A lovely-looking pair of white shoes can easily complete just about any outfit you can think of. From sneakers to leather shoes, they always add their twist to your look. Everything seems perfect until it’s time to clean them… How to remove yellow stains from white shoes? Is it even possible?
There’s nothing worse than noticing your white sneakers have started changing color. Their soles are usually the first ones to start turning yellow, but it’s not uncommon that the whole shoe starts showing stains.
Don’t worry, it’s happened to all of us. Not only are these stains usually super stubborn and difficult to remove, but they can be an indicator that you need to take better care of your lovely pair. A lot of people end up throwing their shoes away, but that’s not always a great solution.
Luckily, there are quite a few easy ways to make them look brand new again. In fact, you probably already have everything you need for this little cleaning session. Whether you want to wash your shoes in a washing machine or remove the stains by hand, there are several options for you to try out.
Together, we’ll learn how to remove yellow stains from white shoes, why they even turn yellow, and how you can prevent this from happening. Let’s get right into it.
Why do white shoes become yellow?
First of all, you need to know what caused these stains in the first place. That way, it will be much easier to get your favorite pair of shoes to look great again. The discoloration can be caused by many things, including sun exposure, sweat, poor-quality materials, and dirt.
In case sweat caused your shoes to start turning yellow, we recommend you try to reduce sweating first before you find the right way to remove the stains. You can wear socks that are made of breathable materials, or avoid wearing shoes that are too tight and have limited airflow.
Sun exposure is often the reason why white shoes start turning yellow. There’s a radiation spectrum in sunlight, which includes ultraviolet light. After a long time in the sun, the color of your shoes might change. This is an interesting chemical reaction that happens when shoe paint is exposed to UV light.
Another common reason why shoes turn yellow is the accumulation of dirt and debris. Stains can form both inside and outside of your white shoes, which is why it’s important to regularly clean them.
How to remove yellow stains from white shoes: 11 easy tips
Once you have identified the reason behind it, it’s time to learn how to remove this discoloration and get your shoes looking brand new. Luckily, there are a few simple and easy ways to achieve that with remedies you probably already have at your home!
Using vinegar to clean your white shoes is a great way to get them to look brand-new. First, remove the shoelaces, which will enable you to access every part of your pair. Using a soft-bristled brush, try to remove as much mud as you can. You can also try knocking the bottoms together to loosen up the dirt.
Next, mix equal parts of water and white vinegar in a bowl, and dip the shoes in the solution. Leave them in for about 30 minutes. After you notice the dirt has lifted off, you can start scrubbing the stains with the soft-bristled brush.
Let them air dry overnight and they should be ready to wear the next day. If there are still some stains left, you can repeat the process.
Before you start anxiously thinking about how to remove yellow stains from white shoes, go to your bathroom and look inside your cabinets. The solution to your problem might be hidden in your toothpaste.
Most kinds of toothpaste have an ingredient called peroxide, which can act as bleach. You can use it with your clothes, too! To clean your white footwear, start off by wetting it thoroughly with plenty of water so you don’t miss any spots.
Next, take some toothpaste and cover the stained areas with it. Using a toothbrush, start brushing your shoes until they’re clean again. Brush vigorously to make sure there are no stains left behind, and finish off by rinsing your shoes thoroughly.
3. Dish soap
Everyone has some kind of dish soap in their home, but did you know you can use it for more than just washing dishes? Food stains on your plates aren’t the only type of stains this soap can clean!
Because it’s made to clean the most stubborn stains, dish soap is pretty effective when it comes to removing yellow stains from white shoes, too. Since it can easily clean grease and oil stains, you won’t have to think about what caused the staining because dish soap can dissolve it all. It works like magic.
All you have to do is wet your shoes and apply some dish soap directly to them. Using a sponge or a cloth, gently rub your shoes until they’re clean. If you’re dealing with some really stubborn stains, make sure you soak the shoes first before cleaning them.
After you’re done, let them air dry before you decide to put them on. If there are still some stains left, it’s safe to repeat the process until your shoes are looking clean again.
Another great remedy for yellow stains on white shoes is a good old shampoo. It’s a pretty effective way to deal with this issue, especially if your shoes are made of canvas.
Make sure you soak your shoes first before you go ahead and apply a generous amount of shampoo on them. Then, simply rub the stained surface with a cloth, a toothbrush, or any kind of soft brush.
After cleaning the part of the shoe that’s stained the most, put your pair in an open area and let it air dry. Make sure you avoid putting them in direct sunlight, as this can cause them to start turning yellow again, bringing you back to the start.
5. Baking soda
Baking soda is like a miracle ingredient – it can fix just about anything, including your yellow stains. On top of that, it’s a perfect biodegradable answer to how to remove yellow stains from white shoes, so you won’t have to worry about using too many chemicals that could harm the environment.
Baking soda is all natural, which means you’ll be able to keep your shoes white while still being ecological. And the best part is – you can find this ingredient in most kitchens!
Making the mixture is pretty simple, too. Simply mix one tablespoon of baking soda with three tablespoons of water. Mix them in a bowl until you get a thick paste.
Next, take your baking soda mixture and apply it to the shoes. Let it sit on the stains for no longer than five minutes before you start rubbing them with a sponge or a toothbrush. You should do this until the stains are gone, and then simply let your shoes air dry.
Although it might seem scary at first, using bleach is a great way to remove yellow stains from synthetic and rubber materials that our shoes are often made of. The whole process is pretty simple, and you can bleach your white shoelaces, too!
Because the chemicals are pretty strong and can damage the fabric, we recommend you dilute the bleach first before applying it to your shoes. You can do this by mixing two tablespoons of bleach with a gallon of water. Next, soak the stained area in the solution for about an hour.
