrobes, thanks to their versatility and casual charm.

However, their fabric nature makes them particularly susceptible to dirt and stains.

We’ve all faced the frustration of seeing our favourite white kicks get dirty after just a few wears.

But don’t worry—over time, we’ve discovered some effective methods to keep them looking fresh.

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The process involves a few key steps: preparation, choosing between hand washing and machine washing, and proper drying techniques.

Trust us, with a bit of patience and the right approach, you can keep your white canvas shoes looking as good as new.

Let us share what we’ve learned to help you out.

Preparing Your White Canvas Shoes for Washing

Adequate preparation goes a long way in obtaining optimal results when cleaning your white canvas shoes.

We always start by removing the shoelaces, which allows us to access every part of the shoe for a thorough clean.

Think of it like taking off your jewelry before washing your hands—you want to make sure you get every nook and cranny.

Then, we use a dry toothbrush or a small soft-bristled brush to scrub off any loose dirt from the fabric.

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Next, mix a cup of warm water with mild soap to create a cleaning solution for initial cleaning.

This step is crucial in preventing dirt from spreading or embedding deeper into the material during washing.

Once we’ve brushed away the loose dirt, we gently wipe down the shoes with a soft, mild cleaning cloth dipped in plain water to tackle surface soil.

This ensures the canvas is ready for a deeper clean and that the cleaning solution can penetrate effectively without being obstructed by surface grime.

Hand Washing vs. Machine Washing

When it comes to washing white canvas shoes, you have two main options: hand washing or using a washing machine.

From our experience, hand washing is generally the way to go, especially if your shoes have delicate components like leather or suede trim, beads, or rope soles.

We usually create a cleaning mixture using mild dish soap and warm water.

Using a soft cloth or brush, we gently scrub the entire shoe, paying extra attention to any particularly dirty areas.

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It’s like giving your shoes a spa day, treating them with the care they deserve.

If you prefer using a washing machine, which we totally get—sometimes life gets busy—make sure to take some protective measures for your shoes.

Here’s what we do:

  1. Place your white canvas shoes in a mesh laundry bag to prevent them from snagging or becoming misshapen. Think of it as a safety net for your favourite kicks.

  2. Use a gentle cycle with cold water and mild detergent to avoid damaging the fabric.

  3. This method works well for white fabric shoes that don’t have delicate components, and it saves a lot of time. Perfect for those days when you’re juggling a million things but still want your shoes to look fresh.

Drying Your White Canvas Shoes Properly

Drying your shoes correctly holds equal importance with the washing process in maintaining the state of your white canvas shoes.

After cleaning, we always follow these steps to dry our shoes properly:

  1. We place our shoes in a cool, ventilated area to let them air dry naturally. This helps prevent any damage to the material.

  2. Direct sunlight is a no-go for us, as we’ve learned the hard way that it can cause yellowing or even damage the fabric. Remember that time you left your shoes out in the sun and they turned a weird shade of yellow? Yeah, let's avoid that.

  3. To help the shoes retain their shape and absorb excess moisture, we stuff them with white paper towels. It’s a simple trick that works wonders. Think of it like giving your shoes a little TLC.

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We’ve found that allowing the shoes to air dry fully before wearing or storing them is vital in avoiding unwanted odours and maintaining freshness.

Patience is key here—rushing the drying process can lead to deformed shoes and lingering dampness that attracts mold and mildew.

Trust us, it’s worth the wait to have fresh, perfectly shaped shoes!

Remember, good things come to those who wait, especially when it comes to keeping your kicks looking fresh.

White leather shoes, also known as white sneakers, exude a level of sophistication and style that few other types can match.

However, keeping them clean can be a bit tricky.

Leather requires a gentler touch and more careful handling than canvas.

We remember the first time we tried cleaning our white leather shoes; we were so worried about ruining them.

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After all, who hasn't had that moment of sheer panic, scrubbing away at a stubborn stain, praying you don't make it worse?

Over time, we’ve figured out some gentle cleaning methods and techniques for targeting tough spots.

Ensuring they dry completely is also crucial, as we’ve learned from a few mishaps.

