From sad and drab to bright and white! The nifty ways to transform dirty shoes

Dirty white shoes can be transformed into their original crispy bright condition with these simple tips. Source: Getty

While white shoes look great to start off with sadly it doesn’t take long for them to turn an unappealing shade of brown, with many choosing to simply throw them at the back of the wardrobe never to be seen again.

Meanwhile, others choose to forego white shoes altogether for fear they will end up up discoloured by simply stepping out for a walk. Thankfully, there is no need to avoid the fabulous pieces of footwear any longer with several ways to revitalise dirty sneakers with regular cleanings and a typical household cleaner you probably already have stored in the home.


If you have white shoes, stain and water repellent should be your best friend as they can help prevent stains before they even happen. And don’t just bank on a one-time spray – re-apply the product every few weeks, much like you would for your winter boots. Try Scotchgard for canvas shoes or Kiwi Protect All Water proofer which is suitable for all colours and waterproof leather, suede, Nubuck fabric and microfibre.

Spot clean

Wipe off any stains or scuffs as soon as they happen to prevent the blemishes from penetrating into the fabric or leather. Once at home, remove excess dirt using an old toothbrush with dish soap and water. Scrub gently until the solution begins to foam and then wipe clean with a clean towel.

Magic erasers 

You have probably used magic erasers to scrub away dirty marks on the wall but they also work a treat on shoes, especially with getting off any dirt or scuffs on the midsole. Plus, it’s not very expensive!


Stepped in an oil slick or dropped a greasy piece of food on your shoe? Shampoo can do the trick. Use a gentle one with warm water and gently wipe the smudge off with a rag.

Bleach-water solution

Can you use bleach? Yes, but only on sneakers and you have to dilute it. Mix one part bleach with five parts water; any more than that, your white fabrics can turn a weird yellow tone. Dip your toothbrush in the diluted bleach solution and scrub the shoes gently. Rinse with warm water when you’re finished. Do not do this with leather or faux leather as it might rub off the protective material.

Wash your laces

Clean shoes but dirty laces? Just put them in a normal wash on cold, in a pillow case or a bra bag to ensure they don’t get tangled up in other washing.

Avoid the washing machine

Keep your white shoes white for longer by hand cleaning and avoid dumping it into the machine. The wear and tear of the machine and the heat of the dryer can make the shoes discolour and turn the white rubber into that dreaded yellow tone.

Do you wear white shoes? How do you keep them looking sparkly and new?

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