How to clean white trainers?

Once worn only by teenagers, in recent years white leather trainers have been given pride of place in every wardrobe. And rightly so! Easy to wear, on-trend yet timeless, a pair of white trainers works with every style and on every occasion – or almost!

But if they’re going to keep their casual chic, they really must stay impeccably clean. Otherwise you’ll be working more of a neglected look! Don't worry, maintaining your white trainers is not complicated. Here we share our top tips!


3 golden rules to make sure your white trainers look good for longer

Cleaning white trainers

1. Don’t wear them every day

Even if they’re your new favourite footwear, it’s no secret that if you wear your white trainers every day, they’ll start to wear out, the soles will start to become smooth, and creases will begin to form. If you want to wear this type of footwear every day, you’d do better to invest in two or three different pairs from the start, so you can alternate.

2. Waterproof your trainers

They may have that casual look, but your trainers are still made of leather nevertheless: it’s a delicate material that needs to be protected from water and bad weather. Before wearing them for the first time, make sure you waterproof them with a spray, and then go on doing it regularly.

3. Store them away from direct heat

If you accidentally get your leather trainers wet, don’t be tempted to put them on the radiator or dry them with a hair drier. Let them dry naturally, and, once they’re nice and dry, put them in their box, away from sources of heat.


What equipment and products will you need to clean your white trainers?

To keep them looking good as new, white leather trainers need to be regularly cared for using a combination of special shoe care products and ordinary household products. Here are some essential items to have at hand so you can care for your white trainers:

Cleaning white trainers


Completely restore your white leather trainers in 3 steps

1. Dust

Before cleaning your trainers, it is imperative that you meticulously remove all the dust. Gently brush the whole of the upper and sole with soft, non abrasive brush. If you don’t have the right equipment, you can use a soft toothbrush, as it won’t scratch the surface of the leather. Remember to be gentle. If the shoes are very dirty, you can use cotton buds or a microfibre cloth to work a little harder on the areas that need it.

2. Clean every part of each shoe

  • Brighten up the white laces
  • To make the laces look good as new, you obviously have to take them out of the shoes. What’s our no-fail recipe? Soak them for 24 hours in a mixture of hot water, sodium percarbonate and a little white vinegar. They’re sure to be dazzling!

  • Wash the uppers
  • Now let’s get down to the nitty gritty: cleaning your white trainers’ leather uppers. If the trainers aren’t too dirty, you don’t need to bring out the big guns: a little cold, soapy water, or some moistened sodium bicarbonate on a soft toothbrush, will be enough to make them impeccably white again.

  • Remove difficult stains
  • To get rid of more difficult stains on leather, you have a number of options: gently rub them with cotton wool moistened with either solvent, white vinegar or make-up remover. Remember to always work gently, testing the product on a less visible part of the trainer first. For grass stains, use 90% alcohol, applied carefully with a cotton bud.

  • Clean the canvas parts of your leather trainers
  • To make the canvas parts of your leather trainers as clean as they were when you bought them, use a toothbrush to gently rub them with soapy water. To rinse them, nothing beats a damp magic sponge, then let them dry naturally, away from any sources of excess heat.

  • Clean the bottom of the outsoles
  • It's true that your trainers’ rubber soles are bound to gradually wear out with time, but that’s no reason to deprive them of a minimum of maintenance. Particularly as, being made of rubber, this part is easy to clean and dries quickly.

    Once you’ve wiped them down with a damp cloth, gently brush them with a toothbrush and some toothpaste – it’ll make the rubber gleaming white again. Leave it on for about ten minutes before rinsing, then leave them to dry. Take care not to wet the soles too much, as the water might find its way inside your trainers.

    Another good trick that’s both fast and effective is to use baby wipes! Use them to rub the soles vigorously, then wipe with a cloth and leave until completely dry.

3. Once dry, time for the finishing touches

If you have followed all the previous recommendations, you should now be looking at a pair of dazzlingly clean, white leather trainers. So here are our final tips, to help them stay dazzling for longer:


The unpleasant smells that can arise when wearing leather trainers are caused by the appearance of bacteria, that particularly like to be somewhere damp. To avoid this, we recommend wearing cotton socks, a breathable material that will reduce perspiration to a minimum, and to always use wooden shoe trees, which will naturally regulate the leather’s moisture content.

All our trainers have a removable leather insole, so it’s very easy to take it out and clean it with soapy water, to guard against unpleasant smells.

Discover our other care advice