How to Keep Your White Sneakers Spotless

Festival mud. Ketchup. Cold Brew. White shoes have a long list of enemies, but just because you dropped a slice of pizza on your new Stan Smiths doesn't mean they're destined for the garbage can. Read on for the ultimate guide to keeping your sneakers bright.

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If Your Soles Are Scuffed...

Try a Magic Eraser: Just as it removes mysterious smudges from walls, Mr. Clean's Magic Eraser also buffs away marks on rubber soles. Just wet it a bit, and scrub gently. Do we know how this works? No. Do we question its magical powers? Also no.

A tremendous sneaker-cleaning trio.
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Wipe Them Down With Baby Oil: Don't have a Magic Eraser handy? Dampen a cotton pad with baby oil and lightly rub it over scuffs to break them down. Warning: baby oil can stain canvas, so only try this if your sneakers are leather.

Grab Some Comet: If the soles of your sneakers are textured, a Magic Eraser or a baby-oil-soaked cotton pad might not reach all of the grime. Wet an old toothbrush, sprinkle it with Comet bathroom cleaner, and get to work.

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If Your Sneakers Are Leather…

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Get Yourself Some Shoe Polish: White shoe polish works for all-white sneakers, but if your kicks have colored details, opt for neutral. Before you start applying the polish, remove your shoelaces, brush off whatever dirt you can, wipe them down with soapy water, and pat them dry. Then, apply a thin layer of polish with a soft cloth (old T-shirts make perfect shoe rags), wait for it to dry, and buff it in using another clean, soft cloth.

If Your Sneakers Are Canvas…

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Throw Them in the Wash: First, remove the laces. (These can be washed separately in a mesh garment bag, then air-dried.) If your sneakers are really filthy, treat them with a laundry spray like Shout before washing them in the delicate cycle with cold water and your regular detergent. Don't put them in the dryer, though! They'll bang around, make a ton of noise, and possibly shrink. Instead, let them air dry—if they've been through the spin cycle this should only take a few hours.

If Your Sneakers Are Suede…

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Invest in a Cleaning Kit: Oh man, suede is super-tricky to clean. Have you gotten your sneakers dirty yet? If not, run to your nearest shoe store and buy a bottle of suede protector, like Apple Garde Rain and Stain Repellent, as well as a suede care kit that includes a brush and a suede eraser (Jason Markk makes a good one). Then, spray those sneakers down with the protector, and, after every few wears, sweep the dirt from your shoes with the brush and go over more stubborn spots with the eraser. For serious suede stains, it's best to take your shoes to a professional.

And Now: A Quick Shopping List!

Gazelle Shoes, $80,
Tennis Classic Sneakers by Nike, $75,
Sk8-Hi Sneakers by Vans for Opening Ceremony, $120,
Low Tops by Common Projects, $445,
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