How To Clean Bottom Of Shoes Like New?

Clean Bottom Of Shoes Like New

When talking about shoe cleaning, most people only care about their uppers. Not many know how to clean bottom of shoes correctly to maintain their best appearance and performance for a long period.

Whether your shoes are dress shoes, athletic shoes, or ballet shoes, this detailed guide will provide helpful information to keep your shoes’ soles looking like brand-new ones from the store.

Why We Should Keep The Bottom Of Shoes Clean?

Cleaning the bottom of your shoes regularly doesn’t only make you look better, but also avoids the spread of annoying smells, harmful germs, and bacteria. Plus, it can help prevent dirt, mud, and other remaining debris to enter your workplace or your home.

Frequently maintaining the cleanliness of your favorite shoes’ soles makes their life cycle last longer with few footprints on Earth. Nearly 300 million old shoes end up in landfill annually. Old shoes with dirty soles are hard to break, polluting the landfills.

There are chances when your newly-purchased shoes don’t fit you or don’t match all outfits in your wardrobe. Some following clever hacks will help you know how to clean the bottom of shoes to get them returned easily.

How To Clean Bottom Of Shoes At Home?

The cleaning method depends on your shoe type, level of dirt, and ready-made products in your home. Try one of these methods to get your shoes to look new again!

Use Dish Soap And Oxygen Bleach

Oxygen bleach is a non-toxic cleaning product of chlorine-based bleach. This antioxidant bleaching powder contains calcium hypochlorite, which is a holy grail to remove stains, dust, and dirt on your shoes.

Furthermore, it can also deodorize shoes and whiten shoes with white rubber soles. To leverage its cleaning effect, mix this fantastic cleaning product with mild dish soap.

However, you should use a small amount of this mixture on your shoes, as oxygen bleach contains corrosive properties that can cause inflammation on your skin.

You should wear gloves before cleaning your shoes with this method.

clean bottom of shoes by dish soap

To clean shoe shoes with dish soap and oxygen bleach:

  1. Get a mixture of warm water, oxygen bleach, and dish soap.
  2. Place your dirty shoes in the bucket, and leave them to soak overnight
  3. Rinse them off in clean, cold water.
  4. Let them air dry in a cool place.

Check more: How To Remove Shoe Paint Effectively?

Use Baking Soda And Soapy Water

Baking soda is a cheap, natural, and effective home remedy for cleaning your household goods and also your shoes. This wonderful DIY cleaner contains carbonic acid, which can release carbon dioxide gas when combined with water and dissolve grime and dirt on your shoe’s bottom.

If the soles are in white color and badly dirty, you can follow the oxygen bleach method (above).

To clean your shoe’s bottom with baking soda and soap:

  1. Clean dirt off the sole using a toothbrush with wet bristles to save your time for further cleaning.
  2. Mix a few tablespoons of baking soda and water together to create a cleaning paste that has the consistency of toothpaste. This basic paste works for all dirt.

You can add a small amount of dish soap for extra cleaning effectiveness, or to clean hard-to-reach spots. Leave the cleaning paste there for 3 minutes to let it work.

  1. Use a cleaning toothbrush to gently scrub the cleaning paste onto the soles. Rinse and repeat this step until all dirt is totally removed. You can also wipe off the paste with a damp cloth.
  2. Once your shoes look spotless, rinse them and let them air dry in an open space for several hours.

Use Vinegar And Salt

Similar to baking soda, vinegar is a strong, acidic substance that can dissolve any hard particles on your shoes, especially the soles.

You can mix vinegar with baking soda or iodized salt to create a powerful yet natural, non-toxic shoe-cleaning agent.

To clean the bottom of your shoes with vinegar:

  1. Use a cotton rag or a dry cloth to clean your shoes first. After removing large areas of dirt from the shoes, you can take care of the remaining particles easily with vinegar.
  2. Use vinegar or a mixture of vinegar with baking soda or iodized salt for better cleaning power.
  3. Apply this solution to your soles with gentle scrubbing. This is to remove all grass stains, dirt, oil marks, and mud from the soles. Leave this solution there for 3 minutes.
  4. Dip a clean cloth into the water, then squeeze to leave the excess moisture out. Use this cloth to wipe the cleaning solution on the sole of your shoes.
  5. Let the shoes dry for several hours in a clean and open space. You can store them in their box for return.

