How to Clean White Shoelaces Without Bleach

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How to Clean White Shoelaces Without Bleach

It can be frustrating when you’ve spent your hard-earned money on a pair of white sneakers only for them to look untidy or less fresh within just a few uses. But white sneakers can be easily cleaned. Sneaker brushes are great for getting your sneakers looking brand new again.

White shoelaces might look great to start off with when they’re brand new and sparkling white, but they can quickly become discolored and stained after just a few outings. Bleach might seem like the easiest answer but might not give you the results you are looking for. Here are some options on how to clean white shoelaces without bleach.

Related: Natural Alternatives to Bleach for a Safer Home

Methods to Clean White Shoelaces Without Bleach

There are numerous methods and products you can try out when cleaning your shoelaces. You might find that one of the following techniques works well for you, or you might need to use a combination of methods to get your shoelaces looking brand new again.

Here are some of the best ways to clean your shoelaces:

1. Use Baking Soda and Hydrogen Peroxide

Baking soda is a great all-around product when it comes to natural cleaning agents. It is anti-bacterial and perfect for restoring whiteness to your fabrics. This is especially true when it’s mixed with hydrogen peroxide. Just be sure to wear some gloves if you’re going to use this method since hydrogen peroxide can be damaging to the skin. It should also be kept away from pets or small children as it can be extremely harmful if ingested.

To use this method, mix two parts of baking soda with one part of hydrogen peroxide to form a thick paste. Apply the paste onto the shoelaces, making sure to completely cover them. Allow the shoelaces to dry with the paste still applied. The best thing to do here is to simply lay the laces outside somewhere and let them dry in the sun. Once they are fully dried (this could take a couple of hours), rinse them off thoroughly and then let them dry off again.

This is an extremely effective method and should leave you with sparkling white shoelaces once again. Both ingredients are easy to find and are completely eco-friendly.

2. Hand Wash With Laundry Detergent or Soapy Water

Another option for how to clean white shoelaces without bleach is to hand wash your shoelaces using some non-toxic cleaning products. Laundry detergent or dish soap are both good options (see our top recommendations for non-toxic dish soaps and chemical-free laundry detergents).

Simply dilute the product in some warm water to create a soapy mixture. Place the shoelaces directly into the mixture and allow them to soak for a few minutes. After this, take an old toothbrush or any small brush and scrub the shoelaces using the soapy mixture. The dirt should loosen and come right off. Rinse the laces off with some water and then allow them to dry.

This method is typically less effective at restoring whiteness but it’s great for removing dirt and stubborn stains. If you find that your shoelaces are still looking a little dull after using this method, consider moving onto the baking soda and hydrogen peroxide method afterward.

ImageProductOur RatingPrice
Most Versatile
Dr. Bronner’s - Pure-Castile Liquid Soap (Peppermint)
Dr. Bronner’s - Pure-Castile Liquid Soap (Peppermint)
  • Concentrated, plant-based, fully biodegradable & use all-natural, vegan ingredients 
  • Our products & ingredients are cruelty-free, over 70% of ingredients are certified fair trade, over 90% are organic
  • No synthetic preservatives, thickeners, or foaming agents


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Eco Me Dish SoapEco Me Dish Soap
  • Fragrance-free dish soap quickly cuts through dirt, grease, and grime leaving dishes sparkling clean without a filmy residue
  • Packed with natural plant extracts and all-natural plant-derived ingredients
  • Chemical-free containing all-natural antibacterial properties so that you don't have to sacrifice sanitation for the environment and greywater and septic safe to protect aquatic life
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Better Life Sulfate Free Dish Soap (Pomegranate)Better Life Sulfate Free Dish Soap (Pomegranate)
  • Plant-based cleaning ingredients like corn and coconut and scented with pomegranate and grapefruit extracts
  • Natural, hypoallergenic that cuts through grease without sulfates
  • Cruelty-Free: BETTER LIFE is a Leaping Bunny Certified company that never tests on animals.
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This method also requires a little more hard work, since you’ll probably need to spend a good amount of time scrubbing the laces with the toothbrush, depending on how much dirt is on there and how stubborn it is. Go for a relatively soft toothbrush and try to brush with the grain of the laces to avoid causing too much damage to the fibers of the shoelaces.

Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap is a great natural cleaning product that has multiple uses including handwashing for fabrics. This is a great option if you’re going to hand wash your laces given its highly effective cleaning properties. Simply dilute the liquid as you would with any other soap or detergent. It is completely non-toxic and is vegan, cruelty-free and bio-degradable.

Dr. Bronner’s - Pure-Castile Liquid Soap (Peppermint, 32 ounce, 2-Pack) - Made with Organic Oils, 18-in-1 Uses: Face, Body, Hair, Laundry, Pets and Dishes, Concentrated, Vegan, Non-GMO Dr. Bronner’s – Pure-Castile Liquid Soap

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3. Use a Washing Machine

If you would prefer a more hands-off approach to cleaning your shoelaces and are looking for a quick fix that takes minimal effort, you can also wash your shoelaces in your washing machine with some regular laundry detergent.

First, place the shoelaces in a pillowcase or mesh bag to avoid them getting lost in the machine or becoming entangled with the machine’s mechanisms. Place them in the drum, add your chosen laundry detergent to the detergent drawer, and wash on medium heat.

You can also add some baking soda to the drum if you wish to enhance the brightness of the shoelaces. White vinegar is also great for removing stubborn dirt and has additional antibacterial properties. This can be added directly into the drum or into the detergent drawer in place of your regular detergent or fabric conditioner.

The effectiveness of this method will depend on the condition of the laces and how stubborn the stains are, as well as the quality of your washing machine and the laundry detergent you’re using.

Here are some great non-toxic, chemical-free laundry detergents you could try when trying to figure out how to clean white shoelaces without bleach:

ImageProductOur RatingPrice
Top Choice
Seventh Generation Laundry Detergent
Seventh Generation Laundry Detergent
  • Powerful triple-enzyme formula fights tough stains
  • Free & clear, hypoallergenic laundry detergent made for sensitive skin
  • Safer ingredients for human health and the environment
  • EPA safer choice certified
  • USDA certified bio based product 96% made with plant-based ingredients
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Excellent Value
Method Liquid Laundry Detergent
Method Liquid Laundry Detergent
  • Featuring plant-based stain lifting power
  • For high efficiency and standard washers
  • Biodegradable and hypoallergenic formula
  • Cruelty free. Tested by people, not on animals
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Planet 2x HE Ultra Laundry Liquid DetergentPlanet 2x HE Ultra Laundry Liquid Detergent
  • Works in both standard and high-efficiency washers
  • Hypoallergenic - suitable for people with chemical sensitivities and babies
  • Free & Clear formula - no added fragrances, dyes or synthetic preservatives
  • Certified 100% biodegradable; ingredients from plant-based sources
  • Not tested on animals
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Why Should I Avoid Bleach?

Firstly, let’s talk about why you should never use bleach to clean your shoelaces. Bleach is an extremely harsh chemical cleaning agent and is incredibly harmful to the environment. It pollutes waterways and is detrimental to various wildlife species. It’s also not safe to use with most septic systems and can be toxic for pets and humans when ingested or in direct contact with the skin.

All in all, bleach is not an ideal product to use within the home.

In addition to this, when cleaning shoelaces with bleach, rather than coming out looking fresh and bright white, the laces are more than likely going to come out tinted yellow. Exposure to bleach will damage the fibers of the laces and isn’t suitable for use on various fabrics including leather and suede.

Bleach should be avoided as much as possible, and there are plenty of great, eco-friendly, non-toxic alternatives that will give you much better results.

Related: Can You Add Essential Oils to Laundry?

Final Thoughts on Cleaning White Shoelaces Without Bleach

Although you might have great results from just one of the cleaning methods listed in this article, the best option for achieving optimal results is to use a combination of these methods.

Consider soaking the laces first in a detergent or soapy mixture and remove any stuck-on dirt or surface-level stains using a toothbrush before washing in your washing machine for a thorough clean. If the shoelaces could still use some brightening up or there are still some stubborn stains, then go in with the baking soda and hydrogen peroxide paste to restore whiteness.

By following these steps, you should be able to achieve excellent results and get clean white shoelaces that look brand new again without using bleach.