How to Clean Yellowing Soles

by Jason Flores

"Let's buy a new pair of shoes everyday," said no one ever!

While we would love to have a new pair of shoes every day to go with each dress, it is not quite practical.

People usually invest in shoes that they think would last longer, and that's undeniably the best strategy. Having a pair of shoes that match most of your outfits is a perfect idea. However, sometimes, our favorite shoes tend to lose their shine and look dull over time.

Depending on the type of footwear, there can be different types of damage to your shoes over time. We understand that yellowing soles hurt sneaker lovers as they take away the beauty of the shoes.

If you are looking for a magical way to clean yellowing soles, you are at the right place!

But before we tell you how to clean the soles, it is critical to understand why your soles lose their shine.

Why do Soles Become Yellow?

Why do Soles Become Yellow?
Why do Soles Become Yellow?

There can be several reasons for your favorite sneakers to turn yellow from the lower side, including dirt and sunlight. Let's tell you about all the possible reasons for shoes to turn yellow so that you can save them the next time.


All of us know that dirt makes your shoes untidy, but do you know that it causes discoloration too? Yes, it does. If you go out a lot and step in the dirt, your shoes will lose their color sooner. It is possible to remove the dirt by cleaning your shoes, but frequently untidy shoes become dull and discolored on frequent cleaning.


It is a beautiful sunny day. You wash your sneakers and leave them outside to dry. It might sound perfect to you, but it's not.

Sunlight (UV rays) have discoloring properties, and leaving anything in the sun for long results in faded color. Your sneakers are white and do not have any color to fade, but keeping them in the sun for long will take away their natural shine giving a dull yellowish color to them.

Save your soles from getting yellow through sunlight by covering them with a think cloth or tissue paper when you want to dry them under the sun.


Bleach is not a no-go area, but as they say, "Better safe than sorry."

Using bleach to clean your shoes is fine, given that you use it appropriately. Bleach should never be used concentrated on shoes. Always use diluted bleach and clean any trace of bleach off your shoe to save it from eroding over time.

How to Clean Yellowing Soles?

Here's the million-dollar question, and we have a bunch of easy methods and hacks for you to have shiny white shoes in no time. The choice of so many options allows you to select the one depending on the ingredients available at home.

Here are all the methods you need to know to clean yellow soles.


Toothpaste to Clean Yellowing Soles
Toothpaste to Clean Yellowing Soles

Toothpaste is considered an all-rounder in many households as it comes in handy in many places apart from brushing teeth only. Cleaning your shoes with toothpaste is immensely easy and convenient.

What you need:

· White toothpaste

· Soft bristle toothbrush

· Water

How to:

· Take a toothbrush that you never plan on using again.

· Wet the toothbrush with a little amount of water.

· Apply toothpaste on the brush and scrub the sole of your shoes with it.

· Do not rub hard but firm enough to get rid of the stains.

· Rinse to see if any stains are yet to be removed.

· Repeat the process if needed.

Note: Using toothpaste is best for new, fresh stains; try the other mentioned stain-removal methods for stubborn yellowness and stains.

Baking soda

Baking soda to Clean Yellowing Soles
Baking soda to Clean Yellowing Soles

Baking soda is another household item that has been used for many hacks and remedies since ancient times. It acts as a bleaching and cleaning agent, which makes it popular for removing stains. Like other surfaces, you can use baking soda to clean yellow soles as well.

What you need:

Soft bristle toothbrush

· Baking soda

· Water

How to:

· The important part of this method is to make a thick paste.

· Take baking soda according to the requirement and add half amount of water.

· Mix well to form a thick paste.

· Now, rub this paste on the yellowing soles of your shoes to see the magic happen.

· You will observe the yellowness leaving the soles.

· Rinse properly to get all of the baking soda out.

· Repeat the procedure if needed.

Rinse again for clean, free-of-baking-soda shoes.

Baking Soda + Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen Peroxide and baking soda make an excellent stain-removing formula to fight tough stains. Provided that this mixture is stronger than baking soda alone, you would need to make sure not to use a lot of hydrogen peroxide.

What you need:

· Soft bristle brush

· Baking soda

· Hydrogen peroxide

· Water

How to:

· Take an equal amount of hydrogen peroxide and water and mix.

· Add baking soda double the amount of hydrogen peroxide.

