How to Clean Sneakers: A Comprehensive Guide to Keep Your White Sneakers Pristine - Red Moose

How to Clean Sneakers: A Comprehensive Guide to Keep Your White Sneakers Pristine

Keeping your sneakers in pristine condition is not just a matter of style; it's a reflection of your attention to detail and personal grooming. When it comes to white sneakers, the stakes are even higher.

White sneakers or canvas shoes have a way of attracting dirt and stains like a magnet, making them a challenge to maintain. But fear not, fellow sneaker enthusiasts!

In this comprehensive guide, we will take you through the ins and outs of cleaning your beloved white sneakers, ensuring they stay immaculate and ready to turn heads wherever you go.

Why Clean Sneakers are Important

Clean sneakers not only make a bold fashion statement but also contribute to your overall hygiene. When you wear dirty shoes, you unknowingly transport bacteria, dirt, and unpleasant odors wherever you go.

By keeping your sneakers clean, you not only extend their lifespan but also minimize the risk of skin irritations and foot infections. Plus, nothing beats the feeling of slipping into a pair of spotless white shoes and feeling confident with every step.

Materials Needed for Cleaning White Sneakers

To embark on your sneaker-cleaning journey, you'll need a few key tools and products.

One option that stands out is the Red Moose shoe and sneaker cleaning and care kit, which provides everything you need in one convenient package. This comprehensive kit includes a gentle cleaning solution, a soft-bristle brush, a microfiber cloth, and a protective spray. With these essential tools in your arsenal, you're well-equipped to tackle even the toughest stains and grime on your white sneakers.

Shop Our Shoe and Sneaker Cleaning & Care Kit Today!


Before we dive into the various cleaning methods, it's crucial to prepare your sneakers properly for the cleaning process. This involves a few essential steps, including determining the type of material on your white sneakers, removing dirt and debris, as well as taking out the laces and insoles.

Determine the Type of Material on Your White Sneakers

White sneakers come in various materials, such as canvas shoes, nubuck leather shoes, mesh shoes, or even synthetic shoes. It's important to identify the material of your sneakers before proceeding with the cleaning process, as different materials require specific care techniques. Check the manufacturer's label or do a quick online search to ensure you choose the right cleaning method for your sneakers.

Remove Dirt and Debris

Start by giving your white sneakers a thorough brush-off using a soft-bristle brush or a suede brush Gently scrub the exterior of the shoes to remove loose dirt and debris. This step is especially important if your sneakers have been exposed to muddy or dusty conditions.

Remove Laces and Insoles

To ensure a comprehensive cleaning process, remove the laces and insoles from your sneakers. This will allow you to clean these components separately and reach all the nooks and crannies of your shoes more effectively. Soak the laces in soapy warm water, and set them aside for cleaning later.

Cleaning Methods

how to clean canvas shoes

Now that your sneakers are prepped and ready, it's time to explore the various cleaning methods you can employ to restore that pristine whiteness to your favorite kicks. Besides washing your white canvas shoes or sneakers in the washer, here are five tried-and-true methods to choose from:

1. Soap and Water Method

The soap and water method is a classic and reliable approach for cleaning white sneakers. Follow these steps to achieve sparkling results:

Preparing the Solution

Fill a basin or sink with warm water. Add a small amount of the Red Moose cleaning solution or a mild detergent. Stir the water to create a gentle soapy mixture.

Cleaning the Shoes

Dip the soft-bristle brush or toothbrush into the soapy solution, ensuring it is damp but not soaked. Gently scrub the exterior of your white sneakers, paying extra attention to stained or discolored areas. Use circular motions to lift dirt and grime effectively.

Drying the Shoes

After cleaning, wipe away excess moisture using a microfiber cloth or towel. Stuff your sneakers with crumpled paper or clean cloth to help maintain their shape while drying. Avoid placing them under direct sunlight or using a heater, as this may cause discoloration or damage to the material. Let your shoes air dry naturally for the best results.

2. Baking Soda and Vinegar Method

If your white sneakers are plagued by tough stains and odors, the baking soda and white vinegar method might be your secret weapon. Follow these steps to conquer even the most stubborn marks:

Mixing the Solution

In a small bowl, mix equal parts baking soda and vinegar to create a paste-like consistency. The mixture will bubble slightly, but that's perfectly normal.

Cleaning the Shoes

Using a soft brush or toothbrush, apply the baking soda and vinegar paste to the stained areas of your sneakers. Gently scrub the paste into the fabric, allowing it to penetrate and lift the dirt and stains. Continue this process until all the affected areas have been treated.

Don't forget to waterproof your shoes with Red Moose's waterproofing spray to provide an additional layer of protection against the elements and ensure your sneakers stay clean and pristine for longer.

Shop Our Waterproofing Spray Today!

Drying the Shoes

Wipe off the paste using a damp cloth or sponge, ensuring you remove all traces of the baking soda and vinegar mixture. Follow the same drying process mentioned earlier to allow your sneakers to air dry completely.

3. Toothpaste Method

Toothpaste, typically associated with maintaining oral hygiene, can also work wonders on your white sneakers. Follow these steps to bring back their original brilliance:

Applying Toothpaste on the Shoes

Squeeze a small amount of non-gel toothpaste onto a soft cloth or toothbrush. Spread the toothpaste evenly over the surface of your white sneakers, focusing on the stained or discolored areas. Avoid using colored or gel toothpaste, as these may leave unwanted residues.

Cleaning the Shoes

Using gentle circular motions, scrub the toothpaste into the fabric of your sneakers. The mild abrasiveness of the toothpaste will help remove dirt and stains without damaging the material. Continue this process until you've covered the entire surface of the shoes.

