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Want to restore your Air Force 1s to their former glory?

Want to learn how to clean dirty white Air Force 1s properly? If you’re here, I’d be willing to guess that you have a precious pair of dirty white Air Force 1s that need some TLC, but you don’t know where to start. In this cleaning guide, we’ll walk you through the simple steps necessary to get your sneakers back in tip-top shape and help extend their life long into the future.

The Nike Air Force 1 sneakers are among the most popular Nike shoes, let alone all sneaker brands of all time. The Air Force 1 leather sneakers, a premium quality sports shoe introduced by Nike in 1982, became a leading sports shoe adopted by professional basketball players, then spread like wildfire amongst the consumer masses. 

It’s no secret that these shoes are comfortable to wear and perform incredibly for sports activities. Many people don’t know that the Air Force 1s are a great all-around shoe, as most people still see the Nike brand as exclusive to athletes. However, there’s a reason sneaker enthusiasts, influencers, and the average joe have these sneakers in their collections.

Since their release nearly 40 years ago, Air Force 1s come in multiple colors and model variations. With general usage, all shoes eventually wear down and get dirty. When it comes to white shoes, they can show dirt and age pretty harshly, but with some cleaning care and maintenance, you can keep your white Air Force 1s looking as fresh as the day you purchased them. 

So let us get rid of the dirty old yellowish looking, mud-stained shoes and dive into the deep cleaning tips to keep your Air Force 1s white.

How do you clean white Air Force 1s at home?

  • Always clean your Air Force 1s with a soft bristle brush after wearing them for outdoor activities like running and jogging.
  • Made with genuine leather, synthetic leather, and other textile materials, you can use a clean, soft, lightly dampened cloth daily to wipe debris away. Keeping this routine helps to prevent yellowish buildup on the fabric.
  • Once a month, you should take the time to deep clean your Air Force 1s, while a quick wipe down after usage will help prolong your Air Force 1s. They still require more close attention when it comes to cleaning.

The following steps will help you keep your white Air Force 1s clean and pristine and help prolong their life so that you can wear them long into the future. These are everyday household items you are likely to have around. So let’s start with how to clean dirty white Air Force 1s, so they look new.

What you need:

These items are essential for cleaning your shoes without any stress and will return a fantastic result in the end.

Cleaning Air Force 1 Sneakers
Cleaning Dirty Sneakers with a Simple Process

Steps to clean dirty white Air Force 1s

  1. First, we need to prepare the shoes for cleaning by removing the brace (if you have it), laces, and performing general spot cleaning.
  2. It’s best to gently clap your shoes outside, removing and breaking up dirt and debris from within the soles.
  3. Next, if your shoes have caked-on mud and dirt, use a soft bristle brush to dust them off.
  4. Pour half a cup of water into your plastic tub along with a single drop of dishwashing liquid, then mix it together.
  5. Using your brush, you can dip into the liquid and rub gently across your Air Force 1s to remove surface-level stains and scuffs. Be sure to use slow, small circular motions. 
  6. Start from the top of the shoe and work your way down as you go. Be sure to rinse the bristles of your brush as well, as they will build up dirt.
  7. Be sure to also lightly scrub the soles clean.
  8. Once you’ve wiped the shoe down, it’s time to use the lightly dampened microfiber cloth to wipe away the mess.
    • If you need to, rinse the cloth and ring out any extra water. Do not soak your shoes.
  9. Cleaning Air Force 1’s laces is a simple process, but you’ll want to empty your plastic tub and re-fill it with clean water and another drop of liquid dish soap.
  10. Dunk the white laces in and out of the plastic tub’s water, building up soap suds. The water should begin turning brown as the dirt and oils come out of the lacing fibers.
    • If they are satisfyingly clean, you can lay them out to dry overnight. 
    • Otherwise, you will want to soak the laces in a bleach solution for 5 minutes to remove any stains in order to restore their whiteness and allow them to dry overnight when done.
  11. Allow the shoes to air dry.

If your Air Force 1s have yellow stains

Older, well-worn Air Force 1s will often develop yellow stains, which requires a further procedure to restore the bright white look. This will require making a paste using baking soda and white vinegar. 

  1. So mix both equally in a small container, until it turns into a fine paste. 
  2. Using a soft-bristled brush, you will rub this onto your Air Force 1 sneakers in small, circular motions from the top down. 
  3. Once done covering the stained areas, let the shoes sit for five minutes.
  4. Return to wipe away all of the paste using a dampened microfiber cloth.

After using this treatment on your shoes, they should have a fresh white appearance. If any stains remain, you can try gently applying a small amount of lemon juice with a toothbrush. Let sit for five minutes and, after five minutes, clean with a microfiber cloth. 

Now that your Air Force 1s are clean

I hope that the steps above have helped you restore your Air Force 1s to their former glory. If you are an avid collector of Nike shoes like the comfortable Huaraches, light-weight VaporMax, the stylish Flyknits or Slides; consider checking out our guides for keeping these members of your personal Nike collection looking great, too!

Frequently asked questions about cleaning Air Force 1s

How do I reduce shoe odor?

A very affordable method of reducing shoe odor is to set them in Sunshine for about 30 minutes. This simple process will help to kill germs and eliminate smells naturally. It’s a good practice to let your running/jogging shoes sit in the sun after usage, allowing them to aerate.

Can you put Air Force 1s in the washing machine?

No, you cannot wash Air Force 1s in a washing machine. Nike’s official stance on this is very clear, and you can read up on it. Water and leather sneakers do not go well together and can ultimately damage your shoes. 

Why do Air Force 1s turn yellow?

One of the main reasons for the yellowing of Air Force 1s is due to oxidation. The process of oxidation, a chemical change that happens during the simple combination of a substance with oxygen. Naturally, if you wear your Air Force 1s, they will inevitably discolor and turn yellow as they come into contact with many other substances, such as dirt.

How to stop creases in Air Force 1s?

Much like the yellowing problem, creasing is something everyone who owns Air Force 1s will encounter. There are a few simple tricks to stopping creases in your Air Force 1s, but essentially, you need to fill the void left in the shoe when your foot is not present.

– You can purchase crease protectors (or crease shields) designed for the Air Force 1s
– You can use clean rags or socks, stuffed or layered in your shoe
– You can custom cut cardboard boxes to fill the gaps