How to Clean White Shoes that Turned Yellow | Easy Tips


When you left out your white shoes in the sun too long, it ends up turning yellow. Even worse, washing them will stain them. This may seem unavoidable, but it can seriously throw off your look. But here are a few simple steps you can check on how to clean white shoes that turned yellow.


Things you’ll need

  1. Magic Eraser
  2. Hydrogen Peroxide
  3. Lemon
  4. Baking Soda
  5. Toothpaste
  6. Toothbrush for scrubbing
  7. Blue Fabric Dye

How to Clean White Shoes that Turned Yellow

Although white shoes are in fashion, they are especially vulnerable to staining. Fortunately, several household items can help you wipe away grime and get your shoes back to their original state. Try the steps below to make your white shoes look brand new again!

1. Using a Magic Eraser

How to Clean White Shoes that Turned Yellow _ Using a Magic Eraser

Magic erasers may just be the easiest way to remove yellow stains from shoes. It’s thanks to melamine foam, a material that reacts with water to restore fabrics and surfaces. And it can do wonders for leather and rubber soles as well, removing yellow stains and restoring their appearance in just a few seconds.

First things first — clean the surface with water or a soapy solution to keep it from getting damaged during the cleaning process. 

Take Mr. Clean Magic Eraser and start rubbing it on the stain.

Once you see that the eraser is turning into foam, continue rubbing for maximum effectiveness. 

If your surface has multiple stains, just repeat this process until all of them disappear.

Never hang your shoes to dry in direct sunlight, as they will dry unevenly and may warp. 

And if you’re wondering if can you put shoes in the dryer to dry them, we have a separate article for that. Check that out to learn which shoes can be dried using a dryer.

But what we highly recommend doing is always air-dry your shoes until they are completely dry before storing them in a cool, dry place.

2. Using Hydrogen Peroxide

HOW I CLEAN MY DIRTY WHITE VANS by Caitlin Davis (YouTube)

Another super easy tip on how to clean white shoes that turned yellow is using hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide is often used as a whitening agent, and it is safe to use because it’s non-toxic. This makes it a great cleaning and brightening agent for yellow-stained shoes.

Dip a clean cloth into some 3 percent hydrogen peroxide and wring it out so it’s just damp.  Rub the hydrogen peroxide-soaked cloth over the yellow stains until they start to fade.

If the stains are still stubborn after using hydrogen peroxide, try letting it sit on the stain for 30 minutes before removing it. This will give the hydrogen peroxide more time to work on removing the yellow stain on your white shoes. 

Use lukewarm water to rinse your white shoes thoroughly. 

Remove excess water by placing your white shoes on a drying rack. Place the rack in a warm, dry area with good ventilation.

3. Using Lemon

How to Clean White Shoes that Turned Yellow _ Using Lemon

Lemon’s acidity is a great way to remove yellow stains from white shoes. Its anti-bacterial and cleansing properties also help prevent new stains from forming.

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Here’s how to clean white shoes that turned yellow using lemon:

Cut half a lemon in half, then squeeze the juice out of one of the halves and put it in a bowl. Add just a few drops of water and mix well. 

Then dip a clean cloth in the solution and rub on your dirty white shoes as hard as you can. Let it sit for 20 minutes before washing off completely with warm water under a running faucet. 

Do not leave them to dry in direct sunlight

4. Using Baking Soda

Baking Soda is another cheap and readily available means that you can use to clean yellow stains off your white shoes. Here’s how to clean white shoes that turned yellow using baking soda.

Simply mix a teaspoon of baking soda into a glass of warm water, soak the yellow-stained area for several minutes, and then scrub away with a toothbrush.

Rinse thoroughly with lukewarm water and pat dry to remove all traces of baking soda. 

 Lastly, air-dry in a cool, well-ventilated area or use a towel to pat dry. 

If sun drying, take precautions such as avoiding direct sunlight, and not leaving your white shoes unattended for a long period.