Drying the Shoes

Wipe away the excess toothpaste with a damp cloth, ensuring you remove all traces. Allow your sneakers to air dry naturally, following the same guidelines mentioned earlier.

4. Magic Eraser Method

If you're dealing with scuff marks or hard-to-remove stains, the magic eraser method might be your saving grace. Follow these steps to witness the magic unfold:

Wetting the Magic Eraser

Dampen a magic eraser or melamine foam pad with water. Squeeze out any excess moisture to prevent over-saturation.

Cleaning the Shoes

Gently rub the magic eraser over the stains and scuff marks on your white sneakers. The eraser's micro-abrasive properties will work their magic, lifting off dirt and marks with minimal effort. Be cautious not to scrub too hard, as this may damage the material.

Drying the Shoes

After cleaning, use a clean damp cloth to wipe away any residue left by the magic eraser. Let your sneakers air dry, ensuring they're away from direct sunlight or heat sources.

5. Bleach Method

Caution: The bleach method is suitable for white sneakers made of durable materials such as rubber or certain synthetic fabrics. Avoid using this method on delicate materials like canvas or leather, as it may cause discoloration or damage.

Diluting the Bleach

In a well-ventilated area, dilute one part bleach with five parts water in a basin or sink. Mix the solution thoroughly to ensure proper dilution.

Cleaning the Shoes

Dip a soft brush or toothbrush into the bleach solution, ensuring it is damp but not saturated. Gently scrub the surface of your white sneakers, focusing on stains or discolored areas. Work in small sections and avoid excessive scrubbing to prevent damage.

Drying the Shoes

After cleaning, use a clean damp cloth or sponge to wipe away the bleach solution from the clean shoes. Rinse the shoes with clean water to remove any residual bleach. Proceed with the drying process mentioned earlier to allow your sneakers to air dry naturally.


Congratulations! You've successfully restored your white sneakers to their former glory. But the journey doesn't end here. To ensure your sneakers stay in top condition, there are a few essential steps to follow after cleaning.

Re-Lace the Sneakers

Once your sneakers are dry, re-lace them using the clean, refreshed laces you set aside earlier. Ensure they are properly threaded through the eyelets for a neat and secure fit.

Apply Sneaker Protector

To keep your white sneakers shielded from future stains and dirt, apply a sneaker protector spray. The Red Moose offers a waterproofing spray specifically designed to safeguard your sneakers. Follow the instructions on the product label to apply the protector evenly, and allow it to dry completely before wearing your sneakers again.

Store the Sneakers

When you're not rocking your white sneakers, store them in a clean, dry place away from direct sunlight and humidity. Consider using shoe bags or a mesh laundry bag to protect them from dust and potential scuffs. Proper storage will help maintain their pristine appearance and extend their lifespan.

Tips and Tricks

While you now possess the knowledge to keep your white sneakers pristine, it's essential to keep a few tips and tricks in mind to ensure you don't unintentionally damage your beloved kicks.

Don't Use a Washing Machine or Dryer

Although it may be tempting to toss your sneakers into the washing machine or dryer for a quick and easy cleaning solution, resist the urge. The vigorous agitation and heat can damage the materials and affect the shape and integrity of your sneakers. Stick to the gentle hand-cleaning methods outlined in this guide for the best results.

Don't Use Harsh Chemicals

While it's important to remove stubborn stains, avoid using harsh chemicals like laundry detergent that can harm the material of your sneakers. Stick to mild soaps, toothpaste, baking soda, vinegar, or specialized sneaker cleaning solutions like the Red Moose foaming cleanser included in the cleaning and care kit. These gentle alternatives will effectively clean your sneakers without causing any harm.

Don't Scrub Too Hard

When cleaning your white sneakers, it's crucial to strike a balance between thoroughness and gentleness. Avoid excessive scrubbing or using abrasive brushes, as this can damage the surface of your sneakers. Take your time and use light to moderate pressure, allowing the cleaning agents to do their job.

Frequently Asked Questions

Now, let's address some common questions that arise when it comes to cleaning white sneakers.

Can I Clean Colored Sneakers With These Methods?

The methods outlined in this guide are primarily intended for white sneakers. While some techniques might work on colored sneakers, it's essential to exercise caution and perform a patch test on an inconspicuous area before proceeding. Colored sneakers often require specific care instructions, so consult the manufacturer's guidelines or seek professional advice if you're unsure.

How Often Should I Clean My White Sneakers?

The frequency of cleaning your white sneakers depends on factors such as usage, environment, and personal preference. As a general rule, aim to clean them every few weeks or when they appear visibly dirty. Regular spot-cleaning and preventive maintenance, such as using a sneaker protector spray, can help prolong the time between thorough cleaning sessions.

Can I Use a Hairdryer to Dry My Sneakers?

While using a hairdryer may speed up the drying process, it's not recommended for white sneakers. The hot air can cause shrinkage, distortion, or damage to the material. Opt for natural air drying instead, and exercise patience to achieve optimal results.


Congratulations on becoming a sneaker-cleaning aficionado!

With the comprehensive guide and a touch of the Red Moose shoe and sneaker cleaning and care kit, you have all the tools necessary to keep your white sneakers in impeccable condition.

Remember, clean sneakers not only make a fashion statement but also contribute to your overall hygiene and confidence.

So, step out with pride, knowing that your sneakers are a reflection of your attention to detail and personal style. Keep them clean, and keep turning heads wherever you go!

Shop Our Shoe and Sneaker Cleaning & Care Kit Today!

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