How to Clean White Sneakers Without Bleach

Person sitting on a bench wearing white converse and colorful striped socks

Cavan Images / Getty Images 

This all-natural DIY solution to dirty kicks went viral on Twitter ... for good reason!

Twitterer "Cat Mom" (AKA @sarahtraceyy) posted a before and after photo of her white Converse sneakers, showing a brilliant transformation from grungy and gray to bright and white. "I am a miracle worker" she wrote.

And the crowd went wild. A follow-up tweet describing her miraculous method has, as of today, 1,385 replies, 90.9k retweets, and 302K likes. Proving that ... well ... there are a lot of Twitter users with dirty shoes.

The method is simple enough – and one that you would very likely find around here, given our dedication to baking soda as well as our avoidance of bleach with its health hazards and disregard for the environmental: Remove laces, rinse shoes, apply a 1:1.5 mixture of baking soda and detergent and scrub with a toothbrush, let sit, rinse, put in the washing machine, add baby powder (good for odor control) and dry in the sun – I think that's the last instruction, at least. (See EWG's Guide to Healthy Cleaning for eco-friendly and non-toxic detergents.)

The response to this is really pretty wild; who knew that dirty sneakers had so much potential? The replies fall into a few basic categories: Converse are supposed to be dirty; those shoes were really dirty; you are magic; why not just buy new ones? (The last of which had me cursing at my screen; what privilege to think it's ok to toss out shoes just because they're dirty. Grumble.)

As silly as it may sound, all the hoopla made me very happy. That an all-natural cleaning method – in an era of icky bleachy stain removing products – went relatively viral may indeed prove that halloween queen is a miracle worker after all.