How to Remove Dried Dirt Stains From White Shoes

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There's nothing quite like a crisp, clean pair of white sneakers. Unfortunately, it's hard to keep anything white that's regularly stomping around through dirty city streets, grassy fields, and muddy paths. If you find dried dirt buildup on your white shoes, the good news is that cleaning shoes is reasonably simple, though the process varies based on the material.


How to Get Started

No matter the material, basic prep is necessary to clean your shoes. Remove the laces to access the inside of the shoe. Then remove any loose dirt so you don't end up rubbing more mud into your kicks. Bang the soles together to knock off larger debris and then use a soft toothbrush to brush off any remaining dirt.


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If there is any remaining dirt on the rubber around the sole, wipe it with a damp, clean cloth. If any streaks or stains remain, use a damp magic sponge eraser to remove them.

How to Clean Canvas Shoes

Shoes like Converse and Vans are sturdy and very washable, though it's still best to avoid submerging them in water because it can damage the insoles.


  1. Pour baking soda into a bowl and then add white vinegar. Let the foam settle and then mix well until a thick paste forms.
  2. Dip a toothbrush into the paste and apply it all over, lightly scrubbing until the stains disappear. Let the paste dry and then brush off as much as possible before wiping away the rest with a damp paper towel.
  3. Use a stain-removing pen to remove any remaining spots.

How to Clean Leather Shoes

A little dish soap and water can clean leather shoes without causing damage, though they should not be fully submerged.


  1. Add a few drops of dish detergent to a cup of warm water and then mix the solution with a toothbrush.
  2. Gently use the toothbrush to clean the entire shoe. Use a damp cloth to wipe away the detergent.
  3. Use a soft, clean cloth to dry the outside of the shoe and then stuff the inside with paper towels to absorb any moisture, which will also help the shoe maintain its proper shape.

How to Clean Mesh Shoes

Mesh shoes are more delicate than leather or canvas shoes. They can easily get snagged, so be gentle when using a toothbrush.


  1. Add a few drops of liquid laundry detergent to a cup of warm water.
  2. Use a soft cloth to work the solution into the material, periodically rinsing the cloth with clean water to wash off the dirt.
  3. Use a toothbrush dipped in your cleaning solution to scrub the fabric. You may also use a spot-removal pen.
  4. Use a damp cloth to wipe away any remaining soap residue. Then fill the shoes with paper towels and allow them to fully dry.


How to Wash White Laces

Laces can be washed with the rest of your laundry if you first put them in a mesh delicates bag. If they're really dirty, bleach them first. Create a bleach solution of 1 tablespoon bleach and 1 quart water and then let the laces soak for five minutes. Rinse well and then put them in a delicates bag and wash them with your other clothes in the washing machine. Allow them to air-dry.



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