Clean Canvas Shoes with Baking Soda
Many classic summer sneakers are made of white canvas. It’s a great look until you step in mud or freshly mown grass, or your kid steps on your toes. Then you’re faced with how to clean your white shoes, and you may wonder if you can ever get them bright again. The answer is yes, you can clean your shoes, and baking soda is your secret weapon to help restore your white shoes to like-new appearance.
Do not be tempted to throw your canvas shoes in the washer and dryer. Doing so can cause damage to the shoes, causing them to fray or the sole to separate from the upper. Instead, follow this simple treatment to clean your white shoes.
Baking soda and hydrogen peroxide and water make an excellent cleaner for white shoes. Raid your kitchen for your trusted box of ARM & HAMMER™ Baking Soda, and your bathroom cabinet for your hydrogen peroxide. If you don’t have the peroxide on hand, you can skip it, making the paste from just baking soda and water. Here’s how:
In a small non-metal bowl or measuring cup, add the following
- 1 tablespoon baking soda
- ½ tablespoon hydrogen peroxide (omit if you do not have)
- ½ tablespoon warm water (double to 1 tablespoon if you don’t add peroxide)
Stir until a paste is formed.
Now simply follow these steps:
- Using a scrub brush or an old toothbrush (maybe a free one from a dentist?), dip into the baking soda paste and apply to the shoe, directly onto the stains.
- Scrub in a circular motion, working the paste into the canvas.
- Let the baking soda solution dry on the shoe for at least 30 minutes.
- Once dried, clap off any excess and rinse the shoe thoroughly with clean water. You can use a wet rag or clean sponge.
- Repeat if needed until the stains are gone.
More stubborn stains, such as coffee, blood, or paint may require multiple applications, and the peroxide-baking soda solution will be slightly more effective.
How to Clean White Shoes with Baking Soda and Vinegar
Here’s an alternate recipe for getting your white shoes white again. It also uses baking soda as a whitener and another easily accessible household staple: white vinegar.
Gather these ingredients:
- 1 tablespoon baking soda
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 1 tablespoon hot water
Combine in a small bowl or measuring cup and mix into a paste-like consistency.
- Use an old toothbrush to apply the paste onto the shoe, directly on the stains. Lightly scrub using a circular motion. Cover the entire surface of the shoe. Soak the laces in any remaining solution.
- After the shoes are completely covered, place them outside in bright sunlight for 3-4 hours. The sun helps improve the whitening process.
- Once the paste is dried fully, clap the shoes together over a trashcan to knock the dried paste free, and use a dry toothbrush or scrub brush to remove any remainder.
You can use this baking soda solution on leather, suede, and canvas shoes, as well as on the white vinyl toes and soles of your favorite kicks.
How to Clean White Shoes with Toothpaste
Here’s a trick you may be surprised about: toothpaste is an excellent way to clean white shoes, especially if you’re in a hurry. White toothpaste can cover a stain in a pinch–just rub it directly over the stain and feather it out to the edges. When you have more time to give your shoes a proper cleaning, toothpaste can also help remove stains from your shoes just as it does on your teeth.
To clean your shoes, use a non-gel white toothpaste, preferably one labeled “whitening.” For double-action, use ARM & HAMMER™ Toothpaste to get the added whitening boost from the built-in baking soda.
- Squeeze some toothpaste onto an old toothbrush and work in circular motions on the stains.
- Let the paste stand on the shoes for 10-15 minutes.
- Use a damp towel or clean sponge to wipe the paste off the shoe.
- Repeat as needed until the stain is gone.
Toothpaste also works very well to clean the white strip on the edges of your shoes, or the reinforced toe of certain shoes.
Deodorize Your Shoes with Baking Soda
Another problem your favorite white kicks can encounter is unpleasant odor. Everyone knows funky shoe smell, and it can be embarrassing. Fortunately, baking soda is your friend for both the outside of your white shoes and the inside. Baking soda absorbs odors, something you might already know about from putting a box in your fridge and freezer. It can do the same thing to deodorize your shoes.
- Measure 1-2 tablespoons of baking soda for each shoe. You need enough to cover the entire insole. Bigger shoes may require additional baking soda.
- Pour the baking soda into the heel of each shoe.
- Tilt the shoe forward and backward and shake from side to side to evenly distribute the baking soda in the shoe. It’s okay if there are lumps and clumps. Use a liberal amount to ensure adequate coverage.
- Wait a few hours, preferably overnight. The baking soda will kill odor-causing bacteria and absorb odors. Extra-stinky shoes may require 24 hours.
- Over a trashcan or the sink, tap the shoe to remove the remaining baking soda from the inside. Shake to remove as much as possible. If a small amount remains, it won’t hurt you or your shoes.
Look for the ARM & HAMMER™ Baking Soda Shaker that you can keep in your closet to use on your shoes when you notice they’ve gotten a little funky. You can deodorize your shoes as often as once per week if needed, but only deodorize leather shoes once per month as the baking soda can also absorb oils in the leather.
Arm & Hammer Baking Soda is Your Friend for Cleaning Shoes
Whether your shoes are leather, suede, canvas, or a combination, you can use ARM & HAMMER™ Baking Soda to clean them, deodorize them, and restore their white appearance. You might want to invest in our big box, or our re-sealable pouch to have on hand for all your shoe cleaning needs.