How to Clean White Vans Shoes

Three Methods:Cleaning Your Vans by HandCleaning Your Vans in the Washing MachineRemoving Stains and Scuff Marks

White shoes are cool, but one downside is that they stain easily. Scuffs, smudges, dirt traces — they all seem to leave their mark on a new pair of white Vans. Luckily, Vans are easy to clean, and there are a lot of different ways to polish them up so they'll look good as new.

Method 1
Cleaning Your Vans by Hand

  1. Image titled Clean White Vans Shoes Step 1
    Mix up a cleaning solution. Using a mixture of laundry detergent and warm water is an easy way to clean vans. Into a large bowl, mix 1/4 cup laundry detergent and 2 cups warm water. If your vans are extremely dirty, you may need to mix up a clean batch for the second shoe. If you're low on laundry detergent, here are other cleaning solutions you can try.
    • Mix 1/4 cup dish soap with 2 cups warm water
    • Mix 1/4 cup window cleaner with 2 cups warm water
    • Mix 1/4 cup shampoo with 2 cups warm water
    • Use the Vans cleaning solution, sold at Vans retailers
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    Prepare a second bowl of clean water. You'll use this to rinse your dishcloth as you clean your shoes.
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    Dip a washcloth or brush in the solution and scrub your shoes. Work on one section at a time, dipping your cloth/brush in the water and scrubbing your shoes in a circular motion. Rinse the dishcloth in the clean water, then dip it in the cleaning solution and keep going until you've cleaned the canvas part of both shoes.
    • You can use the same method to clean the inside of the shoes as well.
    • If you want to wash your laces separately, pour some of the cleaning solution into a separate small bowl and soak your laces in it. When you're finished cleaning your shoes, rinse the laces in clean, warm water.
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    Clean the rubber parts with an old toothbrush or similar smaller brush. Dirt and grime can grind into the rubber parts of Vans shoes, so you may need something stiffer than a washcloth to tackle these parts. Dip an old toothbrush into the cleaning solution and use it to scrub the sides of the soles and all other rubber parts of the shoes.
    • If you don't have a toothbrush handy, use the abrasive side of a kitchen sponge or a small scrub brush.
    • If the rubber parts of your shoes aren't that dirty, you can clean them using wet wipes to remove scuff marks and other light marks.
  5. 5
    Go back over the shoes with a clean wet cloth. Use it to wipe away any dirt and soap residue remaining on your shoes. When you're finished, check out your shoes to see if you're happy with their color. If you see places where the cleaning solution didn't work, you may have to move on to stain removal techniques.
  6. 6
    Stuff the shoes with newspaper and let them air dry. Using newspaper will help your shoes keep their shape as they dry. Set them in a sunny place and let them dry completely before replacing the laces and wearing your shoes.

Method 2
Cleaning Your Vans in the Washing Machine

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    Remove the laces and inserts of the shoes. This easy method is great for canvas Vans that are covered in mud (don't use it for suede or leather shoes). Go ahead and take out the laces and the inserts so everything will come out nice and clean.
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    Place the shoes and all their parts in a pillowcase or delicates bag. Containing everything in a bag will protect both the shoes and your washer from getting beat up during the wash cycle. Make sure the pillowcase or bag is tied tightly so it won't come undone in the wash.
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    Wash the shoes on the gentle cycle with warm water. This will be sufficient to clean your shoes without damaging them. Don't be tempted to use hot water, no matter how dirty your shoes are. Hot water can cause the glue holding them together to start coming loose.
    • Remember to add the same amount of detergent you'd add for a small load of wash.
    • Don't wash your shoes with other articles of clothing, especially delicates. Your shoes could end up damaging your other clothes.
  4. 4
    Stuff the shoes with newspaper and let them air dry. Do not tumble dry them, even on low heat, because the heat will damage the glue in your shoes. Stuff them with newspaper so they'll keep their shape, then place them to dry in a sunny spot.
    • Check out the shoes to see if you're happy with how clean they are. If you still see spots and stains, use a stain removal method.
    • When your shoes are dry, you can replace the inserts and shoelaces.

Method 3
Removing Stains and Scuff Marks

  1. 1
    Use a magic eraser or another stain remover. A magic eraser contains cleaning agents that effectively remove most stains from white Vans, including grass and mud stains. You can also use it to remove scuff marks from the soles of the shoes. Use a magic eraser or another stain remover according to the manufacturer's instructions.
  2. 2
    Try rubbing alcohol. This is an effective cleaning agent for scuffs, ink stains and other small stains. Dip a cotton ball into some rubbing alcohol and saturate the stained area. Gently wipe away the stain with the cotton ball. Repeat until the stain is gone.
    • You can also try using nail polish remover to remove scuff marks and ink stains.
    • If your Vans are stained with paint, try using a dab of paint thinner.
  3. 3
    Use baking soda and hydrogen peroxide. Water, baking soda, and hydrogen peroxide make a great white-shoe cleaner. If you don't have hydrogen peroxide in the house, you can use a simple paste made with baking soda and water. Here's how to do it:
    • Make a paste with 1 tablespoon (14.8 ml) baking soda and 1/2 tablespoon each of hydrogen peroxide and warm water.
    • Take a scrub brush or a toothbrush, dip it in the baking soda solution, and scrub the stains.
    • Allow the baking soda solution to dry on the shoe for at least thirty minutes.
    • Once the baking soda has dried, rinse with clean water thoroughly. Repeat as many times as necessary.
  4. 4
    Use lemon juice. Lemon juice is another home remedy that works wonders on stains. Combine one part lemon juice and four parts water. Dip a sponge in the mixture and use it to scrub the stain. When the stain is gone, rinse the area with clean water.
  5. 5
    Use bleach. If you need to get rid of a nasty stain on your white Vans, bleach is probably the way to go. Bleach is a hazardous substance, so be very careful not to breathe it in or get it on your bare skin. Wear old clothes you don't mind being stained with bleach splatters since it will turn anything it hits white. Here's how to use bleach effectively:
    • Mix one part bleach and five parts water. Undiluted bleach can turn white fabrics a yellow color.
    • Take a scrub brush or a toothbrush, dip it in the bleach solution, and scrub the stain.
    • Rinse with clean water.
    • Repeat this process until the stain is gone.
  6. 6
    Use toothpaste to cover up the stain. If you've got to be somewhere quick and can't go through the hassle of cleaning your white shoes, smudge a bit of white toothpaste carefully into the stain area. Work into fabric until stain is no longer visible. Finish removing the stain with another method described above.


  • Don't use bleach on regular all white Vans, because it will turn the fabric a yellowish color.
  • Get your new vans waterproofed. Next time you buy a new pair of Vans, you can prevent them from getting stained too quickly by having them waterproofed. Buy your own waterproofing solution or have it done at a shoe store.


  • Bleach may fade any colored parts on shoes.
  • Washing by immersion in water is generally not suitable for shoes with leather parts.

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Categories: Care of Shoes | Laundry