How To Clean Trainers (Make Them Look Brand New!)

How To Clean Trainers (Make Them Look Brand New!)

White trainers go with everything. So whether you’re wearing a dress, jeans, a skirt, or even a jumpsuit, you can throw on some trainers and call it an outfit. One problem with this trend is that Trainers don’t stay white for that long. Yes, head out for a night on the town, and you’ll likely come back with a pair of shoes that look a shade of dirty grey.

Learning how to clean trainers like a pro is the answer. The worst thing you can do — although it might be tempting — is throw them in the washing machine. If you do that, you will likely do more damage than good, regardless of the material. Instead, you need to take a targeted approach when cleaning your shoes. If you don’t know where to start, you’ve come to the right place. This guide will look at how to clean trainers in seven simple steps. Here’s everything that you need to know:

Step 1: Remove any mud or dirt

First things first, let’s cover how to clean muddy trainers. You need to remove any dirt, grime, or mud from the outside of the trainers. If you’ve walked through a field and picked up a load of mess, now is the time to sort it out. The first thing you must do here is to ensure that the mud is completely dry. If you’ve not long got back from being out, you might want to leave your trainers overnight.

When the mud is 100% dry, it’s time to get to work. First, hit the trainers off a hard surface — preferably outside — so the dirt falls off. Next, you can use a soft-bristled brush to get rid of any mud that has accumulated in the cracks of your trainers. Again, make sure that you take a gentle and steady approach here. The last thing you want is to damage the material.

You can’t expect to get all the mud and dirt off this way. However, when you are done, you should have a relatively smooth canvas to work with. Take a moment to look at the detailing of your trainers and remove any dirt that has wound up there. It all helps! 

Step 2: Take the laces out and soak them

Next up, let’s deal with your laces. Before cleaning your trainers, you will want to remove the laces. You know the drill — simply unlace them. When you have done that, you want to put them in cool water mixed with a stain remover. You may want to use the Pink Stuff Stain Remover Powder, for example, as it works well.

You can leave the laces in the solution for around an hour. When you have done that, take them out of the water and hang them up somewhere. Then, you can peg them to the line. Leave the laces to dry naturally (it shouldn’t take that long!) in the wind. Then bring them inside. You can put them into the clean sneakers when you have finished the rest of these steps.

Step 3: Clean the outside of the trainers

Now that you’ve dealt with the laces, it’s time to clean the outside of your trainers. Your approach will depend mainly on the material your trainers are made from. We’ve covered some of the most common ones below. Here’s what you should do:

●     Suede

Learning how to clean suede trainers doesn’t have to be complicated. You cannot put these trainers in the washer as they absorb liquid. They will get damaged if you put them through a regular wash. Instead, you can use a soft brush to work out any marks. You may also want to use a large stain eraser on them. You need to be extra careful with suede shoes as they can be challenging to clean. Always be gentle when dealing with them!

●     Canvas

Want to know how to clean white canvas trainers? There’s an art to cleaning the body of these shoes. Mix some baking soda, white wine vinegar, and warm water. Use a clean, dry cloth when cleaning these trainers. You should dip the cloth in the cleaning solution and ring it well. Next, carefully rub the side of the white trainers. Focus on the areas where there are loads of marks — scuff marks or grass stains. You should find that the stains start to come off quickly when you try this approach. 

●     Leather

Leather can be a bit easier to clean. You can use an e-cloth to clean the outside of these shoes. First, make a cleaning solution using washing-up liquid and warm water. Next, dip the cloth into the water and wipe the leather directly. You may need to put some elbow grease into it here. If the stains are tricky, you can try repeating the above step.

Step 4: Wipe the dirt off the soles

When you’ve dealt with the body of your trainers, you need to clean the soles. Chances are, these are the dirtiest part of your white trainers. You can grab an antibacterial wipe to get this part of the job done. Flip the trainers over and get to work. You may need to use a few wipes to get most of the dirt off the soles. Most of the time, this part of the trainer is made from rubber, making it super easy to clean.

Step 5: Allow the shoes to dry

Once you’ve followed the above steps, you must allow the trainers to dry. You might wonder if you can dry your shoes in the dryer, but doing so could damage the material — whether it’s suede, leather, plastic, or canvas! Instead, you should stuff the trainers with clean newspaper and put them in a cool, dry place. If possible, leave them to dry outside or by an open window. (Of course, this doesn’t work in the winter!)

Step 6: Use a trainer whitener

If you want to prevent your trainers from getting dirty again, you can use some trainer whitener. There are plenty of options, such as Kiwi Sports Shoe Whitener, Superwhite, Shoeboy’s Pure Colour Restorer, and Cherry Blossom Sports Whitener. Grab yourself a bottle and use it whenever you need it. Of course, you should follow the instructions on it.

Keeping your white trainers looking clean doesn’t have to be complicated! If you follow our expert-backed tips here, you should have no problem doing just that. Within this guide, we’ve given you the tools that you need to clean your trainers. Get started today! 


Did we miss something? If you need more information, you’ve come to the right place. Here are some of the frequently asked questions about cleaning your trainers.

How do you clean a white fabric trainer?

As we have already covered, you can clean fabric trainers using baking soda, vinegar, and warm water as a solution. You may want to use a dry cloth to get started. When cleaning your trainers, you should leave them to dry naturally for the best results.

Can you put trainers in the washing machine?

Want to know how to clean trainers in the washing machine? The short answer is that you shouldn’t do it. When you put your shoes in the machine, you risk damaging them and your home appliance. So instead, you need to take the hand-washing approach described above. That way, you can clean your trainers with no problems.

Why did my white canvas shoes turn yellow?

One of the common problems when it comes to white trainers is them turning yellow. If you have noticed this issue, you may wonder what caused it. Much of the time, the yellowing of trainers is due to oxidation. That means that the fabric has been exposed to oxygen and reacted to it. You may also find that sweat and dirt have caused this.

How do you keep white trainers clean?

Learning how to keep white trainers clean is easier than you imagine. You should make sure you deal with any marks or scuffs immediately. You may also want to use a trainer whitener regularly. These tips should help you keep the trainers looking white. When you have done that, you can clean your trainers using our easy guide.

Do you have any more questions? Leave them in the comments below!

Joanne A


Expert in finding beautiful solutions for small and rented spaces. Would happily spend the rest of my life shopping for homewares and watching Disney movies - I only wish I had Cinderella's army of mice to help me clean!

  1. Author John on November 18, 2022 at 12:37 pm

    This is just for anyone tempted to ignore the advice above and still throw your trainers in the washing machine. Inside the machine are agitators which are intended to move clothing around as the drum turns. Trainers will thump against these causing the rivets that secure them to snap. Result: new drum needed.

    1. Author Joanne A on November 18, 2022 at 5:10 pm

      Thanks for supporting our message!


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