Remember that time you thought a quick blast from the hairdryer would speed things up, only to end up with cracked leather?

Now, we know better and take our time to do it right.

Gentle Cleaning With Soapy Water

One of the safest and most effective ways to clean white leather shoes is using a soapy water solution.

Here’s how we do it:

  1. We mix a tablespoon of mild dish soap with lukewarm water to create a gentle cleaning solution. Think of it like making a soothing bath for your shoes.

  2. Then, we dip a microfibre cloth into the mixture and gently scrub the entire surface of the shoes, being careful not to oversaturate the leather.

  3. The key here is using a soft cloth that won’t damage the delicate leather while still effectively removing dirt.

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After scrubbing, we use a clean damp cloth to wipe away any soap residue, ensuring no moisture is left behind that could potentially damage the leather.

This method has helped us maintain the integrity of our white leather shoes while keeping them clean and fresh.

Laura from BHG said:

"Mix 1 tablespoon of baking soda with 2 tablespoons of white vinegar and a cup of water. Use a cloth or old toothbrush to scrub your white fabric sneakers until clean.

Use a toothbrush dipped in the mixture to scrub the shoes, wait 30 minutes for the baking soda to work its magic, then rinse with water. "

Targeting Tough Spots on Leather

Tough spots and stains on white leather shoes require a bit more effort, but don't worry, we've been there too.

Here’s how we tackle them:

We start by creating a gentle cleaning paste using baking soda and a small amount of water.

Think of it like crafting a DIY face mask for your shoes!

For those especially stubborn stains, we mix in a bit of white toothpaste to form a scrubbing paste.

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It's like giving your shoes a spa treatment.

Using a damp cloth, we gently rub the paste onto the tough spots and scuff marks.

This method has been effective yet gentle enough to avoid damaging the leather.

After treating the stains, we wipe the area clean with a damp cloth to remove any residue of the cleaning agent...

...ensuring no material is left behind that could harm the leather over time.

It's a bit of extra effort, but trust us, seeing your shoes look brand new again makes it all worth it.

Ensuring a Complete Dry

Making sure our white leather shoes are thoroughly dry after cleaning is something we've all learned the hard way at some point.

After wiping off any residual moisture with a towel, we leave the shoes to air dry naturally overnight in a well-ventilated space.

Trust us, avoiding direct heat sources like hairdryers or placing them in the sun is crucial, as it can cause the leather to crack or fade.

We've all been there—thinking a quick blast from the hairdryer will speed things up, only to end up with shoes that look worse than before.

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To help the shoes maintain their shape while drying, we stuff them with nylon mesh or white paper towels.

This little trick ensures they remain in perfect form and are ready for wear once completely dry.

It's a bit of extra effort, but it's worth it to keep our shoes looking great.

We've all felt that satisfaction when our shoes come out looking fresh and new, ready to hit the streets again.

The Delicate Task of Washing Suede Shoes

To clean suede shoes, which are a delicate and stylish addition to any wardrobe, but can be notoriously difficult to keep clean, follow these steps.

Remember the first time you tried cleaning yours?

The worry of ruining them was real.

After some trial and error, we found that spot cleaning and handling stains with care is key.

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Using a suede brush and a suede eraser has saved us from some tough spots.

Adding those finishing touches, like blotting with a towel and brushing the nap, really makes a difference.

Now, our suede shoes look as good as new, and we feel confident wearing them out.

Spot Cleaning Without Water

When it comes to cleaning suede shoes, water is often not your friend.

We learned this the hard way, watching our favourite pair get ruined by water stains.

Instead, we now start by using a suede brush to clean off surface dirt without using water.

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For more stubborn marks, a suede eraser can be gently rubbed over the affected areas to lift scuffs and stains.

These tools have saved us countless times and ensure that the material remains intact.

Gentle, consistent strokes are key to effective cleaning without harming the shoes.

Dealing with stains on suede shoes requires a bit of finesse.

One method we’ve found effective is using white vinegar.

We apply the vinegar with a clean cloth, gently dabbing the stained area to lift the stain without soaking the suede.

