How to Clean White Cloth Tennis Shoes

Melynda Sorrels

While white tennis shoes have a certain stylish look about them, every little piece of dirt with which they come into contact will be more than noticeable. It doesn’t take long for white cloth tennis shoes to no longer appear white. They become more a gray color depending on how often you wear them.

If you want white shoes again, you must clean them regularly.


Some shoes are machine washable. Only put shoes into the washer and dryer if the manufacturer’s instructions say it’s safe to do so.

  1. Remove the laces from the shoes. Keep them close if they’re dirty, too; otherwise, set them aside.

  2. Fill a container with warm water and add enough dish soap to make the water sudsy.

  3. Use a brush or cloth to wipe away as much loose dirt as possible.

  4. Dip an old toothbrush into the soapy water and scrub the shoes with it. Scrub the shoes inside, as well.

  5. Dip a clean cloth in white vinegar and scrub stained areas with it until they are gone.

  6. Rinse the shoes by wiping them with a clean damp cloth to remove any residual soap.

  7. Soak the laces in the soapy water and scrub them with the toothbrush to remove any dirty areas. Hang the laces someplace cool and dry.

  8. Stuff crumpled newspapers inside the shoes to absorb the moisture and help the shoes to keep their shape.

  9. Set the shoes in a cool, dry place until they are no longer damp.