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How To Clean White Shoes

For a versatile wardrobe staple, white shoes are our go-to! Whether it’s a strappy sandal for brunch with the girls, an easy platform slide for the beach or a canvas sneaker for any time, white goes with every outfit. Unfortunately, stylish as they are, it’s all too easy for your new kicks to get scuffed, stained or dirty and ruin your whole look. No need to worry though, we’ll step you through all the tips and tricks you need to keep your white shoes shining all year round!

Why do white shoes turn yellow?

We’ve all had this problem: you’ve done everything short of walking around with plastic bags on your shoes to protect them from stains but in some cruel twist of fate…they’ve turned yellow! How could this have happened?

1. Build-up of sweat and dirt: of course, once you’ve found the perfect pair of shoes, you’ll wear them to death. That’s why it is so important to clean them regularly - and properly! More on that below.

2. Sun exposure: don’t leave your white shoes lying in the sun - even when drying them after cleaning. While it may be tempting to speed up the drying process or combat odour by leaving your shoes on the balcony, sun exposure can cause fabrics to oxidise and turn yellow. And yes, that means popping those funky white sandals into your bag or under your towel while you’re sipping a margarita and relaxing poolside, you’ll thank us later.

3. Using the wrong cleaning products: clothing or dish detergent can damage certain fabrics. And always use bleach with caution - a solution that is too strong can cause discolouration.

4. Ignoring the soles during cleaning: the soles of your shoe will often be the dirtiest part of all but are often overlooked during the cleaning process because they might not be visible during wear. However, think about how many times you cross your feet and rub your shoes against each other – this can cause dirt particles to attach to other parts of the shoe. So don’t forget to give your sole a good scrub!

Can baking soda, vinegar or bleach clean my white shoes?

Our advice? Only use these in case of a fashion emergency. In a pinch, popular home remedies like a paste of vinegar and baking soda might do the trick but can often be too harsh and drying for more temperamental fabrics (no one wants cracked leather!). To avoid making the problem worse, it is always safest to stick to dedicated shoe cleaning products.

How can I make my white shoes white again?

Be it stains, scuffs or yellowing, follow these cleaning steps to have your shoes looking fresh and ready to wear.

Step 1: Remove loose dirt

Firstly, you’re going to want to remove any loose dirt, so you don’t work it into the fabric once you get scrubbing. Take your shoes outside and clap them together to remove dirt from the sole. Then, take a dry toothbrush and fluffy cloth to gently brush off excess grime. If you’re cleaning sneakers, you’ll also want to remove the laces at this point and wash them separately.

Step 2: Go to town on those stains!

Your choice of product will depend on what kind of fabric you are cleaning. With any product, make sure to do a patch test in an inconspicuous area to avoid damaging fabric and making the problem worse. Here is a list of our all-time faves:  

To clean fabric and canvas shoes

A miracle sneaker shampoo with an inbuilt scrub brush makes cleaning all too easy. Apply to the entire shoe and remove with a damp cloth and voila! Remember, you can use this on any canvas or fabric shoe - not just sneakers.

To clean leather shoes

Sprucing up your leather is a breeze with this conditioner. The big bonus is that you can use it on all things leather including clothing, bags – even your couch! Apply with a white cloth and let dry, then buff to a shine.

To clean PU leather shoes

Polyurethane (PU) leather is an artificial, 100% vegan fabric that gives that gorgeous leather look without the price tag! Plus, cleaning is a little bit easier because you don’t need to use a speciality leather conditioner. These dual-textured wipes are conveniently packaged and perfect for getting your PU shoes like new.

Step 3: Focus on the non-porous areas like rubber soles

And of course, we can’t forget the soles! A crisp and clean sole can transform your white shoes and make them look like they are straight out of the box!

To clean soles

For best results, get yourself a Sole Fluid like this one. Soak sole with the fluid and scrub with a soft brush before removing with a damp cloth.

Our #1 Top Tip

So, what is the best way to keep my white shoes clean?

A good offence is the best defence! Treat your shoes as soon as you take them out of the box with a water and stain repellent. If there are two things we love it is white sneakers and saving time! These stain repellents will protect your white shoes from the get-go and reduce the need for frequent cleaning. Lucky for you, Blue Bungalow has you covered with our Shucare ‘Magic on your Shoes’ water blocking shoe spray, so you can add it all to cart at once. Too easy!

So, now that you’re all across our tips and tricks, you can wear your whites with more confidence than ever! And of course, as we head into warmer weather, white shoes will be your best friend to pair with every floral dress and vibrant kaftan in your wardrobe

BB Top 5 White Shoes

We can’t let you go without letting you in on a few of our favourite white shoes! Check out these super cool and comfy styles.

Do you have any top tips for keeping your whites, white? Let us know in the comments below!

BB xx

By Blue Bungalow 0 comment


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