How to Clean White Canvas Vans


Alescia asked: How do I clean white, canvas vans? I got them a little dirty. I know putting them in the washer will turn them yellow. I need a guaranteed answer on how to make them all white again.

Cleaning white, canvas Vans or any other canvas shoes can be a real challenge. The yellowing that you describe in the washing machine can be caused from bleach being used or the glue that holds the base to the shoe, spreading onto the canvas. Follow these guidelines from the Vans website for proper care and cleaning.

You Will Need:

  • Woolite or mild detergent
  • Soft brush
  • Water
  • Towels
  • Sink or bucket

Steps to Clean the Shoes:

  1. Begin by filling the sink or bucket with warm water.
  2. Add a small amount of mild detergent (it’s important not to use harsh detergents) to the water and agitate until suds begin to form.
  3. Lay out a thick towel.
  4. Holding the shoe over the water (do not submerge it), dip the brush into the soapy water and scrub the surfaces of the shoe.
  5. Repeat until all of the dirt has been scrubbed away.
  6. Rinse with clean water.
  7. When the shoes are cleaned and rinsed, place them on top of the towel. Wrap the sides of the towel over the shoe and gently press out the excess water.
  8. Open the shoes up completely and allow them to air dry.
  9. Avoid wearing or storing the shoes while still wet or damp. This can lead to mold and mildew growth which is even more difficult to remove.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • Canvas shoes can usually be washed on the gentle cycle in the washing machine. However, if the shoes are made from synthetic materials, it is best to hand wash them.
  • There are special cleaning products available to clean suede Vans. These can be found at shoe stores or some drug stores.
  • For severely dirty shoes, it may be necessary to add a small amount of bleach to the water. Using a dye-free bleach will help to avoid the yellow stains that bleach can sometimes create.


  1. Do not put ’em into the washing machine; they will turn yellow!!!!

  2. I just bought white Vans and unsurprisingly, they got dirty the next day. I bought cleaner for them at the Vans store. I used the cleaner as it instructed and as it was drying, a yellow ring formed around where I sprayed the product. It didn’t even take out the stain. I then took a clean wash cloth and put a little water on it and scrubbed on the yellow parts and the stain. The next morning, I looked at them and the yellow was gone and the stain was barely visible. They aren’t as white as before, but they are pretty close.

  3. First, wash your Vans by washing machine, using a toothbrush, soaking, etc…

    The trick to keep your Vans white after washing: while still wet, use cornstarch. The cornstarch will stick to the shoe. Make sure to get every spot, and put them it the sun to dry. After the shoe is dry, scrape off dry cornstarch with a dry brush.

  4. I clean my Vans in the washer now and I use Arm & Hammer soap. I used to brush it with warm water and soap before, but the sole turned yellow. When I started washing it in the washer, the yellow part went away. :)

  5. I put my white canvas vans in the washer all the time when they’re dirty and they don’t turn yellow. I spray them with shout or Spray ‘n Wash and they come out looking brand new!

  6. Get a bucket and fill it with 25% Clorox and 75% water.

    Dip the shoes in the bucket and scrub really well. Leave them in there overnight. Take them out the next morning and leave them in the sun all day the next day.

  7. So if I spray them with Shout spray and put them in the washer, they will not turn yellow, right?

  8. Priscilla says:

    Well I just finished cleaning my shoes with dish soap and water. I microwaved the water for one minute, then I put the soap in. There will be some water stains, but they’ll go away when the shoes are dry. Never put your shoes in the sun to dry; I can not stress that enough!

  9. So what is the easiest way to clean my shoes? Just wash them in the washer and then let them dry?

  10. Do the steps above actually work? I don’t want to take a risk that fails. Any more suggestions that work perfectly?

  11. Can I put stain remover on my Vans?

  12. So, I washed them and now the front dips into the sole. What do I do?

  13. Use detergent with water to clean the shoe, then take some dish soap with warm water and clean the soles.
    It works great -I just did it myself.

  14. I got Clorox bleach on my shoes and they turned yellow! What do I do?

  15. How do you take off stains?

    Check it out! We’ve answered your question! Yay!

  16. My white shoes have water stains; how can I get them off?

  17. The stains could be caused by the minerals in the water that you used. Try washing the shoes again, but this time use distilled water.

  18. I put my shoes in the washer and for some reason, instead of getting all the way clean, they have lines in the dent of grey, and nothing gets it out. Should I bleach it?? Should I corn starch it?? Should I baking soda it?? Should I buy new shoes?? lol

  19. I did everything as said and my Vans turned yellow. DO NOT DO THIS!

  20. I stained my white Vans with mud and I tried to put them in the washer, but it left yellow stains. How do I get this out?

  21. Sam,
    The stain removal method depends on the cause of the stain. Two of the most common causes of yellow stains on washed Vans are that either the shoes were washed with bleach (which has a yellow dye in it) or that the glue in the shoes seeped out from along the seams and left stains. Try to determine the cause, then treat the stains accordingly.
    If you think the stains are from bleach, use this article: How to Remove Yellow Bleach Stains from Shoes.
    If you think the stains are from the glue, try the method in this article: How to Clean Yellowing From Fabric Shoes.

  22. Hey, Please help me to removed the yellowish spot from white shoes after I washed them…what shall I do now?

  23. Melanie says:

    This is the article that you need: How to Remove Yellow Bleach Stains from Shoes.

  24. Does this work? I don’t want to risk it.

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