How to Protect White Leather Shoes: The Ultimate Care Guide

Shoes are one of the subtle yet elegant ways that we can express ourselves. White footwear is elegant and goes with almost anything, yet many people avoid wearing white because they don’t know how to keep it clean.

This is a serious concern because anyone who has ever owned a pair of white shoes will tell you that they tend to lose their shine and luster quicker than any other color of shoes.

However, contrary to public opinion, this isn’t an inevitable end for white leather shoes.

Even if you don’t opt to put your pair of shoes in the hands of a shoe care specialist for deep cleaning, there are steps that you can take in order to keep your white shoe material in pristine condition.

Here is all you need to know to make that happen!

The Best Care For Your White Pair of Shoes

The first thing you need to keep in mind is that shoe material matters a lot!

As such, the way you approach cleaning regular white leather sneakers will be vastly different from how you handle white patent leather shoes or white suede shoes.

Consequently, your cleaning technique and approach will differ according to the type of material you’re dealing with.

Now we’ll be looking at how to take care of different shoe materials in order for them to retain their original color and shine!

How to Protect White Leather Shoes

White Sneakers and Canvas Shoes

Before you resort to ditching your current pair of shoes or heading to a shoe care specialist for your canvas sneakers, here are a few tips that you can try out.

Prevention Is Important

In some cases, by the time you pick up proper treatment practices for your white shoes, it’s a little too late. However, if you just got a pair of white mesh shoes or canvas shoes, you can get ahead of the curve more easily.

From the second you pull the shoes out of the box it came in, you should start actively pre-treating them. Applying waterproof sprays isn’t a convoluted process.

Make sure you cover the entire white mesh shoes with a reliable stain and water repellent. For example, the Jason Markk repel agent or a Bickmore Gard-More (AD) water repellent.

Applying this sneaker protector on your canvas sneakers serves as an invisible layer of protection from water stains and dirt. But, even with a good shoe protector spray, it’s important to always wipe off any trace of dirt as soon as you spot it.

You can make this an easier job by investing in a cleaning eraser sponge.

Prioritize Proper Storage

No matter how well-cared for and clean your pair of shoes is, if they aren’t properly stored, they’ll lose their shine very quickly.

The main reason for this is because of the vast amount of microscopic dirt and dust always floating around. When these come in contact with any type of shoe material, they will automatically stain them. Over time, even a bit of dirt can become a tough stain to remove.

So, rather than keeping your shoes in the closet, make sure to always store your white mesh shoes or golf shoes in shoe bags or boxes. You can even use a shoe tree.

By doing so, you can keep your footwear in the perfect condition for your next outing!

Choose the Right Solution For Cleaning Your White Sneakers

Most shoe materials are made from highly sensitive fabrics. As such, the best sneaker cleaner to use for such sensitive material should be water-based.

When you use an all-purpose water-based sneaker cleaner with warm water to clean your white sneakers, you can eliminate virtually any stain without damaging the sensitive fabric or material.

In the absence of a reliable water-based solution, you can use toothpaste to bring out the shine in your white sneakers!

Toothpaste is a great alternative because it contains hydrogen peroxide. Mixed with baking soda and warm water, you can apply this treatment to your pair of shoes with a toothbrush. Simply make circular motions with the toothbrush to make your white sneakers spotless.

The Right Technique to Brushing

You don’t want to scrub the delicate fibers of your shoes too hard. Apart from the fact that it doesn’t help your shoes get any cleaner, it can also damage them.

More so, scrubbing too hard can give your pair of shoes a poor and worn-out look. This is more so the case with white kicks or canvas shoes.

To avoid this, make sure you only use an old toothbrush or a medium-sized bristle shoe brush. Using a light and soft stroke is all you need to keep your shoes clean.

Have a Regular Cleaning Schedule

You should have a cleaning schedule that’s aligned with how often you put on your white shoes. This level of consistency with cleaning is necessary in order to help your shoes maintain their color and shine.

For example, if you wear your white sneakers three or four times a week, you should make sure to deep clean them at least every two weeks.

White Leather Shoes

When it comes to cleaning and taking care of your white leather shoes, the process is a bit different.

Leather shoe care and maintenance will often vary depending on the purpose of the footwear.

For example, if you’re taking care of your kids’ white leather shoes, you should be prepared to deal with a lot of scuff marks and dirty laces.

Of course, your concerns will be different when cleaning your leather shoes. Here’s a simple care guide you can follow to keep your leather shoes in sparkling condition.

How to Clean Your White Leather Shoes

Maintaining the shine on your leather shoes after wearing them a few times isn’t easy. This is more so the case when you’re dealing with white leather shoes. This 6-step guide will help you keep your white leather shoes in tip-top condition!