5. Using Toothpaste

How To Clean Shoes White Shoes or Vans Simple! by Ethan H (YouTube)

Toothpaste is great for scrubbing yellow stains from your teeth. However, did you know that you can also use it to scrub yellow stains off of your shoes? Check out how to clean white shoes that turned yellow using toothpaste below.

Non-gel toothpaste makes an excellent stain remover for yellow stains on shoes. Using a generous amount, apply the paste to the yellowed area and let it sit for 20 minutes. Then rinse off.

Because toothpaste is a mild cleaning agent, you won’t be able to completely remove the yellow stains on your white shoes. However, if this still bothers you, you can try one of the above methods to eliminate the yellow stains.

6. Using Blue Fabric Dye
How I Clean My White Shoes by Faith Chappelle (YouTube)

If you recently finished cleaning a white pair of shoes and the sneakers still have a yellow tint to them, put them in a tub full of water and add three drops of blue fabric dye. With the laces out, let them soak for at least 30 minutes.

Once done, remove shoes and it will turn out surprisingly so white.

How to Clean White Vans Shoes that Turned Yellow

How to Clean White Vans Shoes that Turned Yellow _
How to clean white vans (no yellow spots!) by Gerrit Dorn (YouTube)

While Vans in blue or black could go either way when it comes to color-changing, White Vans require a little more TLC. Due to the unique composition and tight stitch of Vans, these shoes are more susceptible to stains and discoloration than other shoes.

Worry no more because here are a few answers to how to clean white vans shoes that turned yellow, but first, you’ll need the following:

  • Detergent and White Vinegar
  • Baking Soda and Vinegar 
  • Lemon
  • Toothpaste

1. Using Detergent and White Vinegar Solution

How to Clean White Vans Shoes that Turned Yellow _ Using Detergent and White Vinegar Solution

When it comes to cleaning white Vans, there’s nothing quite as effective as a good ole’ fashioned vinegar and detergent mixture. The two powerful cleaning agents combine to help you deal with yellow stains with ease.

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Here’s how to clean white shoes that turned yellow using detergent and white vinegar solution.

Start by removing the laces from your white Vans shoes. Make sure there’s a large enough basin to fit them in easily or try using your clean sink. Then, fill the basin up with 0.5 liters of lukewarm water.

Pour 1 teaspoon of detergent into the basin of water and mix the solution well. Soak both of your shoes in the solution and let them soak for a minute or two, letting the detergent disintegrate any stubborn yellow stains.

Start brushing at the center of the stain and work your way towards its edges. Once you have scrubbed a section, rinse and repeat on the next one until you have worked the entire shoe. You should be able to see the yellowing begin to fade almost right away.

You can put the treated shoes with the mixture in a washing machine. Add half a cup of white vinegar and set it to a warm, low-spinning cycle. Run the machine until it has finished. 

This removes any excess detergent and water stains from your shoes, cleaning both their outsides and insides. 

Afterward, place the shoes on a flat surface or in an area with good air circulation so that they can dry.

2. Using Baking Soda and Vinegar Paste

How to Clean White Vans Shoes that Turned Yellow _ Using Baking Soda and Vinegar Paste

Skip the trip to the store when you need a quality cleaning paste in a hurry. You can make your own in less than 5 minutes using only a few ingredients you already have on hand: baking soda and vinegar. Just mix equal parts in a bowl and you’ll have enough paste to clean your white Vans Shoes.

With a small amount of the all-natural paste cleaner from this DIY, your Vans shoes will shine like new once again. You can follow these easy steps:

Make a paste by mixing one tablespoon of baking soda, one tablespoon of hot water, and a tablespoon of white vinegar. Remove the laces and apply the paste onto your Vans Shoes with an old toothbrush. 

Simply rub it into your White Vans shoe surface and let it dry overnight. 

When the time to show off those fresh kicks, rinse the shoes in warm water and notice how white and clean they are!

3. Using Lemon 

How to Clean White Vans Shoes that Turned Yellow _ Using Lemon

Don’t throw away your sour lemon because you can use it to clean your white Vans! This fruit has more than just culinary uses; you can also use it topically as a cleaning agent. 

