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The euphoric feeling of wearing sneakers with white soles is something every sneaker lover can relate to. But like every other good thing in life, it doesn’t last long. Even when you strictly follow preventive measures, you might see some sort of yellowing. That brings us to our main query, how do clean yellowing soles?
You could buy cleansers or stick to DIY solutions like baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, and toothpaste to whiten soles. You create a paste with some ingredients and leave it on more some time. After a bit of scrubbing and washing, the yellowing goes away.
Be that as it may, this was only the tip of the iceberg. If you want to get the whole scoop, I’ve made a thorough guide for you explaining everything you need to know.
3 most common reasons Why My Shoe Soles Turn Yellow
From oxidation to dirt, a lot of factors can make your favorite sneakers turn yellow. But all these factors lead to one thing; degradation over time. Although you could slow down the process if you know why it’s happening-
When the sole is exposed to the sun for a long period of time, the chemical reactions inside the sole start going crazy. As a result, the mixture of heat and air exposure reveals yellowing.
While you can’t avoid going in the sun with sneakers on, you could do something extra for drying your shoes(I’ll talk about this in a minute).
2. Harsh Detergents
This one’s a bit confusing. If your clothes are fine with regular laundry detergent, your shoes should be too, right? Not really. You see shoe fabric and soles don’t go well with regular detergent because of the harshness.
They damage the exterior of the soles, making them vulnerable to oxidation. And finally, that results in ugly yellowing.
3. Sweat and Dirt
Whether it’s for work purposes or on vacations, we’ve all had days where we stayed outside the whole day. You might’ve had your share of fun, but that’s not the same for your shoes.
After wearing it for a prolonged period of time, your sweat(and dirt) gets soaked into the shoes. And the worst part is, quick cleaning isn’t going to do the job. As the sweat gets deep inside the soles, a deep cleanse is a must.
How to Whiten Yellow Soles on Shoes?
From professional cleaning products to affordable hydrogen peroxide, there are a number of methods to get rid of yellowing on shoes. Professional products might cost you some money, but the result is worth it.
But that doesn’t mean homemade approaches aren’t effective. Although you might have to redo the steps a few times to make it squeaky clean. Anyway, here’s how to clean yellow soles with 4 methods-
How to Clean Icy Soles? (5 easy steps)
What You Need-
- Sea Glow Cleanser and Conditioner
- Paper towels
- 3M/any other scrubbing pad
Step 1: Apply Sea Glow to the Yellow Areas
Grab yourself a couple of paper towels and start applying the Sea Glow. But be careful about not putting the cleanser near the seams as the glue might fall off.
Simply stick to the soles and you’ll be good to go. Although you could opt for a toothbrush to get more precision. And if you accidentally apply the cleanser on the fabric, wipe it off with some paper towels ASAP.
Step 2: Start Scrubbing After 2-3 Minutes
Take out the scrubbing pads and get in there. After scrubbing for a minute or so, the cleanser will get soaked in, penetrating from the inside.
Step 3: Reapply the Sea Glow
The first dose is done, now it’s time for a second application. The second application will help to recover the damage done due to oxidation.
Step 4: Let the Shoes Bathe in the Sun for an Hour
The soles are now soaked in Sea Glow and ready for a sunbath. I know sunlight is bad news for sneakers. But in this case, it gives the cleaning agent the boost it needs.
Step 5: Start Scrubbing Away the Sea Glow
Most of your work is done. Now, start scrubbing off the Sea Glow with a fresh scrubbing pad. And yes, you can use a toothbrush too.
Nevertheless, try to be as gentle as possible with the scrubbing. Remember you want to get rid of the cleaning agent, not damage the shoes. But make sure there’s no Sea Glow residue left on the soles.
How to Clean Yellow Soles with Baking Soda? (Without Hydrogen Peroxide)
What You Need-
- 2 tbsp of baking soda
- 4 tbsp of liquid detergent
- 10g toothpaste
Step 1: Mix the Baking Soda and Detergent
Start by mixing the 2 tbsp of baking soda and 4 tbsp of liquid detergent together. A lot of people suggest using laundry detergent but don’t do it.
Harsh laundry detergent might do more damage than good to your shoe soles. Add a few drops of water to create a nice and thorough paste.
Step 2: Add the Toothpaste
Now it’s time to introduce toothpaste to the mix. Even though I said 10g of toothpaste, don’t let it get to you. Use whatever amount is necessary and give it a good blend.
Step 3: Apply the Mixture
Before you apply the mixture, it’s better to give the shoes a quick cleaning. This will remove any excess dirt on the soles. After you’re done, cover the soles with the mixture.
Step 4: Let the Shoes in the Sun for an Hour or Two
1 hour is the least amount of time. But if it were up to me, I’d go for 2 hours. Just ensure the paste is soaked dry and you’ll be good to go.