Step 1: Remove the shoelaces (if any) before you start washing. If the shoelaces also need cleaning, you can wash them separately.

Step 2: Only use a soft cloth, shoe wipes, or soft brushes to remove any dirt on the shoes.

 Step 3: Prepare a small bowl of warm water and mix in some washing liquid. Next, use the soft cloth to apply the soapy water to the leather shoe.

Step 4: Use a damp cloth or shoe wipes to wipe off the soap from the leather.

Step 5: Apply leather conditioner to the footwear.

Step 6: Finally, wait for your shoes to dry. Be careful not to expose them to excess heat during this time.

What You Need to Know to Make Your White Leather Shoes Shine

Your leather shoes will look best when they shine. But, how do you make this happen, especially if you’ve had the white leather shoes for a while? The answer is – leather conditioner!

All you have to do is apply leather conditioner to the entire shoe and wait for about 15 to 20 minutes. After this, gently remove the conditioner with a soft cloth. After this step, you should notice your leather shoes starting to shine.

In the absence of leather conditioner, there’s a quick alternative that you can make yourself!

Simply get linseed oil and vinegar. Mix the two substances in a 2:1 ratio and allow it to settle for a few minutes. Once it has settled, apply it the same way you would a normal conditioner.

To truly bring out the shine in your white shoes, make sure that you polish it only after you have thoroughly cleaned, dried, and conditioned it.

Also, make sure you use white shoe polish to shine the shoe in order to really bring out the color of the leather!

How to Protect White Leather Shoes

Your white leather shoes need a little extra care and attention as opposed to your other footwear. This is because tough stains have an even stronger impact on white shoes.

One of the biggest threats you need to protect your white shoe from is water damage. The beauty of leather shoes can be easily marred by the tide marks that exposure to water can create. One quick fix you can employ here is to use a damp cloth to carefully rub these marks whenever they appear.

When you allow your shoes to dry, the effects of the water marks should be less visible. However, even if your shoes are waterproof, you should still keep a close eye on your shoes.

It’s always advisable to use a solid barrier against water damage, such as Bickmore Gard-More water repellant.

Adding a Special Touch

To really help your white leather shoes sparkle, there are a few special tricks that you need to know.

The first trick is how to efficiently eliminate scuff marks or scratch marks.

By applying white nail polish in a circular motion repeatedly to the affected area, you should be able to get rid of any stubborn marks.

The second trick to minimizing any water damage to your white shoes is the use of boot water repellent spray.

This material will prevent dirt and dust from settling on your white shoes.

How to Prevent Your Shoes From Cracking

Water can do a little more than stain your leather shoes. Water can seriously reduce the lifespan of your shoes as well.

Even if you leave your wet shoes out to dry in direct sunlight, it can cause the leather to crack. In many cases, this damage is irreparable.

To prevent this from happening, make sure you apply a leather balm often and keep your shoes away from any source of direct heat.

What To Do If Your White Shoes Get Wet

The first thing you need to do is use a dry soft cloth or towel to remove any excess water from the outside of the shoe as soon as you get the chance.

Next, take another dry towel and slip it inside the shoe to soak out any moisture within. Make sure you change this towel every hour or so when it has drawn out the moisture in the shoes.

Lastly, make sure you store the shoes at room temperature and away from any heat source.

How to Remove Unpleasant Odors From Your Leather Shoes

Using your shoes frequently means that sooner or later, they will start to emit slightly unpleasant odors.

Fortunately, there’s a lot you can do to control this!

White leather shoes are great because they are breathable, especially compared to other footwear like white tennis shoes. However, this is also one of the reasons that they tend to smell so much.

Because leather absorbs a lot of smells, it doesn’t take long before it produces those foul odors that can cling to your feet.

To get rid of this problem, you could start wearing socks. The right pair of socks can help reduce how much you sweat.

Next, you could opt for a good leather shoe deodorizer in order to keep the smell away from your shoes. You could also eliminate any existing smells with a potent leather shoe sanitizer.

Lastly, if all else fails, don’t hesitate to contact a shoe care specialist!


Now that you know all about how to protect white leather shoes, you’re in a better position to keep your footwear in tip-top condition!

From using quality wooden shoe trees to planning the best deep cleaning schedule for your leather shoes, you can capably handle the needs of your white leather shoes.

When you give your shoes proper care, you can drastically extend their lifespan. And, isn’t that all what we want?

Before getting your next pair of footwear, be sure to check out our complete guides and reviews for picking out the best shoes!

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