You can try rubbing the stains with a cloth or an old toothbrush if you think they need an additional “push”. After that, clean your shoes with cool water and let them air dry in an open area.
Before you decide to work with bleach, make sure you protect yourself properly, first. Because it can cause allergy and irritation, it’s important to put on protective gear before you decide to give your shoes a thorough clean.
7. Lemon juice
It might sound like a joke, but lemon juice is a great cleaning agent, and this simple solution proved to be an efficient way to remove yellow stains from white shoes. The key is in the citric acid that can be found in lemon, which easily dissolves yellow marks.
It’s time to make lemonade for your shoes! Take two to three lemons, cut them in half, and get ready to squeeze just like you would when making lemonade. This time, however, instead of using a glass bottle, you’ll be squeezing them onto your shoes.
After you’ve covered the stains in lemon juice, leave them for around 15 minutes so that the juice has some time to dissolve the marks. If there are still some stains left, rinse your shoes with water and rub them with a cloth until they’re perfectly clean again.
As one of the most frequently used ingredients in most housecleaning products, alcohol might be the answer to your question of how to remove yellow stains from white shoes.
Take some alcohol and simply dab a tiny amount of it on the stain. You don’t have to rub it yet. Just let it dry naturally overnight before you move on to the next step.
In the morning, use a toothbrush, a sponge, or any other soft-bristled brush soaked in water and rub the stained areas on your shoes thoroughly. After you’re done, pat your shoes dry with a clean towel and let your shoes dry for about an hour or however long it takes for them to dry completely.
No matter how tempting it might be, make sure you don’t use any heat or direct sunlight to speed up the process of drying. Not only will that put you at risk of damaging your shoes, but it can also cause fading.
Don’t forget to wear protection when working with alcohol, just like was the case with bleach. Gloves will prevent you from drying out your skin and damaging it.
9. Shoe cleaner
This one is pretty logical. When thinking about how to remove yellow stains from white shoes, consider using a product that was designed to solve this problem. Shoe cleaner is probably the best way for you to get your shoes back to looking brand-new.
The best thing about shoe cleaners is that they’re made for removing stains, which means they don’t contain any chemicals that might damage the color of your shoes or the material. On top of that, it will help your white shoes last longer while looking fresh.
Shoe cleaners come in many forms, the most common ones being foam and spray-on. No matter which one you choose, they’ll remove the yellow stains pretty fast and with ease. Therefore, you won’t even have to do much work!
We recommend reading the instructions first before you start cleaning your pair. They’ll give you all the information you need on how to clean your shoes properly and get the best possible results.
10. Use a nail polish remover
Nail polish remover cleans more than just your nails. It’s a great remedy for any type of stain on your shoes, including yellow ones. Acetone is known as an effective cleaning agent that targets the most stubborn stains, so it comes as no surprise that they’re effective in this area, too.
This color remover found in a number of household products is a real lifesaver when it comes to colored stains. The easiest way to do this is to dip a paper towel into the nail polish remover and gently rub the stain.
Use a back-and-forth motion when rubbing your shoes and watch the magic happen! If you’re dealing with suede or canvas, make sure you test it out on a hidden part of the shoe because the acetone can damage the material.
If you see no difference, you can go ahead and apply the acetone on the rest of your shoe that started showing yellow stains. If everything fails, you can go for a good old trick of using white nail polish. Simply cover the stain with it and they’ll be looking as good as new.
11. Throw them in the washing machine
If all of these methods fail, reach for your good old friend. Cleaning your white shoes in a washing machine is the simplest, and probably the easiest, way to remove stains from them.
Make sure you use a laundry detergent that’s made to break down grime and stains. During the washing cycle, add some white vinegar to the water so that you get rid of the most stubborn stains while also sterilizing your boots.
How to prevent your shoes from turning yellow
Now that we’ve covered the most effective ways how to remove yellow stains from white shoes, it’s a good idea to learn how to prevent this from happening again.
Taking some proactive steps is essential when it comes to preventing yellow stains from reappearing. Although there are a lot of factors that could be the reason behind this staining, here are some of the most effective ways to prevent it.
1. Don’t dry them in the sun
We’ve already learned that yellow stains can be caused by sunlight that damages the material and causes discoloration. So, the only logical way to prevent this from happening is to limit your shoes’ exposure to sunlight.
Of course, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t wear your shoes outside when the sun is out. It simply means you should avoid exposing them to direct sunlight for a longer period of time, such as when you’re drying them or simply keeping them outside when they’re not on your feet.
We know, placing them under direct sunlight seems like the best idea after you finish washing them. However, no matter how fast they might dry, you’ll risk damaging the material and your white shoes turning yellow.
Instead, let your shoes air dry in the shade. Although it might take a bit longer, they’ll last you longer while keeping their original color.
2. Polish your shoes with a neutral polish
If your shoes are prone to staining or you’re wearing them to work where they’re exposed to many staining risks, it’s important that you protect them properly. You can do this by applying a waterproof spray, or by wearing shoe covers if you’re wearing them to work.
On top of that, polishing your shoes regularly is also a great way to prevent them from turning yellow or staining. Make sure you use a natural color polish that won’t change the material or the color of your footwear.
This way, you’ll keep your laces and the rest of your shoes clean. Not only that, but they’ll stay the same color and won’t appear dirty after a few uses. You can go as far as polishing them weekly just to make sure they’re fully protected.
3. Don’t wait too long to remove stains
Yellow stains often appear as a result of accumulated dirt and debris. To avoid that, make sure you clean your pair regularly. You don’t have to clean them thoroughly every time. It would take too much of your time and you’d risk damaging the material.
Instead, simply use a soft brush and some mild soap every time you wear your white shoes. Rinse them thoroughly after cleaning, simply to avoid the dirt from accumulating and soaking into the material, or the soap leaving any stains.
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