Cleaning White Shoes With Toothpaste - Does It Work?

Cleaning White Shoes With Toothpaste

Do you have white shoes that have lost their sparkle? Before you think about discarding them or seeking expensive cleaning services, there's a hack that's been making rounds, promising to make your sneakers look brand new again!

It involves using something you already have in your home—yes, we're talking about toothpaste. This method, popularized not only on TikTok but also through countless YouTube shorts, claims to clean white shoes with toothpaste effectively.

But does it really work? In this guide, we're going to dig deeper and discover whether this household method stands up to the test.

Stick around to find out how you can give your beloved sneakers a facelift with just a simple tube of toothpaste!

The Science Behind Toothpaste for Cleaning White Shoes

Before we get into the effectiveness of using toothpaste for cleaning shoes, we need to understand how it works.

Toothpaste is mainly made up of an abrasive compound that helps remove plaque and stains from your teeth. This same principle applies when it comes to cleaning white shoes. The abrasives in toothpaste can work wonders on dirty sneakers by removing dirt and grime buildup.

However, not all toothpaste is created equal. The best type to use for cleaning shoes is white toothpaste. Using colored toothpaste may end up leaving stains on your sneakers instead of removing them. It's also recommended to use a non-gel, whitening toothpaste as it contains more abrasives compared to gel-based ones.

On the other hand, leather shoes require extra care. Whitening toothpaste can be too harsh and cause discoloration or damage to the leather material. In this case, a milder option would be more suitable, such as using a non-whitening toothpaste or mixing it with water.

Are There Cons to Using Toothpaste for Cleaning Shoes?

One of the most significant advantages of using toothpaste for cleaning shoes is its affordability and accessibility. It's a cheaper alternative compared to store-bought shoe cleaners, which can often be expensive. You also don't need any fancy tools or equipment; a simple toothbrush would suffice.

However, some downsides come with this method as well.

Toothpaste can be too abrasive for certain materials, causing damage or discoloration. Additionally, if not used correctly, toothpaste could leave a white film on your shoes, making them look worse than before.

Another factor to keep in mind is that toothpaste may only work best on minor dirt and grime stains. Tougher stains or odors may require stronger cleaning solutions.

Step-by-Step Guide: How to Clean Shoes with Toothpaste

Step 1: Prepare Your Shoes

Remove any loose dirt from the surface of the shoes using a soft brush or an old toothbrush. This pre-cleaning step ensures that you're working on just the stains without additional debris.

Step 2: Apply Toothpaste

Using a clean cloth or directly from the tube, apply toothpaste to the surface of the shoes that need cleaning. Focus on areas with visible dirt or stains. Ensure the toothpaste used is white and non-gel to avoid any potential staining.

Step 3: Scrub Gently

With a soft brush or an old toothbrush, gently scrub the areas where you applied the toothpaste. Be careful not to be too vigorous as it could damage the material of the shoes, especially if they are made of delicate fabrics like leather.

Step 4: Wipe Away Excess

After scrubbing, use a clean cloth or a damp towel to wipe away the toothpaste and loosened dirt. For stubborn stains, you may need to repeat the process until the desired cleanliness is achieved.

Step 5: Rinse

Once you're satisfied with the cleanliness, rinse off any remaining toothpaste with a damp cloth. Ensure all toothpaste residue is removed to avoid leaving a white film on your shoes.

Step 6: Dry the Shoes

Allow your shoes to air dry completely. Avoid placing them in direct sunlight or near a heat source, as this could damage some materials. Stuffing shoes with paper towels can help maintain their shape and absorb moisture.

Step 7: Repeat if Necessary

For exceptionally tough stains, you may need to repeat the cleaning process. However, always be mindful of the material and the reaction of the fabric to the toothpaste.

By following these simple steps, you can breathe new life into your shoes and sneakers with just a tube of toothpaste and a bit of elbow grease. It works as an effective, budget-friendly solution for keeping your footwear looking its best.

Read related article: How to Clean White Leather Shoes - The Right Way

Tips for Using Toothpaste to Clean Shoes

repellent spray

Here are some useful tips to ensure you achieve the best results while using toothpaste to clean your shoes without causing any damage:

  • Choose the Right Toothpaste: Opt for a non-gel toothpaste with whitening properties. Gel toothpaste might not have the same cleaning capabilities and could potentially leave stains on your footwear.
  • Less is More: Start with a little toothpaste to see how your shoes react to it. Applying too much from the beginning might make it harder to remove the toothpaste from the shoes after cleaning.
  • Check the Ingredients: Some toothpaste contains ingredients that might be too harsh for certain shoe materials. Ensure the toothpaste you choose does not contain any ingredient that could damage your shoes.
  • Protect your Hands: When applying toothpaste, especially if you plan to scrub for a while, wearing protective gloves can prevent skin irritation from long-term contact with the cleaning agent.
  • Test a Small Area First: Before applying toothpaste to visible areas, test it on a small, inconspicuous area of the shoe to check for any adverse reaction.
  • Avoid Colored Toothpaste: Colored toothpaste can leave residues that might stain white shoes. Stick to white, non-gel toothpaste for cleaning to avoid this issue.
  • Rinse Thoroughly: Make sure to thoroughly rinse off all the toothpaste from the shoes to avoid leaving a white film once the shoes dry. Using a damp cloth usually does the trick.
  • Be Gentle: While scrubbing, use gentle, circular motions to prevent damaging the surface of your shoes, especially if they are made of delicate materials.

leather spray

For added protection, you might want to check out Stone and Clark's Leather Spray and Water & Stain Repellent, which can help repel dirt and stains and make cleaning your shoes easier in the future.

Closing Thoughts

There are many ways to clean shoes, but using toothpaste is a simple and budget-friendly option that can yield good results. However, it's essential to be mindful of the material of your shoes and test a small area first before applying toothpaste. Additionally, using protective gloves and selecting the right type of toothpaste can help avoid any potential damage.

With these tips and step-by-step guide, you can make your shoes look brand new again without breaking the bank.

So next time you notice dirt or stains on your shoes, reach for a toothpaste and give them a good scrub! 

12PC Leather Shoe Shine & Care Kit for Men & Women

3.5 oz Mink Oil Leather Care Kit with Applicator

Subscribe Us
Subscribe to our newsletter and receive a selection of cool articles every weeks