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After applying vinegar, we use a suede brush to gently lift the nap as the shoe dries, restoring its original texture.

Alternatively, rubbing alcohol can also be used by dabbing it onto the affected areas with a cloth, making sure not to saturate the material.

As per the folks from Collonil:

"For more deeper, devilish stains like oil, grease, mud, or ink, the use of a suitable suede cleaner may be required.

For oil and grease stains, use a powerful cleaning spray on the affected area along with a cleaning block to remove these stubborn stains."

Finishing Touches for Suede Shoes

Applying some finishing touches after we clean our suede shoes has always been necessary to keep them in top-notch condition.

We start by blotting the shoes with a towel to absorb excess moisture, being extra careful not to rub, as we’ve learned that this can damage the material.

If we're in a hurry, we sometimes use a hairdryer set to medium heat at a safe distance to speed up the drying process.

Once the shoes are completely dry, we use a specialised suede brush to gently lift the nap, brushing the entire surface in one direction.

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We repeat the brushing motion until the nap is restored and the shoes look as good as new.

This routine has kept our suede shoes ready for their next outing, and we always feel confident wearing them out.

We know it might seem like a lot of effort, but trust us, these small steps make a huge difference.

So next time you’re cleaning your suede shoes, remember these tips and enjoy the process.

How to Brighten White Mesh Shoes

White mesh shoes are known for their breathability and comfort, but let's be real—they can get dirty fast.

After plenty of trial and error (and a few near disasters), we've figured out a few key steps that really work to brighten them up.

We start by brushing off excess dirt with a soft-bristled brush—honestly, it's like a mini victory seeing that dirt disappear.

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Next, we mix a teaspoon of dish detergent with warm water and gently scrub the shoes, focusing on the dirtiest spots.

It's oddly satisfying, like giving your shoes a little spa day.

After rinsing with clean water, we let them air dry in a cool, ventilated area, stuffing them with white paper towels to keep their shape.

These steps have kept our white mesh shoes looking fresh, and we're confident they’ll work for you too.

Brushing Off Excess Dirt

Before starting the cleaning process, we always make sure to eliminate any loose dirt from the mesh fabric.

We gently use a soft-bristled brush or an old toothbrush to remove dirt from the surface.

This step is crucial because it prevents the dirt from embedding deeper into the material during cleaning.

We’ve found that gentle brushing motions with light pressure work best to avoid damaging the delicate mesh.

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Trust us, taking a few extra minutes for this step makes a huge difference in the end result.

It’s a simple yet effective way to keep our white mesh shoes looking fresh and clean.

Think about it like this: You wouldn’t start washing your car without hosing off the dirt first, right?

A little prep work goes a long way.

Crafting the Perfect Cleaning Mixture

Creating an effective cleaning mixture for white mesh shoes is easier than you might think, and trust me, we’ve been through the trial and error.

Here’s what works best for us and will likely work for you too:

Start by mixing a teaspoon of dish detergent with warm water to create a gentle soapy solution.

Using a soft cloth, apply the mixture to your shoes and gently rub in circular motions.

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This helps lift dirt and stains without damaging the mesh.

After cleaning, use a damp cloth to remove any soap residue.

Avoid submerging the shoes in water, as this can degrade the mesh—something we learned the hard way.

This method has kept our mesh shoes looking fresh, and we're confident it will do the same for yours.

Drying Mesh Shoes the Right Way

Correct drying techniques are key to maintaining the form and durability of your white mesh shoes.

After cleaning, here's how we dry our shoes to keep them in top shape:

  1. First, we grab a microfibre cloth to blot out as much moisture as possible. It's like giving your shoes a quick towel-off after a shower.

  2. Then, we let them air dry naturally in a cool, ventilated area. Think of it as letting your shoes take a breather after a long day.

  3. We avoid placing them in direct sunlight or near heat sources like heaters.

    Trust us, we've learned the hard way that this can cause deformation or discolouration—no one wants their shoes to look like they've spent too much time at the tanning salon.

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By following these steps, we've managed to keep our white mesh shoes looking fresh and in good condition.

