How to Clean Converse Shoes In 5 Quick & Simple Steps

How to Clean Converse Shoes

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Are your beloved Converse shoes looking worse for wear? Whether you’ve been wearing them on urban adventures or they’ve just seen one too many concerts, it’s natural for these iconic sneakers to accumulate dirt and grime over time. But fear not! My comprehensive guide on how to clean Converse shoes will walk you through the step-by-step process to bring your Converse back to its pristine glory.

Converse shoes have been a staple of fashion and footwear for decades, cherished for their timeless style and comfort. However, neglecting their maintenance can lead to a dingy appearance that does no justice to their iconic design. 

In this blog post, I’ll share expert tips and tricks using straightforward techniques and readily available supplies to restore your Converse to its original splendor. Get ready to revitalize your kicks and step out with confidence in your clean and fresh Converse shoes!

What Do You Need To Clean Converse Shoes?

Cleaning Converse shoes is a relatively simple process, and you don’t need many specialized items to do it effectively. Here’s a list of things you’ll need:

  • Mild Detergent or Soap: A gentle detergent or mild soap is essential for cleaning the canvas or fabric parts of the shoes. Avoid using harsh chemicals that could damage the material. For the best results, these Reshoevn8r Converse Detergent Pods are amazingly effective.
  • Soft-Bristled Brush: A soft-bristled brush, such as an old toothbrush, is useful for scrubbing away dirt and stains from the surface of the shoes. This bristle pack comes with a soft, medium and stiff set.
  • White Vinegar: White vinegar can help remove stains and odors from the rubber parts of the shoes, like the toe cap and sole.
  • Baking Soda: Baking soda can be used to help eliminate odors inside the shoes.
  • Toothpaste (optional): Toothpaste with a mild abrasive can be used for cleaning white rubber parts of Converse shoes.
  • Clean Cloth or Sponge: You’ll need a clean cloth or sponge to apply the cleaning solution and wipe away dirt and stains.
  • Stain treatment product (optional): This could refer to a specialized leather stain remover or a product designed to treat specific stains on leather. Consider using such a product if you have stains on your leather Converse. I’ve used this Pink Miracle solution on my Converse shoes, and the results exceeded my expectation.
  • Old Newspapers or Towels: These are useful for stuffing inside the shoes while cleaning to help them maintain their shape and absorb moisture.

How to Clean Converse Shoes That Are Canvas?

How to Clean Canvas Converse Shoes

Cleaning canvas Converse shoes is relatively easy and can help extend the life of your favorite sneakers. Here are five steps to clean canvas Converse shoes:

Step 1: Remove Laces

Before you begin, taking off the laces allows easy access to every nook and cranny of your shoes and prevents them from tangling or getting damaged during the cleaning process. Laces can harbor dirt and grime, so removing them ensures that every part of your Converse sneakers can be properly cleaned.

While not every pair of Converse shoes has removable insoles, it’s a good practice to take them out if yours do. This step helps in cleaning both the insoles and the shoe interiors, ensuring that no odors or hidden dirt are left behind.

Step 2: Remove Loose Dirt

Before diving into the more detailed cleaning process, it’s smart to tackle the initial step, removing loose dirt and debris from your canvas Converse shoes. This step sets the foundation for a successful and thorough cleaning experience.

Begin by gently shaking or tapping your shoes together. This motion helps dislodge loose dirt, pebbles, grass, and other debris that may have accumulated on the exterior of your Converse sneakers. Doing this prevents these loose particles from becoming embedded in the fabric during the subsequent cleaning steps.

Consider using a soft cloth or brush to wipe off surface dirt for a more meticulous approach. A cloth can be especially effective at lifting dust and light debris from the canvas material. If you opt for a brush, ensure that it’s soft-bristled to avoid any potential damage to the fabric. Gently brush the entire shoe, paying attention to seams and crevices where dirt often hides.

This initial step might seem simple, but it’s crucial.

Removing loose dirt and debris ensures a cleaner canvas to work with and prevents the risk of grinding dirt deeper into the fabric during subsequent cleaning stages. This attention to detail sets the stage for your Converse shoes to look their best and maintain their longevity.

Step 3: Spot Cleaning

If you have specific stains or dirty areas on your Converse shoes, mix a solution of mild liquid detergent and water. The Pink Miracle shoe cleaner also has stellar reviews for tough stains.

Dip the soft-bristle brush or toothbrush into the solution, then gently scrub the stained areas in a circular motion.

You can use a mixture of equal parts white vinegar and water or a paste made from baking soda and water for stubborn stains. Remember to rinse thoroughly afterward to remove any residue.

Step 4: Overall Converse Cleaning

Once you’ve successfully removed the loose dirt and debris from your canvas Converse shoes, it’s time to move on to the essential step of overall cleaning. This step involves a more detailed cleaning process to ensure that your shoes regain their pristine appearance.

