how to whiten yellow soles on shoes

How to Whiten Yellow Soles on Shoes: Home Remedy Solutions

Yellow soles can significantly diminish the appeal of your footwear, especially if it’s a pair of white sneakers that you fancy. Over time, your once radiant white soles can take on a yellow tinge due to oxidation, exposure to the elements, or simply the wear and tear of regular use. Thankfully, there are effective home remedies you can utilize to restore them to their original glory.

Whitening yellow soles on shoes at home can be effectively achieved through cleaning methods involving baking soda and hydrogen peroxide, toothpaste, or lemon juice and sunlight.

Let’s explore the three efficient methods to whiten yellow soles on shoes.

Whiten Yellow Soles with Baking Soda and Hydrogen Peroxide

Baking soda mixed with hydrogen peroxide is a potent combination that can effectively whiten yellow soles. This homemade solution not only whitens but also deeply cleanses the soles, aiding in the removal of dirt and grime that can contribute to the yellowing process. Here’s an extended step-by-step guide on how to use this method:

  1. Prepare the Solution: Combine one tablespoon of baking soda with two tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide in a small bowl. Stir until you get a paste-like consistency. You might need to adjust the amounts based on the extent of the yellowing and the size of the shoe soles.
  2. Clean the Soles: Before applying the mixture, clean your shoe soles with a bit of warm water and a scrub brush to remove any loose dirt. This ensures that the paste can work directly on the stained area.
  3. Apply the Paste: Using an old toothbrush, gently spread the paste over the yellowed portions of the shoe soles. Ensure you distribute the paste evenly, covering all the discolored areas.
  4. Let It Sit: Allow the paste to dry on the shoes for about 30 minutes. The mixture will work its magic during this time, breaking down the yellow stains.
  5. Scrub Off: Once the mixture is dry, use a scrub brush and warm water to gently remove the paste. Scrub in circular motions for the best results.
  6. Rinse and Dry: Rinse the soles thoroughly to ensure no residue is left. Dry the shoes completely in a well-ventilated area but avoid direct sunlight, which can cause further yellowing.
  7. Repeat If Necessary: Depending on how severe the yellowing is you might need to repeat the process a few times.

Remember to test this method on an inconspicuous part of the sole first to ensure it doesn’t adversely affect the material. By following these steps, you can efficiently restore the brightness of your shoe soles using simple ingredients found in most households.

Whiten Yellow Soles with Toothpaste and Old Toothbrush

Toothpaste isn’t just for maintaining your pearly whites; it can work wonders on your shoes too! Its gentle abrasive properties and brightening ingredients make it a viable solution for tackling yellow soles. Here’s an extended guide on how to whiten your shoe soles with toothpaste:

  1. Select the Right Toothpaste: For best results, choose a white toothpaste. The whitening variants often contain mild bleaching agents, which can aid in restoring the whiteness of your shoe soles. Gel-based toothpastes may not be as effective for this purpose.
  2. Pre-clean the Soles: Rinse the soles of your shoes with warm water. This will help remove loose dirt and grime and allow the toothpaste to focus on the yellow stains.
  3. Apply Toothpaste: Squeeze a generous amount of toothpaste onto an old toothbrush. You could also directly apply a layer of toothpaste onto the yellowed areas of the shoe soles.
  4. Scrub Vigorously: Use the toothbrush to scrub the toothpaste into the yellowed areas. Apply a little pressure and scrub in circular motions to allow the toothpaste to penetrate the stains.
  5. Let It Sit: After scrubbing, leave the toothpaste on the soles for about 10-15 minutes. This gives the bleaching agents in the toothpaste enough time to act on the stains.
  6. Rinse Off: Rinse the soles thoroughly with warm water, making sure to remove all the toothpaste. If any toothpaste is left behind, it could attract dirt and dust, making your shoes look dirty again.
  7. Dry Completely: Pat the soles dry with a towel and then allow them to air dry completely. Damp soles can attract more dirt, so it’s crucial to ensure they’re thoroughly dry before you wear them again.
  8. Repeat If Needed: If the yellowing is stubborn, you might need to repeat the process until you achieve the desired result.

Using toothpaste is a handy and affordable method to whiten yellow soles. Plus, it leaves your shoes smelling minty fresh! Just be sure to use this method cautiously on colored soles, as the whitening agents in toothpaste might cause discoloration.

