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Keep your white sneakers spotless! The final word on cleaning your kicks

Nothing ruins a great spring outfit faster than a scuff on your brand new white sneakers. We all hope to keep our favorite pieces clean and free of stains through spring and summer (especially when they are all white), but it seems easier said than done.

To get the inside scoop on keeping our kicks pristine, we went right to the source. Yu-Ming Wu is a professional sneakerhead and publisher of five sneaker-centric websites, including Freshness Mag and Sneaker News, as well as the founder of Sneaker Con. (Yep, a entire convention just for sneakers.)

RELATED: Accessories overload! 71 ideas to brighten up your spring wardrobe

After 20 years in the sneaker business, Wu has learned many tricks of the trade through trial and error. Ahead, read his five best tips for protecting your favorite fashion sneakers as well as how to clean your all-white Converse. (Because we knew you’d ask.)

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White sneakers
  1. Add extra protection. No matter what material your sneakers are made from — mesh, suede, leather or canvas — use a sneaker protector, like Crep Protect, to keep them clean and white as long as possible. This will also make cleaning easier if you get marks, scuffs or stains eventually.
  2. Take notice of the weather. If you have more than one pair of sneakers, save your canvas and mesh pairs for dry, sunny days. Believe it or not, leather sneakers are much easier to clean and repel water better.
  3. Yes, you can throw your canvas sneakers in the washing machine ... After a week or so you can toss your Converse or other cotton sneakers in the washing machine on a low cycle (without any other garments) and then let them air dry. Wu suggests only washing and drying your sneakers on dry days, as damp air can cause mildew. “Place them near a window in the summer or by a heater in the winter,” he suggests.
  4. ... but be careful what you use. Bleach will turn white canvas and mesh to a dingy and undesirable yellow, as will drying them in direct sunlight.
  5. Get creative. “I’ve used a soft toothbrush dipped in a mixture of hand or dish soap and water to spot clean my sneakers and found that it works amazingly well,” says Wu. You can also use a little toothpaste mixed with water to clean leather, but Wu warns that it won’t come out of mesh or canvas, so avoid using it on those fabrics.

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