Can You Clean Nike Air Forces With Bleach? 

You love wearing your Nike Air Forces because they’re so comfortable and stylish. However, if you’ve noticed that they’re looking dirty or a bit worse for wear, you might wonder if you can go ahead and use bleach to make them look like you’ve just unboxed them. So, can you clean your Nike Air Forces with bleach, or is this a bad idea? 

You can clean Nike Air Forces with bleach as long as they’re not made with delicate fabrics such as suede or leather. Bleach can damage these materials and ruin your shoes. Also, bleach can cause yellow stains on your shoes, so you might have to treat them afterward.

In this article, I’ll explore how to clean your Nike Air Forces with bleach and special precautions to take so that you can enjoy your shoes for a long time. Keep reading to learn more. 

Can You Clean Nike Air Forces With Bleach? 

If your Nike Air Forces are white and don’t contain delicate fabrics that can be damaged by harsh cleaning products, you can use bleach to clean them. 

According to Nike, here are the instructions to follow to clean your shoes with bleach: 

  1. Add a tablespoon (15 ml) of bleach to one quart (0.95 L) of water. Stir it well. 
  2. Dip a white cloth into the solution. 
  3. Using a circular motion, carefully scrub the uppers of both shoes, then move on to their midsoles and outsoles.
  4. Rinse the excess solution with water.
  5. Put the shoes somewhere safe to dry.  

While that sounds simple enough, you might not want to make bleach your first choice as it is quite strong. Luckily, there are other, more natural, ways to clean your Nike Air Forces.  

How Do You Whiten Air Force Ones? 

You can whiten Air Force Ones using natural whitening agents like baking soda and vinegar. Soapy water is also a good idea, as it works well to brighten your shoes while being gentle enough not to damage them.  

Here’s how to whiten your Air Force Ones with dish soap: 

  1. Mix two cups (500 ml) of water with one teaspoon (5 ml) of dish soap. 
  2. Dip a soft brush in the solution. 
  3. Gently rub the brush back and forth over the exterior of your shoe. 
  4. Repeat the process a few times. 

Pro Tip: Use a hard-bristled brush instead of a softer brush if you need to lift more dirt.

You can also remove stains with white toothpaste that contains baking soda. 

  1. Squirt a bit of toothpaste onto the stain. 
  2. Rub the toothpaste into the shoes with your finger. 
  3. Wet an old toothbrush. 
  4. Scrub the stain with your toothbrush. 
  5. Wipe the toothpaste off the shoe with a paper towel. 
  6. Wipe down the shoe with a damp cloth. 

Baking soda and vinegar also work well as stain removers. This is because baking soda dissolves organic compounds such as grease and dirt, while vinegar is acidic, so it breaks down minerals, as Live Science reports.  

Does Bleach Make Air Forces Yellow? 

Bleach can make Air Forces yellow if you don’t dilute it enough. Generally, you should mix one part bleach with five parts water. This will prevent you from using too much bleach on your shoes. 

If you used bleach on your Nike Air Forces and it, unfortunately, caused yellow spots to appear, you should treat them with hydrogen peroxide. Make sure it’s a 3% hydrogen peroxide concentration, as this will brighten up the whites of your sneakers and remove stains. 

  1. Make a paste by mixing one part hydrogen peroxide with two parts baking soda. 
  2. Use an old toothbrush to apply the paste to the uppers and soles of your Nikes. 
  3. Wait half an hour to let the mixture work. 
  4. Rinse the shoes. 
  5. Let them air dry in the sun. 

An alternative is to use salt to remove the stains. This YouTube video from eHow shows you how to mix the salt and water so that you can use the salt as an abrasive to remove the bleach: 

Can You Use Bleach on Nike Shoes? 

You can use bleach on Nike shoes, but this isn’t suitable for all materials. Nike Flyknit shoes, for example, should never be cleaned with bleach. This fabric is delicate and should only be cleaned with soapy water that doesn’t contain chemicals.

Bleach or other strong cleaning products must be avoided as they can easily cause damage to the shoes because they’re corrosive. With this in mind, here are other Nike shoe materials that you shouldn’t clean with bleach: 

  • Leather: Since leather stains quickly and easily, you don’t want to use harsh chemicals such as bleach. A dry brush, gentle dish soap, water, or a Magic Eraser all work well to remove dirt and stains. Be careful not to brush the shoes too hard, as this will scuff the leather. 
  • Suede: If your shoes have suede, you must tread carefully when cleaning them. Putting bleach on suede is difficult and best left to a professional. Try to clean suede with a brush and white vinegar, which is ideal for removing stubborn stains. 

To learn more about whether you can wash leather shoes in the washer, read my other article, Can You Put Leather Shoes In The Washer?

Can I Use Clorox on White Shoes? 

You can use Clorox on white shoes if they’re made of canvas. However, avoid using it on delicate materials, such as suede. When using Clorox or any bleach, don’t apply it to colorful areas, as it will cause the vibrant colors to fade.  

While there are different Clorox products on the market, the one that works particularly well to clean white sneakers is Clorox Disinfecting Bleach, which is available on Since it’s been filtered three times, it removes 70% more stains than regular detergent. 

Final Thoughts 

If your Nike Air Forces look worn out or yellow, you can bring them back to life and make them look brand new again. While you can use bleach on your white shoes, you need to follow essential tips to prevent damage. These include: 

  • Avoid using bleach on delicate fabric, such as leather or suede. 
  • Dilute the bleach with water at a 1:5 ratio. 
  • Don’t use bleach on colorful sneakers. 

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