Cleaning Shoes with Toothpaste: All that You Need to Know

Cleaning Shoes with Toothpaste: All that You Need to Know
Cleaning Shoes with Toothpaste: All that You Need to Know

Toothpaste is the lord and savior for our teeth and gums, but perhaps more surprisingly, it can also save our shoes!

Many people swear by the cleaning power of toothpaste when it comes to cleaning their shoes without using bleach and other chemicals, detergents, or commercial products. So we are going to find out if it really works. 

How Toothpaste Cleans Shoes

Toothpaste is designed to loosen and clean plaque from off your teeth. This same mechanism is what loosens the dirt from your shoes. 

Toothpaste cleans teeth by employing its abrasive and foaming properties to kill microorganisms and dislodge plaque. In this same way, it kills microorganisms and dislodges dirt that is on shoes. 

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What is the best kind of toothpaste to clean shoes?

White, non-gel toothpaste is better for cleaning white leather, rubber, plastic, and synthetic shoes. 

You can look for the ones with baking soda and peroxide, which add to their cleaning and whitening power. However, regular white, non-gel toothpaste works as well.

White, paste-like toothpaste has more cleaning power than gel toothpaste. Gel toothpaste might stain your shoes (the colored gels) without doing much cleaning. On the other hand, white toothpaste, when used on white shoes, will not only clean your shoes better but will also not stain them. Avoid using any toothpaste with colors in it.

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Where Can You Use Toothpaste to Clean on Your Shoes

On the other hand, when it comes to material, it is best to use toothpaste on the hard surfaces of your shoes (plastic, leather, or rubber parts), especially your colored shoes. If you want to clean fabric shoes with toothpaste, ensure the shoes are white and the toothpaste is white. 

Toothpaste easily absorbs into porous material like cloth and canvas. It also holds to the fibers. White toothpaste will bleach and/or stain colored soft shoes while colored toothpaste will stain white shoes. 

If you must use white toothpaste on canvas and other fabric shoes, be sure to use some water to easily spread the toothpaste and brush it around. You may need to wash the shoes to get all the toothpaste out of the material. 

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How to Use Toothpaste to Clean Shoes

  1. First, use a small amount of toothpaste and test it out on a small, inconspicuous area of your shoes.
  2. You can try this on a colored area or a white area to make sure it will not fade, crack, or damage.
  3. Leave the toothpaste on for 20 minutes. If it does not stain the area or damage the color, you can use it to clean the whole shoe. 
  4. For fabric shoes, place a small amount of toothpaste in a bowl and add some water to make it a bit thinner. Dip your old toothbrush into the paste and start gently brushing areas of your shoes in circular motions. 
  5. For plastic, rubber, and leather shoes, you can add toothpaste directly on the brush or on the shoes and start brushing in circular motions. 
  6. Scrub your shoes repeatedly until all over each shoe has been brushed with toothpaste.
  7. Leave the toothpaste on the shoes for about 10 minutes. During this time, the toothpaste will soak into the shoes and lift some of the dirt.
  8. Fabric shoes will hold the toothpaste more than rubber, plastic or leather shoes. 
  9. After 10 minutes, use a damp cloth and remove all of the toothpaste. If the toothpaste has soaked into your fabric shoes, you may need to wash them to get the toothpaste out. 
  10. Let your shoes completely air-dry either normally or in the sun. 

Video: How to clean White Shoes/ Toothpaste Vs Baking Soda & Vinegar/How to clean your white shoes

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can toothpaste damage shoes?

Toothpaste will not damage the integrity of your shoes but it can affect the color of your shoes. 

This is why it is usually recommended that you only clean white shoes with toothpaste and that the toothpaste you use be white (free of colored dyes that can stain). 

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How long should toothpaste sit on shoes?

Generally, toothpaste should only sit on your shoes for 10-20 minutes before it is removed. 

Leaving it longer than this time can make it much harder to remove, especially from fabric shoes. Leather shoes can also become too dry. 

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Does toothpaste make shoes white again?

Yes, toothpaste will make your white shoes white again depending on how badly they are stained. 

Some stains can be removed with toothpaste but some may need a stronger treatment. 

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Can white toothpaste remove yellow stains from shoes?

Toothpaste that contains peroxide can be used to remove yellow stains from shoes. 

The peroxide in the toothpaste will bleach the yellow spots on the shoes. 

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Can toothpaste remove scuff marks?

Yes, toothpaste can remove scuff marks from your shoes. 

White, non-gel toothpaste can be used to remove scuff marks from different kinds of shoes including white leather and faux leather shoes. 

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Can you clean colored or black shoes with toothpaste?

It is not recommended that you use toothpaste to clean colored or black shoes, especially fabric shoes. 

Toothpaste contains peroxide which has bleaching properties. This can damage or fade the color of your shoes, especially if it absorbs and dries into the material. On colored and black shoes, white toothpaste bleach and stain.

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Can I use toothpaste to clean white leather shoes?

Toothpaste works great on white leather and even white faux leather shoes. However, avoid using toothpaste on colored leather shoes to protect the color. 

It polishes and shines the material while also removing stains, dirt and scuff marks. However, be careful not to leave it on the shoes too long to prevent it from drying too much and causing the material itself to become too dry and cracky. 

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Can I clean white mesh shoes with toothpaste?

Yes, you can clean white mesh shoes and other white fabric shoes with toothpaste. 

You can mix the toothpaste with water so that it is not too thick. This will make it easier to clean it off of the material when you are finished cleaning the shoes. 

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Saskiya Inshanally

Saskiya Inshanally is the editor-in-chief at The HomeKeeperHub. She has years of experience researching and experimenting in a wide array of topics. Saskiya has also co-founded which is dedicated to helping individuals have better skin.

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