Nothing beats unboxing a crisp white pair of shoes – but it’s no easy task keeping them looking like that! A classic pair of all-white trainers or slip-on shoes will serve you all season as they’re perfect to throw on with everything and anything in your spring/summer wardrobe.
While some styles of scruffy trainers can look bang on-trend (hey Converse), there’s nothing more annoying than finding dirty marks or stained soles on a pair you wanted to keep icy white. It doesn’t mean they are destined for the bin though, we’ve got some great cleaning do’s and don’ts to get them looking box fresh again!
DO: Whitening Toothpaste
Yip, you heard right! A squeeze of whitening toothpaste on an old (but clean) toothbrush works wonders for brightening up dirty rubber soles and brushing out tough stains on canvas trainers. If your shoes are heavily soiled try giving them a wipe down with a damp cloth, brush on some toothpaste in circular motions and leave it on for 30 minutes or so. Rinse the toothpaste off and leave your shoes to dry naturally. You might have to repeat the process another couple of times depending on the stain.
DO: The Pink Stuff
I challenge you to find me something on this planet that The Pink Stuff can’t clean. As a mum I always have at least 2 tubs of this miracle paste on standby to clean away grubby handprints, sticker residue and unwanted pen marks (that no-one ever owns up to). Another thing I LOVE this product for is cleaning my kids leather trainers. I add a little blob to my Sonic Scrubber or a microfiber cloth and rub in circular motions to clean dirt, paint splashes, pen marks and all sorts off of rubber soles and leather uppers. It’s also great for cleaning away scuffs from wellies and brightening up the rubber toe caps on Converse trainers too. I do this most nights and all of her trainers have held up really well, although I wouldn’t recommend using it on coloured shoes or canvas shoes as it’s well known to cause fading and from personal experience it lifts colour from things pretty easily too.
DO: Bicarbonate of Soda
Cheap as chips and your new best mate when it comes to freshening up your whites. To use start by removing the laces from your shoes and use an old toothbrush or the back of a knife to carefully remove any clumps of dirt from the soles. Fill a basin or sink with enough warm water to cover your shoes and a couple of tablespoons of bicarbonate of soda. Sit your shoes and laces in and leave them to soak for an hour. Once the hour is up empty out the water and give your shoes a rinse/wipe down with clean water and a clean flannel. If there are still some stubborn stains you could try repeating the process above but substitute the bicarb for a few drops of washing up liquid or a scoop of oxi-action stain remover (don’t use harsh laundry detergents). Once they’ve been rinsed leave them to air dry naturally. Stuffing them with some scrunched up newspaper will help them keep their shape as they dry, and it’ll also soak up the excess moisture.
DO: Deodorise With Teabags
Not a cleaning hack, but a great freshening up trick from @lynsey_queenofclean I think everyone deserves to know about. Pop a couple of dry, unused teabags into each shoe and leave them overnight to neutralise odours. Especially handy over the summer months – you’re welcome! If you're not a tea-drinker then sprinkle of bicarbonate of soda left overnight and emptied out in the morning also works wonders.
DO: Use a Protection Spray
A waterproof spray like this one from Liquiproof Labs can help protect white canvas shoes from beer garden spills and splashes from dirty puddles etc.
DON’T: Machine Wash
In an ideal world it would be the quickest and easiest option, but try and avoid machine washing your trainers at all costs. Machine washing can damage not only to your favourite shoes, but also the machine itself which can end up costly to repair or replace. It can also cause fading, warping to the shape of the shoes, damage to the stitching and can potentially melt the glue too.