How do I bleach shoestrings?
To whiten shoelaces like the cotton ones on athletic shoes and sneakers, you can try soaking them in a solution of 3 tablespoons Clorox® Regular Bleach2 added to 1 gallon of water. Start by putting the shoelaces in a lingerie bag. This will prevent them from getting tangled when they are machine washed following the bleach soak. Then, fully submerge the shoelaces in the bleach solution for five minutes, weighing them down with a dishwasher safe plate if the lingerie bag tries to float. After 5 minutes, drain the soaking solution, and wash the shoe laces (still in the bag) in hot water using detergent and ½ cup Clorox® Regular Bleach2. Let the shoe laces air dry. How well they turn out depends a lot on how long they have been worn without being washed, the longer a stain sits, the harder it becomes to get out completely.
You could also try pretreating the shoelaces directly with Clorox® Ultimate Care Bleach, which has the same sodium hypochlorite bleach active as our regular bleach, but at a lower concentration that is safe to apply directly to bleachable white fabrics. Remember that you should always avoid bleaching wool, silk, mohair, leather, and spandex (which thankfully aren’t often used to make shoelaces!) To pretreat with Clorox® Ultimate Care Bleach, pour enough onto the shoe laces to saturate them, and then wash them immediately in hot water using detergent and more Clorox® Ultimate Care Bleach. As mentioned above, using a lingerie bag will help keep the shoelaces from getting tangled, and you can pretreat the laces while they are in the bag. Also, you don’t want to lengthen the pretreatment time, otherwise the shoelaces can yellow.