· Make a thick paste.

· Rub the paste on the yellowing soles of the shoes.

· Rinse to see the result.

· Repeat the process if needed.


Bleaching is one of the most common methods of cleaning shoes. Though, as already mentioned, using bleach on your shoes frequently is not a good idea. Also, concentrated bleach should not be used to clean shoes at all. Always use gloves while diluting bleach.

What you need:

· Soft brush

· Bleach

· Water

How to:

· Mix an equal amount of water into your bleach.

· Use a soft brush to apply the solution to your shoes.

· Scrub properly to get rid of any yellow stains on your shoes.

· Rinse thoroughly to remove all bleach.

· Repeat if any stains persist.

Magic Eraser

The magic eraser is called so for a reason as it helps remove stains easily from many surfaces like canvas and fabric.

What you need:

· Magic eraser

· Water

How to:

Add little water to the magic eraser and follow the given instructions to have shoes as new instantly!

Micellar Water

Micellar water is not only an effortless way to remove your makeup but can also be used to clean those dirty, dull, yellowing shoe soles. It is a suitable choice for suede, leather, and rubber soles.

What you need:

· Micellar water

· Clean cloth

How to:

Take some of the micellar on a clean cloth and clean the shoes thoroughly.

Tissue Paper

This hack is the last resort before you realize that your shoes desperately need a shoe whitener. Sometimes the stains are old and stubborn, and it gets really difficult to get rid of them. In such a situation, tissue paper comes to the rescue.

What you need:

· Tissue paper

· Water

How to:

· Soak the tissue paper in water.

· Place the soaked tissue paper on the yellow areas.

· Leave for 12 hours.

· Remove the tissue paper to see the results.

Shoe Whitener

When none of the remedies work out, it is time to try products made specifically for this purpose. Shoe whiteners are available widely, and you can find one for your sneakers easily. Read the instructions on the shoe whitener carefully and use it accordingly.

How to dry shoes after cleaning?

As we mentioned that you should not dry shoes in the sun; what options do you have?

You can dry your shoes safely without exposing them to sun rays. To dry your sneakers properly without damaging them:

· Dry under a vent

· Shade-dry them

· Cover with tissue paper or thin cloth if drying under the sun

How to save your shoes from yellowing?

When Desiderius Erasmus expressed the iconic quote, "Prevention is better than cure," he wouldn't have thought of yellowing soles; but we have!

Once you clean the yellowing soles with any of these methods, it is time to think about saving them from yellowing again. You can save your shoes from discoloration by keeping a few tips in mind.

Avoid Dirt

Avoid wearing your favorite pair of white sneakers to places with excessive dirt. Some dust around us is natural and inevitable. Avoid going to places where you know you would have more dirt around.

Save from Sunlight

Sunlight is the most major natural reason for the discoloration of shoes and clothes. Yet, you can save your shoes from serious damage by not drying them in the sun directly.

Don't Overuse Bleach

If you use diluted bleach to clean your shoes, do not practice this method often. If the stains are removable with toothpaste, it is a preferable option over bleach in any form. Bleach and detergent are not good for sneakers particularly.

Clean Frequently

While you should avoid using bleach often, it does not mean to stop cleaning the shoes. Cleaning the shoes with a wet cloth every time you wear them will prevent damage over time. Using toothpaste or micellar water sometimes eases the process and deeply cleanses your shoes.

Key Takeaway

Nobody likes yellow shoes, and here are the ultimate solutions to the yellowing soles. Clean your shoes with toothpaste, baking soda, micellar water, or a shoe shiner. But make sure to keep them away from dirt, bleach, and leftover detergent. Also, don't dry them in sunlight to keep their shiny white appearance.

Slay those sneakers!

About Jason Flores

Jason Flores is a multi-talented individual whose unique journey has led him to blend his passion for craftsmanship and fashion into a creative endeavor. During his formative years, he found himself immersed in the world of handiwork, spending countless hours in his grandfather's workshop. These early experiences allowed him to develop a deep understanding of practical skills and a keen eye for detail.

Simultaneously, Jason harbored an innate love for fashion, drawn to the artistry and self-expression it offers. As he grew older, he recognized the potential to combine his proficiency in craftsmanship with his fashion sensibilities. This realization led him to a path where he began to explore and write about the intersection of fieldwork fashion.

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