How To Clean Canvas Shoes In 4 Ways (Cleaning Tips)

Clean Canvas Shoes

Are you looking to clean your favorite pair of canvas shoes but don’t know where to begin?

Cleaning shoes can be a tricky business, especially since shoes made of different materials require different techniques to be cleaned.

You have to make sure you use the right cleaning products and follow the proper steps required to maintain the integrity of your shoes.

Cleaning canvas shoes on a regular basis is really important since they tend to show dirt and scuff marks fairly quickly. This holds especially true if you have white canvas shoes since they can get dirty even faster than regular ones.

You may find several tips on cleaning your converse or vans shoes on the internet, with a variety of materials like toothpaste or with bleach, but be very careful in choosing the right method or you’ll end up ruining your shoes!

Follow my simple step-by-step guide on how to clean canvas shoes to make them look good as new.

Step 1: Cleaning Debris

The first thing you need to do to clean your canvas shoes is to get the dirt and debris off them. Use a toothbrush or a soft-bristled brush to brush off any dirt and debris stuck on the soles and the body of the shoes.

Use a gentle yet firm hand so that all the dirt is scrubbed away without harming the material of your shoe.

Step 2: Cleaning the Soles and Sides

If you have a magic eraser or a commercial stain remover you can use it to get rid of any stains on the soles and sides of your canvas shoes. But if you don’t have these materials handy, you can easily do the same job with baking soda.

Just create a mixture of one tablespoon baking soda, 2 tablespoons white vinegar, and a cup of water. Dip a toothbrush or rag in this mixture and use circular motions to clean the surface of your canvas shoes.

If your shoes are not heavily soiled, this step should be enough to get them clean. Just air dry them before you use them.

If you feel your shoes need to be tended more thoroughly, continue on with the next steps.

Step 3: Cleaning the Shoes

How to Wash Canvas Shoes in the Washing Machine

After the first two steps, you can either clean your shoes by hand or you can pop them in the washing machine for a quick spin. If you are opting for the washing machine, just follow these steps:

  • Remove the laces and place them in a small mesh bag before adding them to the washing machine. If you don’t have a mesh bag lying around, you can use a sock for safety. Just place the laces in the sock and tie the end to keep them safe during the wash cycle.
  • Add mild laundry detergent or soap in the washing machine as you would during a normal wash cycle.
  • Pop your shoes in the drum and run the shortest and mildest wash cycle on the lowest temperature.

How to Clean Canvas Shoes without a Washing Machine

  • Take a tub of water and mix in some mild laundry detergent to make a soapy mixture.
  • Submerge a clean rag in the mixture and use it with a firm yet gentle hand to clean the surface of the shoes.
  • Repeat until all the stains are washed out.
  • Use clean water and a clean rag to get rid of excess soap.
  • If the laces are dirty, take them out and dip them in a soapy water solution for an hour or so before scrubbing them under running water.

Step 4: Drying the Shoes

Stuff your canvas shoes with newspapers to retain their shape and airdry them for 12-24 hours before wearing them again.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the best way to clean canvas shoes?

Cleaning canvas shoes is not very difficult because you don’t need any special cleaning liquid or gadget.

You can use a homemade mixture of baking soda and vinegar to get most of the stains out and if needed, use a washing machine to get the deeper stains out too.

Alternatively, you can use a rag soaked in soapy water to scrub the body of the shoe and then air dry it.

Can you wash canvas shoes?

Canvas shoes are washable by hand as well as in a washing machine. Just make sure you use a mild detergent or washing liquid and run the cycle on the shortest and mildest setting if you’re using a machine.

Washing canvas shoes by hand or in the washing machine will surely soak them in lots of excess water.

Make sure you air-dry the shoes properly, after stuffing them with old newspapers, for at least 12-24 hours or more if required. This will help you retain the shape of your shoes.

How do you clean white canvas shoes?

White canvas shoes are prone to looking dirtier than regular canvas shoes. To keep them looking fresh and on point, you can use a magic eraser, a cleaning solution, or a simple solution of baking soda mixed with vinegar to get the stains out.

If your white canvas shoes are heavily soiled, use a washing machine to clean them thoroughly.

No matter how much you are tempted to, do not use bleach or any other harsh chemical on your canvas shoes since it can potentially damage your shoe and decrease its life span.

Can you soak canvas shoes?

If your canvas shoes are extremely dirty, you can soak them in a mixture of soap and water for no more than half an hour before you scrub them out.

However, you should avoid getting your shoes this dirty since soaking them poses a risk of the shoes drying in a misshapen manner. 


Canvas shoes are not only easy on the feet and easy on the eyes, they are also extremely easy to clean, as you might have figured reading my guide above.

I usually pair my white canvas shoes with several of my outfits because they go so well with everything. This means I need to clean them at least once a month.

Depending upon your usage, you can adjust the time frame for cleaning your canvas shoes but make sure you don’t put it off too long.

Caring for your canvas shoes will not only help increase their life span but also make you look better since the state of your shoes can tell someone a lot about your personality!

If you found this guide helpful, make sure you share it with your friends who might be canvas collectors!

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