Let’s be honest here for a moment. No matter what brand shoes you buy, if they are white, after a week or two, they will look dirty. That’s just the harsh reality. White shoes get dirty, and you need to clean them. As a fan of Converse shoes, I know how good they can look, and how easy are they to pair with any outfit.
So, let me share a few tricks for cleaning white Converse shoes in the convenience of your home. Your sneakers will look brand new, and it will take you just a few minutes. I suggest you remove the laces first, before trying any of these methods (you can do all the methods with laces on as well, but it will be trickier and more challenging). And for your shoelaces, you can always soak them in lukewarm, soapy water. However, I must warn you—they will never be as shiny as they once were. But that is the beauty of Converse shoes: the laces give the shoes an urban and alternative look.
No matter which method you use, let your shoes completely dry and then replace the shoelaces. I would also suggest applying a light spray of starch before drying. This will give your shoes that genuine Converse feels.
#1 Powder Cleaners – one of the most common and easy ways to clean white Converse shoes
- You need an abrasive powder detergent. Pour some of it into a bowl and add some warm water (not too much water, though). There is no correct ratio, but you should try to stick to almost equal parts. Your goal is to get a consistency that is close to paste-like.
- Now, dip a toothbrush into the solution, and then use the toothbrush to scrub the rubber areas. Use small, circular, and forceful motions to clean the shoes. Scrub the areas with the most stains.
- After scrubbing, rinse the shoes with warm water and use a towel to dry them. After the shoes are dry, check them. If there are stains left, repeat the process.
Some people even try using the Magic Eraser and claim they get the best results out of that cleanser. Just remember, once the shoes are fully cleaned, let them air dry—don’t use the towel now.
#2 Soap and Water – Yes, even plain old soap can help you clean your white Converse shoes.
Remember to use mild soap, though. Hand soaps or a liquid dish detergent work the best. Whatever you choose, make sure it is fragrance- and chemical-free.
- Mix a few drops of the soap with warm water, and stir until you notice bubbles forming on the surface.
- At this point, get a sponge, soak it in the water, and scrub your white shoes.
- Use circular motions to scrub the stains off the shoes.
#3 Toothpaste – If toothpaste can whiten your teeth, why can’t you use it for whitening your shoes?
Jokes aside, toothpaste is one of the best products for cleaning Converse shoes. One thing to note: use only non-gel, white toothpaste. The logic here is that coloured toothpaste will do more harm than good.
- Get an old toothbrush, one that you won’t be using again, and apply toothpaste on the shoes. Use circular motions to apply the paste on all dirty spots.
- Let the toothpaste stay on for about 10 minutes, and then wipe your shoes with a towel or damp cloth.
- You can repeat the process as many times as you like. Quick, easy, convenient and practical.
#4 Baking Soda and Vinegar – This is probably my favourite method for cleaning white Converse shoes.
And, arguably, the easiest. The recipe is simple:
- one tablespoon of hot water, vinegar and baking soda. Or in other words, 1:1:1 ratio of all three ingredients.
- Mix until you get a paste-like consistency, and then get an old toothbrush to apply the paste on your shoes.
- You can work on the canvas and the rubber soles. Use circular motions to get the best results. Make more cleaning paste if you need to.
- Once the scrubbing and rubbing are done, run your shoes through lukewarm water to remove any remaining vinegar and baking soda.
- If there are still some stains on the shoes, repeat the entire process.
#5 Nail Polish Remover
Now, how many of you thought that nail polish remover could help you clean your white shoes? Well, it is possible!
- Start by soaking a cotton ball in acetone nail polish remover.
- Use the cotton ball to scrub the marks, and repeat until all the marks and stains are removed.
- An acetone-based nail polish remover works best, but you can try any other.
Another note: be forceful when rubbing and scrubbing the marks with the nail polish remover.
#6 Machine Washing
Now, I know you think this means just putting the Converse shoes into a washing machine, and wait until the job is done. Right? Wrong!
For this method, you need to fill a small bucket halfway with warm water.
- Once the bucket is filled, add 2/3 cup of baking soda.
- Then add just a touch of dishwashing detergent.
- Get an old toothbrush, and use the end of the toothbrush for stirring. You want all the ingredients to dissolve into the water. You’ll notice bubbles forming on the surface.
- At this point, use the toothbrush to scrub the front area of your shoes.
- Once that is cleaned, scrub the protective guard that borders the shoe base.
- At this point, you can put the shoes in the washing machine on low cycle. Don’t include any other items in the machine.
- Add half a cup of laundry detergent, and begin the wash cycle. Important note: do not use a bleach agent.
Just think about this for a second: can you think of anything that lemon cannot help with? Treating cold and allergies? Check! Helping with household hygiene? Check! Cleaning shoes? Check!
Now, about those white Converse shoes:
- just cut a lemon in half and apply directly to the shoes. Use one-half on each side of your shoes.
- Scrub until you remove the marks and stains.
- After scrubbing, let the shoes soak up the lemon juice for 15 minutes.
- Rinse with plain water.
You could also use lemon juice. Just use a toothbrush, sponge or rag to scrub the marks with the lemon juice.
I know you feel a bit iffy about this method, but don’t worry—the dishwasher is a safe and secure way to clean white Converse shoes. And no, your dishes won’t smell like Converse the next time you wash them in the dishwasher.
So, how to do it?
- Well, start by emptying your dishwasher. There should be no utensils or dishes in the machine.
- Add dish detergent, the same way you add it to clean your dishes.
- Put your Converse shoes in, on the topmost rack. Place them facing down.
- Run the normal cycle, and once the cycle has finished, remove the shoes and place them out in the sunshine to air dry them.
- If the weather isn’t sunny, you can use the dryer, along with some towels, to dry them.