Your white shoes can look almost as good as new.

How to Whiten Yellowed Leather Shoes

by Melissa King

Over time, your snow-white leather shoes may start to turn a dingy yellow color. White leather turns yellow when exposed to the elements, such as wind, heat and rain. If you wear your shoes outside, you can't prevent them from turning yellow. Once leather shoes have aged this way, it's difficult to get them completely white again. You can, however, fade the color slightly and brighten your shoes with a bit of lemon.

Remove any mud and debris from your leather shoes by wiping them with a damp cloth. Cold water and a few drops of mild soap will remove dirt. Use a bristle brush to scrape off stubborn debris.

Fill a spray bottle with half water and half lemon juice. Put the lid on the bottle and shake well.

Mist the yellowed parts of the shoes with the lemon-water mixture.

Set the shoes outside to lighten in the sun for a full day.

Items you will need

  • Cloth
  • Mild soap
  • Bristle brush
  • Spray bottle
  • Lemon juice


  • If your leather shoes are very dirty, try washing them with saddle soap.
  • To get rid of salt marks on your shoes, spray them with a mixture of one part water and one part white vinegar. Wipe dry.
  • Nail-polish remover can erase scuff marks on white leather. Rubbing scuff marks with a rubber eraser may also help.


  • Do not immerse your leather shoes in water.

About the Author

Melissa King began writing in 2001. She spent three years writing for her local newspaper, "The Colt," writing editorials, news stories, product reviews and entertainment pieces. She is also the owner and operator of Howbert Freelance Writing. King holds an Associate of Arts in communications from Tarrant County College.

Photo Credits

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