How To Clean White Sneakers
White sneakers have become a style staple in recent years, as they have proven to be as versatile as a plain white shirt or a dark pair of denim. However, unlike the latter pieces mentioned, white sneakers are particularly vulnerable to getting dirty, especially in the rain when they come into contact with grass and mud. Even the smallest stains can shine through on an all-white pair of shoes, so you have to be careful with them. At the very least, you should know how to properly clean and maintain them.
White sneakers also come in different materials such as leather, suede, and canvas, all of which have varying degrees of difficulty when it comes to getting them as white as they were when they came out of the box. A lot of shoe collectors recommend getting a leather pair if you can only get one. Leather forms to your foot better compared to the other materials. Leather shoes are also easier to clean because dirt doesn’t seep into them that easily.
Sure, you can purchase some pricey cleaner and simply get things over and done with. However, people on a budget may not have the means to purchase such things. The same goes for a person who’s always on the go. You wouldn’t expect him or her to just be lugging around a bottle of shoe cleaner all the time, right? For these kinds of people, the following nine hacks can help keep their white sneakers as clean as a whistle.
Make Your Own Shoe Cleaner
If you have the time, you can try making a DIY shoe cleaning solution with a couple of simple ingredients – most of which are readily available at the supermarket or are already in your pantry. To accomplish the simplest version of this do-it-yourself hack, all you need to do is to combine two parts water to two parts vinegar. If you can get your hands on it, white distilled vinegar is your best option. Not only is it great at removing stains, but it also helps disinfect.
Once you’ve whipped up your very own shoe cleaner, all you need to do is apply it to a rag or a brush and scrub the stains away. This hack works best for white leather shoes, but it can work on any material under the sun. Just make sure to use it as quickly as possible, as it may not work as well for removing stains that have already seeped into the shoe. As an aside, if you’re planning to use bleach to clean your white sneakers, just make sure you dilute it properly first.
Break Down Dirt
You can also use baking soda to spot clean your beloved white sneakers. Make a paste out of some baking soda and water, and apply it to the parts of the shoe you want to clean. Baking soda works best with soil stains because its alkalinity helps break them down into more manageable pieces that are much easier to spot clean. However, you shouldn’t use this trick for colored sneakers, as baking soda may cause some unsightly discoloration.
Baking soda is also a great solution for when your shoes start to smell a bit off. Just sprinkle some into your shoes and give them a good shake. This will help evenly distribute the baking soda within the shoe. Leave your shoes for a couple of hours, or better yet, overnight to allow the baking soda to work its magic and absorb all of those nasty odors. Once done, pat out all of the excess baking soda and rinse off the shoes, if need be.
Brush Away Stains
So you may not have baking soda in your home. You may not have any vinegar as well. However, the chances of you not having toothpaste are pretty slim – next to none even. If you’re thinking what I’m thinking, then you’re absolutely right. Toothpaste isn’t just good for cleaning your teeth, it can also help whiten your once dirty sneakers. Avoid using colored toothpaste, as these may cause even more stains that you’ll have to work harder to remove. The brand of the toothpaste you use doesn’t matter also, just make sure that it’s pure white.
To clean your white shoes with toothpaste, simply scrub them down using a non-gel white toothpaste and an old toothbrush. Start in the middle of the stain, then work outwards using circular motions. Let the toothpaste sit for a couple of minutes. Afterward, use a damp towel to wipe the excess toothpaste off your shoe. You can repeat this process as many times as necessary to remove stains.
If you really can’t be bothered, just put your shoes in the washing machine. This is only recommended for shoes made out of fabric or fly knit material, so don’t go out there chucking your leather sneakers into the nearest spin cycle. Before anything else, you should also remove any laces and insoles for a better result. Also, put the shoes in a mesh laundry bag or a pillowcase, if you don’t have the former. Avoid overcrowding the washing machine as well; wash a maximum of two or three pairs at one time.
On The Go Solutions
For a quick fix, it would be a good idea to always have wipes or a magic eraser on your person. Keep a couple of these in your bag or in your everyday carry. Some wipes are specifically made for cleaning sneakers. While some people swear by these and the difference they provide as compared to regular wipes, the latter is still a perfectly acceptable substitute, especially if you’re trying to save money. Makeup removal wipes could also work if you have those on hand instead.
While they may be a bit pricier, magic erasers are also a great investment. You don’t need to use as much of this to get rid of stains, so it’ll last long. This effectively helps you save money in the long run compared to buying loads of wipes that are only for one-time use. Despite a magic eraser’s ability to remove even the toughest stains, you should be wary of always using one. The harsher ingredients in it could cause yellowing of white shoes, especially those that are mostly made of canvas or cotton material.
As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure. So if you want to prevent your white sneakers from getting stained in the first place, you should invest in a good stain and liquid repellant. This gives your precious shoes a protective layer that prevents dirt from seeping in, which makes spot cleaning them a whole lot easier. Aside from forming a barrier against dirt, this also makes your shoes waterproof to some degree, so you don’t need to worry about wearing your white shoes outside if you think it’s going to rain. Spray on a new coat of this stuff every three to four weeks at the very least.
Cleaning The Soles
It’s not only your shoes’ upper – the “main” or top part of the shoe – that you should keep in pristine condition. The sole is the part of the shoe that comes into contact with grime the most, so it should also be maintained. Since they are made out of a tougher material than the upper, you can use a brush, some form of cleaner, and a bit of elbow grease to remove stains. If you notice that your shoes’ soles are yellowing, you can use plain toothpaste and a melamine resin foam eraser to treat the problem areas.
Cleaning The Laces
Aside from the soles, another part of the shoe you should always keep clean are the laces. To restore your shoelaces to their former glory, simply put them in a delicates bag – so they won’t get lost – and toss them into the washing machine. Since shoelaces are machine washable, it’s as simple as that. However, in the rare case that this doesn’t work, spray them with a bit of stain remover and let them soak them in some water overnight. You could even soak them in some diluted bleach. Wash them thoroughly afterward to prevent yellowing.
When worst comes to worst and your shoes get scratched, don’t fret. The solution to this is fairly simple. Just use some white nail polish to cover them. Try your best to look for a shade of white that closely matches the color of your sneakers; not all shades of white nail polish are created equal. If you use the wrong shade, the error may end up looking worse than what you started with. If you still want to use that nail polish for your fingernails, then don’t use a brush; use a Q-tip instead.
If you follow these nine tips and tricks, then you won’t have any more trouble keeping your white shoes as pristine as you can. These directions aren’t hard at all, and the best part is the tools and materials you’ll need are things you probably already have. So what are you waiting for? Go ahead and clean your white shoes.
- How To Clean White Sneakers: A Comprehensive Guide To Keeping Your Kicks Sparkling, Chatelaine
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- How to Clean White Shoes So They Look New, Woman’s World