How To Remove Yellow Stains From White Shoes

How To Remove Yellow Stains From White Shoes

White Vans, Air Forces, and other canvas shoes are a staple in many wardrobes, but they often turn yellow due to various elements such as dirt, sweat, and even sun exposure. This is particularly true for beachgoers who find their beloved white sneakers stained after a day in the sand and sea.

However, no need to fret! Read on to this guide and learn how to remove yellow beach stains effectively.

Additionally, we'll provide tips on how to maintain your white canvas shoes, keeping them as pristine as the day you bought them.

Why Do White Shoes Turn Yellow?

Sunlight, especially intense summer sunlight, is one of the main culprits for yellow stains on shoes. The natural fibers of canvas shoes can react with UV rays, leading to the yellowing of the material over time.

This is a common problem for beachgoers who leave their footwear exposed to the sun. The same phenomenon is applicable to white leather shoes as well, which can also be affected.

Moreover, the shoe's sole, often made of rubber, can discolor when exposed to sunlight. However, these yellow bleach stains from white shoes can be removed with certain cleaning solutions and techniques, bringing your favorite kicks back to their original glory.

And that's what we will be talking about in the next sections.

Different Ways to Remove Yellow Stains From White Shoes

There are several ways to remove yellow stains from white shoes, and here are some of the most effective methods:

Baking Soda and White Vinegar

Baking Soda and White Vinegar

Probably the easiest and most accessible method is a simple combination of baking soda and white vinegar.

Start by mixing equal parts of baking soda and vinegar, then dilute the mixture with a bit of warm water to create a paste.

Apply the solution onto the yellow stained part of your shoe with a damp cloth. Let it soak in the solution for about 30 minutes. For the shoelaces, you can remove and soak them separately in the mixture. 

After 30 minutes, gently scrub the shoes with the same damp cloth. Rinse off the solution afterward and allow your shoes to air dry.



Another household item that can be used to remove stains from white shoes is toothpaste. Look for toothpaste that contains peroxide, which is particularly effective in removing yellow stains. Using toothpaste to clean your shoes is straightforward.

Start by applying a small amount of toothpaste directly onto the stain.

Then, use a toothbrush (preferably an old one) to gently scrub the stained area. Allow the toothpaste to sit on the stain for another 30 minutes.

It is important not to let the toothpaste dry completely, as this can lead to further discoloration. After 30 minutes, wipe off the toothpaste with a clean, damp cloth.

Finally, rinse them with cold water and allow your shoes to air dry.



Not only for clothes, bleach can be a potent weapon in your battle against yellow stains on white canvas shoes. However, it's crucial to remember that you should not use bleach on shoes that have any color other than white, as it can cause discoloration.

To effectively remove yellow bleach stains, prepare a solution with one part bleach and five parts water. This dilution is generally safe for most white canvas shoes, including popular brands like Vans sneakers.

To use the bleach solution, start by removing any loose dirt from your shoes. Then, using a cloth or sponge, apply the solution onto the stained area with caution. Let it sit for a few minutes, but be watchful as bleach works fast and can weaken the fabric if left too long. When the stain appears lighter, rinse the shoes thoroughly under cold water.

If you have a washing machine, you can toss them in for a quick rinse cycle to ensure all traces of bleach are removed. Remember to put them into a mesh laundry bag for protection. After washing, let your shoes air dry in a well-ventilated area, but not under direct sunlight.

With this method, it can effectively remove stains from your white shoes without causing further damage to the material. Plus, it's a cost-effective approach that uses household products you likely already have on hand.



This might be a surprise, but rubbing alcohol can also be used to remove yellow stains from shoes. The process is relatively similar to using bleach but with a few differences.

To use this method, start by dampening a cloth with rubbing alcohol and gently blotting the stained area. Make sure not to rub too hard as it can damage the shoe's material.

Next, let the alcohol sit on the stain for about 10 minutes before rinsing it off with cold water. You can also use a sponge soaked in alcohol to scrub any stubborn stains.

Once all the staining is gone, rinse your shoes thoroughly and allow them to air dry in a well-ventilated area.

Hydrogen Peroxide

Tatar is a common kitchen ingredient which, surprisingly, can come to the rescue for your pair of white shoes. Known scientifically as potassium bitartrate, cream of tatar is often used in baking and also boasts impressive cleaning capabilities.

