How to Clean Canvas Shoes? – 5 Steps to Follow

Want to clean your attractive and versatile pair of canvas shoes?

Canvas shoes are available in both sneakers and slip-on forms. The best thing about them is that you can wear them with any kind of skirt, dress, jeans, and outfit.

Unfortunately, these stylish pairs of canvas shoes are prone to dust and grime. If you use the right cleaning products, you will not face any problems.

In this post, I will discuss the best methods to clean canvas shoes and many other aspects.

Let’s move!

how to clean canvas shoes

How to Clean Canvas Shoes?

  • Hand cleaning: Soak the shoe laces in mild detergent solution for almost 15 minutes, then scrub them with a soft bristle brush.
  • Get rid of caked-on dirt by tapping the footwear and scrubbing the interior and exterior of the shoes. Apply the cleaning solution on tough stains for 3 to 4 minutes. Dry them correctly in natural air for one day.
  • By Washing machine cleaning: unlace your gorgeous canvas slip-on shoes. Then, pack them in the mesh bag and put them in the washer. Pour the detergent solution water into the machine and start it on the light cycle.
  • Dry them in a ventilated area and put them away from direct heat

Methods to Clean Canvas Shoes

Canvas shoes are an easy target of dirt, so cleaning canvas shoes is necessary to increase their life. It is quite embarrassing to wear unwashed pair of white canvas shoes. It is best to clean them immediately when they get dirty.

Here are the most common and suitable methods of washing canvas shoes for men and women.

  • By hand
  • Using washing machine

1. By Hand

To perform this technique, the following items are required:

Tools & Materials Required

  • Fabric stain remover
  • Old Toothbrush
  • Baking soda
  • White towel
  • Soft nylon bristle brush
  • Laundry detergent or liquid dish soap
  • Shallow basin

Step 1. Scrub the Laces

Laces also get dirty like footwear but cleaning them with shoes is not effective. So it is better to wash them separately. For this purpose, I made the mild detergent solution and soaked the laces for 15 minutes.

Then I used my old Toothbrush to scrub them. Brushing laces on the flat ground keep them moving. So I wrapped them around my hand for proper scrubbing.

Also, I flipped each lace side to wash them throughout. Afterward, I rinsed the laces under clean water and let them dry.

If the insoles of your canvas footwear are removable, wash them separately with the dipped mild detergent toothbrush. Scrub the surface of the insoles gently.

Step 2. Remove Dirt

If you want to remove the wet mud, then dry it first. It enables you to clean the shoes easily because mud gets hard. I knocked the dust and dirt off with a dry brush.

You can also tap the canvas footwear. To get rid of caked-on dirt, the scrubbing method is more appropriate. The main purpose is to wipe all the dust and dirt away. After this, proceed to the next step.

Step 3. Scrub the Canvas

It is a very important procedure step. Dirt gathers every time you put your canvas shoes on. Keep the following tips in your mind while scrubbing the canvas footwear:

  • Don’t soak the shoe in water for more than fifteen minutes because it can damage its fabric. Put less pressure while brushing.
  • Avoid using harmful chemicals, especially bleach. Bleach is only acceptable for white canvas shoes. Scrub the brush in only one direction.

First, I sprinkled a little baking soda on the inner side of the shoe to eliminate the bad odor. Next, I mixed one cup of laundry detergent in three cups of water.

Then I dipped the Toothbrush in the mixture and started Scrubbing the tough stains. If shoe stains are still dark, then no need to worry. Because there is also one more step of deep cleaning.

Step 4. Spot Dark Stains

If your canvas shoes have already been cleaned, you do not need to perform this. Wear gloves because bleach can burn your skin. Also, make your bleach dilute by adding water to reduce its damaging effects.

Once I made the bleach solution, I brushed it with one hand and used the other hand to support the shoe’s inner material. Repeat the procedure if stains are still visible.

Step 5. Drying

To dry my canvas sneakers, I placed them near the fan. It took one night to dry my canvas shoes, but it can take more time in a damp climate. Moreover, I also used a towel to wipe the water away before air drying.

