Written by Tenley Haraldson.


You don’t need to be a “sneakerhead” to appreciate a pair of clean white shoes. You also don’t need complicated instructions to remove spilled drinks, deal with muddy streets, or handle scuffed heels.

For a straight-out-of-the-box look, discover how to wash shoes  – no matter if they're leather, vinyl, or canvas!

How to Clean Leather & Vinyl Sneakers

how to clean sneakers by hand

We've asked our experts to research the best shoe-cleaning techniques and we've landed on the following steps for a longer-lasting refresh.

1. Stuff 'em with Newspaper 

Take our word for it: It’s much easier to clean sneakers that have been filled with balled-up newspaper. You can also use paper towels or some old dish towels. 

2. Remove Excess Dirt

Take your shoes outside and knock the soles together to loosen dirt. Remove larger amounts of dirt or debris with an auto detailing brush or old toothbrush. 

3. Wash the Laces & Insoles

 

If your insoles are removable and washable, a trip through the washing machine can really help remove “foot stink.” Remove insoles and laces, place them in a mesh laundry bag, then run them in the washing machine (with like colors) on a cold, delicate wash cycle.

Pro Tip: We formulated our enzyme-based laundry detergent to do more than lift stains. It also targets odors to the source.

Get the best tips from the cleaning obsessed.

Puracy crafts cleaning & care items that work really well. Our obsession with natural cleaning performance is our profession, and we're here to share it with you.

4. Apply a Natural Surface Cleaner

stain remover for shoes

Puracy Natural Surface Cleaner was designed to lift dirt and grime from all non-porous surfaces – and that means shoes, too! Spritz your shoe surfaces with this solution, then gently wipe away any marks or stains using one of our microfiber towels

5. Focus on the Outsoles

clean shoes with dish soap

With a solution of warm water and a few drops of mild dish soap, scrub the outsoles with a brush to remove any scuffs or marks. For tougher marks, hit surfaces again with your Surface Cleaner, let it set for a couple minutes, then wipe away. Repeat as many times as necessary, then lightly dry with a clean microfiber cloth

6. Apply a Conditioner (If Desired)

For leather sneakers, you may want to apply a leather shoe conditioner to reintroduce moisture. This will provide protection and increase the flexibility of the leather hide.

7. Let Your Shoes Dry

let your shoes dry

No one likes squishy or soggy sneakers. Be sure to let them dry at room temperature or a sunny spot) before putting them on.

How to Clean White Fabric Sneakers

how to clean white fabric sneakers

Untreated fabric (like canvas) tends to soak up grime and stains, but there are simple ways to wash sneakers by hand.

To clean your white fabric sneakers, start with directions #1-3 listed above. Next, thoroughly spritz the surface with Puracy Stain Remover. The longer you wait (we recommend at least 8 hours), the better these plant enzymes work.

Fabric can usually withstand a bit more scrubbing than leather, so gently agitate with your brush.

Remove the Stain Remover

Next, fill a bowl with warm water, and saturate a microfiber cloth. Wring out any excess liquid and gently rock the damp cloth along the shoe’s surface to pull out stain residue. This should replace the stain remover (and stain particles) with water. 

Don't Be Afraid to Repeat the Process

If this process doesn’t completely remove stains, don't panic. Repeat the process but leave the stain remover on longer the next time. Let your sneakers dry at room temperature and you should be good to go! 

Can I Wash Fabric Sneakers in the Washing Machine? 

can I wash fabric shoes in washing machine

Probably, and you'll probably want to try this method with fabric sneakers (not a pair of luxury leather shoes)! Follow steps #1-3 from above. Once your stain remover has had enough time to work, place your shoes in the washer. Add a few towels to balance the machine, pump in some Natural Laundry Detergent, and run a cold/delicate cycle.

Pro Tip: Never put shoes in the dryer, even on a low- or no-heat cycle. The hot air can warp shoes and damage the glue that holds them together.

The Best Stain Remover for Shoes, Guaranteed!

stain remover for white shoes

There's no such thing as “impossible stains", just stains that haven’t met our Natural Stain Remover. Engineered to be safe for all washable fabrics, this 99.51% natural formula eradicates every smudge and spot.

And if you don’t absolutely love it, we’ll give your money back: No questions, hassles, or returns necessary.