How to Clean the Rubber on Shoes and Get Rid of Dirt Effectively

As an expert in the field of footwear maintenance, I have spent countless hours perfecting the art of cleaning rubber shoes. My extensive experience has taught me that rubber shoes can be particularly challenging to clean due to their unique properties and susceptibility to dirt and grime. However, with my knowledge and expertise, I have developed a simple and effective method for restoring rubber shoes to their original luster.

In this article, I will be sharing my expert tips on how to clean the rubber on shoes, so you can maintain your footwear collection and keep it looking its best. From identifying the right cleaning products to avoiding common mistakes, I will provide you with everything you need to know to keep your rubber shoes looking pristine.

So whether you’re a seasoned sneakerhead or just looking to keep your everyday shoes looking fresh, my proven techniques will ensure that your rubber shoes always look their best!

What Type of Rubber is Used in Shoes?

how to clean the rubber on shoes

There are different types of rubbers that can be used in a shoe. Normally, rubbers can be found on the lower part of your shoes or sneakers. Each rubber will have different functions and advantages that you can see below:

  • Resin rubber: Adds a waterproof feature to your shoes. Resin rubber will also be extremely durable, although you might find it a little bit more challenging to walk on a hard surface with this kind of rubber on your soles. 
  • Crepe rubber: Imagine resin rubber that also feels light in your shoes. Yep, crepe rubber does exactly that!
  • Gristle Rubber: If you’re using a pair of industrial rubber shoes, there’s a huge chance that the soles are made from gristle rubber that is robust in quality
  • PVC: The cheapest rubber material out there in the market. Although PVC is cheap and flexible, it might be a little bit slippery

What is the Importance of Rubber Shoes?

how to clean the rubber on shoes

I can’t stress enough how important a pair of rubber shoes can be. Let’s start with industrial rubber shoes first. Due to their toughness and durability, people who work in hazardous environments will be safe from poisons or dangerous chemicals. Their lightweight nature also helps them move better and faster. 

What about athletic shoes, you may ask? Well, an athlete will feel better when they’re using flexible shoes because it will certainly help them move better and freely. Most of the time, rubber shoes will also feel light, which won’t prevent athletes from moving much. 

How Can I Make My White Rubber Shoes White Again?

how to clean the rubber on shoes

I always encourage my readers to clean their sneakers or shoes regularly. If you’re not up to the task, there’s a chance that your white shoes can turn yellow. Another reason that your rubber shoes can turn yellow is a fault or error during the cleaning process. However, it’s not a cause for concern yet! 

There’s a pair of shoes that I have left for a while, and they start to have some yellow stains on them. After a series of tests, I found out that these steps can help you clean white rubber shoes that are starting to get some yellowing stains. 

  • Prepare a bleach solution by mixing it with water. Make sure to make a 1:4 of bleach to water ratio.
  • Prepare a soft brush and try to dip the brush inside the solution. Make sure to wear gloves so as not to damage your hands in the process. 
  • Scrub the brush across your shoes and try to get rid of the yellowing stains.
  • After you have achieved a satisfying result, rinse the shoes to get rid of any bleach remnants.
  • Let the shoes dry before storing or using them. 

After using bleach, I can say that my shoes have stayed white and fresh. Therefore, I highly recommend this method for white rubber shoes. Just make sure that you don’t use too much bleach at once. 

Best Products to Clean Rubber Shoes

how to clean the rubber on shoes

There are a lot of products that you can use to clean the rubber on your shoes. An easy way would be to buy professional products in the market. However, you can also use homemade items to clean your sneakers. I prefer to use homemade items as well, as they are affordable and can be effective in cleaning rubber on your shoes. I’m not going to go into detailed steps for using them, as I have dedicated certain sections for that. Please take a look at the following list:

  • Bleach: Only use this item to clean white shoes
  • Baking Soda and Vinegar
  • Laundry Detergent
  • Nail Polish Remover or Acetone
  • Magic Eraser

In my own experience, using a combination of baking soda and vinegar would be the best option out of all the homemade items that I have said before. Mild laundry detergent comes out second, and it’s a great choice that you can consider. 

How Do You Clean Dirty Rubber Soles?

In this section, I shall guide you through the process of making dirty rubber soles on your shoes fresh again! Follow the step closely and put your back into it for the maximum result!

1. Rubber Soles Cleaning Kit and Their Functions

  • ShoeCleaner: A special shoe detergent is needed to clean the rubber on your shoes. You can use other cleaning solutions as well. However, my experience taught me that this is the best one out there! 
  • Apron: Not an obligatory item, but it will come in handy when we’re talking about keeping your shirt clean while washing your sneakers. 
  • Medium Brush: Used to clean your shoe’s midsole section. 
  • Microfiber Cloth: Used to wipe the rubber on your sneakers clean from dirt and stains. 
  • Container/Pan: Used to store water that will be mixed with Shoe Perfume in order to generate a certain odor for your shoes. 

