Aug 02, 2023

How to Clean White Vans or Converse at Home

Have your white kicks turned yellow? Learn how to return leather, canvas, and suede shoes to bright white without bleach or expensive cleaners.

Highlights: * Has worked as a fact checker for Real Simple since 2022 * Worked as a staff writer for Mochi Magazine * Currently runs and operates the United States blog for Student Beans

Comfy white sneakers are a versatile wardrobe staple, whether you're rocking a suit, sundress, or classic jeans and a T-shirt. The downside is figuring out how to clean white Vans that turned yellow or how to clean white Converse that suffered an inadvertent meeting with a muddy puddle. Scuffs and scrapes are inevitable and, let's be honest, usually occur within the first two minutes of wearing them.

There's a way to clean white Vans, Converse, or suede shoes without harsh chemicals, a dry cleaner, or a washing machine. Before you get started, double-check what your white shoes are made of, study the instructions, and gather your supplies. Then follow our step-by-step guides that walk you through how to clean white shoes with ease, naturally. However, if you're on the go and prefer something you can conveniently take along with you, there are plenty of effective shoe cleaners on the market just for that.

Vans come in canvas, leather, or cloth. Leather is one of the easier materials to clean because it doesn't absorb as much water as most other fabrics. However, this simple method should work on most white Vans.

Wet a paper towel, squeeze out excess water, and gently wipe down the outside of your shoes. This helps remove big pieces of dirt caught on different parts of the shoe. After you're done, let your shoes dry for 10 minutes.

Wet your Mr. Clean Magic Eraser and squeeze out excess water. (You want your Magic Eraser damp but not dripping all over your shoes.) Run the Magic Eraser up and down the soles of your shoes until dirt and stains are gone.

Try to use only enough pressure to remove the stain, but not so much that you risk scuffing the fabric. Depending on how dirty your shoes were, you may need to repeat this process a few times.

You may think it's difficult to get the grime out of white canvas shoes, but it's actually pretty simple (maybe even easier than deodorizing smelly sneakers). Here's how to clean white Converse shoes that have turned not-so-white (or even yellow) with just baking soda and white vinegar. (If you don't have baking soda and white vinegar, you can use generic dish soap and water.)

Slowly mix 1 tablespoon baking soda with 2 tablespoons white vinegar and 1 cup warm water. Let the fizz settle down before proceeding.

Dip a cloth or clean toothbrush into the mixture and use it to scrub the dirt on your shoes. Get right to it because the baking soda mixture dries pretty quickly.

Once you're finished scrubbing, brush off any remaining mixture, wipe with a damp cloth (if needed), and let your shoes air dry.

Cleaning suede shoes can be tricky since suede is a delicate fabric that stains easily. You've probably noticed that most suede shoes don't come in a true white hue, but off-whites get dirty easily, too. Here's how to clean white suede shoes gently and effectively.

Before you start cleaning suede shoes, make sure they're completely dry by blotting them with a soft cloth. This is important because if you try to treat stains while they're damp, it can work it deeper into the material, making the stain harder to remove.

Once dry, gently rub any stains with the pink pencil eraser.

Place a paper towel onto the wet stains and apply pressure to blot. Make sure not to rub the dirt and stains with the paper towel, as they could spread across the shoe.

If any stains remain, dip your soft cloth in white vinegar and gently rub to remove it.

Allow your clean shoes to air-dry and then rub the outside of each shoe with a suede brush. This helps them get that velvety texture back.

Now that your white sneakers are sparkling clean, you want to keep them that way. Though you may be tempted to wrap them in plastic, return them to their original box, and never wear them again, that's not why you bought them. These tips will help keep your white shoes clean longer:

Dirt and stains aren't the only maladies that can mar your beautiful white shoes. No one will notice how clean they are if they stink.

Most odors are caused by moisture, so the drier you can keep your shoes, the less likely they'll smell bad. Try these tactics for getting rid of odors and keeping them away.

Highlights: Be selective about where and when you wear white shoes Invest in a good-quality shoe protection spray, Keep sneaker wipes handy. Use a water-based cleaner. Brush, don't scrub. Use baking soda. Apply a disinfecting spray, powder, or inserts. Store your white shoes properly. Wear socks, Rotate your shoe selection. Deep-clean on the regular.