Tips on How to Remove Yellow Bleach Stains From White Shoes

Did you clean your white sneakers with bleach, and instead of restoring their fresh exterior, they turned yellow? So now your question is bound to be how to turn yellow shoes white again or are their days over?

Before you toss them in the garbage, there are a few tricks you can try to remove the stains. Today, we’re showing you how to remove yellow bleach stains from white shoes.


Why Do White Shoes Turn Yellow After Washing?

When using bleach, you’re increasing the risks of yellow stains. Bleach contains a yellow dye that easily transfers onto white surfaces when not used properly. Sadly, it’s not always possible to restore the white canvas.

To remove it entirely, you must find a method that eliminates the unwanted dye. You have several remedies to try, which we’ll explain below.


How to Remove Yellow Bleach Stains From White Shoes

We’ve found three easy and fairly successful methods of removing yellowing bleach stains from your shoes. However, keep in mind that it might not be possible to eradicate the blemishes altogether—it depends on your shoe and the damage.

Salt and Hot Water Scrub

This is what you need:

  • One cup of hot water (hot but not boiling).
  • Old toothbrush.
  • One tablespoon of salt.
  • Cereal/soup-size bowl.

Here are the steps:

  1. Begin by filling a heat-safe bowl with one cup of hot water. The water should be very hot, but not boiling.
  2. Mix in one tablespoon of salt. Let it dissolve in the water by slightly stirring it.
  3. Then dip the toothbrush in the solution and proceed to scrub the yellow stains on your shoes. Re-saturate the bristles as needed. Work in circular motions with gentle pressure.
  4. When the stains begin to fade, stop scrubbing and let the material air dry for approximately 20 minutes or until it’s dry to the touch.
  5. Re-saturate the brush and continue scrubbing for several minutes until the stains don’t lighten any further. Then stop rubbing and leave the shoes to dry.

Watch this helpful video for removing stains using salt and water.


Detergent and Vinegar

You’ll need the following:

  • Deep, clean sink.
  • 5 tablespoons of laundry detergent.
  • Old toothbrush.
  • Washing machine.
  • 5 cups of white vinegar.
  • Pillowcase (optional).

Here are the how-tos:

  1. Start by removing the shoelaces if applicable. Then head over to your sink and quickly give it a clean by wiping down the sides.
  2. Fill your sink with lukewarm water—to approximately one-third of the way.
  3. Add in 0.5 tablespoons of laundry detergent. Give it a quick stir to ensure it’s well combined.
  4. Place both shoes in the sink and let them soak for a minute or so.
  5. Take your old toothbrush, wet the bristles and proceed to scrub the yellowing stains. Work in vigorous motions until the yellow begins to fade. Repeat with the other shoe. While working with one shoe, leave the other to soak in the solution.
  6. When the blemishes have faded, transfer the shoes to the washing machine. Set it to a warm, low agitation cycle.
  7. Let the washer fill with water and then add in the 0.5 cups of white vinegar.
  8. After the wash, take your shoes out to dry. Place them on a towel in a ventilated room, and you’re finished.


Pro Tips

  • Shoelaces tend to get tangled in the washer, so removing them before will prevent this. If they’re dirty too, place them in a pillowcase and put them in the machine with the shoes.
  • If you don’t have a deep sink available, you can easily use a large bucket or basin.
  • Avoid rinsing the shoes before placing them in the washing machine. The laundry detergent will only help the vinegar.
  • Washing your footwear with white vinegar is also a fantastic solution to combat bad odors.
  • You may be able to put your shoes in the dryer. We recommend that you read our Q&A, can you put shoes in the dryer?


Cream of Tartar

Here’s what you need:

  • Large bucket or basin.
  • Four cups of hot water.
  • 5 cups cream of tartar.

Here are the steps:

  1. Start by filling a bucket or basin with hot water. The water must be very hot, but not boiling.
  2. Mix in the 0.5 cups of cream of tartar—use a spoon to combine it.
  3. Grab your bleach-stained sneakers and place them in the water. Let them soak for roughly 30 to 90 minutes, depending on the damage. Ensure that they’re completely submerged, and check on them after 30 minutes.
  4. When the stains have faded or disappeared, rinse your shoes under cold running water. Leave them to air dry before wearing.