Step 5: Clean the Shoes and See the Results
Most of your work is done. All that’s left is to scrub the shoes with a toothbrush to remove the withered paste.
Now, you should remember this is a DIY solution regarding how to unyellow soles. So, it might not work that well on the first try, especially if the damage is extensive. If that’s the case, re-do the entire process again and you’ll see better results.
How to Clean Yellow Soles with Baking Soda? (With Hydrogen Peroxide)
What You Need-
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Baking soda
- Plastic wrap
Step 1: Mix the Ingredients
Start by mixing the hydrogen peroxide & baking soda together. As hydrogen peroxide already comes in liquid form, you don’t need to add any water to create a paste.
Step 2: Start Applying on the Soles
The mixture is ready to be applied to the soles. Grab your toothbrush and thoroughly apply it everywhere. Unlike chemical solvents, you don’t have to worry about the glue coming off if you accidentally put it on the seams.
Step 3: Wrap the Shoes in Plastic
Take a plastic bag and put the shoes inside for about 30 minutes or so. This will make sure the mixture doesn’t dry off.
Step 4: Scrub Away the Yellow
After about half an hour, you’ll notice the hydrogen peroxide mixture has already soaked in a lot of yellowing. Take a brush and start scrubbing away.
Step 5: Wash off the Mixture
Finally, give the shoes a good rinsing to reveal the whitened shoes. And as I said earlier, you might need to redo the process if the yellowness is still there.
Why is Hydrogen Peroxide (H202) Used in Cleaning Yellowing Soles?
Hydrogen peroxide is an ultra-cheap gem that breaks down dirt and grime in minutes. In layman’s terms, hydrogen peroxide is nothing but water except it has extra oxygen.
That extra oxygen oxidizes giving the solvent its well-known cleaning power. On top of that, it’s somewhat acidic. Apart from having bleaching agents, this breaks down yellow stains with efficiency.
So, there you have it. The reason it’s used is that hydrogen peroxide is crazy cheap and it’s super-efficient. The next time someone asks, how to get rid of yellow midsole? Show them the cheap process using H2O2 and baking soda.
How to Clean Icy Soles with Toothpaste? (3 steps)
Step 1: Brush off Excess Dirt
The excess dirt on the soles won’t let you work in peace. Take a dry brush and remove all the dirt and other stuff.
Step 2: Start Scrubbing with Toothpaste
Grab a toothbrush and use some toothpaste on it. Start applying it all over the soles. Also, scrub when you’re scrubbing.
And it’s a no-brainer that you have to use a little amount of water to get everything going. Get some warm water if you want to take it up a notch.
Step 3: Clean the Mess with a Damp Cloth
Finally, use a damp cloth to clean everything. You might see some of the areas need more cleaning. Just redo the process and it should go away.
How to Avoid Yellowing in Shoe Soles?
Once the soles get permanent yellowing, removing it can become one mammoth of a task. Before that happens, here are a couple of tips for avoiding yellowing on shoe soles-
- Rub off the Dirt ASAP
I know this might seem like typical advice but trust me it helps. Even if you wear them for a couple of hours, it still faces a lot of dirt. The easy fix is to rub off the dirt as soon as it gets in contact.
Be that as it may, don’t do it too much. Otherwise, you might start bothering everyone. Even more so, people might call you a clean freak.
- Make a Habit of Whitening the Soles When Cleaning
Weekly or monthly, we all clean our shoes every now and then. But what we all seem to forget is whitening the soles. Well, we don’t really forget, we feel lazy.
However, if you put in a little extra effort the shoes will have white soles for a long time. I get that soles are hardly visible as they stay under.
But remember the sole is the single most stressed-out part of your shoes. So, take care of it. You already know more than the average person about whitening them.
- Avoid Drying Under the Sun Without Tissue/Toilet Paper
This might seem weird but it works wonders for yellowing. Whenever you let your shoes dry under the sun, wrap tissue or toilet paper over it.
You’ll get 2 benefits from this. First, oxidation won’t bother the soles. Second, the tissue or toilet paper will absorb some of the yellow stains.
- Don’t Wear White Soles in Muddy Places Altogether
White shoes never go hand in hand with muddy surfaces. When it’s the rainy season or you have to walk in muddy areas, avoid wearing white soles.
Well, that’s a wrap. I hope you’re all clear on how to clean yellowing soles. Which method did you like the most? For me, it was the hydrogen peroxide method.
The bottom line, if you want white soles, you need to take care of your shoes. Monthly cleaning isn’t going to do the job especially if you wear shoes regularly.
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Rafayel Bryen is a lead content creator for Workwear Adviser. He is an expert on workwear because he had been into odd jobs. This is why he knows the importance of hard-wearing clothes.