How to Clean Converse and Canvas Shoes

Do you have dirty Converse, Vans or canvas shoes in your closet? Today, we are talking about how to clean Converse and canvas shoes. You won’t believe how clean you can get even the dirtiest, white Converse sneakers clean with this simple method.

how to clean white converse sneakers

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How to Clean Canvas Shoes

This month, we are not only tackling spring cleaning, but also some other cleaning projects around the home. While I was organizing some shoes the other day, I noticed my daughter’s dingy white Converse sneakers. While they looked like they had seen better days, I decided to try cleaning them before throwing them in the trash. My whole family loves wearing Converse shoes. It is great that these shoes never seem to go out of style. My  boys prefer darker color Converse shoes, but my daughter and I gravitate towards white and lighter colors. While these white shoes can look so nice when they are new, it is easy for these canvas shoes to get dingy and dirty very quickly.

I am happy to report that I was able to get them as good as (almost) new. I then rounded up the rest of our canvas shoes in the home and used the same cleaning method. You can use these homemade DIY cleaning method on Converse, Vans and other canvas shoes. Always check on the shoe manufacturer’s website if you have any concerns with washing them on your own. 

It is great to extend the life of old shoes and in the process, save a lot of money!

How to Clean Converse Shoes #recipe #ingredients #diy #canvasshoes

Cleaning Canvas Shoes with Baking Soda

Now, gather up your white shoes and let’s get started.

Cleaning supplies you will need:

  • Laundry Detergent
  • Baking Soda
  • Water
  • Toothbrush

1. Remove shoe laces from the sneakers.

You will wash the shoe laces separate from the shoes. I did have a pair in which the laces were secured with a knot at the end and so I did not remove them from the sneakers. But, in most cases you should remove the laces. 

2. Mix equal parts laundry detergent to baking soda.

Be sure to lay a large towel down on the surface you will be working on. Start with 1-2 Tablespoons each of laundry detergent and baking soda and add more if needed. If you are cleaning a lot of shoes, you will need more of the mixture.

how to clean canvas shoes at home #recipe #vans #simple

3.  Add in water to get a runny paste.

Use a toothbrush to apply the paste all over the shoes.

how to clean white converse shoes #canvas #cleaning #recipe

Be sure to add more paste to dirty spots. Do not forget the tongue of the shoe.

how to clean dirty converse shoes

4. Let the shoes sit with the mixture for at least 30 minutes.

Now, set a timer and let the shoes sit for 30 minutes or more (if really dirty).

5. Put the shoe laces in the remaining mixture.

If you have leftover mixture, put the shoelaces directly in the solution. You may need to add water to fill the bowl and cover the laces.

how to clean laces of shoes

6. Put shoes in washer on gentle cycle*

You can choose to put your shoes in the washer or you can rinse the shoes throughly by hand.

*See my note below on washing Converse and Vans.

7. Repeat with the paste and rinse if shoes still have dirt spots.

If you find that the shoes are still dirty, you can repeat the entire process again. We had to do my daughter’s white Converse two times, however, one of my pairs of Converse only required one time.

8. Let shoes air dry.

Do not put your canvas shoes in the dryer!

It will take a full day for your shoes to air dry. You can put them outside but not directly in the sun or extreme heat. I was able to put our shoes on our covered porch as it was a cloudy day.

Can I put my Converse shoes in the washer?

The official Converse website does not recommend putting your canvas shoes in the washing machine. The instructions does not indicate why they can not be put in the washing machine. I read many articles that said you COULD put your Converse in the washer. The Vans website also advise against putting their canvas shoes in the washing machine.

So,  it is really up to you if you are willing to take a chance. I had NO ISSUE putting our Converse sneakers in the washing machine. I used the gentle setting on warm water and the shoes came out with absolutely no issue. In our case, some of our shoes were in such bad shape that if they didn’t get cleaned, they would be thrown away soon. So, I was willing to use the washer and hoped that it worked out okay.

how to clean converse sneakers easy recipe

If you decide not to put your Converse in the washing machine, you will need to rinse them very thoroughly to get all of the soap and baking soda off.

How to Clean Shoelaces

It is amazing what a clean pair of shoelaces can do to refreshing your old shoes! You will want the laces to sit in the detergent and baking soda mixture for at least 1 hour. I let the laces sit in the mixture until the Converse shoes were out of the washing machine.

how to clean shoe laces

Then, remove the shoelaces from the mixture and rinse until the soap comes out of them. Let the laces air dry on a towel along with the sneakers.


Our laces came out 100% clean with not a single spot of dirt. It is so great to have these shoes back to almost new.

Last Cleaning Step

Lastly, you can buff up the toe area of your Converse by using a Magic Eraser. Gently wipe the scuff and dirt marks. You will be amazed at how much this last cleaning step makes all the difference!

Clean White Shoes

My daughter’s Converse were a 90% improvement on their original state. My pewter colored Converse look BRAND NEW! It really depends on how dirty your Converse are as to how clean you can get them. You can keep trying to get them cleaner by repeating the entire process.

how to clean white converse sneakers

This homemade recipe for Converse sneakers is great because you do not have to buy any products (as you most likely have detergent and baking soda in your home)! Plus, it is a more natural method for cleaning shoes than using bleach or Oxi Clean. Now that you know how to clean Converse, will you give this recipe a try?

how to clean converse before and after

Does your family have a love of Converse sneakers?

Favorite Converse Sneakers

how to clean Canvas Sneakers #converse #vans #white #easy



Jaclyn from Coffee, Pancakes, and Dreams
Brittany from Dreams and Coffee
Mary Leigh from Live Well Play Together
Tiffany from Lake Life State of Mind
Lindsay from Lindsay’s Sweet World
Keri from Intentional Moms



  1. March 11, 2020 / 8:20 am

    Very cool that you can use baking soda to clean your shoes!

  2. March 11, 2020 / 8:37 am

    I️ am definitely trying this on my girls’ sneakers! I️ was about to throw them away – but I️’d love to salvage them if possible. Thanks for sharing!

  3. March 12, 2020 / 9:41 am

    This is a lifesaver, Jaclyn!!! Will be trying this ASAP!

  4. December 19, 2020 / 12:46 am

    Should I follow the same method with my white Superga sneakers?

    • Jaclyn
      December 20, 2020 / 5:49 pm

      I am not sure as I have not tried on those shoes. I’d suggest checking on the Superga website for care instructions. If you try this method, start on a small area before trying the whole shos.

  5. December 20, 2020 / 6:00 pm

    Thank you for your reply.

    I checked Superga’s website last week and I didnt see any instructions on how to clean their sneakers. I will double check tomorrow.

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