How to Clean Your White Converse {or Canvas} Shoes

I recently picked up a pair of white converse shoes at a garage sale for $2. They were filthy dirty but my 14-year-old daughter insisted that I buy them so that we could match since she has a pair of her own. Who can say no to being a "twinsie" with their teen daughter? Not me, that's who. So I picked the shoes up in the hopes that I could revive them from their dingy dirty state that they were into a clean looking white pair the way God intended. Or at least, the way Converse intended them to look.

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It's hard to get a really good look at the before and after, but I think they cleaned up really nicely. In fact, I'm pretty darn impressed with myself and wanted to share my tricks with you.  It's nearly impossible to keep white shoes looking white for long, so if you own a pair of white canvas shoes, this cleaning technique may be your new go to.

magic cleaning solution to whiten shoes

How to Clean Your White Converse or Canvas Shoes

What is the Best Way to Clean White Converse? 

Curious? 20 Things Frugal People Do Every Day

Remove the Shoelaces

I started by removing the laces in my shoes. I could buy a new pair of white laces for a few bucks but I'm cheap and I like to salvage what I have, so I decided to take my laces out and see if I could make them look new again. I ended up putting them in a small plastic bowl filled with a mixture of the same cleaning concoction that I will be telling you about. It worked great and the laces looked new again too!

Clean White Converse

I have a sink in my laundry room, but if you don't you could use a bucket. I put a quarter scoop of Oxiclean, a quarter cup of laundry detergent and a cap full of bleach into my sink filled with about a gallon of cold water. You want to use cold water so that you don't set any of your stains. I used my toothbrush to swish and mix around my cleaning mixture.

The Toothbrush as the Magic Tool

Use a toothbrush to start scrubbing. I started with the rubber around the edges.
This is a great use of those free toothbrushes you get from the dentist! Or save your old toothbrushes and use them for cleaning when you replace them!

Work your way up and around the canvas.

Remove the Dirt

I scrubbed the shoe on the left and hadn't gotten to the shoe on the right yet. You could soak your shoes upside down in your cleaning bath for a bit if the stains are really set in. I actually didn't have the time to do that and think that the end result still turned out great.

I took my toothbrush and dipped it into another scoop full of my Oxiclean. I used that to scrub around the canvas on my shoes before I threw them into my washing machine. I washed the shoes on cold with a small amount of liquid bleach and a little bit of laundry detergent.

Sun Bleaching Canvas Shoes

Once the shoes are washed, you don't want to dry them in your dryer, you want to let the sun do the final step of whitening them. I read that some people find that their canvas shoes turn yellow as they dry in the sun. I didn't want that, so I took paper towels, wet them down until they were moist and laid them on top of the canvas.

After a few hours, your shoes will be dry and they will look almost as good as new!

I was really impressed with the process and have no idea why I almost didn't buy this pretty sweet looking pair of Converse. I'm so glad my daughter talked me into it. Now we can be twinning!

TOMS, canvas, keds

90% of our families clothing is purchased second-hand. 

Here are my tips for finding the best deals on second-hand clothes for your whole family.

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Unknown said...

Wow, they look great! Glad you got them and thanks for sharing!

Deb said...

Awesome! I just bought a pair of Chucks not too long ago, and was wondering how I could clean them, when that time will inevitably occur. Thank you!

FixCrafts said...

White Shoes are so hard to clean but you have shared a really good method. thanks for this

Anonymous said...

Good article. I'm facing many of these issues as well..

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