2. Parts of the Shoes That You Should Adress & the Reasons to Clean Them

how to clean the rubber on shoes

For this special section, we’re only going to be discussing the midsole, which is certainly made of rubber. If your midsole is made from other materials, then this isn’t the place you want to be! 

To clean this particular section, a medium brush is needed. By using a medium brush, I found out that it can eliminate stains in the midsole section, which is known to be easily scratched and get dirty due to usage. 

3. How to Deep Clean the Rubber on Shoes


Step 1: Prepare the shoes that have rubber on it

Prepare a pair of shoes with dirty rubber midsoles that you want to clean. It is always a good idea to inspect your shoes before you clean them, especially if you haven’t worn them in a while or if they have been exposed to extreme conditions. Inspecting your shoes beforehand can help you identify any areas that may require special attention, such as stains, scuffs, or tears.

Step 2: Prepare the necessary kits to clean the rubber on your shoes

Prepare the shoe cleaner, apron, a medium brush, a microfiber cloth, and a container to store water and Shoe Perfume. 

Step 3: Dry clean the shoes

Before you wash the midsole section with water and shoe cleaner solution, please try and brush it with a medium brush. A medium brush is able to get rid of dust and dirt on your shoes. 

Step 4: Wash the midsole section of your shoes

Hold on to your medium brush, as it’s needed for this step as well. Use it to clean the midsole section with water that has been mixed with the Shoe Cleaner. After all the dirt and stains are eliminated, you can wipe it with a microfiber cloth. 

Step 5: Detailing

Use a wet microfiber cloth to clean the details on your sneakers that are dirty. Please be careful when cleaning the details of your shoes. To clean your leather shoes, specifically, you may want to check this article!

Step 6: Drying process

Dry off your shoes by putting them in front of the fan. Because you’re only cleaning the midsole section, there’s no need to leave them for a long time. I’d say that 30 minutes is enough.

Step 7: Finishing  

Check to see if your shoes are all dried up. Once they are dry, you can use the shoes again. Alternatively, you can also store them back where they belong. 

Do & Don’t


  • Use all your strength to clean the rubber on your shoes and get rid of all the stains and dirt. 
  • Repeat the process until you have achieved a satisfactory result. Even if your shoes are still dirty, just brush them off again!


  • When it comes to dealing with the midsole section, don’t use a standard brush or other brushes that are too strong. It might damage your sneakers. 
  •  Never leave your shoes under direct contact with the sunlight. 

Preserving the Rubber on Your Shoes

As someone who has extensive experience in maintaining shoes, I can tell you that preserving the rubber on your shoes is an essential part of extending their lifespan. Rubber is a durable material, but it can degrade over time if it’s not properly cared for. Here are my top tips for preserving the rubber on your shoes:

1. Keep your shoes clean

Dirt and debris can cause the rubber to break down faster, so it’s important to keep your shoes clean. I recommend using a mild detergent and a soft-bristled brush to gently scrub away any dirt and grime. Be careful not to use any harsh chemicals or abrasive materials that could damage the rubber.

2. Store your shoes properly

Storing your shoes in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight is crucial for preserving the rubber. Exposure to heat and sunlight can cause the rubber to dry out and crack. Avoid storing shoes in damp or humid areas, as this can also cause the rubber to degrade. Plus, add some of those silica sprinkles to control the humidity!

3. Apply a protective spray

There are many protective sprays available that are specifically designed for rubber soles. These sprays help to protect the rubber from the elements, such as rain and snow and can extend the lifespan of your shoes. Look for a silicone-based spray, as these tend to be the most effective. Check out these protective sprays for shoes recommended by NYMag!

4. Avoid extreme temperatures

Extreme temperatures, whether hot or cold, can cause the rubber to break down faster. Avoid leaving your shoes in the car on hot days or in freezing temperatures. If you must wear your shoes in extreme temperatures, make sure to clean and condition them regularly to keep the rubber in good condition.

5. Rotate your shoes

Wearing the same pair of shoes every day can cause the rubber soles to wear out more quickly. Consider rotating your shoes to allow them to rest and recover between wears. This will also give you a chance to clean and condition them regularly.

What Do Baking Soda and Vinegar Do to Shoes?

Baking soda and vinegar can be used to clean the rubber on your shoes. As a matter of fact, baking soda and vinegar can be used to clean most materials that make up your shoes. I can state it as a fact due to my own experience while using this mixture. They are highly efficient in cleaning rubber on shoes.

Generally, you can clean any kind of stain with baking soda and vinegar. However, baking soda is proven to be effective in eliminating normal stains and dust that are hard to get rid of on your shoes. You can also use baking soda to clean the yellow stains on your white shoes. However, I do lean on the usage of bleach for this scenario.

So, why do people hail baking soda as one of the most effective tools in cleaning rubber on shoes? Perhaps, it lies in the nature of baking soda. As soon as baking soda comes into contact with water, it will dissolve and make the solution highly alkaline. An alkaline solution will most likely be able to dissolve dirt and eliminate stains. So, there you go!

