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How to clean white trainers safely.

What can we say about the white classic trainer, it’s stylish, simple, versatile and a staple to the shoe rack. They are also often extremely comfortable due to them being designed to be versatile, but to be completely truthful, they are one of the hardest pairs of shoes you own to keep clean and neat, especially in British weather where it’s raining 80% of the year.

Mud, water and oil are inevitable in this country which results in many not buying expensive designer trainers in white, but if you are someone like me who can’t resist a good quality pair of white trainers, this article is for you. In this article, we will go through how to clean white trainers the right way.

Remove the big patches of mud

More often than not, you are going to be wearing these in a couple of situations, if you go out on a night out with them, they’re going to be caked in alcohol and sticky solutions. If you are one to go on a Sunday stroll, then chances are that the walk was much muddier than you first thought when getting out, which is understandable considering how temperamental our weather is.

So the best method for this is to first remove the massive amounts of thick muck on them first. You can do this by allowing them to dry and banging the mud off them. Gently remove the stubborn muck from the soles, the laces and everywhere else with the back of a knife.

Soak the laces

Having clean laces will completely transform your trainer again. So first, remove the laces from the trainers and leave them to soak in a strong cleaning solution. As they’re white, purchasing a quality white cleaner will work best. You can leave them to soak whilst you are cleaning the rest of your shoes, so if you have more than one pair, put them all in this solution to save time.

Once your trainers are clean, finish by rinsing your laces and allowing them to air dry. If you have a small laundry bag, you can also place your laces in that and put them through a wash cycle with other light colours.

Clean the outside

There are going to be two options for this as many people like leather, whereas others prefer a canvas look.


Leather can be delicate sometimes and putting anything too harsh on it can weaken and damage leather, so it is important to have the correct solutions. For leather, wipe the surfaces with a micro cloth and a weak solution of washing up liquid. Doing this on a regular basis (after 6 wears) will allow you to see better results. Bio laundry detergent should not be used as it can damage the leather.


The best way to do this is by using a soft brush to remove all the loose dirt, this includes the sole edge and the tongue. Once you have done this, add a few drops of washing-up liquid with warm water and dip the brush. If you have an old toothbrush, this will work perfectly. Gently rub the shoe, wet a cloth and wipe to rinse.

Banish stubborn stains

Grass stains can be an absolute nightmare to remove, but luckily with white trainers, there is a secret that not many know about. If you purchase some WD-40 and spray this over the stained area. Wipe with a clean cloth and watch the magic happen.

For canvas trainers, instead of using WD-40, use a strong detergent gel and follow the instructions on the bottle. Once you have done this, flush the area with clean water and allow it to dry.

Scrub soles clean

Once you have done this, it’s time to tackle the soles and rubber toe caps. If they are smooth, it is easiest to clean them with a microfibre cloth and washing up liquid, just like the outside you did before. If the rubber is textured, this may take a little extra time as you may need to use that toothbrush to get into those tricky areas into the grooves.

If you’re wanting them to shine a little more, using a magic eraser will do a great job. If you are finding it difficult to get in the textured area, you can simply use neat bleach and a toothbrush and carefully go around those stubborn areas. Once on, leave for ten minutes and then carefully wipe with a warm damp cloth.

Don’t tumble-dry, air-dry

If there is one way to kill your white treds, then it is to do all your hard work cleaning them and then burning them to death in the tumble dryer. Instead, open out the trainers with their tongues stretched out and allow them to dry naturally. Pending on how dirty these trainers were, you’re bound to have wet insoles, so have some scrunched newspaper to absorb it all. Leave until morning and you’ll be good to go.

Finishing touches

Now your trainers are beautiful and clean, it’s time to do the finishing touches. First, have your laces threaded back into your trainers and if you see any areas that just aren’t quite right, go over them with a touch-up pen. These are great if you have any areas in or around the lace eyes or threading. Finally, add some shoe trees into the shoes and allow them to get some shape.