How to Remove Yellowing from Clear “Icy” Sneaker Soles

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Daniel asked: How can I prevent or clean clear, rubber sneaker soles on my shoes? The clear rubber soles are turning yellow.

Because the yellowing is part of a natural oxidation process that results from exposure to air, you can’t totally prevent it from happening. To make matters worse, once clear shoe soles yellow, making them look good again is a precise process with plenty of room for error. If you’re willing to give it a shot, here’s what you need to do. (If you’d rather just slow down the yellowing process, skip down to additional tips and advice for a sure-fire way to keep them looking good for longer.)

You Will Need:

  • Sea Glow Cleanser and Conditioner
  • Water
  • Paper towels
  • Water
  • 3M or similar scrubbing pad

Steps to Remove the Yellowing:

  1. Use a paper towel to apply Sea Glow to the areas to be treated. Do NOT allow Sea Glow to come in contact with glued seams. It will dissolve the glue and cause the soles to fall apart. Also, avoid getting glue on any shiny plastic or leather parts of the shoe. If any of the Sea Glow contacts an unwanted area, immediately wipe it away with a damp paper towel.
  2. Once you’ve applied the Sea Glow, use the scrubbing pad to work it into the sole. This will allow the product to reach inside of the soles to remove more of the yellowing.
  3. Reapply the Sea Glow after the scrubbing. The same warnings apply about getting it on other areas of the shoes. Work carefully. The second application helps to take care of the oxidation you brought to the surface.
  4. Let the shoes sit in bright sunlight with the soles exposed. The light allows a deeper penetration of the Sea Glow so it can combat the yellowing. Allow at least an hour in the sun.
  5. Remove the Sea Glow by wiping with a wet paper towel. Dry with a dry paper towel.
  6. If any Sea Glow remains, reactivate it with more from the bottle and immediately wipe clean with a wet paper towel, followed with a dry one.
  7. Consider sealing the soles to slow down the yellowing process. See below for a simple, effective method.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • Seal your soles to protect against further yellowing by coating them with clear nail polish. Repeat as it wears off.
  • To preserve the condition of your shoes, avoid walking through grass, dirt, rock, water, or snow.    Water is particularly damaging and should be avoided completely.
  • Some have found sealing the shoes in an air tight bag when not being worn helps to slow down the oxidation process. This has not been proven, but is an easy precaution to take. Be sure to allow time for shoes to dry out after wearing or mold and mildew in the inserts may become an issue.

Comments

  1. D'Andre says:

    How do I make Penny 1′s cranberries icy again without sea glow?

  2. Luke says:

    Where would you find Sea Glow? If you don’t have Sea Glow, is there another way to clean it?

  3. Melanie says:

    I have not yet found Sea Glow in a store, so I would recommend ordering it online.

    For an alternative, try making your own cleaner out of a 1/2-cup hydrogen peroxide, heaping tablespoon of cornstarch and 1.5-tablespoons OxiClean. Mix the ingredients into a nearly pudding-like consistency, apply the paste to the yellowed areas of the shoe and allow the paste to dry in the sun or under a UV light. Repeat the process with a fresh batch of cleaner until the shoes are fully cleaned.

    Source: YouTube, SneakerRevival

  4. John says:

    If water damages it, what should I clean it with after wearing?

  5. Deon says:

    How do I get my pine green foamposites icy without Sea Glow or is that the best solution?

  6. Davion says:

    How can I get my Reverse Concord 11′s icy sole back blue?

  7. Abel says:

    Where can I get Sea Glow in stores?

  8. Chase says:

    Does a UVB light work?

  9. Melanie says:

    Chase,
    Yes, a UV light should work just fine. However, you may need to leave the shoes under the lamp for longer than you would leave them in the sunlight to get the same results.
    Source: Restore My Sneakers – SeaGlow
    Source: Restore My Sneakers – Indoor Sauce Techniques for Air Jordan 11

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