How to Make Plain White Shoes

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Converting shoes to white is a time consuming process, but not a difficult one. There are two methods for achieving whiteness in shoes: bleaching and dyeing. Both processes require a bit of practice to get it right so testing the technique on a pair of old shoes first is a good idea. Once it is mastered however, changing the color of shoes can open up a whole new world of recycling, keeping used shoes looking fresh and new much longer.

Things You'll Need

  • Metal tongs
  • Shoe dye
  • Pot
  • Eye dropper/bleach pen
  • Rubber gloves

Bleaching

  • Put water into a pot with some bleach poured in to create the white effect. The water will dilute the bleach somewhat, making it less effective. The more water that is added means that the shoes will need to be dipped in the mix longer. Use a pair of metal tongs to grip the shoes and to fish them out of the pot after the bleaching is completed.

  • If the shoes come out of the pot without turning completely white, dip them again and add more bleach to the water. This should complete the job, making the shoes a brighter shade of white. If the shoes are any kind other than sneakers, they will require direct application of the bleach using a sponge, as dipping them can ruin them. Keep applying the bleach with the sponge until the desired shade is achieved.

  • Allow the shoes to dry and look them over carefully to ensure that there are no unevenly bleached spots. If a spot is found, drip a little bleach water on it, using an eye dropper or use a bleach pen directly. Allow the shoes to dry completely, and they will be ready for wearing.

Dyeing

  • Clean the shoes thoroughly to ensure that white dye sticks properly and evenly. If the shoes have dirt on them, the dye job will appear uneven or spotty in places. Scrubbing with a stiff brush can help remove the ground-in dirt.

  • Boil water in a pot with a pinch of salt and apply enough white dye to get the desired shade. Leave the shoes in the mixture until they are fully dyed and then allow them to dry completely before wearing. If the shoes are not meant to be washed, they will require sponge dyeing, which entails mixing the dye in a small tub, dipping a sponge into it and applying the dye to the shoes with the sponge.

  • Dip the shoes several times if the original color of the shoes was dark, as white is often a translucent color, especially if too much water is used. If necessary, thicken the dye by adding more color to the water. Check the evenness of the color after the dye has dried and if needed, apply thicker dye directly to the uneven spots using a sponge applicator.

Tips & Warnings

  • Care must be taken so that the bleach or dye does not splash outside the immediate work station. Splashed or dripped chemicals can ruin fabrics, flooring or carpeting.
  • Wear a face mask to keep from inhaling the fumes from the bleach.
  • Wear rubber gloves to prevent chemicals from contacting your skin.
  • Wear old clothing or a cover-up to keep clothes free of damage from either dye or bleach.

References

  • Photo Credit Alistair Berg/Digital Vision/Getty Images
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