White cotton tennis shoes are a classic choice but keeping those shoes white can be a pain. The cotton quickly absorbs the dirt and dust that the shoes are protecting your feet from and using water to clean them can make the mess even worse. The good news is with a little elbow grease you can maintain your shoes timeless look.
what you’ll need
- Scrub brush
- Soap (dish soap or laundry detergent)
- Baking Soda
- Bleach or hydrogen peroxide
- Hand towels
First start by removing the laces and clapping away any excess dirt. You can use your scrub brush, or an old toothbrush, dry at first to scrape away as much dirt as possible.
Next, use some soap. Mix a small amount of your soap with water and apply it to your shoes. Use your brush to scrub and then rinse. Sometimes this step is enough but often you’ll want to keep going to get an even brighter white.
Baking soda and hydrogen peroxide or bleach are a powerful duo for removing dirt, odors and bacteria. Create a paste by mixing baking soda with a few tablespoons of water. Use your brush and apply the paste to the fabric in a circular motion. Don’t forget to clean the inner lining of the shoe as well.
Once you’ve applied the baking soda past to the whole shoe, allow it to soak in a solution of a gallon of water with a half cup of either hydrogen peroxide or bleach. Bleach is the most powerful chemical but if you’re hesitant about the smell or the force, hydrogen peroxide also works. Allow your shoes to soak in the solution for four hours or even overnight.
Check on your shoes every few hours to see if they’ve achieved the whiteness you were going for. Once you’re satisfied, rinse them thoroughly and let them drip dry until damp.
While your shoes are still damp, roll up a small hand towel and insert it into the toe of each shoe to maintain the shoe’s structure as it dries.