We also stuff the inside of the shoes with white paper towels to help them maintain their shape and absorb excess moisture.

It's a simple trick, but it makes a big difference.

Reviving White Shoelaces to Their Former Glory

Although shoelaces often miss out on the cleaning process, they contribute significantly to the overall look of your white shoes.

Reviving white shoelaces is easier than it seems.

We start by removing them from our shoes and soaking them in a soapy water solution.

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Gently rubbing them together usually does the trick to release trapped dirt, but for tougher stains, a small brush or toothbrush works wonders.

If they’re still not bright enough, we use a heavily diluted bleach solution for a quick soak, which really brings back their brightness.

Trust us, taking a few extra minutes to clean your shoelaces makes a huge difference in the overall look of your shoes.

Removing Laces for Individual Treatment

For a thorough clean, we always start by removing the laces from our shoes.

Here’s how we clean them:

  1. We soak them in a soapy water solution. It’s like giving them a little bath after a long day.

  2. Then, we gently rub them together to release trapped dirt, just like washing your hands after a messy meal.

  3. If the laces are extremely dirty, we use a small brush or toothbrush to scrub the stains out after soaking. Think of it as giving them a deep clean, like scrubbing those stubborn pots and pans.

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Once cleaned, we rinse them thoroughly and squeeze out excess water before hanging them to dry completely.

Taking a few extra minutes to clean your shoelaces makes a huge difference in keeping your shoes looking fresh.

Bleaching Laces Safely

To restore the bright white appearance of your shoelaces, we’ve found that bleaching works wonders.

Here’s how we do it:

  1. We always start by putting on rubber gloves to protect our hands.

  2. Then, we create a heavily diluted bleach solution for soaking the laces.

  3. We soak the laces in the solution for a few minutes.

  4. Finally, we scrub them clean with an old toothbrush.

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After bleaching, we rinse the laces thoroughly and hang them up to air dry.

This method has never failed us, and our shoelaces always come out looking brand new!

Final Words

Keeping our shoes spotless used to feel like a never-ending battle, but over time, we've found that with the right techniques, it's actually pretty manageable.

Think of it like maintaining a good skincare routine or keeping your favourite white shirt clean—it's all about consistency and the right approach.

We start by preparing our shoes, whether that means removing the laces or brushing off excess dirt.

For canvas shoes, we prefer hand washing, but a gentle cycle in the washing machine works when we're short on time.

Leather shoes get the soapy water treatment, while suede requires a bit more finesse with specialized cleaners.

Proper drying techniques, like air drying away from direct sunlight, have been crucial in maintaining their shape and preventing damage.

It's similar to how you wouldn't throw your delicate clothes in the dryer on high heat.

In conclusion, keeping your shoes looking pristine is all about using the right methods and having a bit of patience.

By following these steps, you can ensure that each type of shoe—canvas, leather, suede, or mesh—gets the care it deserves.

Happy cleaning and remember, a little effort goes a long way in keeping your kicks looking fresh!

Frequently Asked Questions

You should clean your white canvas shoes whenever they get stained, and for occasional wear, clean them once a month to maintain their good condition.

No, it's best to avoid using bleach on white leather shoes as it can cause damage.

Try using a baking soda and water solution instead.

The best way to remove tough stains from suede shoes is to gently apply white vinegar or rubbing alcohol using a clean cloth.

Good luck!

To prevent your white mesh shoes from yellowing, avoid submerging them in water and let them air dry naturally away from direct sunlight or heaters.

Soak your white shoelaces in soapy water, scrub if necessary, rinse well, and consider using a diluted bleach solution for extra whitening.

It's effective and easy.

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How to Wash Shoes the Right Way! (2024)


Can I wash my shoes in the washing machine? ›

Shoes made from canvas, nylon, cotton, and polyester should be fine to throw in the washing machine. Most sneakers and tennis shoes are made from fabrics that can take the rough and tumble rigors of a machine wash. Certain shoes don't belong in the washer, like those made from leather, suede, rubber, and vinyl.

