How To Clean The Bottom Of Shoes To Return Them [2024]

Written By Mahia

I know it is very common among you people that when you purchase a shoe that seems breathtaking to you in the store but as soon you reach home and trial them, you don’t find the wow factor anymore. So ultimately, you made up the mind of returning them.

However, there are strict instructions from the shoe store which states if you want to return any shoes, you must show the buying receipt, and most importantly, the bottom of the shoes should be crystal clean.


But when you notice your new shoe’s bottom has already picked up the dirt from your floor, this definitely makes you search for the easiest ways of cleaning the bottom of shoes.

So to help you, here I have discussed the most uncomplicated ways following which you can clean the bottom of shoes effortlessly and return them.

How To Clean The Bottom Of Shoes To Return Them?

Whether you wear shoes only for trying them out or wear them daily, it is bound that the bottom of the shoes will be dirty. Cleaning the bottom of shoes is pretty simple but keeping the other parts of the shoes intact while cleaning the bottom is a bit tricky.

But if you follow all the instructions that I will be explaining to clean the bottom of your shoes, then I guarantee, when you return the shoes, the shopkeeper will have zero ideas that the bottom of the shoes was once dirty.

But before that, go through our epic guide how to Polish Tan Leather Shoes.

Here are the seven easy yet effective hacks that you can follow to clean the bottom of shoes:

Method 1: Use Toothpasteuse-toothpaste

Apart from brightening your teeth, toothpaste has some excellent properties which will help you make the bottom of the shoe dirt-free.

Things you’ll need:

  • White Toothpaste
  • Toothbrush
  • Cloth
  1. Take toothpaste of any brand but make sure not to use the gel one.
  2. Wet the toothbrush and put a size of pea amount of toothpaste in the brush.Try to take an old toothbrush that has soft bristles. Too stiff bristles of the toothbrush can ruin the fabric of the shoe.
  3. Gently brush the bottom of the shoes or the places where there is heavy dirt. Brush in a circular motion with small strokes. Make sure the toothpaste doesn’t touch the cloth part of the shoes.
  4. Once you scrub the entire bottom with toothpaste, now leave the paste on them for 10 minutes.
  5. With a dry clean cloth, wipe off the toothpaste from the shoes.
  6. If there is any residue of toothpaste left on the shoes, then take another cloth, damp it with water and then rub the shoe bottom thoroughly.

Check out my new post on how to Prevent Shoes From Dry Rotting.

Method 2: Use Detergent Powder

The detergent powder is a fantastic ingredient to make the bottom of shoes new again. The procedure is effortless but make sure you follow each step carefully to get a mind-blowing result.

Things you’ll need:

  • Detergent Powder
  • Toothbrush
  • Cloth
  • Water
  • Bowl
  1. Remove the excess dirt particles with the help of a toothbrush.
  2. The next step is to make soapy water. Mix one tablespoon of detergent powder in a bowl of water.
  3. Dip the toothbrush in the soapy water, and in small strokes, rub the shoe bottom.
  4. Let the soapy water sit in the shoe bottom for 10 minutes.
  5. Once you are satisfied with the cleaning, take a clean cloth or towel and wipe off the entire sole.
  6. Leave the shoes in a well-ventilated place for drying.

Follow our guide to know how to Stop Leather Shoes From Squeaking.

Method 3: Use Nail Polish Remover

As nail polish remover takes off the nail polish from nails, likewise, it can clean the bottom of shoes. However, nail polish remover cannot remove heavy mud from the bottom; this hack is only applicable to remove light dirt from the shoe sole.

Note that nail polish remover should never come in contact with the shoe fabric, or else it can discolor the shoe. Additionally, never use nail polish remover on colored fabric sole; instead, use it on the white shoe sole.

Things you’ll need:

  • Nail polish remover
  • Cotton ball
  1. Remove the excess dirt with a brush.
  2. Dip the cotton ball in the nail polish remover.
  3. Scrub the cotton ball on the dirty areas. If the cotton ball gets dirty, then take another cotton ball, dip it in the remover and repeat the process.
  4. Take a clean cotton ball and wipe off the residue of the remover.

But before that, you check out how to Remove Dry Paint From Shoes.

