How to Clean White Soles of Shoes without Damaging Them

Shoe soles are as important as the other shoe parts. Although they’re rarely seen because located at the bottom, soles have a major role in providing durability, comfort, and protection to your feet while wearing shoes. Soles have three different parts and functions, and today in this article we’ll talk about the midsole exclusively.

Midsole is usually located between the insole and the outsole of the shoe. This part functions as shock absorption and provides cushioning. Oftentime, midsoles have direct contact with the ground, thus making them dirty and stained. Another problem with the midsole is scuff marks that appear due to frequent using.

Dirty, stained midsoles are bad news, especially when the midsoles are white. The dirts, stains, and scuff marks are more noticeable on white soles, making the shoes less flattering. Luckily, there are many ways to clean the white soles of the shoes, but sometimes we’re a bit unsure whether it’s safe and won’t cause greater damage to the shoes.

If you’re looking for how to clean white soles of shoes without damaging them, keep reading this article and follow the simple tutorial at home. Guaranteed your dirty, stained midsoles will come out clean and crisp!

A. Get to Know the Cleaning Kits and Their Functions

Before started cleaning your shoe, it is important to know what kits are used to clean the midsole and their functions. To clean the shoe’s midsole, here are some of the kits and their functions.

B. What’s the Best Brush to Clean the Midsole?

how to clean white soles of shoesMidsole is located at the side of the shoe, between the insole and the outsole. This rubber-like part of the shoe often becomes dirty, stained, or scuffed with use. Now, here goes the question: what brush type you can use to clean the midsole?

The answer is medium brushes. Their strong yet soft bristles are ideal to use on the sturdy, rubber-like midsole. In addition, medium brushes have excellent ability to scrub the dirts and stains off and make your shoes look brand new.

C. How to Clean the White Midsole?

After understanding the cleaning kits and their functions, now we’ll jump on the cleaning tutorial. These steps are easy to follow and won’t cause a big mess.

1. Prepare the dirty shoes

how to clean white soles of shoesThe first thing to do is getting your dirty shoes ready to clean. Take a pair of shoe with dirty midsoles and set them aside.

2. Prepare the cleaning kit

how to clean white soles of shoesThe next step is preparing the cleaning kit. Take shoe cleaner, an apron, a medium brush, microfiber clothes, a basin filled with water, and shoe perfume.

3. Dry-cleaning

how to clean white soles of shoesScrub the shoe’s midsole with medium brush to remove dirt, stain, and dust before cleaning the midsole with water and shoe cleaner mixture. Scrub thoroughly and repeat the process for the other pair.

4. Clean the midsole

how to clean white soles of shoesDip the medium brush into the water and shoe cleaner mixture, then rub the midsole with the brush to remove dirts and stains. After the midsole is clean, wipe it off with microfiber clothes. You can use laundry detergents as an alternative if you don’t have shoe cleaner at home.

5. Detailing

how to clean white soles of shoesAfter the midsole is clean, use microfiber clothes to clean and wipe small details of the shoe thoroughly. Don’t miss any spot or crevices on your shoe.

6. Drying Process

how to clean white soles of shoesAfter the cleaning process is finished, dry your shoes with fan for about 30 minutes to 1 hour. You don’t have to dry them in the sun since you’re only cleaning the midsole.

7. Finishing

how to clean white soles of shoesAfter the shoes are dry, put them aside and your shoes are ready to wear. You can also store the shoes in dry environment and add some packs of silica gel to keep them fresh and good.

D. Do’s and Don’ts

It seems like you have understood step by step on how to clean the white midsole of your shoes. Now, it’s time for some tips on what to do and not to do while cleaning the midsole.


  • Clean the shoes thoroughly so you don’t miss any dirt or stain on the shoe midsole.
  • Scrub the midsole just enough to brush off hard-to remove dirts and stains.
  • Clean your shoes regularly to remove the dirt easily and avoid dirt accumulation.
  • Immediately clean your shoes if they become dirty and stained.


  • Don’t use rough and hard-bristles brush to clean the midsole because it might scratch and damage the midsole.
  • Don’t use dampened tissue towel to clean the midsole.
  • Don’t use non-shoe cleaner solution to remove the dirt and stain from the shoe midsole because the product might cause damage.
  • Don’t scrub the midsole too hard to avoid scratches and damages.

E. Shoe Care

  • Don’t store your shoes in humid environment how to clean white soles of shoes

Don’t ever store your shoes in humid environment! It’s a bad idea and may cause damage to your shoes, such as. Humid environment is the ideal place for fungus and bacteria to grow, causing your shoes to smell bad and moldy. Even worse, your shoes might be damaged badly and there’s no way to fix them. Always keep your shoes in dry environment to extend their life.

  • Don’t store wet shoes inside the shoe box

how to clean white soles of shoes

Similar to the previous point, it’s not ideal to keep your wet shoes directly inside the box because wet shoes get moldy easier when they’re inside a box. Furthermore, the humid environment in wet shoes makes bacterias grow rapidly and cause your shoes to smell. Wet shoes can also damage your shoe box. Therefore, always dry your wet shoes before storing them in the box.

