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Why Do White Shoes Turn Yellow

Sometime around the end of winter, you may notice that your white shoes have turned yellow. While this can be a little frustrating, it’s a natural process that all white shoes go through. In this article, we’ll explain why do white shoes turn yellow and how to prevent it from happening in the future.              

The first thing you need to know is that there’s nothing wrong with your shoes. This is a natural process caused by a chemical reaction between ultraviolet light and the plasticizer in the rubber of the outsole of your sneakers or dress shoes. So stay tuned for tips on how to keep your white shoes looking fresh all year long!

Why Do White Shoes Turn Yellow

Why Shoes Turn Yellow?

When rubber is manufactured, the end product is a tan or amber color. This final color comes from its chemical properties, not dye. When you purchase white rubber products, chemicals are mixed with the product during manufacturing to appear white. It’s important to note that there are different formulations for different rubber items — thinner items like hoses require more chemicals than thicker ones like automotive tires.

White athletic shoes made with rubber soles and uppers will start almost perfectly white but show discoloration within a few weeks. Why “White” isn’t white. It’s a light shade of gray, with the whiteness added during manufacturing with chemicals. The chemicals involved can cause the soles and uppers to change color, as well as leave a residue that causes discoloration.

The name for this phenomenon is “oxidation.” Oxidation causes white rubber products to darken over time due to exposure to oxygen in the air. Prolonged exposure to sunlight accelerates the oxidation process, causing white rubber items made with low-density rubber formulations (familiar with athletic footwear) to turn from grayish-white to yellow-brown quickly.

Cleaning White Athletic Shoes

Cleaning your white athletic shoes won’t remove any existing stains or prevent future discoloration, but there are specific steps you can take at home before taking them back to the store for a new pair.

A Detailed Guide on Why Do White Shoes Turn Yellow

One of the biggest problems with white shoes is turning yellow. Here are some steps on how to clean your white shoes which turned yellow:

Step 1: Baking Soda Mixture

Prepare baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, white vinegar, water, and toothpaste. Here are the steps on how to mix them:

One cup of water, two tablespoons of baking powder, or half a cup if you prefer to use it by itself: a teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide and two teaspoons of white vinegar.

One drop of 5% carbamide peroxide (tooth whitener) for old stains won’t come off with the rest. Mix them all until you get a paste created, then apply it to your shoes using either an old toothbrush or any other brush applied specifically for cleaning shoes. Remember that you should only do this when wearing gloves because this might stain your skin even worse if not wear protective equipment such as gloves.

Step 2: Scrubbing

Start scrubbing the paste on your shoes, making sure that you reach every area of it. Make sure to apply enough pressure, but at the same time, do not exert too much effort in doing so because this will only damage your shoe even more. Instead, lightly scrub the outside and inside parts until they are covered with cleaner.

After which, let it sit for about an hour, then rinse off with water thoroughly. It would be best to use a hose or anything that can clean things up quickly without any hassle. If you want to, you may also use a tennis ball to knock off some of the dirt stuck in harder-to-reach places. Just don’t forget to wear gloves.

Step 3: Applying Baking Soda

Apply a thin layer of baking soda all over your shoes after cleaning them from the cleaner thoroughly, and let them sit for an hour or two more. This will help remove the remaining stains that might not have disappeared entirely after rinsing off with water earlier. Once done, use an old toothbrush to scrub on areas where you think there is still some dirt stuck, and once again, rinse it off with water thoroughly.

Applying Baking Soda

When doing this step, make sure not to use any chemicals such as bleach or ammonia because those might ruin your shoes even more than before. Also, avoid using soaps because they can strip away the natural oils of your shoe, therefore, making it dry out quickly, which is terrible!

Step 4: Apply 40 Volume Crème Bleach

Use a 40 Volume Crème Bleach for this step which is ideal for most whitening jobs because it’s a higher strength peroxide, so you can be sure that it will give white shoes the bright color they used to have. Just remember to wear protective equipment such as gloves and safety goggles when applying bleach to avoid any possible accidents from happening.

Types of bleach peroxides that can be used for this step include but are not limited to 30 volume, 20 volume, and 10 volume. Ensure not to use any peroxide above 40 because it is doubtful you will need a higher strength peroxide to remove the yellow color from your shoes altogether. A 40 Volume Crème bleach will work best in doing so. Make sure to test the mixture on a small hidden part before applying it all over your shoes to ensure that everything is fine.

Step 5: Plastic Wrap to Prevent Shoes From Getting Yellow Again

After applying the bleach all over your shoes, make sure to use plastic wrap to keep everything in place. Avoid using different chemicals such as soaps or ammonia because they can ruin your shoes even more than before. After doing so, let them dry for an hour or two before removing the plastic wrap off. Just remember to wear protective equipment such as gloves when applying bleach to avoid accidents that can potentially harm you.

Step 6: Put Your Shoes in the Sun

After everything has dried, it’s now time to put your shoes in the sun! Just make sure to use a safe way of putting them out, such as hanging them up instead of leaving them out in an open space where people can step on anytime. Also, sunlight will help bleach the inside part of your shoes, where most of the dirt will usually stick.

Put Your Shoes in the Sun

Step 7: Rinse Off With Water

After letting your shoes sit in the sun for a few hours, make sure to rinse them off with cold water and let them dry out properly before putting them back on. Clean bleach stains can be removed by rinsing with cold water and wearing protective equipment such as gloves to avoid accidents.

Cleaning up the shoes thoroughly includes cleaning off any dirt stuck inside and outside parts until all of them are covered with cleaner. After which, let it sit for about an hour, then rinse off with water thoroughly. It would be best to use a hose or anything that can clean things up quickly without any hassle.

Step 8: Repeat if Necessary

If you think that your shoes are not as white as they used to be, then it’s time to repeat all the steps above once again! This will help ensure that your shoes are nice and white for an extended period. In addition, these steps will help explain why white shoes turn yellow.

You Can Check It Out To Use Kiwi Whitener

Why Did My Shoes Turn Yellow After Washing?

When a white item is washed for the first time, it can appear to turn a slightly off-white color. The change in appearance has to do with an excess dye that was not rinsed out of the fabric before going into the wash. This dye discolors over time and becomes more visible as the fabric ages.

In addition, some clothes contain pigments that are intended to stay on permanently after washing – but these dyes can also begin to fade after continuous wear and repeated laundering.

Shoes Turn Yellow After Washing

To prevent your white clothing, shoes, or linens from turning slightly yellowish after washing, here are several steps you can take. First, make sure the item is entirely white – any residue of other colors will cause the dye to bleed during laundering and result in additional discoloration. Be careful not to use too much detergent or bleach, as either one could damage the fabric fibers and increase staining.

You Can Check It Out Clean White Hoka Shoes

Rinse items thoroughly before putting them into the washer; even tiny leftover soap granules can turn into small dye-carrying particles that leave behind unwanted stains once wet. When delicate handwashing fabrics like lace or silk, rinse until the water runs clear instead of scrubbing the material to remove suds. You should never put textiles that contain wool into a hot water wash, as this could shrink and damage the fabric.


White shoes are the perfect shoe to wear for any occasion, but if you don’t take care of them properly, they’ll start turning yellow. The good news is that it doesn’t take much effort to keep your white shoes looking new! All it takes is a little bit of time and some simple cleaning products. We hope you have learned why do white shoes turn yellow and how you can get those whites back in order so that your favorite pair looks as fresh as ever.