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DIY Cleaning Hacks: How to Clean White Leather Shoes (9 Steps)

Tania Dey Avatar Tania Dey


  • Old toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Cleaning cloth
  • Water
  • Coconut soap
  • White vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Bleach


White leather shoes are the ultimate in style but keeping them looking sparkling clean can pose quite a challenge. White shows up dirt easily, but if you know a few hacks, you can clean white leather trainers or even a couch regularly to make them look like new. The trick lies in doing it often so that it doesn’t accumulate dirt. Also, these tricks won’t work for removing stains that have been left untreated for long. Here, I will share 3 ways to clean white shoes. However, please bear with the result. It might not look perfect as I haven’t cleaned my sneakers for close to a year and they are a bit worn out. You can also use these tips for leather surfaces in other colours.

40 minutesDifficultyEasy

Step 1: Making a soap solution to clean white trainers

For cleaning white surfaces, I prefer to use a soap and water solution, which I make by grating coconut soap into hot water and stirring until it melts completely.

Step 2: Take off the shoelaces

Start by removing the shoelaces. If they look dirty, soak them in the soap and water solution that you made in the previous step. If the shoelaces are white, mix some bleach into the water. Leave them to soak for a while and then, hang them out to dry.

Step 3: Clean shoes with toothpaste

One of the best hacks to remove dirt from the rubber soles is to use toothpaste to clean trainers. Apply toothpaste all over the rubber soles. Let it stay for 2 minutes. Then, wet a toothbrush and use it to scrub the rubber soles gently to remove stains.

Step 4: Wipe off the toothpaste

Take a clean, damp cloth and use it to wipe the toothpaste off the soles of the shoes.

Step 5: Cleaning the trainers

Dip a cleaning cloth in the soap water solution and remove the excess water by squeezing before you wipe the surface of the leather trainers to remove easy stains.

Step 6: How to clean white leather sneakers to remove stains

Some tough stains might not come off when you wipe with a damp cloth, so you need to treat them using another method. Mix some baking soda and the soapy water to make a paste. Then, apply the paste on the leather and use a toothbrush to rub the surface gently.

Step 7: The last resort for cleaning white trainers

For stubborn stains that persist despite trying all the other hacks, mix water and vinegar in a 1:1 ratio. Dip a cleaning cloth in the water-vinegar mixture and rub the stain. Remember what I said earlier about the need to clean regularly? If some stains aren’t cleaned soon, they will set into the surface and become permanent. So, the chances are that if the stains don’t get removed with the three techniques I have mentioned, they won’t ever come off. 

Step 8: Conditioning the leather

It is also essential to hydrate the leather after you clean it as it will help in conditioning the leather and prevent it from cracking. Use almond oil or any other natural moisturiser to hydrate the leather. 

Step 9: The trainers before and after cleaning

Here’s what the trainers look like after I cleaned them. They might not look like new, but you can see the improvement. Remember to clean your white leather shoes regularly to keep them in good condition.

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