Resuscitate Last Summer’s White Sneakers With This Cheap Trick

Resuscitate Last Summer’s White Sneakers With This Cheap Trick

Before you toss them out in favor of a new pair, try this easy method for cleaning white sneakers.

Ah, spring, when a man’s fancy turn to…putting on anything but the heavy waterproof boots he’s been wearing to stomp through slush for the past 5 months. Nothing says, “dressed so fresh so clean” as a pair of brilliant white Vans or Cloudfoams. Until scuffs, scrapes, and smudges threaten to dirty up those white sneakers the moment you take them out of the box.

What’s a sneakerhead to do?

Just ask Mr. Clean.

How to Clean White Sneakers with a Magic Eraser

Yep, the follicularly-challenged scourge of soap scum also does a number on the dirt and grime plaguing your favorite sneakers. The Mr. Clean Magic Eraser is a melamine foam sponge – basically, a super-fine scrub brush that gets into all the little grooves and crannies, terminating stains with extreme prejudice. WITHOUT damaging the surface itself. Magic? Maybe!

So How Does It Work?

Grab the Magic Eraser (a pack of four will run you $4 on Amazon) and get it wet. Just a little damp, actually — no need to drown it, it starts to dissolve as you use it. Then lightly wipe away all those reminders of the fun you had last spring and summer. Don't go too heavy on the pressure. Just relax and let the Magic Eraser do its thing.

It’s that simple. And it’s actually pretty soothing to watch the soles and uppers of your best summer kicks return to their pristine glory. As for those white shoelaces, you may have some luck cleaning them in the washing machine after soaking them in Oxyclean, but in our experience you get a better outcome by just picking up a new set for a couple of bucks. Practically new kicks for a total of $5. That's smart style.

When you’re done, use the other three Magic Erasers in the pack to treat your bathroom, kitchen, and other areas around the home to a touch-up. Then look around at your sparkling clean space and your like-new shoes, congratulate yourself on a job well done, and take those babies out for a stroll to show ’em off.

On Amazon: Mr. Clean Magic Eraser / White athletic shoelaces

More style hacks:

Do This One Easy Thing to Make Your Shirt Collars Last Infinitely Longer

How To Stop Nipples And Undershirts From Showing Through A White Dress Shirt

Back from the Dead: Revive Your Faded Favorite Jeans by Dyeing Them for Less Than $5

Have any other shoe tricks? Let us know in the comments!

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Ali grew up in New York and currently lives in Philadelphia, where she works as a copywriter. She enjoys cooking, playing the guitar, and powerlifting, and has a brown belt in Krav Maga. You can find her collected articles on health, fitness, and other lifestyle topics at Instagram: @alibzagat


  • Reply April 8, 2019

    Tony Ho Tran

    I always thought those things were a big gimmick. I had no idea they actually worked! Gonna try em out on my white sambas this week!

    • Reply April 8, 2019


      Magic Erasers are just a brand name for a melamine sponge. They work quite well for smooth surfaces. They’re great for cleaning walls and such, but you have to be careful with anything with a painted surface to not rub too hard it’ll rub the paint right off. (Just look at my walls.)

      • Reply April 17, 2019


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      • Reply April 28, 2019


        They are great on walls, especially if you already have semigloss paint. A must-have if you have small children, like I do. Fortunately they have graduated out of the coloring-on-walls stage but there’s the occasional bit of spaghetti sauce.

  • Reply April 8, 2019

    Joey Lenz

    I have used off brand melamine sponges and had decent results. I’ve heard the Mr Clean version is worth the enormous markup for our purposes here as they are said to disintegrate less easily. If only these worked on canvas as well as leather. These are amazing to clean up smooth soles without texture. They still work on textured soles, it just eats up the sponge pretty quickly.

    • Reply April 8, 2019


      I haven’t used the off brand ones, but if they disintegrate more than the real ones I’d say the real ones are definitely worth it because they also disintegrate fast!

    • Reply April 28, 2019


      I imagine Oxy Clean and a toothbrush would work well on the canvas.

  • Reply April 8, 2019


    I second this… they work great for cleaning shoes!

  • Reply April 8, 2019

    Ryan N

    Just a note here, think of melamine sponges like uber-fine sandpaper. Yes, you will get those surface smudges off, but don’t go too vigorously or you will start to take finish off.

  • Reply April 8, 2019


    I’ll keep this is mind. I’m a saving up for a pair of white Greats Royales right now.

  • Reply April 10, 2019

    Joe Furstenberg

    I know this is a little off topic, but I was wondering if you all could take on something for me: dress shoes for those who walk/bike to work. Options that look good enough for an office environment or when you need to toss on a blazer, but also functionally are good for your feet and wont get torn up/scuffed riding a bike.

  • Reply April 13, 2019

    Bryan Percy

    Does anyone know what sneakers are used in the article?

    • Reply April 28, 2019


      Nike Tennis Classic, I think.

  • Reply April 28, 2019


    I have some Nike Killshot 2s – how do I keep the suede looking fresh? I got them after Christmas but haven’t worn them much so as to keep them looking new, but with the weather warming up I’ll be wearing them more often.

    • Reply April 29, 2019


      Pencil erasers are always the first line of defense on suede. From there a leather/suede cleaner.

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