How to Clean White Leather Shoes with Baking Soda

White leather shoes are a timeless piece of fashion that offers versatility and style to any outfit. They are a staple in many wardrobes, but owning a pair comes with the responsibility of keeping them pristine.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through a step-by-step process on how to clean white leather shoes with baking soda, ensuring they stay as good as new.

Can You Use Baking Soda on White Leather Shoes?

Baking soda, also known as sodium bicarbonate, is a versatile household product that is commonly used for cleaning and deodorizing. When it comes to white leather shoes, baking soda can be used effectively, but it should be done properly to avoid damaging the leather.

White leather shoes are prone to scuffs, stains, and dullness. To maintain their pristine appearance, baking soda can serve as a gentle cleaning agent. 

The mild abrasive nature of baking soda helps remove dirt without being harsh on the delicate leather surface. Moreover, its natural deodorizing properties can eliminate unpleasant odors, keeping the shoes fresh.

Step-by-Step Guide: How to Clean White Leather Shoes with Baking Soda

1. Materials Required

Before starting the process of restoring your white leather shoes, make sure to gather all the materials needed for cleaning.

  • Baking Soda: This natural cleanser will serve as the key ingredient in making your paste. Ensure you have at least a quarter cup on hand.

  • Water: You will need a small amount of water to mix with the baking soda to create a paste.

  • A Small Mixing Bowl: This will be used to combine the baking soda and water. Choose one that won’t react with the ingredients, such as a glass or plastic bowl.
  • A Soft-Bristled Brush or Toothbrush: For applying the paste and gently scrubbing the shoes. The bristles should be soft enough to not scratch the leather surface.

  • A Clean Cloth: Needed for removing the paste after cleaning the shoes. A microfiber cloth works best as it is gentle and effective at picking up residue.

  • Leather Conditioner (optional): After cleaning, the leather conditioner will replenish oils and ensure the shoes remain supple.

2. Preparing and Applying Baking Soda Paste

Applying baking soda correctly is crucial for the effective cleaning and brightening of white leather shoes. One must adhere strictly to the procedure to avoid damaging the delicate material.

1. Remove Loose Dirt and Debris

Start by removing any excess dirt or debris from your shoes using a soft-bristled brush or a dry cloth. This initial step prevents scratching the leather during the cleaning process.

2. Take Out Laces

Unlace your shoes to avoid any wear on the eyelets and to ensure a thorough cleaning throughout. This also allows you to clean the laces separately or replace them if necessary.

3. Prepare the Mixture:

  • Begin by mixing two tablespoons of baking soda with one tablespoon of water. 

  • Stir until it forms a paste with a consistency similar to toothpaste. 

  • The paste should not be too watery to prevent excessive moisture on the leather.

4. Clean the Shoes:

  1. Before applying the mixture, make sure the shoes are free of dirt and debris. Use a soft brush or cloth to gently remove any surface dirt.
  1. Using a soft cloth or an old toothbrush, apply the baking soda paste to the white leather shoes. 
  1. Work in small sections, gently massaging the paste into the surface in a circular motion. This will ensure an even application without over-saturating the leather.

Tip: Always perform a spot test first before full application.

5. Allow it to Set:

After evenly distributing the paste on the shoes, allow it to sit for about 15 to 20 minutes. The baking soda needs time to work its magic and lift the stains from the leather.

6. Wipe and Dry:

Once the paste has set, use a damp cloth to wipe off the baking soda mixture. Afterward, allow the shoes to dry naturally away from direct sunlight or heat sources to prevent the leather from cracking.

For optimal results, one can repeat the process if necessary. However, it is always recommended to condition the leather after cleaning to maintain its suppleness and prevent future stains.

How to Clean White Leather Shoes with Baking Soda

3. Buffing and Additional Care for Extra Shine

Once your white leather shoes have been cleaned with the baking soda mixture and have dried completely, it's important to give them the final touches that will make them stand out. Here’s how to buff and provide additional care for that extra shine.

1. Buffing the Leather

To buff your shoes, take a clean, dry, soft cloth or a specialized shoe brush. Gently rub the surface of your shoes in circular motions. This action helps to buff out any remaining impurities and enhances the shine of the leather. 

2. Moisturizing the Leather

Just like skin, leather needs to be moisturized to maintain its elasticity and lustrous appearance. Apply a leather conditioner with a soft cloth, working it into the shoe in circular motions. Allow the conditioner to penetrate the leather for a few minutes before buffing off any excess with a clean cloth.

3. Protective Spray

Applying a protective spray helps defend your shoes against future stains and water damage. Choose a spray that's suitable for white leather and apply it evenly, holding the can around six inches away from the shoes’ surface. Allow the spray to dry thoroughly.

4. Extra Tips for Laces

If your shoes have laces, don’t forget to wash them as well. Remove the laces and soak them in water and mild detergent. Rinse them thoroughly, let them air dry, and relace your shoes for a fully refreshed look.

5. Storing Shoes Properly

To maintain the shine and condition of your leather shoes, store them in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Use a shoe tree or stuff them with paper to help maintain their shape.

Regular care with these finishing touches ensures that your white leather shoes stay bright, shiny, and in excellent condition for years to come.

Can You Clean White Leather Shoes With Baking Soda and Vinegar?

White leather shoes are a stylish yet notoriously difficult-to-maintain fashion statement. Luckily, a combination of baking soda and vinegar, common household items, can effectively brighten and clean them. Here's how to harness the cleaning power of these substances properly:

  • Prepare the Cleaning Solution:

  • Start by mixing 2 tablespoons of baking soda with 1 tablespoon of white vinegar in a small bowl.
  • Add water to this mixture until a paste-like consistency is formed. This paste will serve as the primary cleaning agent.
  • Application:

Gently apply the paste onto the white leather shoes using a soft-bristled brush or an old toothbrush.

Focus on areas that are visibly dirty or have scuff marks, applying the paste in circular motions to lift the dirt.

  • Set the Mixture:

Once the shoes are satisfactorily covered, let the paste sit on the leather for about 5 to 10 minutes.

This duration allows the natural cleaning properties of the baking soda and vinegar to penetrate and lift the dirt and stains.

  • Wiping Away the Residue:

After the paste has been set, use a damp cloth to wipe away the mixture gently.

Ensure that no baking soda and vinegar residue remains, as leftover particles can attract more dirt or even damage the leather finish over time.

Once the shoes are clean and dried, it's essential to condition the leather.

This cleaning method should be an occasional treatment rather than a daily routine to avoid potential damage from the acidic vinegar. Also, always patch-test a small hidden area before full application to ensure that the leather's color and texture are not adversely affected.


Keeping white leather shoes gleaming after a thorough cleaning with baking soda requires a proactive approach to maintenance.

To preserve the crisp, clean appearance of your white leather shoes, it is important to follow a routine cleaning regimen. This involves not only the removal of dirt and stains as soon as they appear but also measures to prevent discoloration and aging of the leather.

Regular care not only maintains the glow but also contributes to the longevity and durability of these fashion staples.

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