How to Clean the Bottom of Shoes to Return Them?

Buying shoes is never simple, especially when you have to find a pair that is not only trendy but also fits and is comfortable to wear. As a result, many times we accidentally purchase a pair of shoes that appear to be attractive at first glance, but after wearing them, we realize they are not really suitable.

Most people in this case consider returning them to the shoe store and receiving a refund to buy another pair. But how can you return shoes after you’ve worn them a few times and the bottoms are dirty?

You’re concerned because shoe stores only accept returns if the shoes are clean and in good shape. If you’ve just worn your newly bought shoes a few times and they’ve developed stains on the bottom, this article will show you how to clean the bottom of shoes to return them.

5 Methods to Clean Bottom of Shoes to Look New

You can easily clean bottom of shoes to look new with some simple tips below:

1. White toothpaste can help clean the shoe bottoms

Cleaning the shoe bottom with whitening toothpaste is very effective. Since everyone has toothpaste at home, this method allows you to save time and money while still getting excellent results. All you need is a tube of toothpaste, a clean old brush, and a wet cloth. Here are the steps:

  • Step 1: Use the old brush to get the loose dirt off the bottom of the
  • Step 2: Apply white toothpaste to the dirty areas and scrub with circular motions. Start scrubbing slightly to avoid scratching the shoes, or else you cannot return them to the store.
  • Step 3: Repeat the procedure until you have the satisfied result.
  • Step 4: When the scrubbing is done, use a clean cloth to wipe out the toothpaste on shoes.

Caution: Toothpaste is super fit for white shoes as it has a whitening effect. Apart from washing, toothpaste restores the brightness of the shoes. However, avoid using toothpaste on black shoes because it can produce color changes in some areas.

2. Using a mixture of dish washing powder and warm water


  • A bucket/sink
  • An old toothbrush
  • Dishwasher powder, dishwashing liquid or bleaching powder
  • Warm water
  • A clean cloth

Cleaning process:

  • Step 1: Use an old brush to get rid of loose dirt on the shoe soles
  • Step 2: Fill lukewarm water into a bucket or sink. You need them to place your shoes in without being folded.
  • Step 3: Apply two spoons of dish washing powder/liquid or bleaching powder to the water and mix properly.
  • Step 4: Dip your shoes in the cleaning solution, but cover only the shoe soles.
  • Step 5: Soak the shoes in this liquid for 15 minutes, then dry them with a clean cloth.

3. Removing dirt on bottom of the shoe by vinegar

Since vinegar has a strong disinfecting and cleaning effect, you can use it to thoroughly clean the bottom of shoes to look new. Follow the steps listed below:

  • Step 1: Clean the loose dirt on the bottom of shoes.
  • Step 2: Apply vinegar on a clean cloth and wipe it on the unclean areas with a circular motion.
  • Step 3: Keep rubbing the cloth until you see that the stains have been removed.
  • Step 4: You can clean the shoes with water to eliminate the vinegar smell and dry them naturally.

4. Clean your shoes with baking soda and detergent


  • A bucket or plastic pot
  • 2 spoons of baking soda
  • 1 spoon of detergent
  • A dry brush
  • A dry cloth
  • A wet cloth
  • Water

Cleaning method:

  • Step 1: Try to remove as much loose dirt from the shoes as possible. You can slap the shoes on the floor to shake off all the dust.
  • Step 2: Put two spoons of baking soda and one spoon of detergent into the bucket or plastic pot. Drop water to this solution and mix them together.
  • Step 3: Use the brush to apply this cleaning mixture on the dirty areas of the shoes and gently start rubbing them.
  • Step 4: Soak the brush into water and do it again until you find that the stains are removed from your shoes.
  • Step 5: Wipe the shoes with a clean wet cloth to take all the paste away. Then, dry your shoes with a dry cloth.

5. Nail polish remover to eliminate the stubborn stains on the bottom of your shoes

It might surprise you that nail polish remover can help keep the bottom of your shoes clean. It’s an excellent stain remover, capable of removing even the toughest stains. However, you should be cautious while using it because it often contains harmful chemicals. The procedure will be:

  • Step 1: When you already get rid of all the dust on the shoes, wipe the dirty shoes once with a clean rag.
  • Step 2: Apply a layer of nail polish remover on the bottom of the
  • Step 3: Use a cotton bud to rub the remover on stains, change the dirty bud, and use other clean cotton balls to rub until the shoe soles are clean.
  • Step 4: Use a clean cotton ball to wash the nail polish remover when you finish the procedure.
  • Step 5: Let the shoes dry in a ventilated room.

Caution: Nail polish remover is only recommended to use when the bottom of shoes is white, because it may alter the color of shoes. Fabric shoes are also not compatible with nail polish remover.

How to Clean the Rubber Sole on Shoes?

Running shoes or sports shoes usually have rubber soles. The good news is rubber soles are easier to clean than any other types of shoe soles. If any of your shoes have white rubber shoe soles, just follow these steps to clean the bottom of sneakers:

  • Step 1: Clean off all the loose dirt with a clean, old toothbrush.
  • Step 2: Fill the sink with enough warm water to cover the sole only.
  • Step 3: Add two spoons of baking soda and two spoons of detergent into two liters of water. This formula will change if you add more water. Then, mix them to create a cleaning mixture.
  • Step 4: Soak the sole into this liquid for 15 minutes.
  • Step 5: Use a brush to rub the sole surface, be mindful of the stubborn areas.
  • Step 6: When you clear all the unclean areas, soak the sole in cleaning liquid for 10 minutes.
  • Step 7: Wipe off the residues with a damp cloth.
  • Step 8: In case you find that the stains are not totally removed, try to apply toothpaste with a brush and scrub the stubborn areas.
  • Step 9: Clean up the shoes with water and a dry cloth, and let them dry naturally.

How to Clean Grass Stains From the Bottom of Shoes?

Stains are surely apparent if you’ve worn the new sneakers on grass. How can we get them out of the shoes and return them to the store? Here are three options for you to consider:

  • Vinegar: Use the same vinegar as above to remove stains on the soles of your shoes. They can be removed quickly with a clean cloth and two to three teaspoons of vinegar.
  • Using peroxide combination: Combine half a cup of water, two tablespoons of bleach, and two tablespoons of peroxide to make the ideal mixture and remove dirt from your new shoes.
  • Alcohol rubbing pad: This is a very convenient and easy method as you don’t need to mix any combination by yourself. Alcohol-soaked insoles contain an alcohol-based cleaning solution that will remove stubborn grass stains from the soles of shoes.

Pro Tip: Of course, apart from a clean bottom, you should also tape the bottom of shoes to return them.


After reading this article, I hope you know how to clean the bottom of shoes to return them. Your shoes will look as good as new and will be successfully returned if you use the methods outlined above. These methods can be used not only for a refund, but also for keeping the soles of your shoes clean in everyday life.

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