How To Clean Canvas Shoes

How To Clean Canvas Shoes

If you look in your closet right now, chances are you’ll find at least one pair of canvas shoes floating around in there. Canvas is an ideal material for footwear as it’s comfortable, fashionable, breathable, and flexible, and usually, comes at an affordable price, so it’s important to take care of your favorite pair of shoes that offers all of this.

These shoes tend to get quite dirty, though, as we wear them for everyday things and they attract dirt, grass stains, water, mud, and just about everything else on the ground. While you might be tempted to just throw them out and get a new pair, it’s actually quite simple to get them looking brand new again.

Cleaning Shoes At Home

Cleaning canvas shoes is probably one of the easier shoe materials to clean, as it’s hard to do serious damage as you might with leather or suede. That being said, though, you still need to take care when cleaning them to ensure there’s no stains or permanent damage done during the cleaning process.

How To Clean Canvas Shoes At Home

There’s no need to take your canvas shoes to a cobbler to have them cleaned as you might with an expensive leather pair, as you can do this easily at home.

All you’ll need is some warm water, laundry detergent, a cloth, a toothbrush, an old towel, and some waste paper. Always check the label of your canvas shoes first, though, as this will indicate whether it’s okay to clean them as usual.

  • Remove the laces from your shoes and any dried dirt or debris you can find. Add about two tablespoons of laundry detergent to a bucket of water to ensure you get a good lather.
  • Hold your shoes over the bucket and dip the toothbrush into the water and scrub your shoes. Start from the bottom near the sole and work your way up.
  • Dip the shoes in the water a little each time after you scrub them, being careful to never fully submerge them though. This will help remove leftover dirt and mud after scrubbing.
  • Rinse your shoes completely with warm, clean water under the tap. Use your old towel to squeeze any excess water from your shoes, and then stuff them with the newspaper to preserve their shape.
  • Leave your shoes somewhere out of direct sunlight but in a warm place to dry, and do this overnight if possible. Once dried, replace the laces and enjoy.

If you’re after an easier way to get your canvas shoes clean, you can place them into the washing machine on a gentle cycle. Just be sure to remove any stains before they go in, and only use cool water and half of the regular amount of detergent. Dry them the same way you would if washed by hand, and be prepared for some noise as these shoes are spin dried.

After Cleaning Image

Home Products For Cleaning Canvas Shoes

Because canvas is so versatile and tough, there are plenty of things you can find around the home that will help get them clean. These are great when you’re out of the usual cleaning products and need something in a hurry.

  • Baking soda and vinegar – a mix of these two household items can be formed to make a paste that’s great for spot cleaning your canvas shoes. For removing stain from canvas shoes, this is the most effective.
  • Toothpaste – use a little bit of toothpaste on an old toothbrush to work into deep stains, and work with a whitening one if possible for better results
  • Dishwasher – if for whatever reason your washing machine isn’t available, it is possible to put your canvas sneakers into a dishwasher to have them cleaned

Although these are fairly general methods to use, you should always check the label of your shoes to see if there are guidelines for cleaning. Some shoes feature material other than canvas so it might not be safe to clean them in the ways mentioned here.

The Do’s And Don’ts Of Cleaning Canvas Shoes

No matter which method you choose for cleaning your canvas shoes, there are a few things you should remember about how to care for them properly.

  • Do apply a fabric protector to your canvas shoes when you first buy them, and then reapply every time you clean them to ensure they stay protected.
  • Don’t waterproof the tops of your shoes, but instead focus on applying a wax to the soles to help them stay protected from the liquid. If you apply this to the upper it will destroy the canvas and reduce their breathability.
  • ​Do give your canvas shoes a break now and then, as this material can begin to smell if you are wearing them constantly. Stick some dryer sheets inside if they’re smelling particularly offensive, and let some fresh air get to them.
  • Don’t ever dry your canvas shoes in direct sunlight. Most of these styles have been made with a special glue to attach the canvas to the rubber sole, and intense heat that comes from direct sunlight is enough to loosen the bond.

It’s quite hard to destroy a pair of canvas shoes, especially ones that are quality made, so it’s all a matter of precaution and sensible thought when you’re learning how to clean canvas shoes. While these tips for cleaning canvas shoes are a great general guideline, they won’t always apply to every brand and style.

Taking Care Of Your Favorite Pair

For many people, their canvas shoes are their favorite footwear by far and have been this way since they were a young child in their high top sneakers.

Your Favorite Pair Of Sneakers

Thankfully, there’s no need to replace your favorite shoes every year just because they’ve picked up some dirt and grass stains as it’s so simple to wash them and bring them back to life.

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