You got your new white shoes and they’re your pride and joy. You want to keep them in the best possible condition right? Well, there will come a time when they will get dirty. That is to be expected. So how do you keep white shoes white?

Well, read on as I will show you how. It’s not that difficult at all really. Just check out the options for you below.

How To Keep White Shoes White

Are you a fashionista?

White shoes are a fashion statement aren’t they? But what sort of statement are you saying when your new pair of white shoes are dirty or even turning yellow?

Not a very good message is it?

You’ve probably spent quite a bit of money on these new pair of shoes. And your shoes are not to be underestimated as shoes can compliment your complete outfit. So you want to take great care with them, don’t you?

Before I do go over some options for you I just want to say that by setting some time aside to clean your shoes that they will definitely last longer. And that by doing so will mean that you don’t have to rush out every time that they get dirty to buy a new pair.

Over at The Idle Man it is suggested that you keep away from muddy areas or puddles. Definitely a good idea if you want your shoes to last.

Topics discussed:

Prepare Your Shoes Before The First Wear

Before you even think about putting on your new shiny white shoes you need to pre-treat them by applying a suitable protectant to them.

As your shoes will be exposed to all sorts of elements and conditions there will be opportunities that your shoes will get dirty and even show their age.

If you’re out in the rain then obviously the rain water can penetrate the material of your shoes. It is therefore important to pre-treat your shoes first as this will help the durability of your shoes right off the bat.

If you don’t apply an appropriate repellent coating then rainwater, (or any other kind of water), will seep into the material of the shoe and cause damage, such as creases, rot or even stains.

Over time this damage can get worse resulting in holes appearing in your once perfect shoes. How sad?!

It is therefore definitely a good idea to invest in a stain and water resistant product before you even put your feet into your new white shoes.

These resistant, (or rather repellent), products usually come in the form of a spray, which you will use on the whole shoe. This includes the sole and the laces as well.

Know Your Terrain

You have probably bought your new white shows because you want to give a statement. And that statement is that you are both ‘trendy’ and that you take pride in your appearance.

There is therefore no point in hiking in your new shoes or even standing in a field of cows is there? They would soon get pretty dirty in no time at all.

Know Your Terrain

You will want to keep to the footpath as much as possible and keep out of those muddy puddles.

You therefore need to wear footwear that is suitable for where you are going and what you intend doing.

So ask yourself these two questions before you put on your best white shoes.

You will of course get them dirty from time to time. And that is to be expected. But if you take precautions and consider your surroundings then your shoes will last a lot longer.

How To Clean Your Shoes – Your Options

There are 5 options available to you that I would like to cover here. Each of them depends on how much time and money that you are willing to spend on the upkeep of your shoes.

Depending on the type of material of your shoes will limit your options as well. You obviously cannot throw a pair of leather shoes into the washing machine with your dirty socks. You need to take better care than that.

1. Brush the dirt off

Yes, if you are lazy then this could be a good option for you. But that’s not going to get your shoes white is it?

Brushing the dirt off is a good first step though in maintaining your treads.

Getting the dirt off your shoes with a brush will get some of it off but not all of it. There will be some stubborn dirt that will be buried into the shoe.

So, this option will help to make your shoes appear a little bit better but it won’t bring them back to their former glory. If you take pride in your appearance then using only this option is not for you.

2. Use the washing machine

Ah yes, another easy option that is available to you is the good old washing machine. But that is of course if you do have a washing machine or have access to one.

But is it that easy? Can you just chuck your shoes into the washing machine, set it and then have brand-spanking-new-clean white shoes?

Well, your shoes will look cleaner that’s a guarantee. And your washing machine will do a better job than just brushing alone. But a word of caution if you are using this option – you do need to take care with the settings of your machine.

You do not want to set your machine to a hot wash. That will definitely destroy the material of your shoes.

And if you are going to use this method then I suggest that you put some towels in the machine as well do prevent your shoes from banging against the inside of the machine. Don’t just throw only your shoes inside the machine and turn it on.

I would advise you not to use this option as your washing machine can easily damage your shoes as I have said. But as it is an option I thought that I would put it out there.

Also, when your shoes come out of the washing machine you may be tempted to use a hair dryer to dry out any of the wet patches.

Please refrain from using a hair dryer or a tumble dryer as the heat will damage your shoes.

3. Use soapy water

Yes, it’s that easy. Before I go on I just want to say that this option is not suitable for canvas shoes.

Using a detergent can do some irreversible damage to your shoes such as leaving sud marks and can even turn the rubber sole yellow.

Credit: SneakerheadPat

Anyway, for this option you just get a bucket of soapy water and just scrub any dirt off your shoes with a brush. Just make sure that your brush is non-abrasive otherwise you WILL do damage to your shoes.

You will need a few other items if you decide that this option is best for you. But don’t worry as these are all common household options that you should have.

Besides soapy water, a bucket and a brush you will also need:

  • Container to wash your laces in
  • Hand towel

And that’s it, lol. You will also need some time as well.

You can read more about this method by checking out my How To Clean Your Shoes The Easy Way post.

4. Use Mr. Clean Magic Eraser

Now this option can be used as well as the previous one. Personally I think that it’s best if you clean off as much dirt as you can using soapy water and then apply the Magic Eraser to your shoes.

Trust me, this Eraser is great for whitening your shoes, removing those scuff marks and bringing your shoes back to their former glory.

The Magic Eraser is really cheap. And besides it being really cheap you can also use it for other purposes all around your home.

You can use it to clean your walls, the bath, the oven door and practically anything else you can think of that needs a good clean.

If you do buy this stuff and don’t use it for your shoes you can always use it for something else. So you’re not really wasting your money on this product.

