How to Unyellow & Restore Yellowed White Shoes

If you are like most people, you want your shoes, particularly the white ones to look great at all times. However, after wearing your perfect new pair of workwear shoes a few times, you notice that they are starting to yellow. While most individuals may consider yellowed footwear to be wrecked, there are easy ways to recondition them. Here, we will disclose how to unyellow shoes and get them back to their initial colors. First, though, you need to understand why your white kicks and soles may turn yellow after a while.

See also: How Often Should You Replace Work Shoes?

Why Your White Shoes May Turn Yellow

White workwear shoes may turn yellow after a while for various reasons. The most frequent cause is oxidation. Oxidation is a natural process that happens when a substance combines with oxygen. Workwear shoes are in general made using leather or canvas, so the discoloration occurs when oxygen reacts chemically with the leather or canvas material of your shoes.

Your white shoes may also turn yellow due to using inappropriate cleaning techniques. Not every shoe cleaning product is suitable for use on shoes. Keep reading to discover how to restore your yellowed workwear shoes to their initial color.

See also: How to Protect White Leather Shoes

How to Unyellow & Restore Yellowed Shoe Soles

Clean the Shoes

Before you start removing the yellow tint on your work shoes, you need to prep the shoes first. This involves getting rid of dirt and debris.

Materials you will need:

  • Soft cloth
  • Clean toothbrush
  • Warm soapy water
  • Brush


  • Remove the laces if any
  • Remove any dried debris or dirt clinging to your shoes using your hands, brush, a soft cloth
  • Dip the clean toothbrush into the warm soapy water and use it to gently brush off stains on the shoes.

This process may not remove the yellow discoloration on your shoes so you have to employ a deeper cleaning technique.

Use Baking Soda to Unyellow Your Canvas Work Shoes

Materials you will need:

  • Baking soda
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • A small bowl
  • A clean paintbrush or toothbrush


  1. Add baking soda (1 tablespoon), hydrogen peroxide (1/2 tablespoon), and water (1/2 tablespoon) into a small bowl.
  2. Stir the entire mixture until you get a smooth paste
  3. Brush this paste onto your canvas shoes using a clean paintbrush or toothbrush
  4. Throw your shoelaces into the bowl containing remnants of the paste. Allow the laces to absorb the mixture
  5. Set both your shoes plus the laces under the sun
  6. Wait for the paste to dry completely and crack off. This should take approximately 3 hours.
  7. Brush off the dried paste from your shoes as well as the laces. Your shoes and laces should be a lot whiter compared to before
  8. Repeat the above process if the yellow tint has not been sufficiently removed

Unyellowing Leather/Suede Workwear Shoes

Your yellowed suede or leather shoes will need a bit more care compared to your canvas shoes. This is because suede and leather are delicate products that need careful cleaning techniques. You should purchase products that are designed especially for cleaning leather or suede.

Materials you will need:

  • Specialty cleaner for leather or suede
  • Clean toothbrush
  • Soft cloth


  1. Apply some of the specialty cleaners you have purchased to your leather or suede shoes
  2. Use a clean toothbrush to scrub all the areas that have yellow discolorations
  3. Wipe off excess cleaner using a soft cloth
  4. Dampen the toothbrush and use it to continue brushing your shoes until the yellow discoloration is gone.

If you cannot access specialty suede cleaner, you can try removing the yellow discoloration using a soft cloth that is moistened with white vinegar. For leather workwear shoes, you can try removing the yellow tint by rubbing your shoes using a soft cloth moistened with water plus mild soap.

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