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9 Easy Ways to Whiten Your Shoes With Household Products

White shoes are part of the basic footwear that almost everyone likes. Unfortunately, since they are so easily stained, even if you take great care of them, most of us end up leaving them behind in the closet. That is why we have to use different easy and effective techniques to whiten them. Not only will we make the fabric look bright white again, just like when you first bought them, but also you’ll avoid damaging the shoes by washing them too many times or with abrasive products.

Today Bright Side wants to show you 9 different methods to whiten your shoes so that you’re no longer afraid of wearing them whenever you feel like it.

1. Baking soda and white vinegar

To make your favorite sneakers look shiny white again, you don’t need to buy overpriced products that are often hard to find. Just by using baking soda, white vinegar, and hot water, you can get rid of most of the dark stains that appear on the fabric of your shoes after a few months of use.

Start by mixing one tablespoon of white vinegar, with one tablespoon of baking soda, and one tablespoon of hot water in a bowl. You’ll obtain a sort of paste that you should apply to the sneakers using a brush or an old toothbrush. Scrub both the sole and the fabric lightly. Let the paste sit at least 3 or 4 hours under the sun and then remove the excess baking soda paste by clapping the shoes together.

Not only will this “bleach” your shoes effectively, but it is also a good solution to get rid of the bad smells produced by bacteria that can accumulate inside shoes.

2. Coarse salt and milk

When the white shoes acquire that yellowish tone, it is time to clean them thoroughly to see if we can bring their initial color back. You will only need to mix half a cup of coarse salt with 1 liter of milk in a large bowl.

You have to soak the sneakers in this whitening mixture for at least 3 hours so that it has the effect you are looking for. After this time, you can rub them with a brush to remove any stains that are still there. Then, rinse them with a copious amount of soapy water and let them dry in the open air. Be careful not to leave any trace of the milk!

3. Toothpaste

Some types of shoes, due to their delicate fabric, require less aggressive cleaning and whitening methods than others. This particular method is useful when you’re in a hurry too.

A good trick to bring back the original white color to this kind of sneaker is to use whitening toothpaste. Using an old toothbrush, rub the stained surface of the sneakers until they’re white again. Don’t forget to clean the dirt that is found in the border of the soles. Let the paste sit for about 15 minutes.

Then remove the toothpaste. You will only need a damp cloth or a clean sponge (and some patience) to wipe out the paste and get amazing results.

4. Coarse salt and soapy water

If you don’t have time to bleach your sneakers for hours and they’ve been left on the shelf for a while, don’t worry: with any soap you have at home and a bit of coarse salt, you can get rid of those annoying dark spots that are so easy to get on white sneakers.

Start by rubbing the shoes with a dry brush, both inside and outside, to remove excess dirt that could be stuck to the fabric. Then start rubbing them with at least 150 grams of coarse salt and let the salt sit there for at least one hour.

After this time, wash them with cold water and liquid soap to remove the dirt and salt that you used to whiten them. You can now clean the insoles to remove the bacteria that accumulate there with daily use. Salt is also a great ingredient to remove bad smells from shoes.

5. Ammonia

If you have tried different methods to make your shoes white again, but the stains are too big or almost impossible to clean, it might be time to use a more effective method: ammonia.

This procedure could be one of the most effective ones when it comes to whitening sneakers. However, it is very important to take extra precautions when using chemical compounds like ammonia. Always wear gloves and avoid contact with your eyes.

You can use half-strength ammonia, a solution that contains 50% ammonia and 50% water. If you don’t have half-strength ammonia at home, you can make it yourself. Dip a cloth in the solution and rub your shoes where they have stains. After rinsing them with plenty of water, let them air dry for at least 24 hours to eliminate the strong smell.

6. Baking soda and laundry detergent

In order to thoroughly clean your white cloth shoes, you first have to remove the laces and then soak them in water before applying the mixture that you will use to whiten the fabric.

Start by pouring enough water to soak both the shoes and the laces until they are completely covered with lukewarm water. This last part is especially important. Warm water could make the stains even harder to remove from the fabric.

When the fabric is wet, mix one part baking soda and one part of detergent in a bowl, so you have a solution that contains 50% of each ingredient. Using a brush or an old toothbrush, rub the mixture on the shoes. Spend more time on the darkest stains.

To remove the soapy mixture that you used to clean the sneakers, you can simply rinse them, soak them in water again, or even use a sponge and then dry them using a microfiber cloth.

7. Lemon and/or lime

Lemon juice is well known for its power to remove stains and unwanted odors at home. It is also a good option to use to whiten sneakers that have been turned brown by dirt stains.

To do this, you just need to cut a lemon or lime in half. Mix 3 parts water, for one part lime or lemon juice. Simply rub the mixture to remove the dark stains. You might need to rub vigorously on the parts that are very stained or that have adhered to the fabric.

Rinse the shoes with water to remove the excess dirt and the lemon. Let them dry to see the whitening effect.

8. Dirt erasers and pencil erasers

For your leather, synthetic, or suede shoes that have stains from friction or dark areas from excessive use, you can always use the dirt erasers that are often sold at drugstores to remove stains instantly.

Be patient, don’t rub too hard but try to erase all the dark areas on the shoes until they are white again. You can also clean the borders of the sole, a place that often accumulates a lot of dirt, using the same technique. Funnily enough, you can also use pencil erasers to get similar results.

9. The classic Marseille soap for whitening shoes

Marseille soap has vegetable oil compounds that, besides leaving a clean aroma, have hypoallergenic properties that do not cause irritation to sensitive skin. It is also a good option to remove very noticeable and difficult stains from fabrics and to whiten sneakers in a very effective and very simple way too.

Start by getting the sneakers wet and then applying the soap directly, while rubbing insistently on the stains or dark areas. After leaving the soap on for about half an hour, you can rinse the sneakers with lukewarm water to see how the stains are completely gone and how your shoes look bright white again.

Do you have any sneakers that need urgent whitening? Do you know of any effective methods you can use to whiten sneakers? Let us know in the comment section and post pictures of the before and after of your shoes!