How To Keep Your Sneakers White

how to keep shoes white
When you buy something through our retail links, we may earn commission and the retailer may receive certain auditable data for accounting purposes.

You take the time to clean your clothes – it’s time to start cleaning your shoes too. Proactive cleaning is the best way to keep you shoes white, whether they need a quick spray before you wear them out for the first time, or a good scrub after a particularly nasty rainstorm.

Nothing says “unpolished” more than a guy who’s rocking a cool T-shirt and perfectly cuffed jeans only to pair them with the dirtiest, nastiest sneakers. Leave the Grunge look in the 90s where it belongs. Not only will you shoes look dirty, not giving them a regular cleaning also leaves them prone to bacteria and germs (not to mention some gnarly smells).

Keeping your shoes clean isn’t as hard as you think. The first step is working to prevent your shoes from getting dirty in the first place. If it’s too late to stain-guard your kicks, you’ll want to determine your next course of action based on the type of shoe, the type of material and the type of stain.

Ready to kick dirty shoes to the curb? Here are five easy ways to do it.

1. Throw Them in the Washing Machine

White canvas sneakers can easily be cleaned in the laundry machine. Pro tip: remove the laces first so they don’t get caught in the spinner. Also consider tossing your shoes in a pillowcase or mesh bag to keep them from rolling around too much.

Sneaker Dryer Wash Bag Image courtesy of Amazon


2. Give Your Shoes a Stain-Repellent Coating

At the end of the day, prevention is the best protection. Stay away from mud, red wine and other dangerous situations. Spray your shoes with a repellent. This one, from Cadillac, is an eco-friendly, silicone-free spray that creates an invisible barrier for your footwear against the elements. Hold the bottle about 10 inches from your shoes and spray away. Pro tip #2: give them a good coating, let ‘em dry, then spray them again. Sometimes it takes a couple coats to really seal in the surfaces.

CADILLAC SELECT Premium Water and Stain Protector Photo courtesy Amazon


3. Get a Shoe Cleaning Kit

For heavy duty cleaning, this Jason Markk kit includes a foaming Premium Shoe Cleaner and a wooden handle brush for easy application. The product is safe to use on all colors and materials including leather, suede, nubuck, canvas, nylon, cotton mesh and more.

JASON MARKK Essential Shoe Cleaning Kit Photo courtesy Nordstrom


4. Use Sneaker Wipes

For leathers or suedes, use a sneaker cleaning wipe and address the dirt right when it happens. These pre-moistened sneaker wipes restore your shoes to their original condition. They’re safe on apparel, safe on hands and make no mess.

TightWipes Pre-Moistened Sneaker Cleaner Wipes (Canister of 40 wipes) Photo courtesy Amazon


5. Use Sneaker Wipes On the Go

Brush off any surface dust, then give your shoes a good scrub. These Jason Markk wipes are specifically made for footwear, so you don’t have to worry about scuffing or damaging the material. The wipes are dual-textured, with a smooth side to wipe away dirt, and raised dots on the reverse to clean extra-tough spots. Individually packaged, we like to keep a stack in our car, some at the office, a handful in our travel bag and the rest at home.

JASON MARKK Quick Wipes (30-Pack) Photo courtesy Nordstrom

SPY's Favorite Sneakers to Get Right Now