How to Clean White Soles on Sneakers

By Mary Smith. February 1, 2021
How to Clean White Soles on Sneakers

We can do a lot to try to keep our white shoes white, but keeping the soles clean is especially difficult. Unless we only walk on surfaces without any dust or dirt, keeping them grime-free is practically impossible. For this reason, we need to find different ways to keep white sneakers clean. If you are careful, you might be able to use these tricks to make your trainers brilliant white and as good as new. You can do this without having to resort to using the washing machine which can wear down the fabric of the shoe.

At oneHOWTO, we explain how to clean white soles on sneakers. Let us know in the comments which method works best for you!

You may also be interested in: How To Clean Converse Rubber

Toothpaste to clean white sneakers

Toothpaste can be an ally to more than just your dental hygiene routine. Due to its ingredients, including bicarbonate and calcium carbonate, it is a product used for whitening teeth. Fortunately, toothpaste is just as at removing the yellow from your shoes as it is your teeth. While you can use just about any toothpaste to clean your footwear, if you have baking soda and peroxide toothpaste, all the better.

  1. Wipe white trainers with a damp cloth to remove the most obvious dirt from the soles, including the white edges.
  2. Take an old toothbrush you no longer use and spread some toothpaste on the bristles. If you are just cleaning the visible side egde of the sole, you can put toothpaste all around the shoe edge.
  3. Let the paste dry for about five minutes.
  4. After this time, use the brush or an old scouring pad to remove the paste. You don't need to scrub vigorously, just gently remove the toothpaste.
  5. To finish, go over the white sole with a damp cloth or sponge.

Not all shoes can be treated the same way. For more information, consult our article on how to clean cloth shoes.

White vinegar and baking soda to clean white sneakers

Another home remedy to clean white shoes is one of the most powerful and effective. Vinegar is an antibacterial and bleaching agent which not only keeps your whites whiter, but is very useful in removing bad smells. This is why vinegar is a product used for many different home cleaning tasks, being just as good at cleaning textiles as it is hard surfaces. Check out our article on how to clean your washing machine with white vinegar for more info.

Baking soda is also helpful in cleaning, but acts more specifically in removing fatty or oily stains from white trainers. Combine these two powerful ingredients to clean white tennis shoes using the following method:

  1. Mix equal parts water and white vinegar in a glass. Next, add a tablespoon of baking soda.
  2. Soak a cloth in the mixture and wipe it all over the sole of your tennis shoes, including the sides and toes, where it is most common to find stains.
  3. Let the mixture sit for a few minutes, then wipe it off with a clean, damp cloth.
  4. The yellow on the sole of your tennis shoes should disappear instantly.
How to Clean White Soles on Sneakers - White vinegar and baking soda to clean white sneakers

Peroxide to clean white sneakers

Hydrogen peroxide, popularly known as hydrogen peroxide, is a powerful bleaching agent, cleaner and disinfectant that can also be useful when it comes to leaving the white soles of your sneakers spotless. It will come in handy even when the yellow areas are not limited to plastic, but extend through the fabric of the shoe itself.

  1. Put warm water in a bowl and add a good squirt of hydrogen peroxide.
  2. Dip your tennis shoes in the mixture and let the hydrogen peroxide work for about 30 minutes.
  3. When you remove the shoes from the basin, rinse with plenty of warm water so as not to leave a trace of the hydrogen peroxide.
  4. While you are rinsing with the warm water from the faucet, you can use a gentle brush to finish removing all traces of dirt.

Although hydrogen peroxide acts as a bleaching agent, it is not as strong as chlorine-based household bleaches. However, we still need to be careful. We want to clean the white sole of the sneaker, but not the colored material of the rest of the shoe. This is why we need to dilute the hydrogen peroxide, so don't put it on directly. Check out our article on household uses of hydrogen peroxide to know more.

Whiten sneaker soles in the dishwasher detergent

If you need to clean the white soles of your sneakers fast, there is a simple and effective remedy which can leave them spotless in a matter of minutes. Using simply dishwashing detergent can be the best way to clean the soles of your shoes without soaking them first. This will also help to eliminate bad smells and shouldn't damage the other material of the shoes.

  1. Make a simple mixture by dissolving two tablespoons of your dishwasher soap in a little water. Next, add a good handful of coarse salt so that its grains act as an abrasive to wash away the dirt.
  2. Using a soft brush or scouring pad, rub the edges of your tennis shoes with the powerful mixture until the foam removes any dirt.
  3. Remove with a damp cloth and you should have completely white soles.
How to Clean White Soles on Sneakers - Whiten sneaker soles in the dishwasher detergent

Nail polish remover for white sneakers

For the soles of white trainers, the problem is not always the dirt. Stains from grass and other places often make the white soles turn yellow. In these cases, we need something a little stronger which won't damage them. This is where nail polish remover comes in. It is one of the most effective ways to clean white trainer soles since its chemical compounds are strong enough to remove nail polish, so they should work for white soles.

  1. Before you start, wipe the entire sole with a damp cloth to remove any dirt particles.
  2. Apply nail polish remover to the yellowish edge of the sole with a soft brush.
  3. Finish off with another go with the acetone if the shoes aren't quite white enough and wipe off with a damp cloth.
  4. Let your tennis shoes dry out of the sun.
  5. If you want to increase the effectiveness of this remedy, try mixing the acetone you use with a small spoonful of baking soda.

Laundry detergent and lemon to clean white sneakers

The washing powder you use for laundry is also ideal to clean your white sneaker soles. It has antibacterial, disinfectant and bleaching properties. It can be the perfect tool to get bright white shoes when you need them.

  1. Mix a splash of natural lemon juice with a tablespoon of powdered laundry detergent.
  2. It should be a solid paste, so if you mix and see that there is too much liquid left, you can add a little more powdered detergent (but without going overboard).
  3. Spread the paste with a brush or with a cloth all over the sole, around the edges and ends.
  4. Let the mixture act for about 5-10 minutes and, after this time, rinse with plenty of warm water.
How to Clean White Soles on Sneakers - Laundry detergent and lemon to clean white sneakers

Clean white sneaker soles with an eraser

Do you have black scratch marks on the white soles of your sneakers? To eliminate them, there is nothing better than a simple eraser you surely used in school. Use the gummed eraser to remove the black marks on the rubber sole of the shoe. Only use an equally white eraser, not a colored one. These can also leave marks on the shoe and will be counterproductive.

For more tips on how to keep your white clothes and accessories white, check out our articles on how to clean white Converse shoes and how to clean a white handbag.

If you want to read similar articles to How to Clean White Soles on Sneakers, we recommend you visit our Home cleaning category.

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