Pro Tip

  • Don’t skip the cold water rinse. Cream of tartar is an acid, which can cause damage to your shoes if left.


How to Prevent Yellow Bleach Stains on White Shoes

Remove Yellow Bleach Stains From White Shoes

It’s virtually impossible to keep white shoes looking like they’ve just come out of the box. However, cleaning them without causing any yellowing is possible, but you need to be careful. If you’re trying to restore an old pair of shoes, read our guide on how to clean used shoes and disinfect them properly.

Here’s one way to prevent yellow bleach stains:

This is what you need:

  • Soft-bristled brush.
  • Cleaning rag.
  • White vinegar.
  • Laundry detergent.
  • Borax.
  • Washing machine.

Here’s what you do:

  1. Start by brushing dirt or debris off your shoes using the soft-bristled brush. Ensure that you remove or loosen as much as possible before continuing.
  2. Take your rag and saturate it in white vinegar. Proceed to wipe the surface of your shoes with the rag. Rub off scuff marks and visible dirt thoroughly—re-saturate the cloth as needed.
  3. Put your shoes in the washing machine. Add in a regular amount of laundry detergent and some Borax. Set the washer to a gentle warm cycle.
  4. Once the cycle is finished, remove the shoes and place them to air dry. You can leave them in the sun as the light removes bacteria and has some lightening effects.



Frequently Asked Questions

How To Remove Yellow Bleach Stains From White Shoes

Can Toothpaste Remove Yellow Stains From Shoes?

Toothpaste is here to keep our smiles bright and healthy, but does it have other uses? Yes and no—it depends on the type of toothpaste you’re using. Interestingly, when asking how to remove yellowing from shoes soles, many recommend trying toothpaste.

To remove yellow stains, use a non-gel white toothpaste and an old toothbrush. Don’t use colored toothpaste as it can stain your sneakers.

Scrub the paste onto the stains until they begin to fade and leave it on for approximately 10 minutes. When the time is up, wipe it off using a damp cloth or towel—repeat as needed.


How Does Baking Soda Remove Yellow Stains From Shoes?

If your white canvas shoes turned yellow after washing, baking soda, toothpaste and hydrogen peroxide (optional) could do the trick. It’s actually a fantastic method if you want to know how to remove yellow stains from white Vans and Converse.

Make a paste by combining:

  • Baking soda—1 tablespoon.
  • Toothpaste—0.5 tablespoons.
  • Hydrogen peroxide—0.5 tablespoons.

Using an old toothbrush, apply the paste to the stains using circular motions. After working the mixture into the canvas, let it sit for approximately 30 minutes, or until dry. Once it’s dry, bang your shoes together to remove the dried paste and then rinse thoroughly with water. Leave out hydrogen peroxide if you don’t have it handy.



Before applying to your shoes, do a small test on a remote area of the canvas. This is to ensure that you’re not causing any noticeable damage.


Can You Bleach White Shoes?

Although bleaching your white shoes is how we got here today, it can still be a solution for stubborn stains. While it’s not the most gentle method, if done carefully, you can get away with it.

The place where most people go wrong and end up staining their shoes is with the ratio of bleach and water. You want to dilute it enough so that the yellow dye won’t turn the canvas into a yellowing mess.

How much to use, if any, varies between materials and shoes. Most, however, suggest that you mix one part bleach in five parts of water. Use an old toothbrush to apply the solution and rinse thoroughly with water afterward.

If you use bleach, remember to wear gloves and work either outside or in a well-ventilated room. The fumes can be harmful.


The Takeaway

How to remove yellow bleach stains from white shoes? You can use several methods for restoring the white canvas on your shoes. Three of the best ways include salt and hot water, detergent and vinegar or cream of tartar. You can, however, also try a mix of toothpaste and baking soda.

Bleach contains a yellow dye that transfers onto the surface if you don’t dilute it enough. Other causes include a chemical reaction between leftover soap and sunlight, so always remember to rinse the shoes thoroughly after cleaning them.

We hope you find the methods useful, and we’d love to hear about the results in the section below. Also, feel free to share it with other unlucky white-shoe owners.



Join Our Mailing List

logo new white

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This is designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites. This allows us to earn an income to maintain our site and continue to provide value to our readers. 

Copyright of Boot Mood Foot 2015-2020

Enjoying This Article?

Why not download our free ebook?