Are you finding that you are getting yellow stains or yellowing soles on your shoes or sneakers? If so you know how frustrating it can be to see your once pristine looking footwear turning yellow and looking dirty. Yet learning how to remove yellowing from shoe soles isn’t as difficult as it looks when you learn some simple tricks to clean your shoes and make them look like new again.
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Why Do White Shoe Soles Start to Turn Yellow Over Time?
Before we begin with our cleaning tips and strategies to keep your favorite shoes looking clean and fresh why do they turn yellow in the first place?
Well, the answer is simply a matter of chemistry. Yellowing soles on the once-white bottoms of your sneakers or shoes are caused by oxidation which is a simple chemical reaction. The oxygen contained in the material the soles are made from becomes less stable as it is exposed to direct sunlight and dirt and over time the colour begins to change.
To prevent the problem it makes sense to store your shoes away from direct sunlight and to clean them after each wear. This will slow down the process. But what about if you have stains and yellow shoes? Well here are some of the best ways we have heard of to whiten yellow soles and get things looking like new again.
Keep White Soles Clean To Prevent Stubborn Yellow Marks
It is inevitable that white rubber soles turn yellow when they have been exposed to dirt and grime. There is no way to avoid this no matter how careful you are but you can spend time cleaning your shoes after each wear to prevent yellow marks from hanging around.
So it makes sense that after each wear you get your shoes and use a soft-bristled brush to wipe off any dust or dirt that may have got on to them whilst you were outside. Once the main dirt is removed used warm water and a wet cloth to remove anything that is still on your shoe soles. Then place your shoes somewhere well ventilated to dry. Remember that direct sunlight speeds up oxidisation so it makes sense to store your shoes in a dark area to stop the yellow stains.
How to Clean Yellow Soles at Home
The great thing about our cleaning tips is that all the methods that we use are ones that you can use at home. There is often no need to buy fancy products to help you get your white shoes back to the color that they were in when you bought them. Lots of the products that we use are general household or cleaning products that you probably already have in your cupboards.
We have of course mentioned some of the specialist products that you can use to turn yellow soles white but it makes sense to try the cheaper and easier methods first before spending your money on a product that you may not need.
How to Clean Yellow Soles With Baking Soda
Baking soda is a great household product that can be used to help yellowing soles get back their whiteness again. The process is really simple but it may take a number of tries before you get a result.
Get a bowl and mix baking soda and water together so that they form a thick paste. Do not allow it to become a runny consistency as it could potentially run onto other parts of your shoes.
Get the baking soda paste and spread it onto the yellowed soles with a soft brush or old toothbrush. Then place your shoes sole side up on a paper towel in direct sunlight for an hour. After the hour is up rinse off the paste with water and assess the yellow stains. If they are still present repeat the process. Keep on repeating until the shoe soles have changed back to the color you want.
How to Unyellow Shoes With Hydrogen Peroxide
Whilst baking soda can be used to help clean yellow soles from your shoes or sneakers it is possible to mix the product with others to make it a more potent and effective cleaner. Hydrogen Peroxide is one of the most common products that can be used with baking soda to help remove the yellow areas from the soles of your favorite sneakers.
Hydrogen peroxide is a non-chlorine bleach that you can purchase in a chemist or drug store. Whilst it is commonly associated with hair dyes it is also a cleaning product. To help change the color of yellow stains on your soles mix a paste together of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda and using a brush cover the problem areas of your soles with the mix.
To stop the product from drying out you can use saran wrap and place it around the covered area and then leave the soles lying towards the sun for around an hour. When the baking soda and hydrogen peroxide have done their work use a wet paper towel to remove the excess product. Then wash the remainder of the product off with hot water and you should have shoes that look as good as new.
How to Clean Yellow Soles At Home – Use Toothpaste
If you want to remove yellowing from shoe soles then simple household products can often help. Whitening toothpaste for example is a great product to help remove yellow stains from your soles and make them look like they are fresh out of the box.
As with any of the other methods you need to liberally apply the toothpaste onto the bottom and midsection of any yellowing on your shoes. Then wrap the sneakers with saran wrap and place them outside in the sunlight for at least an hour.
Remove the excess product with a paper towel and then rinse off any remaining product with cold water. Remember that you may need to repeat this process 3 or 4 times to get rid of tough stains.
Angelus Sole Bright
Angelus Sole Bright is a product that has been specially created to clean yellowing soles and make them white again. This is a great product if those yellow shoes aren’t responding to some of the cheaper methods that we’ve talked about.
To clean the yellow stains from your shoes paint the shoe whitener product onto the areas of the shoe that need to be cleaned. It makes sense to use masking tape to cover the shoe uppers so that none of the product gets onto the leather or nubuck. Then when you have placed a liberal amount of Angelus on the sole and sneaker surround wrap those areas in saran wrap (cling film). Then leave your shoes out in the sun to allow the shoe whitener to work its magic.
When the yellowed soles are white again carefully remove the saran wrap and wipe off any excess product. Then clean your shoes with warm water and an old toothbrush to get rid of any residual product. At the end of the process, you should see restored white soles and your shoes looking great again.
Using a Magic Eraser on Yellow Soles
If you have never heard of a magic eraser then where have you been? These bricks of melamine foam are one of the handiest cleaning tools that you can have in your cupboards. We use our magic eraser for cleaning marks off walls, removing stains from mugs and even removing sticky labels from products. In fact, that very same magic eraser can also clean yellow soles and it takes less than a few minutes.
Just dip your magic eraser in some water and wring it out so it’s wet but not saturated and dripping water. Then start to rub the eraser back and forwards on the yellowed sole. You might need to put a little effort in and you should see the stain start to lift. The foam may start to get yellow itself so rinse it under water and wring it out again or use another section to keep on removing the stain.
Note that the melamine foam can start to break apart so you may need to clean up the pieces that drop off from your shoes.
This is a super-fast way of cleaning your shoes that doesn’t break the bank. Plus the magic erasers can be used elsewhere in your home.
How to Whiten Shoe Soles With Barkeepers Friend
Another great cleaning product that is often used in the home is Barkeepers Friend. This is usually a powdery substance that is abrasive and great for removing dirt and grime when it is mixed with water.
If you have some around the house then mix a paste of it place it on the yellow soles of your shoes and let it do its work. When you wash it off you should see a noticeable difference in your shoes and sneakers.
How to Clean Yellow Soles With Bleach
Bleach by its very nature is a product that is used for cleaning and it is perfect for using on white sneakers with yellow soles.
Make sure you mix one part bleach with two parts water and then brush the shoe with the mixture. Wrap it in the saran wrap and leave it to bake in the sun to do its work.
Wash off the excess bleach and assess if the shoes are still looking yellow. Remember cleaning yellow soles can take a number of attempts before you see a really noticeable difference.
Shoe Sole Whitener – Fabes Sole Sauce
Whilst household products are great for yellow soles sometimes it is easier just to purchase a pre-mixed product to do the work for you. Fabes Sole Sauce has 6 deoxidising agents in its mixture which can even help you get your Icy Whites looking like new.
Just as with many of the other methods the yellowing soles are cleaned by painting the mixture onto the problem areas and leaving the product to work its magic. When the product has done its work just rinse off in cold water and your yellow soles should look like new again.
These tips for getting your white shoes and sneakers looking like new again are relatively simple, don’t break the bank and can stop you from throwing away footwear that looks grubby. Why not give them a try and see what method works best for you.
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