+ Making shoes look new! How to clean shoes

I love to hit up garage sales every Saturday morning, love it!! Everything is pretty cheap, and if not you can try and haggle it down. I don’t even care about how cheap the stuff is, I just love the thrill of finding something I need or well, more likely want and see refashioning potential. Anyway, today I found something Beck NEEDED. New shoes that fit. Beck has nearly grown out of both of his tennies and I’ve always thought Beck could rock some “chucks”. So, when I spotted two of them at a garage sale today for a buck a piece. I couldn’t pass it up. And the dirtiness did freak me out at all. I grew up with a mom who made EVERYTHING, clothes, furniture, shoes look like new. These were just old tips I knew and now I’m passing it to you! This is how I learned to clean shoes.
dirty shoes
bleach (I heard toothpaste too)
rag or toothbrush

1. With bleach, water (my mom uses soft scrub) and a rag carefully scrub the soles/rubber part of the shoes. Sometimes you may have to get in there with a toothbrush. Be very very careful not to touch the fabric.
2. Throw the shoelaces into the wash , if they don’t get white enough then bleach them.
3. I took out the insoles because they were nasty, and hand washed them with a scrubber of some sort (toothbrush) and soap. Then I bleached them to make them as white as possible.
4. I then had the shoelaces and insoles sit out in the sun to dry and get even more white.


  1. THANK YOU!!! I wasn’t taught little things like this as a kid, but luckily this old dog is willing to learn new tricks. THANK YOU!!!


  2. Magic erasers work amazingly well at making the rubber white again!

  3. Amazing. Very helpful. I look forward to using these tricks someday!

  4. I had never thought of this but now it seem like such a good idea! Thanks for the tips! =)

  5. It’s kind of scary, but dishwasher detergent does the same thing. It’ll clean up a pair of shoes like crazy & you don’t have to be as careful of getting it on the fabric part.

  6. I love your resourcefulness. Those shoes new cost a packet and you have revatalised and brought back to life for the cutest of cutest feet, the coolest of coolest sneakers. Great work !

  7. that’s pretty nifty! awesome info to share!

  8. Hmmm, your Mother sonds like mine! Especially with runners! I’d get them all perfectly ‘worn in’ looking & then I’ll go & put them on one morning & they’d look like new! It would kill me! xx

  9. they look great! I love converse for my kiddos. I use magic eraser to clean them. Works great! (You can even get knock off magic erasers at Dollar tree stores for 2 for a dollar)

  10. Magic Erasers also work really well on shoe rubber parts or vinyl, and won’t hurt the fabric.

  11. I quadruple {or so} the magic eraser tip! Those kicks sure look shiny! Good job!

  12. I’ve always just tossed my chucks in the wash and they come out looking like brand new! as long as you dont use bleach or powder detergent the color doesnt fade!

  13. Great tips! I actually have a pair of sneakers that I was just thinking about today that could totally use a little freshening up! :)

  14. yay for you! & Beck!! He’s adorably handsome by the way :)

  15. GREAT tips! Thank you so much. Those chucks are super adorable and so is your kiddo. I love thrifting, but haven’t perused garage sales in a long time. Must put that on my list for an upcoming weekend.
    Van // The Clothes We Wear // Wearing motherhood with style.

  16. Amazing! Thank you! I absolutely love this, and totally needed a way to clean up my skuzzy old chucks. Thank you!!

  17. baking soda actually works really well too.

  18. This is great! I’ve only had my Converse for a few months, and they look nastayy! I hope this works for me!
    -Courtney from diycourtney.blogspot.com

  19. I’ve just landed on your fab refashioning and tailoring tips/blog tonight. Just thought I would share my old trick from cheerleader days, when our (then popular 30++ years ago) white Nike lace-up tennies needed to look spiffy white again. I used comet brand cleanser — the powdered stuff, has both bleach and abrasive. Our squad shoes were leather so I didn’t have fabric to contend with avoiding from bleach. The easiest trick was with the laces. I would wet the shoelaces and wad them up in my hand, dump on some powdered Comet cleanser and just rub my hands together like I was balling up some play-doh or something. If that wasn’t yet enough, I put the laces in a glass with water and still with that same powdered comet cleanser on them and soaked as long as necessary. While the sunlight trick does do whitening wonders, I usually realized my tennies needed spiffing up long past dusk the night before I would be taking them to school and the game.

    Nowadays, I usually try the above mentioned magic eraser sponges to avoid bleach mishaps, but the comet is much faster and far less expensive overall since those erasers magically disappear really fast!

    One last tip my mum taught me way back when was that if you do end up needing to use a white shoe dye (polish/paint) just coat liberally and rub down the leather (after polish has dried) with petroleum jelly. That will take that sad chalky “rescued” look away and help condition the leather too.

    great for the all*star in all of us! :)