How To Unyellow Shoes: A Complete Guide On Reversing Yellow Soles/Midsoles


Yellowed sneakers can be a disheartening sight, but you don’t have to say goodbye to your favorite kicks. With the right approach and tools, you can restore your sneakers to their original color. Follow this comprehensive, step-by-step guide on how to unyellow your sneakers and keep them looking fresh!

Check out this tutorial if you are a visual learner:

Step 1: Initial Cleaning

The first and most crucial step is to thoroughly clean your sneakers. Removing all visible dirt and grime is essential for achieving the best results. Here’s how:

-  Use a high-quality sneaker cleaner: I recommend NuAntidote by NuLifeKicks (use code Solefresh10 at checkout for 10% off), known for its powerful cleaning properties and ability to reverse oxidation.
- Use the Right Brush: A steel bristle brush works best for scrubbing the soles/midsoles. It’s tough enough to remove dirt without damaging the material.

- Cleaning Process:
1. Dip the brush generously into the sneaker cleaner.
2. Use the steel bristle brush to scrub the soles thoroughly, ensuring you get into all the grooves and crevices.
3. Wipe clean with a clean cloth or microfiber towel.
4. It is necessary to clean the area until it looks spotless.

Step 2: Prep with Acetone

Once your sneakers are clean, it’s time to prep the area you are wanting to unyellow. Using acetone will remove any thin layers of dirt or film that aren’t visible to the naked eye. Here’s how:

- Materials Needed: Acetone, cotton rounds, & q-tips.
1. Dip a cotton round in acetone.
2. Scrub the entire area, paying special attention to grooves and detailed areas. 
3. Use q-tips dipped in acetone for hard-to-reach spots like small crevasses and intricate parts of the sole.
4. Ensure that the soles are completely clean. Any thin layers of dirt left behind could cause you to get mediocre results in the end. 

Step 3: Apply Sole Sauce

Now it’s time to apply the product that will help reverse the yellowing: “Drip Sole Sauce”, rated "The Best Sole Sauce On The Market" by many sneakerheads around the world. Here’s how to apply it:

- Application Process:
1. Shake the bottle well before use.
2. Apply a medium coat of the sole sauce to the soles or midsoles. Ensure even coverage for consistent results.
3. Use a wide tipped paint brush or applicator to spread the sauce evenly over the surface. 
4. Wrap the entire shoe tightly with saran wrap. This will prevent the sauce from being exposed to the air and evaporating too quickly. 

Step 4: UV Light Treatment

The UV light treatment is where the magic happens. This step involves exposing the treated soles to UV light, either from natural sunlight or an indoor grow light. Here’s a detailed guide:

- Using Sunlight:
1. Place the sneakers in direct sunlight for optimal exposure. Start in the morning around 10am and leave them out in the sunlight until 5pm.
2. Aim for 5-7 hour sessions, ensuring the temperature is between 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep the heat in mind, if its too hot then you will have to break uo your sessions into 2-3 hours rather than a full 7 hour session.
3. Monitor the sneakers periodically to avoid damage from separation issues. 

- Using Indoor Grow Lights:
1. Set up an indoor grow light in a well-ventilated space. Needs to be a 600 watt light to get results.
2. Position the sneakers so that the soles are directly under the light.
3. Conduct 24-48 hour sessions, checking the progress regularly.
4. Avoid performing more than 6 (24 hour) sessions to prevent burning or drying out the soles.

Learn how to build your own “icebox” to unyellow your shoes by checking out my ebook here:

Step 5: Assessing the Results

After the UV treatment, inspect your sneakers. The effectiveness of the treatment can vary based on the initial condition of the soles. Here are some tips for evaluating and adjusting your process:

- Inspect the Soles: Look for improvements in the color and overall appearance.

- Repeat if Necessary: If the yellowing persists, repeat the UV treatment as needed by simply cleaning off rhe old sauce residue, applying a new layer of sauce and Saran wrap. Be cautious not to overexpose and remember, not all shoes can be brought back to looking like new. It depends on the previous wear and tear, storage, and how deep the oxidation was before. 

- Maintenance Tips: Once you’re done, to prevent future yellowing, keep your sneakers clean and store them in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. It is also best to apply sole protectors to allow long lasting results.

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