Free shipping over $120 + Free exchanges Buy 1 Get 1 $25 Off

The Forecast Blog

Stay connected through our community initiatives, sustainability updates, styling tips, and exciting partnerships!

How to Clean White Shoes with Toothpaste

Keeping our white shoes looking clean and pristine can be challenging, especially when exposed to dirt, stains, and everyday wear. Whether you're a sneaker enthusiast or love the fresh and crisp look of white shoes, maintaining their immaculate appearance is a must. This is where toothpaste comes to the rescue!

At Vessi, we understand the struggles of keeping your beloved white shoes looking their best. We design our waterproof to withstand all kinds of weather, but dirt and grime can still find their way onto the surface. We're excited to share this handy cleaning hack using a household staple: toothpaste. Yes, the tube of toothpaste sitting in your bathroom cabinet can work wonders in restoring the brilliance of your white shoes.

Why toothpaste, you may wonder? Well, toothpaste contains mild abrasives and cleaning agents to tackle stains and brighten white surfaces effectively. Plus, it's easily accessible and budget-friendly.

So, let's dive into the step-by-step process of using toothpaste to breathe new life into your shoes. Get ready to restore the brilliance of your white shoes with this toothpaste cleaning hack which leaves the pair looking as good as new!

Preparing for Cleaning

Before you begin cleaning your white shoes with toothpaste, gathering the necessary materials and taking some initial steps to ensure a smooth cleaning process is important. Here's how to prepare for cleaning:

1. Gather necessary materials

  • White toothpaste (non-gel variety): Look for plain white toothpaste without any coloured gels or additional ingredients which stain or damage your shoes.

  • A soft-bristle toothbrush or cleaning brush: Select a new or old toothbrush with soft bristles or a specialized shoe cleaning brush to avoid scratching or damaging the shoe material.

  • Clean cloth or sponge: Keep a clean cloth or sponge handy for wiping off the toothpaste and rinsing the shoes.

  • Water: Have access to water through a sink or a basin for rinsing the shoes during the cleaning process.

2. Remove shoelaces (if applicable) for separate cleaning

If your white shoes have removable shoelaces, remove them before cleaning. This allows you to clean the shoelaces and shoes separately, ensuring a thorough cleaning for both.

3. Perform a spot test

Before applying toothpaste to the entire shoe, perform a spot test on a small area. Apply some toothpaste on the test spot and gently scrub with the toothbrush.

After a few seconds, wipe off the toothpaste and check for any adverse reactions or colour changes. If the spot test is successful and doesn't cause any damage or discolouration, it's safe to proceed with cleaning the entire shoe.

How to Clean White Shoes with Toothpaste

How to Clean White Shoes With Toothpaste

Image Source:

1. Remove excess dirt and debris

Before applying toothpaste, removing any loose dirt and debris from the shoes is important. Use a soft-bristle toothbrush or cleaning brush to gently brush off the surface of the shoes, paying attention to crevices and hard-to-reach areas.

2. Apply toothpaste to the shoe surface

Squeeze a small amount of white toothpaste (non-gel variety) onto the toothbrush or cleaning brush. Spread the toothpaste evenly across the shoe surface, focusing on stained or discoloured areas.

Start with a small, pea-sized amount and increase the amount if needed. It's advisable to perform a spot test on a small, inconspicuous shoe area to ensure compatibility with the toothpaste.

3. Scrub the shoes

Scrub the toothpaste into the shoe fabric or material using gentle circular motions. The friction the brushing creates helps to remove stains like paint and dirt from the surface. Continue scrubbing until the toothpaste creates a lather, indicating it's actively cleaning the shoes.

Apply light pressure to avoid damaging the shoes. The toothbrush or cleaning brush should effectively work the toothpaste into the stains and dirt, helping to lift them off the surface.

4. Let the toothpaste sit

Cleaning white dirty shoes with toothpaste

Image Source:

Allow the toothpaste to sit on the shoes for approximately 10-15 minutes. This gives the cleaning agents in the toothpaste enough time to work on the stains and discolouration. During this time, avoid exposing the shoes to direct sunlight or excessive heat, which may affect the shoe material.

5. Rinse the shoes

Dampen a clean cloth or sponge using water. Use this damp cloth to wipe off the toothpaste from the shoes, removing all residue. If necessary, you can rinse the shoes under running water to ensure complete removal of the toothpaste. However, avoid soaking or submerging the shoes in water, as it can damage certain shoes.

6. Dry and inspect the clean shoes

After rinsing, use a clean cloth to pat dry the shoes. It's crucial to allow the shoes to air dry completely before wearing or storing them. Once dry, inspect the shoes for any remaining stains or discolouration. If needed, you can repeat the cleaning process for stubborn stains.

Types of Shoes You Can Clean with Toothpaste

Types of Shoes You Can Clean with Toothpaste

Image Source:

1. Canvas shoes

You can clean canvas shoes with toothpaste. The gentle abrasive properties of toothpaste can help remove dirt and stains from very dirty canvas shoes without causing damage. To clean canvas shoes, apply toothpaste to a toothbrush or cleaning brush, scrub the canvas surface gently, and rinse thoroughly with a damp towel.

2. Leather shoes

You can also use toothpaste to clean leather shoes, but it's essential to exercise caution and do a spot test before you apply it to the entire shoe. Consider using a non-gel toothpaste and apply a small amount to a soft cloth.

