How to remove yellow stains on shoes


For those who have white shoes, you might be surprised to see them with yellow stains after washing. In most cases, using bleach is the reason why this occurs. Luckily, there are several methods that you can use to reduce the appearance of the stains. Read further to learn more about the techniques on how to remove yellow stains on shoes effectively.

Steps on how to remove yellow stains on shoes with salt and hot water scrub

Let’s take a look at one of the techniques on how to remove yellow stains on shoes using a combination of salt and hot water. 

  • Fill up a small bowl with hot water. 
  • Add a tablespoon of table salt to the water. Stir the water until the salt fully dissolves.
  • Scrub the salt solution onto the stained area using a toothbrush, making sure that the area is completely saturated. You can re-dip the toothbrush into the solution to add more solution to the stained area. After several minutes of scrubbing, the stain will start to fade. 
  • Leave the shoes out on the towel to air dry for up to 20 minutes. 
  • Re-saturate the toothbrush and scrub the stain again for a few more minutes.
  • Once the stain has faded considerably, leave the shoes to dry. The stain might not completely fade, but it should fade enough that you can wear your shoes again.

How to get rid of yellow stains with cream of tartar

You can also get rid of the yellow stains by using a solution of cream of tartar.

  • Fill a large basin with 4 cups of hot water. 
  • Add ½ cup of cream of tartar into the water. Mix thoroughly until the cream of tartar is fully dissolved. You can find it at most grocery stores. 
  • Fully submerge your shoes in the solution for 30-90 minutes. Let them soak and check after 30 minutes if the stain has faded. If not, soak the shoes for another 30 minutes up to an hour. 
  • Once the stained area has faded, remove your shoes from the solution. Rinse thoroughly with cool water to get rid of the remaining solution. 
  • Place a towel on a flat surface and put your shoes on top. Allow to dry for several hours or overnight. 

Using the detergent and vinegar technique

  • Fill a sink with lukewarm water. 
  • Mix in ½ tablespoon of laundry detergent into the lukewarm water. Stir the water thoroughly until suds form. 
  • Soak your shoes in the foamy water. Use a toothbrush to scrub the yellow stains for several minutes until the stains start to fade. 
  • Once the stains start to fade, remove them from the detergent solution and place in the washing machine. Set the washer on warm water, low cycle, and switch it on. Allow it to fill up with water for a few seconds before adding white vinegar. 
  • Add ½ cup of white vinegar to the wash cycle. The vinegar will help break down the stain further and even get rid of any odors. 
  • Remove the shoes from the washer. Lay them on a towel or drying rack to air dry. 

Can hydrogen peroxide remove yellow stains on shoes?

Hydrogen peroxide can be used to get rid of yellow stains on shoes. It functions as a brightening and cleaning agent. Simply follow these steps. 

  • Prepare a paste of hydrogen peroxide by mixing with water. 
  • Use an old toothbrush or cloth to dab the paste on the yellow stains.
  • Rub over the stained area and repeat until the stain vanishes.

How do you remove bleach stains on shoes?

Bleach contains a yellow-colored dye that can be transferred to white surfaces. If you spot this type of stain, the removal process involves the elimination of the dye that can be accomplished in various ways. In case your shoes are not white, they are stained by the bleach itself, not the dye in the bleach. 

  • Dampen a sponge with alcohol
  • Rub the sponge over the stained area in circular motions.
  • In case the stains are significantly yellow, allow the alcohol to sit for a few minutes before wiping it away.
  • Rinse the sponge carefully and wipe the site with water to get rid of the alcohol.
  • Leave the site to fully dry.
  • In case the stain lingers, moisten a cloth with hydrogen peroxide and wipe it over the site. If the mark is stubborn, add a small amount directly on the stain and let it sit for a few minutes. Hydrogen peroxide functions as a mild bleach.
  • Rinse the site again with water and a clean cloth. Let it dry.

Why do white shoes turn yellow after washing?

When white shoes are exposed to the sun, they oxidize and turn yellow after washing and left out too long in the air. The culprit for the yellowing is due to the stubborn deposits such as sweat stains and dirt. 

Another reason is that your white shoes might still contain detergent or soap residue that was not completely washed out. This results in a chemical reaction while exposed to the sun during ventilation. In such instances, the shoes will turn yellow.

Final thoughts

The best way to prevent yellow stains on your white shoes is to wash them properly. If your shoes sadly end up with this type of stain, don’t worry since it can easily be removed. Simply use the techniques described above on how to remove yellow stains on shoes to restore the clean and stain-free appearance of your shoes.

teammichael

Michael René, consultant, is the leading stain removal expert in Denmark. Read about him and the rest of the team here

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