Whiten Yellow Soles with Lemon Juice and Sunlight

Lemon juice, owing to its citric acid content, is a natural bleaching agent. When paired with sunlight, it can be very effective in treating yellowed soles. It’s an eco-friendly and affordable method to restore the brilliance of your shoe soles. Here’s a more detailed guide on how to go about it:

  1. Prepare Your Shoes: Brush off any loose dirt or debris from the shoe soles. This will ensure that the lemon juice is acting directly on the stains rather than getting wasted on the superficial grime.
  2. Extract Lemon Juice: Squeeze a fresh lemon to extract its juice. Fresh lemon juice is more potent than bottled variants, as it doesn’t contain preservatives or added sugars. Depending on the size of the soles, you may need more than one lemon.
  3. Apply the Lemon Juice: Dip a brush or sponge into the fresh lemon juice, and apply it generously onto the yellowed areas of the soles. Make sure you cover all the discolored areas for the best results.
  4. Sun Exposure: Place the shoes out in a sunny spot. The UV rays from the sun will react with the citric acid in the lemon juice, amplifying its natural bleaching properties. Leave the shoes out in the sun for 3-4 hours.
  5. Rinse Off: Rinse the soles thoroughly with warm water to wash off the lemon juice. Be sure to remove all the lemon juice to prevent the soles from becoming sticky.
  6. Dry Thoroughly: Pat the soles dry with a clean towel and then leave the shoes to air dry in a well-ventilated space. It’s essential to dry them thoroughly to prevent moisture-related damage or mold growth.
  7. Repeat If Necessary: For tougher stains, you might need to repeat this process a few times. Gradually, you’ll notice the yellow stains fading and the original whiteness of the soles returning.

Remember that lemon juice can be a bit harsh on certain materials. It’s always a good idea to do a small patch test before applying it to the entire sole. Prolonged sun exposure can cause some materials to dry out or crack, so use this method carefully.


How often should I clean the soles of my shoes to prevent yellowing?

Yellowing of soles is typically caused by oxidation, which is a slow process. However, factors like dirt and sweat can accelerate this. Therefore, cleaning your shoes once a week is advisable to maintain their appearance and prevent yellowing. Regular cleaning not only helps to keep the soles white but also extends the overall lifespan of your shoes. Remember to dry them thoroughly after each cleaning session to prevent moisture-induced yellowing.

What other household items can I use to whiten yellow soles on shoes?

Aside from the methods mentioned above, there are a few other household items that can help restore the whiteness of your shoe soles. These include:
Vinegar: Its mild acetic acid content can effectively break down stains. Dilute it with water to avoid damage.
Bleach: A diluted solution of bleach can also whiten soles. However, use it sparingly and rinse thoroughly afterward, as bleach can be quite harsh.
Cream of Tartar: Mixed with water, this kitchen staple can create a paste that helps remove yellowing when applied to the soles.
Always remember to perform a patch test when using these items to avoid any unwanted damage.

Will leaving my shoes in the sun help to whiten the soles?

Sunlight can have a slight whitening effect. However, prolonged exposure can lead to further yellowing due to the process of oxidation. Therefore, it’s a good idea to use sunlight in moderation and in combination with other methods, such as the lemon juice method mentioned earlier. Leaving shoes in the sun for long periods can also cause materials to dry out and crack, so it’s not generally recommended.

Can I use a magic eraser to whiten yellow soles on shoes?

Yes, a magic eraser can be a quick and effective tool to whiten yellow soles. It works as a fine sandpaper, removing the outer layer of the yellowed sole to reveal the whiter material underneath. Simply dampen the magic eraser with a little water and gently rub it over the yellowed areas. Since a magic eraser is abrasive, avoid using it too often as it can wear down the sole material over time.

Can I use hair oxidizer to whiten yellow soles on shoes?

Hair oxidizer, or hair bleach, contains hydrogen peroxide, which can help whiten yellow soles. Be sure to dilute it as per the instructions and rinse thoroughly after use. Hair oxidizer can be quite strong and may damage the soles if used undiluted or left on for too long. As with any other method, do a patch test first to ensure it doesn’t damage your specific shoe material.

In Conclusion

Yellowing soles can be an annoyance, but you’re not powerless against it. With simple home remedies such as a baking soda and hydrogen peroxide solution, toothpaste, or even lemon juice and sunlight, you can tackle this issue head-on. Don’t forget to regularly clean your shoes, and don’t hesitate to utilize other household items if necessary. Always be mindful of the materials of your shoes to avoid damaging them in the process. With the right approach, your shoes can maintain their fresh, white look for longer.