To remove stains from your shoes using cream of tatar, start by making a paste.

Combine equal parts of cream of tatar and warm water, and mix until a consistent paste forms.

Apply this paste to the yellow-stained areas of your shoes, and let it sit for 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the severity of the stain.

Once the time is up, use a damp cloth to wipe off the paste. Rinse with cool water and allow your shoes to air dry.

Dishwashing Detergent

Another household cleaner and staple, dishwashing detergent, can also be used to remove yellow stains from white shoes.

Some dishwashing detergents contain bleaching agents, which work to remove stains and discoloration. The process is quite simple:

  • Start by mixing a small amount of dishwashing detergent with warm water to create a soapy solution.
  • Next, using a cloth or sponge, apply the solution onto the stained areas and gently scrub.
  • Allow it to sit for 10-15 minutes before rinsing off with cold water.
  • Repeat the process if necessary until the stain is completely gone, then let your shoes air dry.

Lemon Juice or Lemon Water

Lemon Juice or Lemon Water

Last but not least, lemon juice (or a mixture of lemon juice and water) can also be used to remove yellow stains from white shoes.

Lemon juice contains citric acid, which is known for its bleaching properties. To use this method, start by squeezing the juice of one or two lemons into a bowl containing equal parts of warm water.

  • Using a clean cloth or sponge, apply the solution to the stained areas and let it sit for 10 minutes.
  • After 10 minutes, rinse off the solution with cold water and allow your shoes to air dry. Repeat if necessary.
  • If you prefer, you can also cut a lemon into slices and rub them directly onto the stains. Once done, rinse off with cold water and let your shoes air dry.

Useful Tips to Prevent Yellow Stains on White Shoes

Now that you know how to deal with yellow stains on white shoes, it's essential to take precautions to prevent them from happening in the future.

Here are some tips that can help you keep your white shoes looking pristine:

  • Regular Cleaning Routine: Establish a regular cleaning routine for your white shoes to prevent yellow stains. Use a mild laundry detergent and warm water to gently wipe off dirt and grime.
  • Immediate Stain Treatment: Address any spills or stains promptly. If your shoes get dirty, don't let the stains set in. Clean them as soon as possible to avoid discoloration.
  • Avoid Wearing in Harsh Conditions: Try to avoid wearing your white shoes in harsh conditions or environments that can lead to staining. Be cautious in muddy or dusty areas to minimize the risk of stains.
  • Protective Sprays: Apply a water and stain repellent spray to create a protective barrier on your white shoes. This can help prevent liquids and stains from penetrating the fabric.
  • Proper Storage: Store your white shoes in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Avoid leaving them in humid or damp conditions, as moisture can contribute to yellowing.
  • Use Salt and Hot Water for Soles: To prevent yellowing on the soles, occasionally clean them with a mixture of salt and hot water. Scrub gently to remove accumulated dirt and prevent discoloration.
  • Choose Your Environment: Be mindful of where you wear your white shoes. Opt for clean and dry surfaces when possible. Avoid surfaces with potential color transfer, such as wet grass or colored pavements.
  • Let Shoes Breathe: Allow your shoes to breathe by giving them breaks between wears. Overuse without proper ventilation can lead to a buildup of moisture, contributing to yellowing.
  • Rotate Your Shoes: Rotate your footwear regularly to avoid excessive wear on one pair. This not only maintains the condition of your white shoes but also gives them time to air out.
  • Proper Drying Techniques: After cleaning them, let the shoes dry naturally instead of using a dryer or heater. Direct heat can cause yellowing, so avoid it if possible.

Closing Thoughts

Depending on the severity of the stains, you may need to consider a variety of shoe cleaning products and methods. There are numerous tips on how to remove yellow stains from white shoes. Soaking your shoes in a cleaning solution can be one effective approach.

Be sure to thoroughly rinse and dry your shoes after the treatment to prevent additional staining or damage. From homemade remedies like lemon juice and hydrogen peroxide to commercial cleaners, there are many ways to clean your shoes.

Remember, consistency is key—regularly cleaning your shoes can help prevent stubborn stains from setting in the first place.

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Make sure to check Stone and Clark's Amazon store and find helpful products for your shoe cleaning needs. From water and stain repellent sprays to complete sneaker cleaning kit, we've got you covered. Happy cleaning!

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