How to Wash White Vans That Turn Yellow

Vans is a sporty footwear brand, popular among sportswear enthusiasts, and their white shoe models are bought by consumers around the world. However, after using your Vans shoes for a while, perspiration, the environment and dirt can cause your Vans to yellow. Even washing can sometimes cause the yellowish tinge. To keep your Vans looking their best, remove the yellow stains with a special pretreatment and wash.

Wash white Vans and leave them outside to dry.

Things You'll Need

  • Dishwashing soap

  • Bowl

  • Soft bristled brush

  • Toothbrush

  • Baking soda

  • Clean cloth

  • White vinegar

  • Borax

  • Cream of tartar

  • Bucket

Step 1

Fill a bowl with warm water and mix 1 tsp. of dish washing soap in the water.

Step 2

Dip the soft bristled brush in the warm soapy water and scrub the shoes to remove loose dirt and debris from the Vans. Scrub vigorously to remove dust and caked-on dirt. Scrub recesses and seams with an old toothbrush dipped in the soapy water.

Step 3

Pour a little baking soda on strong yellow spots and continue scrubbing the shoe.

Step 4

Add approximately 1/4 cup of white vinegar to a bowl. Dip a clean soft cloth in the vinegar and rub any dark scuff marks. Continue rubbing until you nearly remove all of the scuff marks. Repeat the process for both shoes several times until scuffs begin to disappear.

Step 5

Mix a solution of one part cream of tartar and two parts hot water in a bucket, especially if the yellowing was caused by bleach in the wash. Soak the shoes in the mixture for approximately an hour. Rinse the shoes with warm water.

Step 6

Wash the shoes as you normally would and allow them to dry outside in the sunshine.


Add 2 tbsp. of borax to the wash water every time you wash your Vans. The borax will keep the shoes from turning yellow. Borax can be found at your local hardware store and in some large grocery stores.