How to Clean White Shoes With Baking Soda

Many white summertime shoes are made of canvas, which seems to quickly attract dirt and take on a dingy look. Learn how to clean white shoes with baking soda so they shine again.


I used to buy Keds shoes every summer like they were going out of style (and eventually they did…sort of)! They were comfortable, and I loved that crisp white look that just “popped” with any outfit I wore.


Keds are still around, but there are plenty of other white summer shoes that are likely taking up real estate in your closet too.


white shoes cleaned from baking soda and time in the sun

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White Shoes Start to Look Dingy Over Time


I love brand new white shoes in the summer. They’re so bright white and cute (and don’t forget super practical!), and they make every outfit you wear look incredible. And they look that good for…a solid 30 minutes.


Then the scuffs start to appear followed by the mud splashes, grass stains, food and drink spills, and more.


What was once a pair of crisp, stylish shoes that looked sharp with anything else you wore eventually get worn enough that they eventually start to take on a sort of dingy gray-brown color. Even if you try to keep them clean!


Seriously, it just happens – that white canvas attracts dirt like a moth to a flame. Even more so when there are small children involved!


How to Clean White Shoes Easily


I used to try everything I could think of for cleaning my shoes to restore some of their former new-looking glory. I threw them in the washing machine. I took a toothbrush to them and tried to scrub away the grime. Once, I even painted them white!


Nothing worked the way I had hoped. Then one day, I decided it was time to really figure out a good way to get my shoes clean – really clean.


With some research and a lot of experimentation, I finally learned how to clean white shoes easily and effectively.


Even though I tried washing them and even scrubbing them, I was missing a key element: baking soda. To be even more specific, baking soda and hydrogen peroxide. 


When you mix those two simple ingredients together, they create a cleaning powerhouse that works on everything from removing unsightly yellow armpit stains to cleaning your favorite pair of white summer shoes.


How to Clean White Shoes With Baking Soda


I wish I knew this simple method many years before I did because it would have saved many hours of unnecessary cleaning! 


Gather These Supplies:


  • 1 Tbsp baking soda
  • 1 ½ tsp hydrogen peroxide*
  • 1 ½ tsp water
  • Small scrubbing brush (such as a grout brush or hard toothbrush)


*If you don’t have hydrogen peroxide, you can use white vinegar instead, but be prepared for some fizzing action when you mix those two ingredients together.


How to Use Baking Soda to Clean Shoes


I’m breaking down the process into step-by-step instructions. Just follow these steps and you’ll have bright white canvas shoes again before you know it.


Step 1

Take your dirty white shoes and remove as much loose dirt and debris as possible.


Step 2

Mix your ingredients together in a bowl until it forms a paste.


Step 3

Remove the laces from your shoes. Take your brush and dip it into your paste. Then scrub the paste into your shoes in a circular motion, getting that paste worked into the canvas.


Step 4

The mixture of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide will work together to lift the dirt and stains from your shoes. In addition, hydrogen peroxide is a non-chlorine bleach. 


Sunlight will help the process of brightening the shoes. If you are able to, I recommend putting the shoes outside for an hour or two as the paste works its magic on the canvas.


Step 5

If the laces are dirty (they probably match the dirt level of your shoes), put them into any remaining paste you have leftover. Let them sit there for 30 minutes to an hour to let the paste work to clean them too.


Step 6

The paste will dry in the sun. Once the paste has dried and sat on the shoes for at least a couple of hours (in the sun if possible), take your shoes and clap them together to crack the paste so that it falls off.


Step 7

Remove the shoelaces from the paste and rinse them off in water. Then set them aside (or out in the sun) to dry.


Step 8

You can remove any remaining baking soda paste by lightly rubbing the shoe with your scrub brush. Or alternatively, you can take a damp rag and wipe down the shoe.


Step 9

Once both the shoes and laces are clean and dry, re-lace your shoes and you’re ready to go!


NOTE: if you have very stubborn stains in your shoes (think: blood or coffee), you may have to repeat this process more than once to achieve the results you want.


How to Clean the Scuffs off Your Rubber Soles


This baking soda and hydrogen peroxide mixture will work like a champ on the canvas portion of your shoes. However, it might not work quite as well on the rubber sole that wraps around the bottom portion and tends to get scuffed up.


For that part of your shoes, the best thing I’ve found to clean and brighten them is a Magic Eraser. Not only does it clean scuffs and crayons off your walls, but it cleans scuffs off your rubber soles too!


If you’ve repeatedly found yourself (like I did) wondering how to clean white shoes, just remember that a little baking soda and peroxide go a long way. Two common ingredients that, together, deliver an uncommonly powerful cleaning punch. They’ll brighten up your summer kicks without damaging them or forcing you to spend hours scrubbing!


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