How to Clean Canvas Shoes: Simple Steps

How to Clean Canvas Shoes: Simple Steps

We've all been there. You get a new pair of white canvas shoes, and they're pristine and perfect—until they're not. Unlike suede and leather, canvas is a unique beast when it comes time for a cleaning. Maybe you've splashed through a puddle or two, or maybe a mystery stain just appeared (as they do!).

Suddenly, your beloved sneakers are a shadow of their former selves. Don't despair, though! If you're looking to learn how to clean canvas sneakers, you're in the right place.

This blog post will be your magic eraser, wiping away all worries you may have had about keeping your canvas shoes looking fresh and clean.

So sit back, read on, and get ready to restore your shoes to their original glory.

Things You'll Need to Get Started

sneaker cleaner kit

Make sure to check out Sneaker Cleaning Kit for a complete set of sneaker and canvas shoes care. 

Before we tell you the best way to clean canvas shoes, make sure to have all the supplies you'll need on hand.

Washing Machine Wash:

  • Mild laundry detergent
  • Mesh laundry bag
  • Chlorine bleach (optional)

Hand Wash:

Washing Machine Method

To clean your canvas shoes on a washing machine, you'll need to understand that tough stains might require a bit more attention. It's no secret that white canvas sneakers often end up with stubborn stains that seem impossible to remove.

But with this method, we'll show you how to tackle them.

Step 1: Unlace your shoes

If your shoes have laces, remove the shoelaces first. It's essential to wash them separately to prevent any potential damage. Once you remove the laces of your shoes, you can wash the shoes together. Take care to only submerge them in a mixture using one part water and an appropriate cleaning agent. This will ensure a careful and effective clean.

Step 2: Remove Stains and Scuffs

Use a soft-bristled brush or old toothbrush to gently scrub the scuff marks and loose dirt off the canvas surface. Apply a small amount of liquid detergent to the brush, and with circular motions, scrub each shoe to lift and remove the stubborn dirt. Rinse the brush periodically to prevent spreading the dirt around.

Step 3: Put Your Shoes in a Mesh Laundry Bag

Specifically used for washing machine method, chlorine bleach is great for washing canvas shoes, especially the white ones. After you have removed the laces and scrubbed off the initial dirt, place your canvas shoes in a mesh laundry bag for additional protection.

Prepare a cleaning solution using mild detergent and a small amount of chlorine bleach, keeping in mind that bleach should only be used for white canvas to prevent color fading. Transfer the shoes in the mesh bag to your washer to clean.

Set the washer to a delicate, regular cycle with cold water to prevent any potential damage to the shoe structure. This process will help to eliminate any remaining dirt and stains, leaving your canvas shoes looking fresh and clean.

Step 4: Air Dry the Shoes

Arguably the best way to complete the cleaning process is to allow your shoes to air dry. Remove your shoes from the washer and place them in a well-ventilated, cool, and dry area out of direct sunlight to avoid material degradation or discoloration.

Stuff the shoes with a clean cloth or paper to maintain their shape while drying. If there are still some spots left after washing, dip a clean cloth in clean water and gently wipe them off. Once your shoes are dry, you can re-lace them.

Remember, using a damp cloth for wiping off dust and dirt on a regular basis can go a long way to keep them clean and extend their lifespan.

Hand Washing Method

Step 1: Prepare Your Cleaning Solution

Now, if you want a more hands-on approach to cleaning, hand washing is the way to go. Begin by making a cleaning solution at home. For this, mix a few drops of liquid detergent in a bowl of warm water until it becomes soapy. This simple yet effective cleaning solution will help rid your canvas shoes of stubborn stains and dirt.

Step 2: Unlace Your Shoes

Similar to the washing machine method, if your shoes have removable laces, ensure to take them off first. This will allow you to clean every nook and corner of your shoe thoroughly with clean water and the prepared cleaning solution. You can clean the laces separately using the same solution.

Step 3: Prepare the Brush and Sponge

For this method, you'll need a soft-bristled brush or an old toothbrush, a sponge, and some paper towels. The toothbrush will help you scrub away the stubborn dirt, while the sponge is useful for dabbing the cleaning solution onto the canvas material.

Step 4: Clean the Soles

The sole of your shoe often traps the most amount of dirt. Apply a small amount of the cleaning solution to the brush and scrub the soles vigorously to remove the built-up dirt. The bristles of the toothbrush will offer the right amount of pressure to clean the grooves of the soles without damaging them.

Step 5: Clean the Canvas

Next, dampen your sponge in the cleaning solution and gently dab it onto the canvas material. Avoid soaking the fabric; light and repeated dabbing is more effective. Pay close attention to the areas that have visible stains.

Step 6: Scrub the Shoes

After you've applied the cleaning solution all over your shoes, use your toothbrush to scrub the canvas. Be thorough and cover all areas, ensuring you get into the seams and any hidden spots. The inside of the shoes also needs attention, use the toothbrush to reach inside and scrub the inner lining.

Step 7: Rinse and Dry

Rinse your shoes thoroughly with clean water to remove the soap. Be careful not to soak the shoes as this can change their shape. Use paper towels to blot excess water from the surface of the shoes.

Step 8: Let Them Air Dry

Finally, let your shoes air dry. Place them in a well-ventilated area, away from direct sunlight. To maintain their shape, stuff the inside of the shoes with paper towels or a cloth. Once completely dry, re-lace the shoes and they'll be ready to wear.

Additional Tips When Cleaning Canvas ShoesAdditional Tips When Cleaning Canvas Shoes

To further enhance the cleaning process and extend the lifespan of your canvas shoes, consider these additional tips:

  1. Make Your Shoes Shine with Baking Soda Paste: Baking soda can work wonders when it comes to brightening your shoes. Mix baking soda and warm water to create a thick paste. Apply this paste over the surface of your shoes, particularly on stained areas, using an old toothbrush. Let it sit for a while, then use a damp cloth to remove the paste.
  2. Wash the Inside of the Shoes: Oftentimes, the inside of the shoes is overlooked during cleaning. However, it's crucial to remember that bacteria and unpleasant odors can accumulate here over time. Use a toothbrush or a sponge, along with a mild cleaning solution, to scrub inside the shoes.
  3. Use a Cloth to Remove Residual Dirt: Even after washing your shoes, some residual dirt may remain. Using a damp cloth to remove this dirt can help keep your canvas shoes looking fresh and clean.
  4. Create a Vinegar Solution to Remove Tough Stains: If your shoes are extremely dirty or have stubborn stains, vinegar can be a useful cleaning agent. Mix one part vinegar with two parts water to create a cleaning solution. Apply this solution to the stains and scrub with a brush.
  5. Use a Protector Spray: After your shoes are clean and dry, consider using a protector spray. This product can create a barrier against dirt and stains, making future cleanings easier and helping your shoes last longer.
  6. Air Dry Away from Direct Heat or Sunlight: Excessive heat or direct sunlight can cause canvas shoes to fade or warp. Always air dry your shoes in a cool, well-ventilated spot.

Key Takeaways

Take care of your canvas shoes and extend their lifespan by adopting a regular cleaning routine. By following these simple steps to clean your shoes either by machine washing or hand washing, you can keep them in pristine condition for longer. Regular maintenance not only keeps your shoes looking fresh and clean, but also preserves the integrity of the canvas material, helping to prevent wear and tear.

Make sure to browse our selection of shoe cleaning kits to be equipped with all the necessary tools to maintain your canvas, leather, and sneakers.

12PC Leather Shoe Shine & Care Kit for Men & Women

3.5 oz Mink Oil Leather Care Kit with Applicator

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