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How To Clean White Fabric Shoes

With proper care, your favorite white fabric shoes will surely maintain their gorgeous structure and comfortable inner supports. Unfortunately, nothing stops dirt from accumulating on the surface and transforming your beloved shoes into a hot mess. If you do not remove the dirt, it could settle in the fabric threads and leave stains all over. Thankfully, even when that happens, you can restore your shoes to their former glory by performing a few easy cleaning steps. Here’s how to proceed with this task.

1. Gather Your Supplies

You can streamline the cleaning process by placing the supplies in your work area before starting this project.

You will need:

  • Scrub brush

  • Small mixing bowl

  • Five gallon bucket

  • Baking soda

  • Bleach or hydrogen peroxide

  • Distilled water

  • White towel

  • Two white hand towels

If you do not have bleach, or cannot work with this cleaning product, you may use a three percent hydrogen peroxide solution instead.

​2. Create Your Cleaning Solutions

To thoroughly clean the dingy fabric and rubber surfaces on your shoes, you must create two separate cleaning solutions.

The first solution is used for soaking the fabric to loosen dirt and grime. You must pour a gallon of distilled water in your five-gallon bucket, and then add either 1/2 cup of bleach or one pint of hydrogen peroxide.

​The second cleaning solution is a simple paste used for scrubbing tough stains and the rubber elements on your fabric shoes. Mix up three tablespoons of baking soda with an equal amount of distilled water in a mixing bowl to create a thick paste. If your paste does not have the consistency you want, either add more baking soda or water to alter its structure.

​3. Scrub Out Stains

​Start the cleaning process by scrubbing the stains and rubber elements with a small amount of your baking soda solution on your cleaning brush. Make sure to press relatively hard while scrubbing in circles to loosen the dirt and debris stuck on the surface of your shoes. Thoroughly scrub the inner lining of your shoes to neutralize odors lingering inside those fibers. Continue gently scrubbing the shoes until all dark stains are removed.

​4. Soak Your Shoes

​To brighten the white fabric on your shoes, you must place them in your prepared soaking solution for at least four hours. The bleach or hydrogen peroxide will gently lift dirt and grime from inside the fabric while lightening the pigments in the threads. After the first four hours are up, lift your shoes out of the bucket to check out their tones. When your shoes finally look bright white again, hold them above the bucket to let the excess water drain away, and then place them on an old towel for about an hour.

​5. Set Them Out to Dry

Once the shoes have stopped dripping excess water onto your towel, push a white hand towel into the toe box of each shoe. The hand towels will help soak up excess water and hold the shape of the shoes while they start to dry. You will need to place the shoes in a warm, dry area of your home for several days to allow the fabric to dry. Remove the hand towels on the second day of drying to help the toe box finish drying out.

Once you have mastered the process of cleaning your white fabric shoes, you will never again have to worry about getting this wardrobe staple dirty on your travels.