  • Always use silica gel packs while storing shoes

how to clean white soles of shoes

Keeping your shoes in dry environment is the best thing to do, but adding some pockets of silica gel can help maintaining the shoes’ condition and extend their lifetime. Silica gel packs is used in many goods to absorb moisture and keep things dy, including shoes. From now on, don’t throw away these small pouches because they’re so useful!

  • Air dry shoes after wearing them before putting the shoes in the box

how to clean white soles of shoes

You might not always notice this, but your feet might get sweaty after wearing shoes, especially during hot days and after doing physical activities. The sweats got absorbed into the shoes and make them humid. It’s best to air dry your shoes after wearing them, especially after a heavy physical activity. When your shoes are dry, you can throw in some silica gel packs inside the shoes and store them back into the box.

  • Clean the shoes immediately if the midsole is dirty

how to clean white soles of shoes

Don’t delay washing your shoes! If you notice some dirts or stains in the shoe midsole, it’s better to take care of them as soon as possible. This is because the longer you let the dirts and stains stick, they become harder to remove and make your shoes look bad.


How to clean white rubber shoes that turned yellow?

how to clean white soles of shoes

To clean white rubber shoes that turned yellow, you can repaint the yellowish part and make them look brand new with special midsole markers. Applying a layer of midsole markers with acrylic-base is the perfect choice to make your shoe soles white again. 

Besides repainting, you can use special shoe cleaner to remove the yellow stain. Shoe cleaner, similar to detergent has small molecules that can bind dirt and grease from the sole, making it clean and look brand new.

How to remove scuff marks from white rubber sole?

how to clean white soles of shoes

To remove scuff marks from white rubber sole, use wet microfiber clothes and shoe cleaner, then scrub gently to remove them. Another ingredients used to remove scuff marks is toothpaste. Scrub the toothpaste on the scuffed sole and see the difference!

Scrubbing the scuffed part with either shoe cleaner or toothpaste slowly sands off the imperfect surface and make them polished as new. Note that some scuff marks still remains and hard to remove even after several cleaning processes, especially when the scratches are deep enough and caused by frequent using.

How do you clean white soles from yellowing?

how to clean white soles of shoes

There are some ways you can clean white soles from yellowing. One of them is scrubbing the yellowing soles with water and shoe cleaner or detergent mixture and use medium brush. Shoe cleaner and detergents pull all dirt, stain, and grease from the shoes. As you rinse the shoes, the dirt and detergent residues are washed away and making your shoes clean.

Another easy way to make the sole white again is by repainting it. Numerous midsole markers are available for you to paint the yellowing sole and make them white as new. The acrylic-based markers are water resistant and won’t leave a mess behind after applied, making it ideal for covering up the yellowing white soles.

Does baking soda and vinegar clean shoes?

how to clean white soles of shoes

Yes, baking soda and vinegar can clean shoes and make them look crisp as new. Baking soda is a mild alkali which helps dirt and grease in your shoes to dissolve easily without causing scratches, while vinegar is also well-known for removing dirts, eliminating odors and bacterias. These two ingredients are safe for the environment because they’re natural products.

To start, first combine baking soda and vinegar with ratio 1:1 until form into paste-like consistency, then scrub the mixture over the shoes and let them dry not under the direct sun for 3 to 4 hours. After that, scrub the dry paste over and your shoes will look clean.

Is hydrogen peroxide safe for shoes?

how to clean white soles of shoes

Yes, a little amount of hydrogen peroxide is safe for shoes. In fact, hydrogen peroxide removes stains and disinfects your shoes from numerous microorganisms, like fungi, yeast, and bacterias that cause your shoes to smell. Hydrogen peroxide also safe for colored soles as it won’t fade the color.

To clean your shoes with it, spray 3% solution of hydrogen peroxide on the dirty midsole and let it sit for about 5 minutes before wipe them with clothes. Another way to do it is by mixing hydrogen peroxide with baking soda with ratio 1:2 until form a thick paste. Layer the paste twice on the dirty shoes and you can either rinse with water or let it dry and wipe the dried paste with wet clothes.

How to clean white soles with toothpaste?

how to clean white soles of shoes

There are some steps to clean white soles with toothpaste. If you don’t have shoe cleaner and urgently need to clean your shoes, toothpaste is a good alternative. We all know toothpaste has soft abrasive particles that helps removing dirts from teeth and numerous dirty surfaces, including the shoe soles. 

Before started cleaning, prepare the shoes you want to clean, non-gel, preferably whitening toothpaste, an old toothbrush, and a damp towel or cleaning sponge. Next, squeeze some toothpaste on the old toothbrush before scrubbing the sole in circular motions thoroughly. After that, let the paste sit for around 10 to 15 minutes. Lastly, use a damp towel or cleaning sponge to wipe off the paste and reveal clean white soles.

How to clean white soles with nail polish remover?

how to clean white soles of shoesThere are some steps to clean white soles with nail polish remover, or also known as acetone. This strong, non-toxic solvent is great for cleaning grease or oily stain from different surfaces. It’s also excellent for removing scuff marks on your white soles caused by frequent using.

You’ll need some cotton balls, nail polish remover, and of course, the dirty shoes! Soak the cotton balls into the nail polish remover, then rub the soles until they look clean and new. Nail polish remover is a good alternative to clean your shoes, although this method is useful only for white soles. The reason is the alcohol in nail polish remover might cause discoloring to the canvas or other painted part of the shoes.