Why Are My Shoes Turning Blue? (Here’s the Solution)

White shoes are great. Not only do they brighten up your outfit, but they can also keep your feet cool in the sun. Unfortunately, they can sometimes turn blue.

So why do shoes, especially white shoes, turn blue?

A big reason why your shoes, particularly white shoes, have turned blue is because of the transfer of color from your jeans. The indigo ink color on some blue jeans, especially raw denim, can “bleed” onto your shoes, causing blue stains.

Does it mean that it’s time to throw away your shoes? Not really. In this post, let’s explore how to remove blue stains from white shoes, including simple tips to prevent them.

Why Are My Shoes Turning Blue?

White shoes are often stained blue through the transfer of color from your jeans. It could happen because of wear, or due to storing the two together on a regular basis.

The indigo dye that gives blue jeans their color has a tendency to transfer to other materials, so people who wear jeans often have found their shoes stained blue.

This occurrence is called wet or dry crocking, which is a process where dye transfers into lighter-colored objects, like your white canvas shoes.

Wet crocking is when dyes bleed due to exposure to moisture. Hence, you may experience blue stains on your shoes quickly when it’s raining or wet outside.

On the other hand, dry crocking is when dyes bleed due to consistent rubbing or exposure to another material, in this case, the white canvas shoes.

Blue stains “bleeding” over to white shoes.

The transfer of color from jeans to shoes often happens with raw denim. Also known as dry denim, these jeans have not been wet, processed, or manipulated in any way.

In other words, raw denim has never been exposed to water, leaving all that beautiful, inky indigo in place because denim enthusiasts want to own a vintage item.

Fortunately, there are simple tricks to remove blue stains from white shoes.

How to remove blue stains from white shoes

Before we share the tips, here’s a quick disclaimer:

How completely you’re able to get rid of blue stains depends on the material of your shoes and how fast you act. Getting rid of indigo dye stains is easiest when the stains are fresh.

Also, shoes and sneakers are made of different materials and combinations, which means that you need some trial and error to tackle blue jean stains.

The good news is, that most casual shoes, like Converse and Vans, are made with fabric or synthetic materials, which are easier to clean than materials like suede and leather.

The best way to remove blue stains from your white shoes is by using rubbing alcohol. Apply a small amount of rubbing alcohol on a soft cloth and gently rub over the stains.

Focus on the area of the stain, rubbing with force but carefully for several minutes. Then, rinse the shoes with a wet paper towel, then dry them completely with a dry paper towel.

Rubbing alcohol will do an effective job of removing certain stains such as ink and oil from fabric or canvas. However, in the process, it can also loosen and remove the fabric dye.

Fortunately, it shouldn’t be a problem since white shoes contain no dye.

If you don’t have alcohol, another gentle option is to rub a damp cloth with a drop of dish soap over the blue stain, followed by a clean damp cloth to remove the soap residue.

While it’s not recommended to put shoes in the washing machine, you can submerge the shoes in a bucket of warm water and a little oxygen bleach.

Remember, when dealing with blue dye stains, never put your shoes in the dryer. The heat of the dryer will lock in the stain and make it nearly impossible to remove.

How to Prevent White Shoes From Turning Blue

You wouldn’t want to see blue stains on your shoes again after you have removed them right? In that case, here are two ways to prevent white shoes from turning blue:

1. Rinse new jeans in cold water

Option number one is to rinse your new jeans in cold water.

Water helps lock the indigo in your jeans in place. By rinsing them in cold water, it pulls out some of the extra indigo, and “sets” the rest so it won’t bleed as easily.

While this means that your jeans are no longer “raw”, you will minimize the risk of dye bleeding over your white canvas shoes in the future.

We’ll leave this option up to you because some would prefer to have their jeans remain unwashed, but we recommend giving your jeans a cold wash.

Most raw denim is starched for extra stiffness, so giving your jeans the cold wash treatment removes the starch and softens the fabric.

Not only will they become more comfortable, but they may even last longer. And of course, there will be less chance of blue dye bleeding over your shoes.

2. Cuff the jeans

Option number two is to cuff the jeans at the helm.

Cuffing your jeans is the perfect option if you are not wanting to rinse them. It minimizes the risk of dye transfer to your shoes until your jeans have been washed enough time.

There are different methods to do this, which include cuffing, rolling, or stacking your jeans. However, we recommend doing the simple double roll.

The double roll looks great with pretty much everything, but particularly low-top sneakers.

It is called the double roll because you never should roll your jeans more than twice. But the best part is, it removes any contact between your shoes and the bluest part of your jeans.

Unfortunately, the cuffed-jeans look is not for everyone. So if you don’t fancy cuffing your jeans, then you want to wear black shoes so any blue stains will not be as visible.


Now you know why your shoes are turning blue.

Rubbing alcohol can remove blue stains from white shoes, but be sure to act quickly. Once the blue stains are gone, you can prevent them by rinsing your jeans or cuffing them.

Or else, simply don’t wear white shoes with unwashed, raw denim.

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