Gently rub the toothpaste onto the leather surface, focusing on stained or scuffed areas. Avoid excessive scrubbing to prevent damage to the leather. Wipe off the applied toothpaste with a clean damp cloth, and condition the leather afterward to maintain suppleness.

3. Mesh or knit shoes

You can effectively clean mesh or knit shoes with toothpaste. Apply toothpaste to a soft-bristle toothbrush or cleaning brush, gently scrub the mesh or knit surface, and rinse thoroughly. Toothpaste can help remove dirt and restore the brightness of these materials.

4. Rubber or plastic shoes

Toothpaste is generally safe for cleaning rubber or plastic shoes. Apply toothpaste to a toothbrush or cleaning brush, scrub the surface thoroughly, and rinse with water. Toothpaste can help remove scuff marks and stains from rubber or plastic materials.

5. Synthetic materials (e.g., faux leather, polyester)

Toothpaste can clean synthetic shoes, such as faux leather or polyester. These materials are more resilient and can withstand the gentle abrasiveness of toothpaste. Apply toothpaste to a soft-bristle toothbrush or cleaning brush, and scrub the shoes in a circular motion. Rinse with a damp cloth and allow them to air dry.

Types of Shoes You Can't Clean with Toothpaste

Types of Shoes You Can't Clean with Toothpaste

1. Suede shoes

You should not clean suede shoes with toothpaste. Toothpaste can alter the texture of suede and leave it looking rough or discoloured. Instead, gently remove dirt and stains using a suede brush or eraser. For stubborn stains, consult a professional suede cleaner.

2. Patent leather shoes

Toothpaste is not suitable for cleaning patent leather shoes. Patent leather has a glossy finish, and toothpaste can leave behind scratches or dull the shine. Instead, wipe patent leather shoes with a clean, damp cloth and use a specialized patent leather cleaner for any stubborn stains.

3. Metallic or foiled shoes

You should not clean shoes with metallic or foiled finishes using toothpaste. The abrasive nature of toothpaste can scratch or damage the delicate metallic or foiled surface. To clean these shoes, use a soft cloth dampened in water and soap solution and gently wipe away any dirt or stains.

4. Decorative or ornamental shoes

You should use alternative methods to clean shoes with intricate decorations or embellishments such as beads, sequins, or gems. Toothpaste can potentially damage or loosen these decorative elements. Spot clean such shoes using a mild soap and water solution, ensuring not to wet the embellishments excessively.

5. Dyed or coloured leather shoes

Toothpaste may not be suitable for cleaning dyed or dark-coloured shoes, as it can potentially alter or fade the colour. It's best to consult the manufacturer's guidelines for cleaning instructions specific to coloured leather shoes or consider using a leather cleaner recommended for coloured leather.

Additional Tips and Considerations on Cleaning White Shoes with Toothpaste

Additional Tips and Considerations on Cleaning White Shoes with Toothpaste

Image Source:

A. Repeat the process for stubborn stains (if necessary)

Some stubborn stains may require multiple cleaning sessions with toothpaste to remove them completely. If the stain persists after the initial cleaning, repeat the process outlined in the previous steps until you achieve the desired result. Be patient and persistent, as certain stains may take several attempts to remove.

B. Use a whitening toothpaste for enhanced stain removal

Whitening toothpaste often contains additional ingredients to help remove tough stains and brighten surfaces. Opting for a whitening toothpaste can provide better results when cleaning white shoes. Look for toothpaste specifically mentioning "whitening" on the packaging.

C. Avoid using gel toothpaste or coloured toothpaste

Gel toothpaste typically contains additives and gelling agents and may not be suitable for cleaning shoes. These additives can potentially damage the shoe material or leave behind residue. Stick to non-gel toothpaste varieties to ensure the best results.

D. Consider using a toothbrush with softer bristles

While a toothbrush is suitable for cleaning shoes, using one with soft bristles can help prevent damage to delicate shoe materials. Soft bristles are less likely to scratch or fray the fabric or surface of the shoes. A soft-bristle toothbrush is ideal if you have shoes made of sensitive material, such as suede or canvas.

E. Always test the toothpaste on a small area

Before applying toothpaste to the entire shoe, a spot test on an inconspicuous area is essential. Apply a small amount of toothpaste and gently scrub the area with a toothbrush. Check for any adverse reactions, discolouration, or damage to the shoe material. If there are no negative effects, clean the rest of the shoe.

F. Store white shoes properly

Proper storage can help minimize future stains and discolouration on white shoes. Keep your white shoes in a cool, dry place to prevent mould or mildew growth. Store them in a shoebox or use shoe bags to protect them from dust and direct sunlight. Avoid placing white shoes next to coloured or dyed items, which could transfer colour onto them.


Cleaning white shoes with toothpaste is a simple, cost-effective method, breathing new life into your beloved sneakers or dress shoes. Following the step-by-step process outlined in this guide, you can bid farewell to stubborn stains and discolouration, restoring your white shoes to their pristine glory.

Remember, maintaining the cleanliness of your white shoes not only enhances their appearance but also extends their lifespan. So, why not give this toothpaste cleaning hack a try? Your shoes will thank you, and you'll walk confidently, knowing your whites are bright. Get ready to step out in style!

← Older Post Newer Post →

Seek Adventure.
Live Your Best Life.

Sign up for our newsletters to follow The Forecast, our new arrivals, and exclusive promotions.

Your Cart