How to Clean White Trainers

Here’s how to keep your white trainers in tip-top condition.

Last Updated on August 23, 2023

Wondering how to clean white trainers and make them look as if they’re brand new? There are a ton of ways to turn your sneakers bright white without going to expensive cleaners. There’s nothing like getting a brand new pair of trainers, but it only takes a few wears for them to go from sparkling clean to super grubby. White sneakers go with absolutely everything, so chances are you wear them constantly. As someone with a few pairs, I totally understand the struggle with keeping white trainers in pristine condition. They can be difficult to maintain, but certainly not impossible!

I’m here to share the best solutions to keep your white trainers looking brand new. If you’re into this, you might want to learn about how to clean suede shoes or how to stretch out your jeans next. Or perhaps you’re in the market for some new white sneakers? If so, here are the best pairs you can get right now.

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chanel trainers

How to clean white trainers

How to clean your favourite white trainers depends on what type of material they are made of. One of the easiest to clean are those with leather material, so I’m showing you how to do it, below. The key here is to avoid using harsh chemicals like laundry detergents, as these can damage the leather.

Next, check out our step-by-step guide on how to clean white leather trainers.

Step 1: 

Wipe the exterior of the shoe with a wet paper towel or cloth. Keep in mind that you don’t need to deep clean the entire shoe but rather remove the visible dirt and let it air dry.

Step 2: 

After this, use a leather shoe cleaner to get it squeaky clean (I love Kiwi’s Instant Shine & Protect in neutral). Run it over the sides and the upper section of the shoe, and the stains should lift right off.

Step 3: 

Wipe the shoe again with a wet paper towel using gentle strokes, and let the shoes dry.

How do I get my white canvas shoes white again?

Canvas trainers have the tendency to turn off-white or worse, yellowish after a few uses. Follow the below step-by-step guide to get them looking as good as new.

Step 1: 

The first thing you need to do is take off the laces and soak them in water, then coat them in baking soda or soap to get the dirt off. Laces can also go in the washing machine, but it’s best to put them in a fabric bag. As for the shoe canvas, you can try dry brushing it. This is to dust off visible dirt and to avoid getting the grime deeper into the fabric.

Step 2: 

Clean your white canvas trainers by using laundry detergent. Mix a couple of tablespoons of detergent in a tub of warm water, then using either a damp cloth or toothbrush, apply gentle circular motion strokes. If your shoes are really stained, you can also soak the shoes in the water for five minutes before scrubbing them.

Step 3: 

If you see that there’s still a noticeable stain, try using baking soda combined with equal parts vinegar and diluting the paste with a cup of water. Gently rub the paste onto the stained areas and scrub with a toothbrush. Then rinse it again using a clean, damp cloth.

Step 4: 

The last step is easy: wait. Wllow the white canvas trainers to air dry and make sure that they’re properly dry before you use them again.

You can also put simple canvas sneakers in the washing machine, but ensure they’re in a fabric bag and on a cold wash. Make sure they’re air-dried – tumble dryers should be avoided. Washing your trainers in a washing machine should also be avoided if they’re embellished.

women walking down the street

Can I use bleach on white trainers?

Although some may see it as an option, bleaching white trainers is not the most gentle choice. If you want to add bleach, try using one part bleach and five parts water to dilute the harsh chemicals that could potentially damage your precious footwear. 

It’s best to spot clean your canvas shoes with bleach. Never let them soak in the bleach solution, as this will damage your trainers. Use a clean cloth and gently rub the stain, before rinsing and leaving to dry.