White shoes have the uncanny ability to change colors -- just step outside, and they'll turn toss away their white facade in no time at all. Like a magnet, they attract mud, stains and anything else you happen to encounter on the sidewalk. After a few days of regular wear, your once-white shoes may look like something you bought at a yard sale. If you're sick of your dingy shoes, try harnessing the stain-busting power of baking soda, toothpaste and other DIY cleaning remedies. With a bit of elbow grease, your kicks will look as good as new.
Lay a towel down flat on a table, desk or similar hard surface. Place the shoes on top of the towel. This will keep your work area clean as you whiten your shoes.
Scrub the shoes with a toothbrush to remove any dirt or loose debris.
Combine equal parts baking soda and water, then stir together to make a paste. Alternatively, for a more powerful stain remover, make a mixture of one part baking soda and three parts white vinegar. Using a sponge, dab the baking-soda paste on your leather or canvas shoes. Rub the paste in with the sponge. Wipe the baking soda away with a clean, damp sponge or cloth.
Whiten canvas shoes by putting them in the washing machine with a capful of detergent. If the shoes are very dirty, add a capful of color-safe, non-chlorine bleach. Let the shoes air-dry. You can wash these shoes alone, with other canvas shoes or with a load of white clothes only.
Dab a small amount of hydrogen peroxide on suede shoes with a cotton ball or cloth, then rub the peroxide in with a suede brush. This gets rid of scuffs and stains.
Dip an old toothbrush in warm water, then apply a dab of whitening, non-gel toothpaste to the bristles. Rub the toothpaste into your leather or canvas shoes. Wipe the shoes with a damp, clean cloth to remove the toothpaste.
Remove scuff marks from your leather shoes by rubbing them with a gum eraser.
Apply a few drops of vegetable-oil soap to a toothbrush. Scrub any stains on your leather shoes with the toothbrush.
Combine equal parts lemon juice and water, then dip a cloth in the mixture. Wipe leather shoes with the lemon-water mixture. Set the shoes in the sun for about six hours to lighten the leather.
Things You Will Need
- Stiff-bristle brush
- Baking soda
- Laundry detergent
- Color-safe bleach
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Cotton balls or cloth
- Suede brush
- Whitening toothpaste
- Gum eraser
- Vegetable-oil soap
- Lemon juice
- If you use too much polish when shining your leather shoes, dust them with baby powder, then buff the powder in with a soft cloth. Baby powder will absorb shoe polish.
- Do not immerse leather shoes in water to clean. Doing so may damage the leather.
- Don't try to whiten shoes with chlorine bleach. It can cause discoloration and damage.
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