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How to Clean Your Converses

Three Methods:Spot-CleaningUsing the Washing MachineTricks for Removing Stains and Scuffs

Converse shoes tend to pick up dirt and scuff marks, but they're also easy to clean. Spot-cleaning vans by hand will get rid of most surface dirt and stains. If your shoes need to be deep-cleaned, you can wash them in your washing machine. For the worst scuffs and stains, there are a few tricks you can try to brighten up your shoes in no time.

Method 1

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    Make a cleaning solution. Since Converse shoes are made with canvas, laundry detergent works well to remove dirt and most light stains. Mix 1/4 cup laundry detergent and 2 cups warm water in a bowl. If your shoes are covered in mud, you might need a second batch of solution for the second shoe. In place of laundry detergent, you can use any of these cleansers:[1]
    • Dish soap
    • Shampoo
    • Body wash
    • Window cleaner
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    Fill a bowl with clean, warm water. This will be your "rinse" bowl that you'll use to rinse off your washcloth after applying the cleaning solution.
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    Dip a washcloth in the soap solution and start cleaning your shoes. Section by section, use the cloth to scrub away the dirt and stains. Work the soap into the canvas so it saturates all the way through. Periodically rinse the cloth in the clean water, then dip it in the cleaning solution and keep going.[2]
    • If necessary, remove the shoelaces and scrub them with the washcloth, too.
    • You can also use this method to clean the inside of the shoes.
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    Scrub the rubber and soles. Most of the dirt will come off easily when scrubbed with a washcloth dipped in the soap solution. For tougher spots, use an old toothbrush to remove ground-in dirt and grit.
    • Scrub the soles of your shoes and the rubber parts attached around the canvas.
    • Focus especially on the toe, which tends to pick up a lot of scuff marks.
    • A quick cleaning with wet wipes will also do the trick if the rubber parts of your shoes aren't too scuffed.
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    Wipe the shoes with a clean wet cloth. Use it to remove any dirt or soap residue that's still on your shoes after scrubbing them. Take a good look at your shoes to see if you're content with how clean you were able to get them using this method. If stains and deeper scuffs remain, try another method to give your shoes a deeper cleaning.
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    Let your shoes air dry. You can stuff them with newspaper or another stiff substance to help them keep their shape. Set them in a warm spot with good air circulation so they dry as quickly as possible. Let the laces dry separately, since they may take a little longer to get completely dry. Afterward, you can relace the shoes and wear them right away.
    • To speed the drying along, try putting your shoes outside in the sun. Proceed with caution if your shoes are a dark color, though, since the sun can bleach them a few shades lighter.
    • You can also use a hair dryer on a warm setting to help them finish drying.

Method 2
Using the Washing Machine

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    Remove the shoe laces and inserts. This method is great for cleaning your entire shoe, inside and out. Your shoes will get cleaner if you remove the laces and inserts so they can be cleaned separately.
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    Pretreat the shoes with stain remover. If your shoes have deep grass, food or oil stains, they'll come out cleaner if you pretreat them with stain remover. Use the same stain remover you'd use on clothing. Apply it to the stain and let it sit for the recommended amount of time before washing your shoes.
    • If your shoes are a deep, saturated color, you might want to test the stain remover on a discreet part of the shoes (like inside the tongue) before applying it to the outside. If it seems to lighten the color, don't use it.
    • You should also brush off excess dirt and other debris before washing the shoes. This can clog up your washing machine.
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    Place the shoes, laces and inserts in a washable bag. You can use a delicates bag or a pillowcase tied at the top. This will protect your shoes and keep your washing machine from getting pummeled during the wash cycle.
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    Wash the shoes on the gentle cycle. Use warm water to help loosen the dirt and stains from your shoes. Cool water is also fine if you're worried about keeping your shoes bright in color. Don't be tempted to use hot water, no matter how badly your shoes are stained; the heat will loosen the glue that holds your shoes together, causing them to fall apart much faster than they otherwise would.
    • Use the same amount of detergent that you would use for a small load of laundry.
    • Don't wash your shoes with other articles of clothing; your shoes could damage the fabric, especially if it is delicate.
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    Let the shoes air dry. Never dry your shoes in the dryer, even using low heat. Any amount of heat will cause them to fall apart by damaging the glue in your shoes. Instead, stuff them with newspaper or another stiff material and let them dry in a warm spot with good air circulation. Replace the inserts and laces when they're fully dry.

Method 3
Tricks for Removing Stains and Scuffs

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    Use a magic eraser to remove stains. A magic eraser is a product that effectively removes grass, food, oil and other types of stains. You can also use it to remove scuff marks from the rubber part of your shoes. Try a magic eraser if regular spot cleaning just isn't cutting it.[3]
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    Use baking soda and hydrogen peroxide. This mixture is a powerful natural cleaning agent. It's particularly effective for white shoes. If your shoes are another color, test it on the underside of the tongue before you use it on the rest of your shoes, since it could lighten your shoes in color. Here's how use baking soda and hydrogen peroxide to clean your shoes:
    • Make a paste with 1 tablespoon baking soda, 1/2 tablespoon hydrogen peroxide, and 1/2 tablespoon warm water.
    • Dip an old toothbrush into the paste and use it to scrub the problem spot on your shoes.
    • Allow the paste to dry on your shoes for twenty minutes.
    • Rinse the area with clean water. Repeat if necessary.
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    Use rubbing alcohol. This works well for ink stains and small scuff marks. Dip a cotton swab in rubbing alcohol and use it to saturate the area that is stained. Use the cotton swab to gently wipe the area. If you see that the stain is rubbing off onto the cotton swab, keep going until it's completely gone.
    • If you're trying to remove nail polish, try using nail polish remover.
    • If you're trying to remove paint, try using a bit of paint thinner.
    • You can also use tooth paste to scrub scuff marks.
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    Bleach your shoes. This only works for white Converse shoes; don't try it if your shoes are another color you want to keep! If your shoes are white, bleaching them is a good way to remove the toughest stains. Work in a well-ventilated room, and wear old clothes you don't mind getting splattered with a little bleach.
    • Mix one part bleach with five parts water.
    • Use an old toothbrush to scrub the stain with the bleach mixture.
    • Rinse the area with clean water. Repeat as necessary until the stain has been removed.


  • Do not reuse the toothbrush to brush your teeth.
  • Use a toothbrush to clean the shoelace.
  • Try putting toothpaste on the rubber, it makes them look new again, but don't get it on the fabric or it will stain.
  • Don't wash them in the washing machine because the rubber will come off.
  • You are allowed to wash the laces, too, just be careful if they are not the ones that came with the shoes.
  • Try using nail polish remover.
  • You can bleach the rubber part but not the fabric since the fabric will turn yellow.
  • Don't use any sort of detergent because it might harm the shoes.


  • Do not leave your Converse submerged inside of the water for a very long time because that can loosen the glue that holds them together! Wash one shoe, and then the other in fresh water.

Article Info

Categories: Care of Shoes