How To Clean White Shoelaces: The Best Ways Explained!

According to NYMag, white sneakers aren’t just for athletes; they’re a Fashion Week favorite because of their versatility and comfort. However, your bright white shoes can turn pretty dingy if the laces aren’t clean.

It seems like laces absorb all of the dirt and grime in the streets. If they’re long, they might drag on the ground, quickly turning brown or gray.

how to clean white shoelaces

Stains can gather in the spots where the laces go through your shoes’ eyelets, or the color from your shoes may transfer onto the white laces.

Moreover, you probably overlook them whenever you spot clean your shoes. Therefore, your laces might not get the attention that they deserve.

If you want to know how to clean white shoelaces, stick around for the rest of this article.

We describe a few different methods that you can use to restore any white shoelace to its bright newness.

Bleach Them

Clorox says that you can use bleach to clean white cotton shoelaces. Here’s a video that shows how to do it using color-safe bleach.

  • Add 3 tablespoons of regular bleach to one gallon of water.
  • Place the shoelaces in a lingerie bag to prevent them from getting snagged in the washing machine. A white pillowcase works too, but you’ll be able to see your shoelaces better inside a lingerie bag.
  • Put the lingerie bag with the shoelaces into the bleach solution.
  • Weigh it down with a stone or dishwasher-safe plate if the lingerie bag floats.
  • Soak the shoelaces for 5 minutes, stirring with a dishwasher-safe spoon periodically.
  • Avoid touching the bleach solution with your hands because it can irritate your skin.
  • Remove the laces from the soaking solution, and place them in the washing machine with some other white items.
  • Add ½ cup of bleach to the load as well as the recommended amount of laundry detergent.
  • Wash in hot water.

Clorox Ultimate Care or is a type of bleach that can be applied directly to fabrics.

Saturate your laces with this product before washing in the machine following the instructions above.

Don’t leave the bleach on the laces too long, however, or they may turn yellow.


  • Bleach is safe to use on cotton and polyester.
  • You should notice within about 5 minutes whether the bleach is working.


  • Laces may turn yellow if you leave bleach on too long.
  • Bleach overuse can damage fibers in the laces.
  • You can’t bleach white leather laces.

Soak Them In Soapy Water

Bleach can damage fabric. Try not to bleach your shoelaces too often.

Instead, you can soak them in soapy water or shoe cleaner using the same steps as above but without the bleach.

This video shows how rubbing a bar of soap on the laces after soaking them can help remove stains.

To add this to the steps for cleaning white shoelaces without bleach, start by soaking the laces in warm water.

Then, hold them in your hand and scrub them with a bar of soap.

Return them to the water for soaking, then launder in the washing machine with regular laundry detergent.


  • Most people have dish soap readily available.
  • Using dish soap doesn’t damage fabric like bleach can.


  • Soapy water may not work as well as harsher chemicals for restoring whiteness to shoelaces.

Use A Stain Stick

If you splattered coffee on your shoelaces, you may need to pre-treat them with a stain stick before laundering them.

A stain stick might also remove the stains that linger even after you bleach the laces.

You can also use this as a solution for cleaning your shoelaces without removing them from your shoes.

You shouldn’t make a habit of doing that, but you don’t always have time to go through the whole laundering process.


  • You can remove many stains instantly even if you’re not home to wash the shoelaces.
  • You don’t have to remove the laces to clean them.


  • Stain sticks may leave uneven discoloration on the shoelaces.
  • You’ll have to clean or replace the entire lace eventually.
  • Using a stain stick without removing the laces may cause colors on the shoe to bleed.

Bleach Alternatives

Some alternatives to bleach that can be used to clean white fabric shoelaces include:

  • Hot water and shout stain remover
  • Applying a paste made with 6 tablespoons of baking soda and 3 tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide and drying them in the sun before rinsing and drying them again.
  • Soaking shoelaces in a gallon of water mixed with ½ pint of hydrogen peroxide.
  • Rubbing the laces with baking soda and leaving it on for 10 minutes before rinsing.

How To Clean White Leather Shoelaces

Leather can’t be treated the same way as cotton and polyester shoelaces.

Regular leather isn’t as absorbent as fabric, though. If your laces are shiny and smooth, they might stay cleaner than laces that are made of other materials.

When this type of shoelace does get dirty, you can try brushing it off with a toothbrush.

If that doesn’t work, wash it with a washcloth that’s been immersed in water and saddle soap.​

After the laces are dry, apply olive or coconut oil to restore their sheen. Let them air dry for several hours after an oil treatment.

Suede laces can suck up stains easily, though. If you have suede cord in your shoes and it gets dirty, it might be best to replace it.

Tips For How To Wash White Shoelaces

Now that you know multiple methods for washing white shoelaces, you might want a few extra tips:

Pretreat your shoelaces as soon as you buy them with a fabric protector that repels stains and spills.

The sooner you clean the shoelaces, the easier most stains will be to remove.

Removing your laces from your shoes before washing is more effective than leaving them on, especially if they’ve picked up color from the shoe itself.

Don’t put shoelaces in the dryer because this can damage the tips or shrink the laces. Instead, hang them up and air dry them.

Try not to use heat to dry your laces. They can take up to 3 hours to air dry. Don’t try to speed up the drying time with a hair dryer or another hot tool or you may risk damaging the material.

Dry white shoelaces in the sun for a brightening boost.

If the aglets (the plastic tips) are too dirty, cut them off and replace them with clear heat shrink tubing.

If all else fails, dye your shoelaces a different color or consider tie-dying them.


You might wonder why we’re advising you to wash your white shoelaces if replacing them is relatively cheap and easy. When you own several pairs of shoes, buying replacement laces frequently can end up being more costly than you think.

Even if you don’t care about the aesthetics of your shoelaces, studies show that your shoes pick up a variety of different germs.

wash your white shoelaces

On average, there are about 421,000 microbes on the outside of your shoes. Your hands touch the laces most often. Prevent yourself from getting sick by keeping them clean.

You’ll be surprised by the instant face-lift that results when you wash your shoelaces.

If you tried any of the tips in this article about how to clean white shoelaces, let us know in the comments below.

Feel free to send this tutorial to that friend of yours with the consistently gray shoelaces.


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