Since canvas shoes are made of fabric, they can easily get dirty just like clothing. However, they cannot be tossed in the washer like clothing because the glue in the soles can seep out if exposed to so much water, and the shoes can shrink in the high heat of the dryer. Instead, use the method below to clean your shoes. This method is usually safe for both colored and white shoes of any brand, including Converse, Sketchers, Crocs, or Vans, but you should always test a new cleaner on a small hidden area of your shoes first just in case.
You Will Need:
- Sink or bowl
- Mild detergent like Woolite or Dreft
- A soft brush like a nailbrush
Steps to Clean the Canvas:
- Fill the sink or bowl with water.
- Mix in a little mild detergent and swirl around the water to make suds. If you don’t have a mild laundry detergent like Woolite or Dreft, you can use baby shampoo or a mild dish liquid instead.
- If the shoes have laces, remove them and put them in the sink or bowl. Swirl them around to clean them, then rinse them with water and hang them over a towel bar in the bathroom to dry.
- Dip a nailbrush or old toothbrush in the soapy water and scoop off some suds from the surface of the water onto the brush. First, use the brush to gently scrub the canvas in a small hidden area, such as under the lip of the mouth, to test that it is safe for the fabric. Do not scrub over any label or printing on the shoes, as you could damage or remove it.
- Dip a cloth or sponge in clean water, then wring it out so that it’s not dripping. Sponge the canvas with the cloth to rinse it, using caution not to soak the shoe.
- Wipe the rubber on the soles with the damp cloth to remove any dirt.
- Press the shoe with a towel to absorb excess moisture.
- Let the shoes air dry in a warm location. Do not put them in the sun to dry as it can cause colored fabric to fade.
- If the above method does not work to remove all of the dirt from the canvas, use a foaming carpet or upholstery cleaner. Test it first on a hidden area and if safe, simply rub it into the canvas with a dry cloth.
- If you would like to buy a cleaner specifically for your shoes, Lincoln EZ Cleaner is available online or at some shoe or specialty stores. Follow the instructions on the label to use.
- If the hard tips on your shoelaces start coming apart, dip them in either clear nail polish or Elmer’s glue, then hang them over a towel bar while the polish/glue dries.
- If the inside of your shoes are dirty or smell, sprinkle some baking soda or salt inside them and let it sit overnight, then dump it out the next morning. Use a vacuum hose to vacuum inside the shoes to remove any remaining pieces of baking soda or salt.
- Spray new canvas shoes with laundry starch to protect them from dirt.
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