Can Baking Soda Clean Shoes?

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We all like sparkling clean shoes, whether white, colored, or leather. But after repeatedly wearing them, shoes get dirty at some point, and then you will likely clean them.

But if you don’t clean them correctly, you may damage them. So what is a safe, non-toxic cleaning product that will clean shoes? Can baking soda clean shoes? 

Yes, baking soda is an inexpensive, natural, and easily accessible product that will keep your shoes in pristine condition, whether white, colored, or leather.

I use baking soda on my shoes, and the results speak for themselves. With a box of baking soda at home, you will have an easy time cleaning the grass stains, scuffs, and dribble from your shoes.

In this guide, you’ll learn how to clean different types of shoes using this fantastic cleaning agent.

But first:

What’s Baking Soda?

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The alkaline powder is also known as sodium bicarbonate. Nicholas Leblanc discovered sodium bicarbonate, while John Dwight and his brother-in-law, Dr. Austin Church, revealed its use in baking. The two worked hard to advertise this product and its versatility.

It’s not news that today almost every household has a box of baking soda for various uses in the kitchen and laundry room. If you don’t have it, you may want to get one.

The only ingredient, sodium bicarbonate (soda ash), comes from the trona stone, a natural mineral. The stone is crushed to ash, evaporated, and processed to make baking soda.

Using Baking Soda to Clean Dirty Shoes

It’s common to find a pair of white sneakers in people’s wardrobes, especially during summer, and it feels great to wear them. You will enjoy every moment in your shoes until it’s time to clean if someone spills something on them or the kids step on you, and you need to remove the stains.

That’s where the bicarbonate brings back the sparkle on your beloved shoes. The substance combines well with other ingredients to make your shoes sparkle.

How to Clean Shoes with Baking Soda and Vinegar

Combining baking soda and white vinegar works perfectly in cleaning your stained shoes. Let’s see exactly how this works:

  • In a bowl, mix a tablespoon of white vinegar and a tablespoon of baking soda with hot water and stir thoroughly until the mixture forms a thick paste (you can add a teaspoon of baking soda if the mixture is still runny).
  • Secondly, use your old toothbrush to spread the paste on your shoe’s fabric. Don’t apply too much pressure to allow it to absorb the paste. Make sure you cover all the exterior with the paste.
  • Rinse your toothbrush to ensure the paste doesn’t stick on the bristles because I am sure you will need it again for your next cleaning.
  • Keep your shoes in direct sunlight, near the sunny window, or in a well-ventilated room if you can’t keep them outside. Allow them to dry until you can scratch the paste with your fingernail. Three to four hours will be enough.
  • Lastly, clap the shoe soles together to remove the dry paste and use a clean brush to remove any remaining chunks.

How to Clean White Shoes at Home

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Most summer sneakers consist of white canvas. It’s fun and games until you step on the freshly mown grass, mud, or the kids step on them. It might leave you wondering, can baking soda clean white shoes? The answer is yes. 

You can get your white shoes bright again using the procedure below:

To clean them, you need a tablespoon of baking soda, half a tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide (not a must), and half a tablespoon of warm water.

  • Mix the three until thick paste forms, and use your scrub brush or an old toothbrush to apply the paste on your shoes, especially on the stains.
  • Scrub the stains in a circular motion and leave the paste to dry for 30 minutes.
  • Clap the soles to remove the dry paste and rinse the shoes using clean water. A clean sponge or wet rag will work perfectly. Repeat the process until all the stains disappear.

How to Clean Colored Shoes with Baking Soda

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The bleaching effect in the bicarbonate of soda makes it risky to use for colored shoes, especially black ones. However, you can still use it in your cleaning. Here are some tips for cleaning your colored shoes:

  • Start with removing the inner soles and laces from your shoes and spraying them with water to dampen them.
  • Mix equal parts of baking soda and dish soap in a small bowl and make a paste. Use another bowl containing dish soap if you are cleaning darker shoes.
  • Use an old toothbrush to scoop the mixture and clean the inside of your shoes. For the dark parts, use plain dish soap to avoid bleaching. If the bright sole is stained, you can use the mixture.
  • Leave the shoes for one hour to allow the cleaning solution to work effectively.
  • Rinse your shoes with clean water. You can also use a microfiber cloth to remove the paste.

Which Stains Does Baking Soda Remove?

Baking soda is gentle to most fabrics, and it removes most stains on your shoes which include;

  • Blood stains
  • Grease
  • Mud
  • Vomit
  • Juice stains

What Amount of Baking Soda is Enough to Clean Shoes?

One to two tablespoons of baking soda are enough to clean one shoe. For larger shoes, you may need more baking soda.

Is Soaking Shoes in Baking Soda Okay?

Yes, soaking the shoes in baking soda overnight helps kill bacteria-causing odors.

How to Deodorize Shoes Using Baking Soda

Some people have smelly feet, and the unpleasant odor in their shoes is embarrassing. The best part is baking soda takes care of the outside and inside of your shoes. Not only can baking soda clean shoes, but it also removes odor from them as it does with the freezer.

Follow the following steps to deodorize your favorite shoes.

  • First, measure two tablespoons of baking soda and pour it into the heel of your shoe. Bigger shoes will require an additional amount.
  • Tilt and shake your shoes to spread the baking soda on the inside of your shoes. Don’t worry if there are lumps and clumps in the shoe. All you need is enough baking soda for your shoes.
  • Allow the paste to stay in the shoe for a few hours, and if your shoes are really stinky, you can allow them to stay overnight, absorbing and killing all the bacteria and odor.
  • Lastly, tap the remaining baking soda into a trash can or sink and shake the shoe. Traces of baking soda aren’t harmful to your feet or the shoes.

You can often deodorize your sneakers as soon as they start to smell. However, for your leather shoes, you have to wait a month to deodorize them.

Can Baking Soda Clean Leather Shoes?

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The answer is yes. Baking soda can remove stubborn stains on leather shoes too. For instance, sprinkling baking soda on grease stains on your leather shoes will remove them, giving your shoes a fresh look.

Additionally, you can use baking soda to remove odor from your leather shoes by sprinkling one or two tablespoons inside your shoes. 

Another reason to use baking soda on your leather shoes is that it has the proper PH level that doesn’t destroy or discolor your leather.

Can Baking Soda Destroy Leather Shoes?

Some types of leather are delicate, and the homemade recipes for stain removal don’t work well for them. 

You can use baking soda to deodorize your leather shoes on the condition that you don’t use it regularly; once a month is enough. Baking soda can remove the oils in the leather and damage it.

How Long Should Baking Soda Stay on Leather Shoes?

It’s a fact that baking soda is an absorbing agent, and it can drain the oils that keep your leather shoes in shape. Fifteen minutes are enough to deodorize and clean leather products.


The alkali nature of baking soda will help remove stains on your favorite pair of canvas. It will keep your shoes from smelling. Mixing vinegar, dish soap, or hydrogen peroxide will also help clean your shoes. Now you have the answer to the question, Can baking soda clean shoes?

When using baking soda on your shoes, be patient to allow the mixture to remove the stains effectively. Remember to use minimal baking soda on your leather shoes.

If you are interested in learning what else baking soda can clean in your home, check out our post, Can Baking Soda Clean Drains?