How to Clean White Shoes That Turned Yellow?

How to Clean White Shoes That Turned Yellow

Have your white shoes turned yellow? Do they refuse to look clean despite repeated washing and rubbing?

White shoes sure are a style statement and match with any attire. But you certainly don’t want to turn off your style statement with a pair of white shoes that have turned yellow. White shoes that shine have a charm of their own. If they turn yellow, they look dull and patchy, which can be quite a turn-off for you as well as people around you.

If you have chosen to live with a pair of white shoes, then maintaining them can seem to be quite a task. Not anymore!! We have come up with some easy techniques and handy tips that you can follow to clean your white shoes instantly. It is no more a hassle to maintain your white shoes if you follow our techniques and steps mentioned below.

The materials to clean are readily available, and the methods are pretty cost-effective and easy. Now, owning a pair of white shoes does not come with extra effort. Wonder how? Read on to find out how!!


How to Clean White Shoes That Turned Yellow?

We know how precious your white shoes are for you. And making sure that they look fantastic and clean at all times can be very tough, which is why we have come up with some easy techniques to clean your white shoes that have turned dirty and yellow. Follow these easy steps.

1. Cleaning white shoes with soap solution

soap solution

This method is relatively easy. Follow the steps:

  • Prepare a solution of soap/detergent with water. You can use about 1/4th cup of detergent/soap in 2 cups of mild lukewarm water.
  • Use the above solution as a cleaning solution. Dip a cloth or brush into this cleaning solution and gently scrub on the yellow stains on your white shoes.
  • Once done scrubbing over all the stains, wash the white shoes under running tap water.
  • Allow them to dry in a warm place at your home.


  • Do not use a very strong detergent with harsh chemicals as it can spoil the design and react harshly with the shoe fabric.
  • Use a soft cloth with gentle fibers on the surface of the shoe to avoid any scratches.
  • Do not expose the shoes to direct sunlight as it can cause discoloration.


2. Cleaning Shoes with Magic Eraser

Cleaning Shoes with Magic Eraser

For mild yellow stains and dirt, a magic eraser is a convenient tool. Magic eraser is readily available in any grocery or retail outlet or even shoe stores and online. One of the best ones that we recommend is the Mr.Clean Magic Eraser for shoes.

Magic Erasers have some science behind them that makes them efficient for cleaning shoes. They are made of a unique material called melamine foam. When you dip them in water and rub them against the surface of shoes, the microstructures of the melamine foam act like sandpaper.

We all know how effective sandpaper is in cleaning stains after painting and scraping off anything. Therefore, they are known to be quite effective for white shoes.

Follow the steps below:

  • Choose a corner of your magic eraser.
  • Dip the corner in some warm water or detergent solution if necessary.
  • Rub it against the surface of your white shoe that has turned yellow.
  • Rub it until you see the stains fading and the shoe turning white again.

Warning: Make sure to be gentle while rubbing over the surface of the shoe to avoid scratches or discoloration.


3. Cleaning White Shoes with Hydrogen Peroxide or Bleach


Bleach is known to be very effective in removing stains. We have all heard of toilet cleaners using bleach to remove stains from floors effectively. But, unless you don’t dilute the bleach solution, it can harm your shoe fabric instead of removing stains.

For a milder version, you can also use hydrogen peroxide, which is safe for the shoe fabric as well. Hydrogen peroxide is a very effective cleaning and whitening agent as well as non-toxic and safe to handle.

Follow the steps below for cleaning:

  • If you are using bleach, make a 1:5 dilution of bleach with water before cleaning your shoes.
  • If you are using hydrogen peroxide, make a paste of the chemical with water before using it on your shoes.
  • Use a soft cloth or toothbrush and dip it into the solution.
  • Gently rub the brush in circles on the yellow parts of your shoe.
  • Continue doing it until the stains turn light or white.


  • Avoid coming in direct contact with bleach solution. Make sure to wear a pair of gloves before handling bleach.
  • Bleach also has a very strong smell. You can wear a mask to avoid the strong smell from bothering you.
  • If you are sensitive to hydrogen peroxide, avoid using it to clean your shoes. Make sure to handle with gloves as well.


