1. 1

    Pick a cleaning agent. In order to restore your worn-in Vans to their factory-fresh appearance, you may need to put in a little extra time and money into cleaning and polishing the white rubber outsole. You can use this method with any canvas shoes, like Toms or Keds. [1] There are many common household items that can be used to clean the whites of your Vans, including:

    • Bleach
    • Nail polish remover (acetone) in liquid form.
    • Alcohol for rubbing
    • The Squeegee Guy, The Window Washer
    • The miraculous erasing device
    • Peroxide of Hydrogen
    • The combination of baking soda and water
    • Citrus juice
  2. 2

    Using a covered surface, set the footwear aside. Using an old toothbrush or a shoe brush, spread out the towel and cleaning product on the floor, and get to work on those shoes. Make sure you have plenty of protection down if you're going to be working with bleach or another potentially staining cleaning product inside.

    • Bleach and acetone are flammable and should be used only in a well-ventilated area or preferably outside.


  3. 3

    Colorful Vans should be used to cover the background. If you want to clean your colored Vans without damaging the canvas, use some masking tape to cover the canvas at least where it meets the sole before applying one of the serious cleaners listed above.

    • On the other hand, there are those who think it's hip to flaunt Vans that have been ruined by bleach. A decision is left up to you.
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    Cleaner dip the bristles in Clean the rubber sole of each Van by applying a small amount of cleaner to a brush or old toothbrush and vigorously buffing it, working in small circles and reloading the brush as necessary. Finish the soles and the exterior of the shoes.
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    Apply some fresh water to a cloth and wipe them down. After cleaning both shoes, use a paper towel or dish towel that has been dampened with clean water to give them a final wipe down. The rubber on your shoes should now be a dazzling white.


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    Take care of any outdoor dirt that has hardened. The first step in cleaning filthy Vans is to do so in natural light. Keep them in a position where dirt can be shaken onto the ground.

    • It's best to wait until your muddy shoes are completely dry before trying to brush them off. It's more convenient that way.
    • The best way to remove stubborn dirt from shoes is with a soft brush, like a toothbrush. Fight off the accumulation of dust and grime by tapping your shoes together.
  2. 2

    Use some dish soap and hot water. Half-fill a bucket with hot water and add a couple tablespoons of liquid dish soap. Dish detergent, mild (15-30ml) Do some vigorous scrubbing in your bucket to produce foam. [2]

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    Dip a soft brush, preferably one that is medium to large in size, into the sudsy water. The brush should be worked back and forth on the shoe's surface while holding the shoe in one hand.

    • You can clean the bottom of your shoes by dipping them lightly in water and then brushing them vigorously to remove any dirt.
  4. 4

    Use clean, warm water to rinsing. Rinse the shoes in clean, warm water, either from the same bucket or another one, after you've finished scrubbing them.

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    Be sure to dry the shoes completely. Place the damp footwear on a clean white towel and wrap each pair individually in the towels. Use the towel to blot any remaining moisture off the canvas. Swap shoes and try again

    • Allow the shoes to dry in the open air. Put the white shoes in the sun for a few hours to lighten them.
    • Soak up liquid with hand towels or regular white paper towels by stuffing them. This prevents the Vans from shrinking and the formation of dark lines where the shoes bend.
    • To hasten the drying process, you can also stuff newspaper into your Vans. Baking soda and water


  1. 1

    This technique is only for synthetic or canvas vans. Water will ruin the many materials Vans uses to make their shoes, including the leather used in some of their styles. Check the label to see if the shoes are made of canvas or a different synthetic material. [7]

    • Vans made of leather or suede should be cared for in the same way as any other pair of leather shoes. Do not wash them in water or with laundry detergent.
  2. 2

    Apply a gentle pre-treater to the stain before you wear the shoes. Use an enzymatic stain remover or another commercial product of your choice to remove stubborn stains from your footwear before washing them to get rid of the mud, oil, or grease. Put on the stain remover, let it sit on the shoes for a while while you get the washing machine ready, and then wash as usual.

