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How to Clean the Bottom of Shoes to Return Them To The Store

How to Clean the Bottom of Shoes to Return Them To The Store

When you have so many gorgeous-looking shoes, you cannot blame yourself for not being sure if the one you picked was really the best.

Often, your mind will go back to that other pair, and you will feel the urge to exchange your pair for the alternative you left in the store.

This can happen weeks after you have worn the new shoes. You may even wear the shoes and find that they do not fit as well as you expected.  In some cases, you may have landed into this mess after ordering the shoes online, and then once they are shipped, you discover they are not true to size.

If you are in this situation and are wondering if you can clean the shoes enough for them to be accepted when you return them, we have good news for you.

We are here to show you how to clean the bottom of shoes to return them. Here is how:

There are several ways of cleaning the bottom of your shoes to look new. Let us explore them here:

  1.     Washing with a Mixture of Detergent and Baking Powder
  • Clean all the loose dirt from the shoes. You can remove this dirt by slapping the soles of the shoes on your floor. Use a toothbrush to remove the dirt still lodged on the grooves of the outsole. A bristle brush such as a wire brush may damage the shoes’ bottom and make them unsuitable for return.
  • Put 2 tablespoons of baking powder and a tablespoon of baking soda in a basin. Add water and stir until you form a thick paste. Apply the paste on the bottom of the shoes with a clean, old toothbrush and rub gently.
  •  Rinse the brush and apply another coat, then wipe with a clean wet cloth. Repeat the process until the shoes are sparkling clean.
  •  After removing all the dirt, wipe the shoes with a clean cloth and dry them with a soft dry cloth. Once they dry, the shoes are ready for packing and shipping.
  1.     Cleaning the Shoes Using a Mixture of Warm Water and Dish Washing Powder
  •   Scrap off any loose dirt, paying attention to the furrows on the bottom of the shoes. A soft brush or an old toothbrush should help you do this. They will not scratch the shoes’ bottom. Scratch marks may make the vendor fail to accept the shoes you are returning.
  •  Look for a bucket where you can place the shoes without them bending. Put enough lukewarm water in the basin to cover the soles of the shoes but not the upper part of the shoes. Add 2 spoonfuls of dishwasher powder and stir.
  •  Soak the bottom of your shoes in this water for about 15 minutes. Ensure the top part of the shoes is not soaking in water. Dishwashing powder may not be friendly to some of the materials used to make shoes upper covers.
  • Remove and wipe the shoes with a clean dry cloth. They will be as clean as new, and you can pack and ship them once they dry.
  1.     Cleaning the Shoes Using White Toothpaste
  •  Clean the shoe to get rid of the loose dirt using a soft brush or a toothbrush. As you scrub the loose dirt from the shoes, be careful not to leave conspicuous scratch marks that your vendor may see and refuse to accept back the shoes.
  • Apply a thick coat of white toothpaste and spread evenly. Rub the toothpaste on the shoes for about 3 minutes.
  • Wipe the toothpaste with a rag.
  •   If the shoes are not yet clean, reapply the toothpaste and rub it again. Repeat this procedure until you are satisfied the shoes are clean.
  •   Remove any residue left by the toothpaste until the shoes are fit for boxing and shipping.
  •   Before packing the shoes, inspect the side of the outsole to ensure you did not smear it with toothpaste.
  1.     Cleaning Shoes’ Bottom Using Vinegar
  •  Ensure there is no loose dirt on the bottom of your shoe, including inside the creases on the outsole.
  •  Take a clean piece of cloth and soak it in white vinegar
  •   Rub the shoe with the cloth until there is no more dirt.
  •   Leave the shoe to dry naturally.
  •  Pack the shoes neatly and ship them to your vendor.
  1.     Cleaning the Shoes Bottom Using Nail Polish Remover

This method will backfire if the bottom of your shoes is colored. It will also not work if the part you want to clean is muddy or has loose dirt.

  •   Once you have removed all the loose dirt from the bottom of the shoes, wipe them clean with a soft clean rag.
  • Dry the shoes and then apply a coat of nail polish remover. Do not apply unless the bottom of the shoe is white, as the nail polish remover may interfere with the color of the shoes’ bottom.
  • Rub the nail polish remover onto the shoes with a cotton bud. Change the soiled cotton bud and use a clean one to continue rubbing. If some parts have stubborn stains, apply more nail polish remover and continue to rub until the shoes are clean.
  •  Use a dry clean cotton ball to wipe the nail polish remover and any residue until the shoes are clean.
  •   Let the shoes dry before boxing neatly and shipping them.


If you bought shoes and now want to return them for whatever reason, you can clean their bottom for them to look as good as new. You can clean them using a mixture of detergent and baking powder or warm water and dishwashing powder.

Some people use toothpaste and some white vinegar with perfect results. Nail polish remover is also helpful, but only on white-colored shoes’ bottoms.

Whatever method you choose, ensure you do not scrub the shoes vigorously. Using a bristle brush can also leave scratch marks that the vendor may use to reject your returned shoes. Follow the steps we have outlined for you to clean the bottom of your shoes to return.