4. Cleaning white shoes with lemon


Probably one of the easiest and most cost-effective methods of cleaning your white shoes that have turned yellow. Lemon is acidic in nature as it contains natural citric acid. Acid has the natural properties of removing stains.

Citric acid is not very strong either, so it will not harm the fabric of your shoes. However, to make a proper solution, mix it with some water. Citric acid also acts as a disinfectant that can help remove germs on the surface of your shoes.

Moreover, lemon is easily available and very effective for cleaning almost any surface. It is not dangerous to handle as compared to chemicals like bleach.

Follow the steps below:

  • Squeeze one whole lemon and add some water to dilute, and make a lemon solution
  • Use a sponge or a soft cloth and dip it slightly in the lemon juice
  • Scrub the yellowish areas on the shoes with the lemon solution using the cloth.
  • Once you see that the stains have lightened or started to turn white, wipe the surface with a dry cloth to remove any leftover lemon juice from the surface.


5. Fabric whitener

Fabric whitener

We all must have used blue fabric whitener for our white shirts and clothes. The same principle works well for white shoes too. This is a very age-old technique to make your clothes sparkling white.

Follow the steps below:

  • Take a bucket full of water. Warm water is preferable.
  • Add a few drops of blue fabric whitener to water.
  • Mix it well and dip the shoes into the bucket. You can remove the laces from the shoes and dip them separately.
  • Allow the shoes to stay for 30 minutes.
  • Once done, remove them and keep them in a warm place for drying. You will notice your shoes have turned sparkling white.

Warnings: Do not try this method if your white shoe has any peculiarly colored designs on the surface. It can cause discoloration and spoil the designs on the shoe.


6. Using baking soda

Using baking soda

Baking soda is an effective agent for cleaning and drying shoes. You can also use baking soda to remove any foul odor from your shoes and clean the yellow surfaces of your shoes.

Follow the steps below:

  • Prepare a paste of baking soda with water. Use one tablespoon of baking soda with one tsp of water.
  • Use a small toothbrush or mild brush to dip it into the paste.
  • Rub this paste on the yellow stains of your shoe in gentle circles.
  • Once the paste is almost absorbed and dry after rubbing, rinse the shoes with warm water to remove the excess baking soda on the surface.
  • Allow the shoes to dry in a warm, well-ventilated area.
  • You can also sprinkle some baking soda within the shoes to keep them dry and deodorize the shoes.

Warning: After washing shoes, prevent direct exposure to sunlight for drying. Direct sunlight can spoil the fabric and cause discoloration of shoes.

Pro Tip: Using baking soda with vinegar is another method you can imply. Simply mix baking soda with vinegar in a 1:2 ratio and scrub it on the surface of your shoe using a brush. Vinegar is also known to be effective in removing stains.


7. Toothpaste


Toothpaste is one of the simplest and quickest hacks one can use to clean white shoes. Toothpaste clears the yellow stains from your teeth. Therefore, clearing off yellow stains from your shoes should be no trouble either.

Although, we don’t guarantee that it would be effective in removing the yellow stains off completely. If the stains are mild, you can consider using a non-gel toothpaste to your rescue.

Follow the steps below:

  • Take a small amount of toothpaste that you use for brushing your teeth.
  • Mix it with some water to make a paste that you can easily apply on the shoe surface.
  • Use a brush to scrub it gently on the yellow areas of the shoes.
  • Allow the toothpaste to stay for 20 minutes on the shoe surface.
  • Now wipe the toothpaste off using a slightly damp cloth.
  • If the yellow stains persist, use any of the above methods for a better cleaning experience.


8. Micellar Water

Micellar Water

Micellar Water is known for removing makeup. It works on mild shoe stains as well without harming your shoes. Micellar water is very mild as it is made for the skin to cause any patches or marks on your shoe. However, it may not be as effective in eradicating stubborn yellow stains, so you can use any of the methods above if it is not as effective for you.

Follow the steps below:

  • Take a sponge or some cotton and put a few drops of Micellar water on it.
  • Gently rub it over the yellow stains on your white shoe.
  • Allow it to dry for a while for best results.
  • You can combine this with any of the above methods for better results.