How to Clean the Rubber on Shoes with Baking Soda and Laundry Detergent

how to clean the rubber on shoes

Yes, baking soda and vinegar can be effective in cleaning rubber on shoes. But how exactly should you do it? I have done several tests, and these are the steps that, for me, are the best way to clean rubber on your shoes using baking soda. I’ll be discussing ways to use laundry detergent as well. I’ve got great results after trying both methods. So, it’s a matter of preference and availability of items!

Cleaning rubber on shoes with baking soda:

  • Remove the laces from your shoes
  • Prepare the mixture of baking soda and water. 
  • Prepare a standard brush to clean your outsole. Dip the brush into the mixture. 
  • Scrub the brush across the shoe. Make sure to use all your might in order to clean the shoes.
  • Rinse the shoes with water and let them dry. 

Cleaning rubber on shoes with laundry detergent:

  • Remove the laces from your shoes
  • Fill a bucket with water and add mild laundry detergent as well. 
  • Soak your brush with the mixture
  • Rub the shoes with the brush to get rid of the dirt
  • Rinse the shoes from all the soapy mixture and let them dry. 

When using the second method, you can also try and soak the shoes inside the mixture, should you have a big enough bucket. You can proceed to brush the shoes while underwater. Both methods have been tried by me, and they worked well!

How to Clean Your Shoe Rubber by Soaking It in Water

After removing the laces from the shoes, you can proceed to clean the rubber on the shoes by soaking it in a bucket of water. However, I do not recommend this method, as it won’t be as effective as the other ones. If you do have mild laundry detergent, you better add it to the bucket of water. This way, you’ll have a strong mixture that can easily erase any dirt or stain on the rubber of your shoes. After soaking it, you can wipe them dry with a microfiber cloth. 

How to Clean the Rubber on Shoes with Nail Polish Remover

A nail polish remover, or acetone, can also be a great alternative to cleaning rubber on your shoes. It should be a simple item that most people have in their homes! Acetone can remove stains easily, just like they remove nail polish on your nails. 

Important to note: a nail polish remover is a great option for cleaning rubber on shoes. However, do not try to use it on canvas or fabric. Trust me; I’ve learned it the hard way!

  • Prepare a cotton ball and your nail polish remover
  • Dip the cotton ball inside the nail polish remover. 
  • Gently scrub the cotton ball across your shoe’s outsole. 
  • Wait for some time before wiping the acetone clean with a cloth. It should be clean now!

This method is effective in eliminating stains, and I can vouch for that. However, you might need a little bit of patience in doing this method, as cotton balls won’t cover as large a space as a shoe brush

How to Clean the Rubber on Shoes with Magic Eraser

There are a lot of ways to clean the rubber on shoes properly. My last trick is to use the magical Magic Eraser. After trying this product for some time, I realized that there are some advantages to using a Magic Eraser. Aside from its effectiveness, a Magic Eraser won’t take too much of your time. 

  • Wet your Magic Eraser before usage
  • Wipe the Magic Eraser across the rubber on your shoes. 
  • Let the shoes dry for a while before storing them back where they belong. 

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Frequently Asked Question about Cleaning Rubber Soles

Which Sole is better: rubber or leather?

Rubber and leather have their own pros and cons.

Leather soles pros:

  • They will look more elegant than rubber soles.
  • Most leather soles are durable and strong

Leather soles cons:

  • They won’t feel as comfortable as rubber soles, as leather soles don’t have enough cushioning (if at all) for your feet
  • Although leather soles can be strong, it actually depends on how many layers are used

Rubber soles pros:

  • Rubber soles will be a lot more comfortable on your feet
  • Just like leather soles, rubber soles are generally strong and almost indestructible

Rubber soles cons:

  • Stylistically, they won’t look as beautiful as leather soles do
  • Nothing lasts forever. If, for any reason, your rubber soles break, you might find it hard to repair them

What is the best way to clean rubber?

Through my own experience, I learned that the best way to clean rubber is by using a Shoe Cleaner detergent (or any mild detergent that you have at home). Use it by brushing it across the shoes. 

Does vinegar harm rubber?

No, Vinegar doesn’t harm rubber, especially if the rubber is white. Vinegar contains some sort of acid that can eliminate dirt and help your sole become white once more. However, it might be a different story if the sole is a non-white one. 

Is Vaseline good for rubber?

Yes, Vaseline is good for rubber. Vaseline is a great option that you can use to clean leather material in order to make it shine bright once more. Still, Vaseline can also be used as an alternative to clean rubber as well, although I’d treat it as a last resort if you don’t have the other items to clean rubber on your shoes.


Cleaning the rubber on your shoes shouldn’t be that hard to do. After all, you won’t need to be as careful as cleaning leather, canvas, or other shoes with sensitive materials. You can even use a medium brush to do the job!