What is the proper procedure of cleaning shoes? ›

  1. Untie and remove laces from shoes.
  2. Soak in warm, soapy water. Add a few squirts of liquid dish soap to your bathroom sink or a large bowl. ...
  3. Scrub stubborn spots. Make a paste of baking soda and water and scrub by hand with a toothbrush.
  4. Rinse with fresh water. ...
  5. Lay flat to dry.
Apr 19, 2023

How can I wash my shoes without ruining them? ›

Wash the shoes using a delicate cycle

Set your washing machine on a Delicate, cold water cycle with a slow or no-spin option. Use liquid detergent or laundry pods because powder detergent can get stuck in the shoes if it doesn't dissolve properly.

Is it okay to put shoes in the dryer? ›

Why You Shouldn't Rely on Your Dryer. Not only will your shoes get beat up as they tumble around the dryer, but the heat can also cause your shoes to shrink. Since the perfect fit makes the difference between a supported run and a painful one, you don't want to risk any change to the shape or fit of your shoes.

What are the disadvantages of washing shoes in the washing machine? ›

There is a risk of damage when washing sneakers in the machine, particularly if they are made of sensitive or low-quality materials. Always refer to the manufacturer's care instructions and exercise caution when deciding to wash your sneakers in the washer.

How to wash stinky shoes in a washing machine? ›

Machine-Washing Smelly Shoes
  1. Remove the insoles and laces.
  2. Place your shoes in a mesh laundry bag.
  3. Wash your shoes with a load of towels. Or you can throw them in with a typical load of laundry.
  4. Leave the shoes in direct sunlight after they've been washed. Make sure they air dry completely before your next use.
Feb 2, 2024

What is the best way to clean used shoes? ›

For interior surfaces including insoles, use warm water and a mild detergent solution or a vinegar-based cleaning mixture. Disinfecting methods include using common household disinfectants, a baking soda and vinegar mixture, or UV light sanitizers. After disinfecting, it's crucial to dry your shoes properly.

How do you wash and disinfect shoes? ›

You can either dip a cloth in three parts rubbing alcohol and one part water or add it to a spray bottle and simply spray your shoes when you come home and let them dry. Bleach is an effective disinfectant, but it will bleach color sneakers. One part bleach and five parts water can work on white canvas shoes.

Can I just throw my shoes in the washing machine? ›

Generally speaking, shoes made of canvas, nylon, cotton and polyester can safely be washed in a washing machine; however, those made with leather, suede, rubber or vinyl should not be placed in the washer.

What is the safest way to wash sneakers? ›

Place your washer settings on the delicate, cold water cycle. Hot water can potentially distort the shape of your shoes and cause the colors on your kicks to fade. That said, it's best to wash your shoes in cold water and select a slow spin or no-spin option.

Should I wash my shoes in a pillowcase? ›

It's a good idea to pop your shoes, and your laces, inside a mesh laundry bag to protect them from becoming snagged on the inside of the drum. If you don't have a laundry bag, an empty pillowcase is a good alternative.

How to wash stinky shoes? ›

Choose a delicate cycle to gently wash your shoes. The slower spin cycles (or sometimes no spin cycle at all) also help reduce noise. Select the coldest temperature available for the wash. A cold cycle will still remove odors, as modern laundry detergents contain enzymes that work regardless of water temperature.

Is it OK to wash shoes with water? ›

Wash your shoes on a delicate cycle with cold water, then let them air dry. To hand wash leather, vinyl, or rubber shoes, first remove the laces and soak them in soapy water. Then, scrub the outside of your shoes with a soft-bristled brush, like a clean toothbrush, to remove any dirt and debris.

Should I wash the inside of my shoes? ›

How to Keep Shoes Clean on the Inside. If you have insoles, remove and handwash them separately in soapy water. Once insoles are removed, gently scrub the inside of the shoe just like you scrubbed the outside. Spritz a mixture of half vinegar and half water in the inside of your shoe (vinegar is a natural disinfectant) ...

How often should you wash your shoes? ›

"The time frame usually varies from person to person, but if you're wearing [the same] shoes every day for the gym, for work, etcetera, you may find that you need to clean your shoes... every two to four weeks," says board-certified podiatrist Mohammad Rimawi.

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