Originally Posted by j
Interesting. I tried some dilute bleach on a pair of AEs I've been messing with for a while, just wiping it on there gently and letting it sit. It did basically nothing. I didn't want to try straight bleach as it would have eaten through the cotton rag I was using. I also didn't think to scrub with it.
On those, I got impatient and decided to take fine sandpaper to the parts I was bleaching, to see what I got down to underneath, and whether that would take bleach (it didn't do anything different than the upper layer). It did lighten them up, but once I put tan polish on they went right back to their regular color. I have no idea what I'm doing with those at this point, really just messing around. They were $3.
Yes you need to scrub / rub them hard to remove the colour. It took me approx half an hour per shoe to match them to each other.
Fine sandpaper will work, but it will take longer to reach a shine, gloss finish without fine scratches. I have done this before with a pair of EG's and have had great antique results.