A little bit of lemon and a few minutes of scrubbing can remove yellow stains from your white Vans shoes, leaving your kicks fresh and cleansed.

Cut a lemon in half and place the cut side down on a clean, non-abrasive cloth. Squeeze the lemon so that its juice drenches the fabric — you should see drops of lemon juice fall onto it. 

Wring out any excess liquid from the cloth (you don’t want too much water spilling over from the cloth to your shoes) and use it to scrub away yellow dried-on stains from your white vans shoes.

After applying the lemon, put your shoes out to dry in a well-ventilated room (great for slightly oversized shoes) or use a hairdryer on low heat. It’s best to let them dry overnight, so they will be ready to wear in the morning.

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4. Using Toothpaste

How to Clean White Vans Shoes that Turned Yellow _ Using Toothpaste

Toothpaste can easily remove yellow stains from your favorite pair of Vans Shoes. Toothpaste is an easy way to maintain and clean your white vans, but you’ll want to make sure you are using non-gel toothpaste. Colored toothpaste will leave behind more stains on your white shoes than non-gel whitening toothpaste.

Rub the toothpaste in your Vans shoes’ yellow-stained surface until the stain breaks down and slowly lightens. You can then rinse once you’re satisfied with the results.

How to Clean White Nike Shoes that Turned Yellow

How to Clean White Nike Shoes that Turned Yellow _
Most Frequently Asked Questions: How to Unyellow & Restore Yellowed Shoe Soles
by Sophiesophss (YouTube)

A new pair of white Nike shoes look great, but they lose their appeal when yellow stains ruin their otherwise pristine appearance. Fortunately, these tried-and-true white Nike sneaker cleaning hacks will have your shoes looking as good as new in no time.

Things you’ll need:

  • Whitening soap
  • Pure Blue Ink
  • White Tissue
  • Lead Powder

1. Using Whitening Soap

How to Clean White Nike Shoes that Turned Yellow _ Using Whitening Soap

Shoes are easily colored by chemicals. Enzymes in detergent leave a yellow stain on the edge, which makes your white Nike shoes turn yellow under sunlight. That’s why people should choose whitening soap to wash white shoes. 

By washing them with this soap, no residue will remain and the shoes will become much whiter and cleaner.

2. Using Pure Blue Ink

You can use Blue ink which reacts with water to produce a light blue solution to more easily clean white Nike shoes. 

Mix 3-5 drops of pure blue ink in a cup of water, and then use the solution to wash your shoes. Work with the shoes for 10 minutes, and then rinse them thoroughly with clean water. 

Finally, let your shoes air dry in a cool, ventilated area, not in the sunshine or outdoors.

3. Using White Tissue Paper

Protect your white Nike shoes from the sun. The sun can be harsh and cause your white shoes to yellow. You might want to soak tissue in warm water and cover your shoes with it to keep shoes looking whiter and stain-free, to block direct sunlight as well.

4. Using Lead Powder

A great application for lead powder is in restoring the color of yellow stained white Nike shoes. After washing your shoes, you can sprinkle a small amount of lead powder on them then wrap them up in tissue paper to dry. 

Your shoes will soon be whiter and will look good as new!

Shoes, like anything else, are not impervious to oxidation. When oxygen meets leather, it reacts with pigments in the material. This results in yellowing soles or other areas of the shoe. Luckily, you can keep your sneakers looking new for longer, using the method in the video below.

How To Unyellow Shoes For Less Than $5 – How To Un-Yellow Shoes by JaFire Sneakers (YouTube)


If you want to get the most out of your white shoes, like your Vans or Nike shoes, you need to take care of them. It’s important that you remove dirt and liquid as soon as possible, and then dust them off with a soft brush. If you can’t wash them immediately, sprinkle them with water and let them air dry.

We hope the methods we shared were useful on how to clean white shoes that turned yellow.

We’d love to hear about your experience with these methods in the comment section below. Do you have other methods for bringing back white shoes? Let us know! 

Remember to share this with your white shoe owner friends and family too!

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