Use Toothpaste to Clean Your Shoes – Gel Vs Paste

Use toothpaste to clean your shoes

Cleaning your shoes can be a simple task if you have some toothpaste. I’ve used toothpaste to clean my shoes a couple of times. If you’re in a rush to clean your shoes in a few minutes, this is very helpful to try. 

Toothpaste gels and pastes can clean the rubber and plastic parts of your shoes. It helps them look cleaner in just a few minutes. Gels tend to be less effective. First, brush off any dirt, then scrub your shoes toothpaste, and a toothbrush or use a microfiber cloth. Finally, wash off the paste with a clean cloth or rag.

While you might not want to use it on fabric or leather as it can seep through or stain, it can still clean some of these if they are white and you’re using white toothpaste. My experience has shown that several products can work. If all you have is toothpaste, then it can help get some of the grim and marks off of your shoes.

Why Use toothpaste?


A Good Cleaner

Toothpaste can be used to help clean your shoes because it has various cleaning ingredients in it. While using it for a quick clean will not get all of the marks off your shoe leaving it to sit for a couple of minutes may help loosen and penetrate stains more effectively.

Toothbrush and toothpaste

Always Available

Toothpaste is usually always available, so everyone has it in one hand. We use it every day and rarely go without it. If we get the right kind for our shoes, it can be a good resource for brushing and cleaning.

Brushing teeth dog .Category

Easy to Clean Up

Toothpaste comes off easily with water. It smells good. And there are no harsh chemicals ingredients, so you don’t need to worry about the dog licking your shoes. 

Ingredients in Toothpaste

toothpaste ingredients

Various kinds of toothpaste have ingredients that are helpful when cleaning things other than your teeth. Some of them may contain one or more of the following: 

  • Baking soda (an abrasive)
  • Calcium carbonate (an abrasive)
  • Silica (an abrasive)
  • Hydrogen peroxide (cleaning)
  • Sodium hydroxide (cleaning)
  • Sodium lauryl sulfate (foaming action)

Sometimes a little toothpaste is all you need for a quick fix for dirty shoes. It works well on white shoes. If stains and marks on your shoes aren’t too severe, you can use toothpaste as an abrasive cleaning solution for your shoes.      

Which Toothpaste to Use – Gel or Paste?

paste or gel toothpaste

While each toothpaste has different ingredients in it, some claim that gels are gentler on your teeth, and pastes are more aggressive. This may lead people to use pastes over gels for shoe cleaning.

It may be difficult to decide which is best without doing a test for each type of toothpaste. There are many varieties of toothpaste that the type of ingredients may be more important than whether it is a paste or gel.  

During my testing, I used two different types of paste and one type of gel. They all performed about the same. I used a toothbrush to scrub for 30 seconds or less with each type of toothpaste and scrubbed with about the same amount of force. 

different toothpastes

The result was about equal. The inactive ingredient for each toothpaste was not shown on the toothpaste tube, so it’s hard to tell exactly what was in each one.  

If you have white shoes, then white paste would be your best bet because colored toothpaste could stain your shoe.   

In general, I would look for a toothpaste that has some extra cleaning ingredients. Then see if that makes a difference when cleaning.

Steps to Take to Clean Your Shoes

  • 1. Get your supplies ready. You may need most of the following:
  • A place to scrub your shoes. You may want to get a chair and sit next to the sink or bathtub. You might want to place a newspaper under your shoes if not in the bathroom.
  • Toothpaste – One with good cleaning ingredient might help more.
  • A Clean Rag – I used a rag to clean of my shoes.
  • A cup – I used a cup to hold water and an old toothbrush.
  • Water – I used my sink to wet my rag.
  • 2. Place some toothpaste on your toothbrush and dip the toothbrush in the water. 
  • 3. Scrub the rubber areas of your shoes for about 30 seconds. (After trying this myself I have found that if you wait a minute after scrubbing, leaving the foam on the shoe, and scrub again, you’ll get better results.
  • 4. Apply water to a clean rag and wipe off the toothpaste from the shoe. 
  • 5. Marks will still likely remain on your shoe, but there should be a noticeable difference. I found that rubbing the shoe with my damp microfiber rag with firm pressure seemed to help even more than scrubbing with the toothbrush.

After you’re done scrubbing you can use your rag to remove any excess stains.  

Alternative Cleaning Methods

If you don’t have any toothpaste available or it doesn’t seem to be working, try using soap and waterrubbing alcohol, or pressure.

Some marks on your shoe are very difficult to remove just by scrubbing. You’ll need to let the cleaner do some of the work for you or you’ll need to use a microfiber cloth to apply firm pressure to remove stains.

Soap and Water

Some stains may take a while for the water to penetrate so the particles can come off the shoes. Soap can be any excellent loosening agent for grim on your shoes. The water will need to penetrate the grim first, then the friction you create with the soap works to bind to the oil that may be on your shoe. 

It’s a good idea to create a bit of foam by scrubbing and let it sit for a bit. Then, you can scrub a bit more once the water has had time to do its work.—k0

Rubbing Alcohol

Some stains on your shoes are not oil or dirt-based, so soap may not work. I’ve found that rubbing alcohol can help break down some marks left on the rubber areas of your shoe. It also helps break down sticky particles and works well with greasy particles as well.     

The nice thing about rubbing alcohol is that it kills 99% of germs. You can also try spraying some inside your shoes to kill bacteria and remove odors. 

Firm Pressure

When I was cleaning my shoes I noticed that just using firm pressure with a damp cloth helped remove most of the marks that were on my shoes. In fact, on my foam soled shoes, I only used a damp microfiber cloth to clean them. 

cleaning shoe with damp rag

I applied firm pressure and most of the dirt just came off right away. It wasn’t brilliant white again, but it wasn’t noticeable from a distance. They looked great, and it took less than a minute. 

shoe cleaning


It doesn’t take too long to clean your shoes with toothpaste. It will like require some firm pressure when scrubbing or rubbing off the marks and dirt from your shoe. Getting a hard brush and toothpaste with good cleaning ingredients can help.

Maybe the best advice I can give is to apply firm pressure when scrubbing and rubbing off the scuffs and dirt from your shoes. I hope you can clean your shoes so they look new again. Thanks for reading this article!

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I enjoy many types of outdoor activities including running, hiking, and walking. I was a former elementary school teacher for 17 years and now enjoy writing and sharing my love of the outdoors.

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