white rubber shoes

How To Clean White Rubber Shoes

White rubber shoes are a timeless fashion staple that can effortlessly elevate any casual outfit.

However, with regular use, they often fall victim to dirt, stains, and discolouration, which can detract from their pristine appearance.

That’s why knowing how to properly clean and maintain these shoes is essential for keeping them looking fresh and bright.

So, if you’re ready to restore the brilliance of your white rubber shoes and make them shine like new, let’s dive into the details of maintaining these iconic footwear essentials.


What You Need to Clean White Rubber Shoes

materials for cleaning shoes

Before diving into the cleaning process, gather the following materials:

Mild laundry detergent or shoe cleaner

Choose a gentle laundry detergent specifically designed for shoes or a mild washing up liquid. Avoid using harsh chemicals or bleach, as they can damage the rubber and fabric of your white trainers.


Soft-bristle brush or toothbrush 

Select a soft-bristle brush or an old toothbrush dedicated to cleaning your shoes. This will help remove dirt and stains without causing damage.

cleaning white shoes

Clean cloth or sponge

Keep a clean cloth or sponge handy for wiping away excess dirt, soap, or cleaning solution during the process.


Warm water

Ensure access to warm water for effective cleaning. Avoid using hot water, as it may cause the rubber to warp or the glue to weaken.


Paper towels or newspaper

These absorbent materials will be useful for stuffing your shoes during the drying process, helping them maintain their shape and absorb excess moisture.


Remove Laces and Inserts
shoe laces and inserts

Start by removing the laces and inserts from your white rubber shoes. This step allows you to clean each component separately and ensures a thorough wash.


Untie the laces and gently remove them from the eyelets.

If the laces are particularly dirty, you can soak them separately in warm soapy water or machine wash them, following the care instructions on the label.



Take out any removable insoles or inserts from your shoes. This will make it easier to clean both the interiors and exteriors of the shoes.


Pre-Treating Stains on White Rubber Shoes

dirty and clean shoes

Before proceeding with the actual washing process, it’s advisable to pre-treat any visible stains on your white rubber shoes. This will help to loosen and remove stubborn dirt or marks.

Spot treatment

If you notice specific stains or marks on your shoes, apply a small amount of mild laundry detergent or shoe cleaner directly to the affected area.

Gently rub the detergent into the stain using your fingers or a soft brush.


Let it sit

Allow the laundry detergent to sit on the stain for a few minutes. This will give it time to penetrate the fabric and break down the dirt or discolouration.

By following these preparatory steps, you’re setting the stage for a successful cleaning process that will effectively remove dirt, stains, and discoloration from your white rubber shoes.


How to Hand-Wash White Rubber Trainers

white rubber shoes in blue bowl

Create a cleaning solution 

To begin the hand-washing method, create a cleaning solution by mixing warm water with a small amount of mild laundry detergent or shoe cleaner.

The exact measurements may vary depending on the product instructions, but a general guideline is to use approximately 1-2 tablespoons of laundry detergent for every litre of water.

Stir the solution gently to ensure the laundry detergent dissolves completely.


Scrub the shoes

Start by focusing on the rubber soles of your white trainers.

Dip a soft-bristle brush or toothbrush into the cleaning solution and gently scrub the soles in circular motions. Pay attention to the grooves and crevices where dirt tends to accumulate.

For tougher stains, you can apply a bit more pressure, but avoid scrubbing too aggressively to prevent any damage.

Once you’ve cleaned the rubber soles, move on to the fabric upper of your shoes.

Dip the brush or toothbrush into the cleaning solution and lightly scrub the surface, working in small sections.

Be mindful of the shoe’s construction and any delicate embellishments, avoiding excessive force that could cause fraying or detachment.


Rinse and remove soap residue

After thoroughly scrubbing the rubber soles and fabric upper, it’s essential to rinse off the cleaning solution to remove any soap residue.

Dip a clean cloth or sponge into warm water and gently wipe down the entire shoe, ensuring you remove all traces of the cleaning solution.

Rinse the cloth or sponge frequently to prevent spreading dirt or soap residue back onto the shoe.

If you notice lingering soap residue, repeat the rinsing process until the water runs clear and there are no visible signs of laundry detergent.

After rinsing, gently squeeze the excess water out of the shoes. Avoid twisting or wringing them, as this can cause distortion or damage to the material.

By following these steps, you can effectively hand wash your white rubber shoes, removing dirt, stains, and grime from both the rubber soles and fabric upper.


How to Machine-Wash White Rubber Shoes

shoes in a mesh laundry bag for washing

Determine if your shoes are machine-washable

Before proceeding with machine washing, it’s crucial to check the care instructions provided by the shoe manufacturer.

While many white rubber shoes are machine-washable, some may require specific care or hand washing to preserve their quality.

If the care label indicates that machine washing is suitable, you can proceed with the following steps.


Pre-treat stains

If your white rubber shoes have visible stains, it’s advisable to pre-treat them before machine washing.

Apply a small amount of mild laundry detergent or shoe cleaner directly onto the stained areas and gently rub the detergent into the fabric using your fingers or a soft brush.

Allow it to sit for a few minutes to break down the stains.


Using the appropriate washing machine settings

When machine washing white rubber shoes, it’s essential to select the appropriate settings to prevent any damage.

