We love a pair of fresh white sneakers, but keeping them clean sometimes seems like an impossible task.
Of course, it’s not. White shoes are bound to get dirty. Luckily, though, there are plenty of things you can do to keep yours looking new.
Folks on Reddit are fans of two specific brands of cleaning products that we mention below, both of which offer a range of products to protect shoes and keep them clean. But there are also plenty of do-it-yourself methods using supplies you likely already have.
Below, check out seven methods for keeping your white shoes white:
1 Use a shoe protector like Crep Protect.
Shoe care brand Crep Protect offers a number of products to help keep your sneakers looking their best, and folks on Reddit are fans. The brand’s shoe spray is meant to repel water damage and stains, while their cleaning kit can be used to get rid of the stains that do show up. Judging by their video, we’d say it’s definitely promising. (Liquiproof’s shoe protector offers similar benefits.)
2 Try a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser.
Mr. Clean Magic Erasers are a godsend when it comes to keeping your white sneakers clean (but they come in handy for pretty much any colored sneaker, to be honest). As the video shows, they can get rid of scuff marks on the soles and also work well on leather.
3 Throw your sneakers in the washing machine.
This method won’t necessarily work for leather or suede sneakers, but it can be a good option for knit or canvas shoes. Detergent brand Persil recommends cleaning off surface stains by hand, using a toothbrush and some soapy water, before throwing them in the machine. They suggest putting shoes in a mesh laundry bag or old pillowcase to protect them from getting snagged on anything in the machine. You can also add the shoes in with old towels to prevent them from banging around too much inside the drum, Sears notes.
In terms of temperature, USA Today suggests a cold delicate cycle, which should last about 30 to 40 minutes, depending on your machine. When all that’s done, let your shoes air dry. The heat from the dryer could warp any plastic or dissolve glue on the shoes. For extra whitening power, dry pre-treating with OxiClean.
4 Try a mixture of detergent and water.
Good old-fashioned laundry detergent is also an effective agent for cleaning your white sneakers, especially if they’re leather. All you need to do is mix the detergent with some warm water and scrub down your shoes with a cleaning brush or toothbrush.
5 Apply some toothpaste.
Toothpaste is another great way to clean your white shoes, especially the rubber midsoles and toe caps. Simply scrub the toothpaste on your soles with a toothbrush and rinse or wipe off with a damp cloth. According to the website , you can also use toothpaste to keep canvas shoes, like Converse Chuck Taylors, nice and clean.
6 Use an eraser.
For suede and nubuck, which are generally more stubborn to clean, try using a white eraser — pink ones may leave marks behind, especially on lighter shoes — to lift stains. You can even buy erasers specifically for shoes at Target for less than $5.
7 Try a whitener or shoe polish.
Whiteners like Angelus Sole Bright and Kiwi Whitener are particularly helpful if you’re trying to bring discolored shoes back to their original state. These products are very effective on the soles, as seen in the video above.
For the upper shoe — particularly leather sneakers — you could also go for a classic white shoe polish, such as Kiwi’s Polish Paste, which also helps protect and condition the leather while keeping it shiny.