Pro Tip: Micellar water is known to be effective for suede and leather or rubber shoes. It may not be as effective on canvas if the stains are stubborn.


9. Toilet Paper and Water

Toilet Paper and Water

Toilet paper and Water are like the peel of the stains method of cleaning. Again, we warn you that it is not effective for stubborn stains, but if you see some yellow stains after following the above methods, you can use it for better results.

Follow the steps below:

  • Soak some sheets of toilet paper with water.
  • Remove the excess water and lay it over the shoe surface like making a paper mache.
  • Cover the entire surface of the shoe and allow the setup to dry well for around 12-24
  • Peel off the paper after it has dried, and you will see the yellow stains have disappeared.

Pro Tips:

  • Make sure you have removed any excess dry dirt and brushed them off from the shoe surface before following the above method. The shoe has to be dry and free of mud or dirt else; they will settle on the shoe surface along with the tissue paper.
  • You can use a magic eraser before wrapping the shoes with tissue/toilet paper to remove the stains and dirt from the surface.
  • For better results, you can use multiple layers of tissue paper or toilet paper that will help you peel it off easily.
  • Remove the laces (if any) for better and uniform coverage with tissues.


10. Use Shoe Whiteners

Use Shoe Whiteners

Shoe whiteners have always been the savior for the last moment when it’s sports day in school, and you want to fix your dirty white shoes in a jiffy. It takes a few minutes to dry but is easy to apply and a quick method to hide the stains.

However, if you own a pair of white sneakers like VANS or Nike, you don’t want to spoil them using shoe whitener solutions.

Follow the steps below:

  • Use a shoe applicator (available with the shoe whitener solution or can be purchased separately).
  • Apply a single coat evenly on the surface of the shoe.
  • Cover all the corners for uniform whitening. You can remove the laces and whiten them separately if need be.
  • Make sure to apply the coat in a single direction to avoid prominent streaks on the shoe surface.
  • Apply a second layer after the 1st layer dries off for better results.


Do not use these solutions for leather or suede shoes; it can end up spoiling them. If your shoes are made of canvas, then it is suitable for use. Again, these solutions can become chalky if not applied correctly or applied several times on the shoes. Consider this method only if it’s a dire emergency. It is a very temporary method to whiten your shoes.


Tips to Remember While Cleaning White Shoes

Here are a few bonus tips to keep in mind if you love your white shoes and want them to last longer after cleaning:

  • DO NOT expose your white shoes to direct sunlight for drying. It can cause discoloration. If your white shoes are of canvas, the surface of the shoes becomes very dry, which deteriorates the fabric and quality of the shoes.
  • DO NOT use a hairdryer or heater to dry your shoes. Hairdryers and heaters blow out extremely hot air, which is not recommended for sensitive shoe fabric.
  • Avoid using strong chemicals and detergents while cleaning your shoes. It is suggested that you use the manufacturer’s label for the best cleaning instructions.
  • Avoid wearing white shoes during rains. We know you love wearing them every time, but white shoes can get really messy during the rains.
  • Choose rubber over canvas white shoes if you are not used to cleaning them every time. Rubber has a slippery surface which makes it easy to clean and wipe off. Plus, the dirt would slip off from the surface rather easily.
  • Use a mild brush with soft bristles to avoid scratches on the surface of your shoes.
  • Avoid using any perfumes or fragrances on your shoes, thinking it would make them smell better. The chemicals can harm your shoes. Instead, using baking soda as a deodorizer.
  • You can also use some weather-proofing spray on your white shoes to make them look fresh for longer. Read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully before you spray them on your shoes.


Take Away

White shoes can be quite a mess with repeated use. But, white shoes lose their style if they start appearing yellow and dull or stained. This is why we decided to help all the white sneakerheads by suggesting some handy tips and techniques clean your white shoes.

We have also suggested some tips, warnings, and precautions consider with each method for cleaning to make sure you don’t spoil your shoes. Plus, you can also view our tips above and keep them in mind each time you think of cleaning your white shoes.

Read our tips above and tell us if they helped you make your white shoes shine through the comments section below.

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