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5 Ways to Clean Yellowing Soles

A keen house proud house dweller who wants to share her tips on cleaning.

Say bye to yellowing soles!

Say bye to yellowing soles!

How to Clean Yellow Shoe Soles

After time you will notice that your trainers will begin to yellow at the soles, even if you only stick to wearing them on dry days and pavements. This is natural for a lot of trainers and white-soled shoes.

Trainers and other footwear tend to go yellow because of the natural reaction of oxidation. This occurs when your soles touch water, accelerating the oxidation process, meaning your trainers go yellower faster.

It’s best to avoid water the best you can; however, the process can usually be reverted should they become yellow.

Before you start any of the cleaning processes below, wipe down your trainers, so they are clean and dry ready to apply the whitening treatments.

So without further ado, here are some of our favorite concoctions to get your trainers and footwear looking brand new and pristine white once more. We are going to discuss the five following cleaning methods:

  1. Hydrogen Peroxide and Baking Soda
  2. Baking Powder and Washing Detergent
  3. Toothpaste
  4. Using a Professional Shoe Cleaner

1. Hydrogen Peroxide & Baking Soda

Make a paste using hydrogen peroxide & baking soda, ensuring you don’t make it too watery. Hydrogen peroxide can be bought from most supermarkets or on amazon.

Then using an old toothbrush, scrub the paste onto the white sections of your shoes and where they are most yellowing. Leave for a few minutes, ideally in direct sunlight, to help bleach them back to pristine white.

Rinse off, and they should be back to looking new. If the results aren’t as white as you would like, repeat the process, leaving it on for a little longer.

2. Baking Powder & Washing Detergent

Baking powder is well known for getting your trainers sparkly white, so for this mixture, we’ve used it again along with some washing detergent too.

Ideally, it’s best to use white-specific washing detergent rather than generic color washing powder. Most people will have this in their utility room, though.

Follow these steps:

  1. Mix one part of baking powder into two parts of washing powder - you will properly only need a teaspoon for quantity.
  2. Add a drop of water so that the powders form a paste - remember you can always add more water, but you will struggle to take it away without losing the mixture, so go careful.
  3. Once you have the mixture, apply it to the yellowing soles using a toothbrush, scrubbing as you work your way along.
  4. Putting your shoes in a sealed plastic bag will help avoid the oxidation process, which makes your footwear yellow in the first place.
  5. Leave to dry for around 30 minutes or longer so that the mixture has time to dry completely. Wash off using warm water and a sponge where you should reveal pristine white soles once more.

If you feel your trainers could do with another round of treatment, repeat the process once more to make them whiter.

Toothpaste is a great cleaning option.

Toothpaste is a great cleaning option.

3. Toothpaste

This toothpaste option works best on mildly yellow soles and is a nice safe option to begin with, as some of the other options can be a little abrasive. If your trainers are stained, using some other methods may be more effective, though.

Follow these steps:

  1. Apply some toothpaste (ideally pure white toothpaste, not the kind with blue particles) onto an old toothbrush and work into the areas of the yellowing trainers.
  2. Leave this to soak in, ideally in direct sunlight, to help with the bleaching process.
  3. Wash off with warm water and keep repeating the process if your trainers still look a little yellow.

If you need to do this process again, try scrubbing a little harder and leaving on for longer; this should help get them cleaner.

4. Professional Shoe Cleaner

There are many professional shoe cleaning solutions on the market, specially formulated to combat yellowing soles to make them white again.

Choosing a trusted name is always a good route to go down, such as ‘Kiwi White Shoe Cleaner’. This is created with a built-in sponge applicator, where the solution is squeezed through the sponge, directly onto the shoes.

All individual professional shoe cleaning solutions will have their own instructions to ensure you get the best results. This tends to be a very quick and easy option with most having a built-in sponge applicator and ready-mixed solution, which is great for some on-the-go quick cleaning.

Going for a specific ‘trainer whitener’ or specific to the types of shoes you are trying to make less yellow will be a good way to go too, rather than going for more of a generic shoe cleaner.

Look how clean those soles are!

Look how clean those soles are!

Say Bye to Yellowing Soles!

The results from any of these methods can vary as to how long or often you should be cleaning your yellowing soles. The best advice is to stay away from water to slow down the oxidation process so that you shouldn’t have to clean them as often.

It also depends on how often you wear them and how often you will have to clean them. It is best to clean them once they have a hint of yellow, rather than leaving them until they get very yellow and the stains are much more stubborn to remove.

I hope this has given you some good tips to removing those nasty yellowing stains and have those shop-bought pristine white trainers once more. Should you have any questions or may have some of your own concoctions to getting your trainers white from a yellowing sole, please do get in touch.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2021 Carlyn Hayes

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