This content was originally published on and has been republished here as part of a merger between our two businesses. All copy is presented here as it originally appeared there.

There’s nothing like a pair of white shoes to brighten up an outfit, but keeping those shoes in pristine condition is challenging. Many of us have struggled with stubborn stains, discoloration, and dirt that just won’t come off no matter what we do. In this article, we’ll share three unique and unexpected methods to clean white shoes, so you can keep them looking fresh and new.

These cleaning methods are perfect for when you’re in a pinch and need to clean those shoes quickly. They’re also ideal for those hard-to-remove stains that won’t budge with a regular wipe-down. After reading this article, you’ll know how to keep your white shoes looking like when you bought them.

Cleaning White Shoes

Shaving Cream

Shaving cream is not just for shaving. It contains detergents, which can help remove dirt and grime from the shoes. First, you must buy a good quality shaving cream without fragrances or dyes to use this method. Put a dollop of the cream onto a soft cloth and rub it onto the shoe’s surface. Allow the cream to sit on the shoe for a few minutes before rinsing/wiping it off with cold water. The detergents in a shaving cream can effectively remove dirt and stains from canvas and leather shoes.


Another unexpected way to clean white shoes is with toothpaste. Mild toothpaste, such as those for sensitive teeth, can remove dirt and grime from white shoes. Squeeze a small amount of toothpaste directly onto the shoe and rub it with a soft cloth or old toothbrush. Rinse/wipe off the shoe with cold water and allow it to dry. This method is especially effective on white leather shoes.


Vinegar is an all-purpose cleaner that can also be used to clean white shoes. Mix one part vinegar with one part water in a spray bottle and lightly mist the shoes. Scrub them with a brush or cloth until all dirt is removed, then rinse/wipe off with cold water. Vinegar is an effective way to remove tough stains from canvas or leather shoes.

Keeping White Shoes Fresh


Regular light cleaning after wearing your white shoes is critical to keep them fresh. What is more, regular maintenance and light cleaning will ensure that stains don’t pile up on your shoes, making them easier to clean over time.


Rather than kicking your shoes off and leaving them by the door where dirt, dust, and grime lurk, investing in some form of shoe storage will ensure your white shoes stay fresh for longer. Not only will shoe storage prevent dust and dirt from settling into the fabric, but it can also prevent other members of your household from accidentally stepping on them or, worse, spilling something on them.


Shiny, spotless white shoes can be a real challenge to maintain. Fortunately, you can easily keep your shoes looking brand new with the right tools and techniques. Using shaving cream, toothpaste, and vinegar are three unexpected yet effective ways to clean white shoes and keep them looking fresh. Whether you have canvas or leather shoes, these three unique methods will help you clean them quickly and without too much effort. Your white shoes will look their best with effort and proper technique.

Editorial Contributors
avatar for Old House Journal

Old House Journal

Founded in 1973, Old House Journal is the original authority when it comes to old-house restoration, traditional house styles, period kitchens, bath & kitchen restoration, DIY projects, gardens & landscaping, and more-- from Colonial and Victorian through Arts & Crafts and Mid-century Modern homes.

Learn More