Use White Toothpaste

Are you looking for a safe detergent to clean the soles of your white sneaker or your leather shoes? Toothpaste is a home remedy that contains hydrogen peroxide. It can whiten your teeth, many stuff in your house, and also your old, dirty soles.

You should use only plain white toothpaste. Toothpaste with colors can leave stains on white soles.

If you clean your shoes for return, you should not overdo this method as it can leave a patch on the shoes, making it less likely to take them back.

To clean your shoes with toothpaste:

  1. Squeeze a piece of toothpaste onto the stiff bristles of your old toothbrush.
  2. Use this toothbrush to massage the dirty areas.
  3. Let the toothpaste sit there for 2 to 10 minutes.
  4. Wipe the toothpaste off the shoes with a damp cloth to see the difference.

Use Nail Polish Remover

To erase the most stubborn grime and dirt instantly, you can use a colorless, powerful solvent like nail polish remover.

However, this solvent mainly contains acetone, which can cause discoloration when contacting the shoe’s upper or other areas that contain dyes. If you are allergic to acetone, you can use vinegar or baking soda instead of nail polish remover.

To erase dirt on your shoe’s soles with nail polish remover:

  1. Drop the nail polish remover liquid onto a cotton swab.
  2. Use the cotton swab to gently massage the dirty parts of your soles to remove dirt instantly. For tiny stains or hard-to-reach tread holes, you can use ear swabs with this liquid to remove stains on those areas.
  3. All dirty areas dry instantly as you clean them, so you don’t have to rinse the soles again with water to wash off acetone. You can store your shoes in their shoebox after finishing the clean-up.

Use Magic Eraser

If you don’t have time for frequent shoe cleaning, you can consider getting a magic eraser (or sneaker eraser).

A magic eraser is specially designed to keep the bottom of your shoes looking like new. It can remove small stain spots, scuffs, and stains with ease. However, this eraser might not be effective with stubborn dirt.

To clean your shoe’s bottom with a magic eraser, use it to buff the dirty stains on the shoes.

Use Vegetable Oil

A simple yet effective shoe-cleaning product in your kitchen is vegetable oil. You can use it to make your shoes dirt-free while enhancing their smoothness and shininess.

To clean the bottom of your shoes with vegetable oil:

  1. Remove loose dirt or cake-on dirt on the soles with a horsehair brush.
  2. Take a wet lint-free cloth to apply vegetable oil on the shoes and their soles. Apply oil in gentle, circular motions.
  3. Let the oil rest naturally on the shoe’s soles for a few minutes.
  4. Remove excess oil from the shoes with a clean lint-free cloth.


1. Why Do Old Shoe Soles Turn Yellow?

Except your shoes have black rubber soles, you can notice their soles turn yellow over time. It’s because of oxidation – a natural process. This oxidation also results from the accumulation of dirt, grass stains, and more.

2. Why Should You Never Wear Your Shoes Inside Your House?

Old shoes are a great breeding environment for bacteria. Thus, if you walk inside your house with shoes, there will be more risk of letting bacteria, viruses, and viral particles into your house.

Kids spend a lot of time on the floor, so they can be hurt by those harmful particles.

You should let your shoes outdoors to keep your house clean and safe for you, your kids, and your family members.

3. How Can I Remove Gum From The Soles Of My Shoes?

You can remove stubborn stuck gums from your shoe’s soles using the freezer method.

  1. Put the shoe in a plastic bag, and pop it in your freezer. Avoid contacting the shoe with any food items. Leave the shoe in the freezer for a few hours or overnight to see its magic.
  2. Take your shoe off the freezer, and peel off the plastic bag. This action can also take the gum off.

Final Words

You should know how to clean the bottom of your shoes and make it a habit for a couple of months. It will make your shoes look better and maintain their best quality for a longer period. Nonetheless, it will protect the hygiene and health of you, your home, and your family.

If you clean the shoes for return, you should check whether the store has any strict good return policies or not. For example, many shops require you to keep the shoe tags intact and the shoe cover in their brand-new statement.

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