  3. 3

    Use cool water and the gentle cycle on your washing machine. As a precaution for both the shoes and the washing machine, you should use the washer's lowest temperature and gentlest setting. Having shoes clatter around in a washing machine isn't ideal, but if everything is in order, it shouldn't cause any problems.

  4. 4

    Toss the Vans into a throw pillowcase. Some worry that washing their Vans will cause the glue and seams to come undone. If you want to wash your vans along with other dirty items like towels and throw rugs, placing them in a pillowcase first is a good idea because it will keep everything padded and prevent anything from getting ruined. No need to worry about your vans.

    • Shoes can be damaged if washed in the washing machine too frequently, so try not to do it more than once every six months at most.
    • In most cases, it's best to remove the insoles or liners from your Vans before washing them or replacing them with brand new ones.
  5. 5

    Reduce the amount of detergent you normally use by half. Wash the shoes in a pillowcase along with the rest of the laundry, and use a gentle detergent whether you're washing by hand or in the machine.

    • If you're going to be using a top-loading washing machine, you can reduce the amount of time the shoes soak by waiting until the load is half full. This means the shoes won't have to soak for quite as long, but will still get clean.
  6. 6

    Vans can be washed and dried in a washing machine. Shoes should never be dried in a dryer. It can also dry out the soles and canvas, which can cause the seams to crack. Also, it's a great way to ruin your dryer. [9]

    • If you're in a hurry and don't mind if your Vans get cracked, you can dry them in the dryer with a few towels to cushion the impact.


Question New
  • Question

    Does anyone know an alternative method to peroxide for cleaning white Vans?

    Marc Sigal
    It's Marc Sigal
    Expert in the Care of Shoes
    California-based dry cleaning and shoe care company ButlerBox was founded by Marc Sigal. ButlerBox installs crease-proof lockers at convenient locations like high-end apartment complexes, corporate office towers, and retail centers so that customers can access their belongings whenever they need to. Marc attended UC Santa Barbara and graduated with a degree in International Studies.
    Marc Sigal

    Help wikiHow out and gain access to this detailed response from an acknowledged expert.

    Scrub with a used toothbrush and mild soapy water. Scrub your cars with a toothbrush dipped in soapy water. Soak up any remaining suds with a towel blotting, and then let your shoes air dry.
  • Question

    May I machine-wash my slip-on vans?

    wikiHow Staff Editor

    How-To Guide Editors on Staff at wikiHow
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    We have vetted the content of this answer by one of our trained researchers to ensure its accuracy and completeness.

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    Canvas slip-on Vans can be washed in the washer without a problem. Canvas footwear should be washed in cold water on a gentle or low setting. To prevent the shoes from flying around too much, you can put them in a laundry wash bag that is sized appropriately for the shoes, or you can throw in a few towels to act as padding in case the shoes do fly around. Canvas shoes should never go in the dryer, as this can ruin the material.
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  • Combination Toothbrush/Shoe Brush
  • Water
  • Cleaner for stains
  • Sunlight
  • Bucket
  • Color-safe bleach
  • Towel
  • A supple brush of medium to large size

Marc Sigal

Marc Sigal is a co-author of this piece. ButlerBox is a Los Angeles–based dry cleaning and shoe care service founded by Marc Sigal. You can access your ButlerBox locker at any time, day or night, in a variety of convenient locations including high-end apartment complexes, corporate office towers, shopping malls, and more. Marc attended UC Santa Barbara and graduated with a degree in International Studies. At present, this article has been viewed 1,534,897 times.

Co-authors: 24

Updated: On this date in 2022:

Views:  1,534,897

Categories: To Shine Your Shoes

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  • Maggie Papa
    The instructions read, "Wear canvas Vans in a pale aqua blue color." I use a magic eraser to clean the white areas, and it does a fantastic job. beautiful For minor paint spills on the canvas, the magic eraser is also effective. Alternatively, you could use some Dawn dishwashing liquid. " " more
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