How to Clean White Shoelaces

Published August 1, 2018
Red Canvas Shoes With White Shoelaces

Nothing can detract from the appearance of your shoes quite like dingy, dirty laces. Your laces may drag on the ground, getting grungier than the rest of the shoe, and the porous fabric of white laces makes them show dirt more quickly. Fortunately, you can clean your white laces in the washing machine or by hand and have them looking bright and fresh again.

Cleaning Laces in the Washing Machine

If you have a washing machine handy and your white laces are made of cotton or another washable material, you can take a lot of the extra work out of cleaning them. You can even throw the laces in with a load of other wash to make the process part of your regular laundry routine.

Things You'll Need

  • Mesh lingerie bag
  • Soft toothbrush
  • Stain treater, such as Shout
  • Bleach, if desired
  • Laundry detergent
  • Drying rack or similar item

What to Do

  1. Remove the laces from the shoes. Holding them under cool running water, use a toothbrush to remove any obvious mud or dirt.
  2. Examine the surface of the laces. Apply stain treater to any discolored areas and allow to sit for 20 minutes.
  3. Place the laces in a mesh bag and close the bag. Toss the bag in the washer with laundry detergent and wash on cold. If you have other items to wash with it, that's okay. If you are only washing white items, put a cap full of bleach in the washer to help brighten the white fabric of the laces.
  4. When the washer is done, remove the laces from the bag and hang them on a drying rack. Do not put them in the dryer.

Washing Laces by Hand

If you don't have a full load of laundry to do or want to have a bit more control over the washing of the laces, you can also wash them by hand. This is a little more labor intensive, but it's still a good way to get them clean and bright.

Things You'll Need

  • Soft toothbrush
  • Bowl or sink
  • Warm water
  • Liquid laundry detergent
  • Stain treater
  • Bleach and rubber gloves, if desired
  • Drying rack or similar

What to Do

  1. Run the laces under water to remove any obvious dirt. Spray stained areas with stain treater and allow to sit while you get ready to wash them.
  2. Fill a bowl or the sink with warm water and detergent.
  3. Place the laces in the water and allow them to soak for half an hour. If the laces are very yellowed or stained, you can add a teaspoon of bleach to help brighten them.
  4. After the laces have soaked, use a soft toothbrush and gently scrub away any dirt or stains that remain on them. Use rubber gloves when handling the laces if you added bleach to the water.
  5. Thoroughly rinse the laces in clean running water. Ring them out and hang them to dry.

Cleaning Stained or Yellowed Laces

If the laces are especially dirty or stained yellow, a simple stain treatment and a weak bleach solution may not suffice to get them looking new again. Instead, you'll need to give them a good soak in stronger bleach water, which Clorox reports is safe for this purpose.

Things You'll Need

  • Bleach
  • Laundry sink
  • Mesh bag
  • Small plate
  • Soft toothbrush
  • Rubber gloves

What to Do

  1. First, remove any obvious dirt using the toothbrush and running water. The more you get off now, the better.
  2. Fill a bowl or sink with about one gallon of hot water. Pour in up to three tablespoons of bleach.
  3. Place the laces in a mesh bag. Wearing rubber gloves to protect your skin, submerge the bag in the water. Place a small plate on top of it to keep it submerged.
  4. Allow the laces to soak this way for five minutes. Even if they are very stained, don't extend the time. Too much exposure to the bleach can weaken the fibers of the shoelaces.
  5. Remove the laces from the bleach water and wash in the machine or by hand. Consider adding up to half a cup of bleach to the washing machine if the laces still look stained.

Make White Laces Look New

No matter how you choose to clean them, white laces respond well to bleach and soaking. Soon, your laces will look brand new, and they won't detract from the appearance of your shoes.

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How to Clean White Shoelaces