5. White Shoe Polish – For Leather Shoes!

My final option that I will suggest to you is for you to buy some white shoe polish for your leather shoes. If you really want to make an impression and want to keep those white leather shoes of yours white then this stuff is for you.

You will though need to clean your shoes before you use the shoe polish. And also make sure that your shoes are dry before you apply the polish.

If you aren’t satisfied with the appearance of your shoes after one coating then you can always apply a second coating.

Final Thoughts

Before I leave you I just wanted to say a few last things.

Now then I have already discussed that you should consider where you intend going before you put on those nice white shoes of yours. And what you intend doing when you get there as well.

One excellent tip for you is to clean your shoes as soon as possible. So as soon as you get a chance use the above options to get that dirt off your shoes. This will help the stain from seeping in and causing damage.

And finally you want to follow whichever option(s) works best for you.

If you really want to look after your shoes and go that extra mile, (not walking I mean or do I), then take your time to clean your shoes thoroughly. You’ll thank me.

Thank You and Please Leave A Comment

I hope that this how to keep white shoes white. If you think that this post will be helpful then please share it with family and friends using the social media buttons below.

If you have any questions or comments then please leave a comment below. I would love to hear from you.

Owain Couch

Making and repairing boots and shoes has been an occupation in my family for generations. I want to carry on the family business by helping you find the best footwear, as well as provide useful guides that will help make them last longer.


Merry · February 13, 2018 at 1:50 am

That is so awesome! I just learned something and actually from the beginning I had the magic eraser in mind so thank you for clarifying and allowing me to feel so smart! loL. What I learned that was so clever is the sudsy suds not being suitable for canvas shoes! And now I know why…

    Owain Couch · February 13, 2018 at 2:49 am

    Yep, Magic Eraser is pretty handy. Hope you have this stuff at home, and if not please check out the link in the post to get it 🙂

HippieTam · February 13, 2018 at 1:57 am

I am the worst with taking care of my shoes and I always regret it!

It looks like that there are easy ways to keep white shoes white. It’s just that it takes a bit of time, but I will do it.

Thanks for the useful tips!

    Owain Couch · February 13, 2018 at 2:51 am

    Yep Tam please follow which option(s) works best for you. After all making your shoes last longer will obviously save you from going to the shops yet again and getting another pair.

Vince · February 13, 2018 at 9:56 am

The cleaningness of shoes do make an impression to some.
If you invest in cool kicks, you might as well invest the time to up keep.
Great post Owain. I’ve never put my shoes in the washing machine before but sound like it might work.

The guys at foot locker were trying to push a leather protector spray when I bought my last pair. Are these sorts of sprays worth it?

    Owain Couch · February 13, 2018 at 2:18 pm

    That’s right Vince. If you’re going to invest your money into your shoes then you may as well try to maintain them. Otherwise you’re just throwing your money away.

    Yes I would definitely agree that you should get the leather protector. At the end of the day it’s a small price to pay to make your shoes last.

      Lana · February 13, 2018 at 3:20 pm

      Hi Owain,
      great and very usefull article. I just found out a lot of new for myself and some points just remembered. I do not have any white shoes because it is hard to clean them and take care, but I like how they look like. With this article, you pushed me to give a try and get ones for myself. will be prepared.
      logical point about – clean as soon as possible. This is so simply 😀 and offten forgoten.
      thank you for your article!

        Owain Couch · February 14, 2018 at 9:43 am

        That’s great Lana. I am glad that I have inspired you to buy a pair of white shoes. Please check out my How To Clean Your Shoes The Easy Way post as you will some more great tips in that post. All the best with your purchase.

Debby · February 13, 2018 at 2:46 pm

I recently bought my first pair of white shoes and have been so scared to wear them so thank you for the tips! I will definitely be trying them to see what works the best.

    Owain Couch · February 14, 2018 at 9:20 am

    That’s great Debby. Just be careful when cleaning your shoes ok? But yes please clean your shoes when they get dirty. You will enjoy them for a lot longer.

Erin · February 13, 2018 at 2:48 pm

Great tips for keeping shoes white! I never would have thought of using a magic eraser. My husband loves white sneakers. Now I have a few more tricks for him to keep them white.

    Owain Couch · February 14, 2018 at 9:27 am

    Good to hear Erin and glad to be of help. Be sure to keep checking the site as I plan to add more how to guides like this in the near future.

John · February 13, 2018 at 3:07 pm

I have used all of your methods to keep my white shoes white. The Dryer that I have now has a rack just for drying shoes, they do not tumble. I always take the laces out of my shoes when washing, they get cleaner.
Having the right shoes on in the first place is how to take care of them properly as you state.
It all starts with the leather protector, get a good one like the one you have shown. Clean as soon as you start to see some color other than white on your shoes.

    Owain Couch · February 14, 2018 at 9:35 am

    I wasn’t aware that you could get such a dryer. You still need to be careful though as the dryer can get hot and may damage your shoes. So please check that they haven’t damaged after being the dryer.

    Yep, it’s always a good idea to take the laces out. That way they can get a good clean too. Otherwise you would see dirt trapped underneath them.

    And yes you do need a protector on your shoes. This stuff will definitely make your shoes last a lot longer.

Bill · February 13, 2018 at 4:04 pm

You really have some great tips here for cleaning shoes. I think most of us just take them for granted. Also a good set of shoes are expensive these days and we should take better care of them. I am sure my shoes will not only look much better, but will also last longer when I start using what I learned today..
Thanks for this.

    Owain Couch · February 14, 2018 at 9:51 am

    You’re welcome Bill. Yes people take possessions for granted these days, especially shoes. That’s because they have become a throw away item. Once you’re done with them you then just go out and get another pair.

    But if you are putting quite a bit of money into your shoes then will definitely want to get some usage of them. So these tips will help do that.

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