How to Clean Yellowing from Fabric Shoes


Rochelle asked: How do I clean fabric-covered shoes that have yellowed? I have some beautiful platform sandals that I bought for my wedding. The heel and shoe are covered with a printed fabric that has yellowed. It is mostly along the back of the heel, but not on the sold. I love these shoes and paid a lot of money for them, but I hate to wear them now that they have this discoloring. I suspect that maybe the glue that keeps the fabric attached is the cause. How can I get rid of this discoloration?

Yellowing is an unfortunate, and unavoidable, effect of aging in footwear. Ridding the shoes of this discoloration may not be possible, but this method offers a good chance of success.

You Will Need:

  • OxiClean
  • Soft toothbrush
  • Water
  • Gentle laundry detergent
  • Bowl or small bucket

Steps to Remove the Stain:

  1. Mix OxiClean, water and laundry detergent in the bowl or bucket with water. Check label directions to determine the proper amount of each based on how much water you use.
  2. Stir the solution together.
  3. Dip the toothbrush in the solution and use it to apply the cleaning solution to the yellowed areas.  (Alternatively, add the solution to a spray bottle and saturate the stains.)
  4. Allow the solution to sit on the shoes for a few minutes so it can work on the stains.
  5. Scrub the affected areas with the toothbrush.
  6. Repeat until clean.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • For best results, clean the entire shoe.
  • You may be able to soak some types of shoes in the solution, depending on the build of the shoe and whether or not it has attached decorations or embellishments. If this is an option, however, you will probably see better results.
  • To avoid water stains in the finished shoes, wipe the entire shoe down with a damp cloth and allow it to dry evenly.

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