Choose the delicate or gentle cycle on your washing machine. This setting minimises agitation and reduces the risk of causing any structural damage to your shoes.

Pick cold water instead of hot or warm water. Cold water helps to preserve the integrity of the rubber and prevents any unwanted shrinkage or warping.

Add a small amount of mild laundry detergent or shoe cleaner to the detergent compartment of your washing machine. Avoid using bleach or harsh chemicals as they can damage the rubber and fabric.


Drying and Maintenance

canvas shoes stuffed with newspaper

Stuff shoes with paper towels or newspaper

After washing your white rubber shoes, proper drying is essential to maintain their shape and prevent odours.

Begin by stuffing the shoes with crumpled paper towels or newspaper.

This helps to absorb excess moisture and provides support to retain their form during the drying process. Ensure that you fill them adequately without overstuffing.


Air-dry the shoes

air drying white rubber shoes

To dry your white rubber shoes effectively, follow these steps:

1. Choose a well-ventilated area

Place the shoes in a cool, well-ventilated area. Avoid direct sunlight, as excessive heat can cause the rubber to warp or the fabric to fade.

2. Avoid heat sources

Do not place the shoes near heaters, radiators, or use a hairdryer, as the heat can damage the rubber and fabric. Allow them to dry naturally at room temperature.

3. Allow sufficient drying time

The drying time will vary depending on factors such as humidity levels and shoe thickness.

It may take several hours or even overnight for the shoes to dry completely.

Be patient and avoid rushing the process to ensure thorough drying.


Reinsert laces and insoles

Once your white rubber shoes are completely dry, reinsert the clean laces and inserts.

Ensure that the laces are properly threaded through the eyelets, and the insoles are correctly positioned. 

This step completes the reassembly of your freshly washed shoes.


Tips for Keeping White Rubber Shoes Clean

storing shoes in cabinet

To keep your white rubber shoes looking their best for an extended period, consider the following maintenance tips:

  • Quickly address any fresh stains or marks on your shoes by spot cleaning them as soon as possible. 
  • Use a damp cloth or sponge with mild laundry detergent or a shoe cleaner to gently remove the stains before they set in.
  • Store your white rubber shoes in a clean, dry area to prevent dust, dirt, or moisture build up. Keep them away from direct sunlight or heat sources that can cause fading or damage.
  • Consider using a protective spray specifically designed for white rubber shoes. These sprays create a barrier that repels dirt and stains, making it easier to maintain their cleanliness.
  • Incorporate regular cleaning sessions into your shoe care routine, especially if you wear your white rubber shoes frequently. By cleaning them periodically, you can prevent deep-seated stains and maintain their fresh appearance.


Some Extra Tips and Cautions

white rubber shoes tips

Avoid using bleach or harsh chemicals

When cleaning white rubber shoes, it’s important to avoid using bleach or harsh chemicals.

These substances can damage the rubber and cause discolouration or deterioration of the fabric. Stick to mild laundry detergents or shoe cleaners specifically formulated for this purpose.


Test cleaning products on a small area

Before applying any cleaning product or solution to the entire shoe, it’s prudent to test it on a small, inconspicuous area.

This will help ensure that the product does not cause any adverse effects or colour fading on the material.


Dealing with tough stains or yellowing

If your white rubber shoes have stubborn stains or yellowing, you can try using a paste made from bicarbonate of soda and water.

Apply the paste to the affected areas, gently scrub with a toothbrush, and rinse thoroughly.

Alternatively, consider using a specialised shoe stain remover or seeking professional cleaning services for difficult stains.

wiping white shoes with cloth


Avoid machine drying or excessive heat

Never attempt to speed up the drying process by using a dryer or exposing your white rubber shoes to direct heat sources such as radiators or hairdryers.

Excessive heat can cause the rubber to deform, shrink, or even melt. Stick to air drying at room temperature to maintain their shape and integrity.


Follow the manufacturer’s instructions

Always refer to the care instructions provided by the shoe manufacturer.

They may have specific guidelines or recommendations for cleaning and maintenance that are tailored to your particular white rubber shoes.


Seek professional cleaning for delicate materials

If your white rubber shoes are made from delicate or special materials, such as suede or leather, it’s best to consult a professional shoe cleaner.

They will have the expertise and specialised products to clean and maintain such shoes effectively.

By keeping these additional tips and cautions in mind, you can navigate the cleaning process of your white rubber shoes with confidence, ensuring their longevity, cleanliness, and overall appeal.

materials in cleaning white shoes



By following the outlined methods, you can restore the brightness and cleanliness of your trainers, ensuring they look their best for a long time.

Remember, preparation is key. Gather all the necessary materials before starting the cleaning process.

While hand-washing allows for more control and gentler handling, machine washing can be a convenient option if the shoes are machine-washable.

Regardless of the method you choose, air drying your shoes in a well-ventilated area is crucial to maintaining their shape and integrity.

These tips and cautions, you can maintain the pristine appearance of your white rubber shoes and enjoy their style and comfort for many adventures to come.

So, go ahead and give your white rubber shoes the care they deserve.

With your newly acquired knowledge, you can confidently tackle the cleaning process and keep your trainers looking fresh, clean, and ready to step out in style.