When my canvas shoes were completely dried, I tied the shoe laces and placed the insole again in their original position.

2. Washing Machine

Before putting canvas shoes in the washer, remember that this method is not good for suede or leather shoes. In addition, the agitator of washers ruins their quality if you put them on for a longer time.

Tools & Materials Required

  • Mesh laundry bag
  • Laundry detergent
  • Bleach
  • Disinfectant
  • Soft brush or old Toothbrush
  • Washer

Step 1. Remove Laces

Before tossing your canvas sneakers in the washing machine, untie the laces to protect them from tangling. I cleaned them with water and soap separately. Then I packed my shoes in a mesh laundry bag.

Step 2. Cleaning

You can clean canvas shoes with a normal laundry detergent. Use chlorine bleach for white shoes and oxygen-based bleach for colored shoes.

Next, I added the disinfectant to prevent fungus formation. Afterward, I washed them on a light cycle, and the water was also cold.

Step 3. Remove Stains

My shoes were stained and soiled, so I used one teaspoon of mild detergent to treat the stubborn stains. I dabbed that detergent solution on my adorable canvas shoes with a toothbrush. Keep brushing it for fifteen minutes.

The reason is that muddy shoes can clog your washing machine. It is important to wipe the grime away before placing them in the machine.

Step 4. Fill Your Washer

Don’t ever put pair of shoes only in the washing machine. That’s why I put towels and jeans with them. Remember to load light-color fabric for white shoes and alternative color fabric for colored shoes.

Step 5. Drying

When the washer finished cleaning, I placed my decent pair of shoes far from direct sunlight and unbearable heat. Intense heat melts the glue that is used to construct canvas shoes.

To retain the shoe shape, I stuffed the nylon socks inside them. You can also put paper towels in it for a faster drying process.

How Often to Clean Canvas Shoes?

It depends on how often you wear your canvas fabric shoes. Dress shoes are worn fewer times so that you can give them deep cleaning only one time in a season.

On the other hand, canvas sneakers are worn daily, so frequent cleaning is needed to maintain their condition. You should wash them once a week either by hand or by washing machine method.

FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions

Can Canvas Shoes Be Washed?

You can clean canvas shoes for women in the washer or use the hand washing method. Both procedures are simple and easy but never put your shoes in the dryer. The dryer spoils the shape of the shoes even if you set the lowest drying.

What is the Fastest Way to Clean White Canvas Shoes?

Baking soda solution is the fastest way to clean white canvas shoes. Add one teaspoon of baking soda and two spoons of vinegar to the bowl. Scrub it on shoes using a toothbrush and then dry them in a cool area.

Does Water Ruin Canvas Shoes?

You can soak canvas shoes in water for a few minutes, but it is not a good idea if you do it for a longer time. Also, protect your shoes from getting wet in the rain. Water damaged the shoe fabric.

Can You Use Dawn Dish Soap on Canvas Shoes?

Yes, you can use dawn dish soap on canvas shoes. Add two cups of dish soap to the four cups of water. Then rub it on your gorgeous shoes with a brush.

How to Clean Canvas Shoes with Baking Soda?

  • Dip the brush into the baking soda mixture and scrub it on the tough stains.
  • Brush it on the circular motion
  • Let it dry for almost thirty minutes

Final Thoughts

You don’t need to throw your favorite canvas shoes if they have stubborn stains. Either toss them in the washer or wash them using your hand. The more often you wear them; the more cleaning is needed.

You can only apply the given methods on your canvas shoes if they are not ripped and have no holes. Follow my guideline, I hope you can easily make your shoes look fresh and clean now.

Still, if you have any questions about cleaning canvas shoes, feel free to ask. Thank you for reading!

Daniel Robert is a shoe lover who enjoys writing about all kinds of footwear, including sneakers, Crocs, Vans, and more. He shares his vast knowledge on, a website dedicated to helping people find the perfect pair of shoes. With years of experience and a passion for all things shoe-related, Daniel's easy-to-understand advice has helped countless people make confident and stylish choices.

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