How to Clean Shoes That Turned Yellow: Complete Guide

Have you ever noticed that your white shoes have turned yellow over time? This can happen due to various reasons, such as exposure to sunlight, dirt, sweat, or oxidation. Yellow shoes can ruin your outfit and make you feel less confident. But not to worry, there are some easy and effective ways to restore your shoes to their original whiteness. In this guide, we will show you how to clean shoes that turned yellow using some common household items and products. Follow these steps and you will be able to enjoy your white shoes again.

Step 1: Gather the Materials

Before you start cleaning your shoes, you will need to gather the following materials:

  • A bucket or a large bowl
  • Warm water
  • Laundry detergent
  • Baking soda
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • A toothbrush or a soft-bristled brush
  • A cloth or a towel
  • Optional: bleach, lemon juice, white vinegar, magic eraser

Step 2: Remove the Laces and Insoles

The next step is to remove the laces and insoles from your shoes. This will make it easier to clean the shoes and prevent them from getting tangled or damaged. You can wash the laces and insoles separately in the washing machine or by hand using laundry detergent. If the laces are too yellow, you can replace them with new ones.

Step 3: Make a Cleaning Solution

Now it’s time to make a cleaning solution that will help you remove the yellow stains from your shoes. There are different recipes that you can try depending on what you have at home. Here are some of them:

  • Mix one part laundry detergent with two parts warm water in a bucket or a bowl.
  • Mix one part baking soda with two parts hydrogen peroxide in a small container.
  • Mix one part bleach with five parts water in a bucket or a bowl. Be careful when using bleach as it can damage your skin and clothes. Wear gloves and work in a well-ventilated area.
  • Mix one part lemon juice with two parts water in a spray bottle.
  • Mix one part white vinegar with two parts water in a spray bottle.

Step 4: Apply the Cleaning Solution

Once you have made your cleaning solution, you can apply it to your shoes using a toothbrush or a soft-bristled brush for cleaning shoes. Scrub the yellow areas gently and thoroughly until you see the stains fading. You can also spray the solution on the shoes if you are using a spray bottle. Let the solution sit on the shoes for about 15 minutes.

Step 5: Rinse and Dry

After 15 minutes, rinse your shoes with clean water to remove any residue from the cleaning solution. To remove excess water you can use a cloth or a towel for wiping shoes. Then, let your shoe air dry in a cool and shady place. Avoid putting them in direct sunlight or using a dryer as this can cause them to turn yellow again.

Step 6: Repeat if Necessary

If your shoes are still yellow after the first round of cleaning, you can repeat the process until you are satisfied with the results. You can also try using different cleaning solutions or products to see which one works best for your shoes. Some people swear by using magic erasers to erase yellow stains from their shoes.

Why Do White Shoes Turn Yellow?

White shoes turn yellow because of a chemical reaction called oxidation. This happens when the shoes are exposed to oxygen in the air, especially when they are in contact with sunlight, dirt, dust, or sweat. Oxidation causes the white color of the shoes to fade and turn yellow over time. Some factors that can speed up this process are using too much bleach, leaving detergent residue on the shoes, or drying them in direct sunlight.

Tips and Tricks Save White Shoes from Turning Yellow

Here are some tricks and tricks to save your white shoes from turning yellow:

  • Spot-clean your white shoes to avoid any stains.
  • Never use any harsh whitening agent when washing white shoes.
  • Ensure your white shoes are kept away from the sun to prevent chemical reactions.
  • Always wear socks when you wear shoes. This will avoid the yellowing of the sole.
  • Use a mild detergent or a cleaning product specifically designed for shoes.
  • Rinse the soap off completely with water and dry your shoes in the shade.
  • Apply pure blue ink to your white shoes to counteract the yellowing effect.


Cleaning shoes that turned yellow is not as hard as it may seem. With some simple ingredients and tools, you can make your shoes look white and fresh again. Just follow these steps and you will be able to rock your white shoes with confidence. Remember to avoid oxidation by storing your shoes in a cool and dry place, using mild detergents and bleach, and drying them in the shade. If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to leave a comment below. Happy cleaning!

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