Method 4: Use Vinegaruse-vinegar

Vinegar is a natural cleanser; it has excellent cleansing and disinfecting properties which will not only make your shoe bottom look brand new but will also kill germs.

Things you’ll need:

  • Water
  • Cloth
  • Vinegar
  1. Take a little amount of vinegar in a bowl and soak a clean cloth in it.
  2. Gently rub the shoe sole with the damp cloth.
  3. Keep rubbing until you are satisfied with the cleaning.
  4. Now take a little amount of water and clean the bottom of the shoe.

Method 5: Use Bleaching Powder

Hands down, bleaching powder, is the most excellent cleaning ingredient of all. However, bleaching powder is very powerful, so you must maintain the proportion and don’t forget to wear gloves while using bleaching powder.

Things you’ll need:

  • Bleaching powder
  • Water
  • Cloth
  1. Mix one tablespoon of bleaching powder in a bowl of water and give a nice stir.
  2. Dip a clean cloth in the water mix and slightly wring it out.
  3. Now gently rub the entire shoe sole.
  4. Once you see, there are no dirt particles, clean the sole with fresh water.

Check out my new post on how to Clean The Bottom Of Shoes.

Method 6: Use Baking Soda and Washing Powder

Nothing can beat the combination of baking soda and washing powder to remove any stubborn dirt particles. Additionally, the cleaning process is also pretty straightforward.

Things you’ll need:

  • Washing powder
  • Baking soda
  • Water
  • Brush
  • Towel
  1. Take 1.5 tablespoons of washing powder and one tablespoon of baking soda in a bowl and mix them with a bit of water.
  2. Dip the brush in the mixture and rub your shoe sole thoroughly.
  3. After you remove all the dirt and grime, soak a towel in clean water and wipe off the baking soda and washing powder mixture from the shoes.
  4. Leave the shoes for air drying.

Method 7: Soak the Sole

The soaking method is very effective in cleaning the bottom of shoes, but you need to be very careful because you cannot wet the shoe fabric.

Things you’ll need:

  • Lukewarm Water
  • Big Bowl or Pan
  • Dishwasher
  • Brush
  • Cloth
  1. Fill the pan with enough water so that only the shoe sole soaks in the water. Now mix a few drops of the mild dishwasher in the lukewarm water and give it a mix.
  2. Now soak the shoe sole in the water mixture for 15 minutes.
  3. After 15 minutes, take out the shoes and give them a thorough scrub with an old brush.
  4. Once the shoes are cleaned, wipe the sole with a clean damp cloth.
  5. Leave the shoes for drying.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to make yellow shoes white again?

You can remove the yellow stains on your white shoes very quickly. Take one tablespoon of baking soda, two tablespoons of white, one cup of water and mix them thoroughly. Pick some mixture in an old toothbrush and, in circular motions, rub on the yellow stains. Keep rubbing until you see there is no stain left. Now clean the shoes with a damp cloth.

How to dry white shoes without turning them yellow?

The best way of drying white shoes is to air-dry them. Pack your wet shoes with some paper towels and leave them to air dry overnight. Never dry your white shoes under the sun; this can make them yellowish. Also, be careful while using bleaching powder and detergents, the ingredients in them can also make white shoes yellow.

How to remove stains from the bottom of shoes?

The shoe bottom quickly gets stained, but you can remove this stubborn stain by following simple hacks. Wipe a rubbing alcohol pad on the stains, and you will see the stain will vanish. Additionally, you can use vinegar to remove any discoloration.


Returning a dirty pair of shoes will surely fall you under embarrassment. But now that you know all the quick hacks to clean the bottom of your shoes give them a try and get awestruck by the result.

And next time be very sure while buying a pair of shoes!

Do let us know in the comment box which method worked for you. We love to hear our reader’s experiences.

About The Author
Since childhood, Mahia is a shoe freak. And this is what lead her to do more research and gather knowledge about shoes.Mahia has always wanted to share her skill and knowledge about footwear with a mass audience, which ended her up in this amazing workplace.When Mahia is not writing, you can almost always find her in the kitchen experimenting with different recipes to upgrade her catering menu.

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