How to Clean White Tennis Shoes Without Bleach

by Leigh Good ; Updated July 18, 2017

Get your dirty tennis shoes white again with a thorough cleaning by hand.

old tennis shoe image by Galina Barskaya from

White tennis shoes get dirty easily, but you can keep your white sneakers looking new by attacking dirt before stains set into the shoe fabric. You don't need to use harsh chemicals such as bleach to get good results. In addition to warm water and soap, common natural household products come in handy when you're cleaning white tennis shoes.

Scrub your shoes with a scrub brush to remove loose dirt and dried mud.

Dip a rag in vinegar and use the rag to remove scuff marks.

Wash your shoes with warm water and soap to remove difficult stains. Use a stiff brush to scrub your shoes with the soapy water. Don't be afraid to soak the shoes.

Apply shampoo to the shoes if they have oil stains. Scrub shampoo and water into the oil stains to lift and remove the oil.

Soak your shoes in a natural bleaching solution made with lemons. Combine 1/2 cup lemon juice with a gallon of warm water. Soak your shoes in the lemon water for at least an hour or as long as overnight. Remove your shoes from the water when all stains have been removed, then rinse them with warm water.

Dry your shoes in the sun. The sun's ultraviolet rays will dry your shoes quickly and further help remove stains from white tennis shoe fabric. The Men's Flair website suggests putting your shoes in their natural position while drying to prevent them from becoming misshapen.


  • To remove gum from the bottom of your shoe, fill a plastic bag with ice and hold the bag against the gum. When the gum hardens, scrape it off with a butter knife.

    Keep baby wipes on hand to quickly remove dirt and prevent stains from setting into your shoes. Baby wipes are especially helpful in removing dirt from leather tennis shoes, according to the Men's Flair website.

Photo Credits

  • old tennis shoe image by Galina Barskaya from

About the Author

Leigh Good has been writing for magazines and newspapers for more than 10 years. Her work has been published in numerous print and online publications. Good has a bachelor's degree in print journalism from Georgia State University.