Start by dipping a soft-bristled brush or a sponge into the prepared cleaning solution of soapy water. When used as a cleaning solution, soapy water successfully removes dirt and stains while being gentle on canvas.

With your brush or sponge dampened but not dripping wet, gently scrub the entire canvas surface.

Use circular motions, the same as what you do in the spot cleaning step, or a back-and-forth motion, depending on your preference and the level of staining or dirt.

Pay close attention to seams, eyelets, and the rubber toe cap, as these areas tend to accumulate more dirt and may require extra care.

While using enough soapy water to clean your Converse shoes effectively is essential, be cautious not to saturate them with excessive moisture. Canvas material can weaken and lose shape when exposed to too much water. Therefore, use a damp brush or sponge rather than drenching the shoes.

As you scrub, take your time to address any stubborn stains or deeply embedded dirt. If you encounter areas that require extra attention, it’s a good idea to focus your efforts there.

Step 5: Rinse and Dry:

After cleaning, rinse the shoes thoroughly with clean water to remove any soap or cleaning solution residue. You can use a damp cloth or sponge for this step. Shake off excess water and use a clean, dry cloth or paper towel to blot away moisture. 

To maintain the shoe’s shape, stuff them with newspaper or shoe trees while drying. Allow the shoes to air dry at room temperature. Avoid direct sunlight or heat sources like radiators, as they can cause the canvas to shrink or crack.

Following these instructions will help you give your canvas Converse sneakers a complete and delicate cleaning, maintaining both its aesthetic appeal and structural integrity. Excess moisture exposure is avoided by taking such precautions, and you can be confident that your favorite Converse shoes will come out of the cleaning procedure looking renewed and prepared for new adventures.

How to Clean Converse Shoes That Are Leather? 

How to Clean Leather Converse Shoes

Cleaning leather Converse shoes is different from cleaning your canvas ones. Leather Converse shoes require a gentle touch and some care to ensure they maintain their stylish appearance. 

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you clean your leather Converse sneakers effectively:

Step 1: Remove Shoelaces and Insoles

Begin by removing the shoelaces from your Converse shoes. This step is crucial as it allows you access to all areas of the shoe for thorough cleaning.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Carefully unlace your Converse shoes, starting from the top and working your way down. Removing the shoelaces will create better access to the entire shoe, including areas around the eyelets and tongue, which tend to collect dirt and grime.
  • If your Converse shoes have removable insoles, gently pull them out. This step is essential as it allows you to clean both the inside of the shoe and the insoles themselves. Removing insoles also aids in thorough drying. If it’s time to replace them, you’ll like my article on the best Converse replacement insoles.

Step 2: Brush Away Mud, Grass, and Other Debris

Use your hands to gently knock off any loose dirt, mud, grass, or debris from the shoes. You can also use an old toothbrush or tap the shoes together over a trash bin to dislodge stubborn dirt. Be gentle when using a brush to avoid scratching the leather.

Step 3: Spot Treat

Dampen a microfiber cloth and apply a mild soap to it. Gently rub the damp cloth over the leather uppers of your Converse sneakers. 

Pay close attention to areas like the tongue and toe box, where stains are most likely to occur. If you encounter deeper stains or scratches, use a small amount of leather cleaner and conditioner on a dry microfiber cloth. Buff the leather gently in a circular motion.

Step 4: Clean The Converse Midsoles

Now, turn your attention to the rubber midsoles. Use the same damp cloth and mild detergent or a melamine foam sponge. Wet the melamine sponge, wring it out well, and lightly rub it on the midsoles to remove scuffs and stains. This will help restore the white rubber to its original brightness.

Step 5: Rinse Your Shoes

Rinse the microfiber cloth thoroughly and wring it out until it’s damp but not dripping wet. Go over the entire Converse shoe multiple times, rinsing the cloth as needed. 

This step is crucial to remove any soap residue, which could cause staining or make the leather stiff if left behind.

Step 6: Dry and Add Laces

To dry your leather Converse shoes, use a clean microfiber cloth to gently buff the leather until it’s dry and has a nice shine. Once they’re completely dry, re-lace your sneakers. 

If your Converse shoes have developed creases, consider stuffing them with paper or using a shoe tree to help maintain their shape as they dry.

Remember, avoiding machine washing and drying leather Converse shoes is essential, as these processes can damage the leather and cause the shoes to lose their shape.

With proper care and these cleaning steps, your leather Converse sneakers will stay looking fresh and stylish for a long time.

I also have a comprehensive article specifically about how to clean leather shoes on my website.

Frequently Asked Questions About Cleaning Converse

How do I keep my white Converse white?

Keeping your white Converse shoes looking pristine white can be challenging, but with the right care, you can maintain their brightness. 

First, prevention is key. Try to avoid stepping in mud or other stains whenever possible. Second, regularly wipe off surface dirt with a damp cloth or sponge. For more thorough cleaning, you can use a mixture of mild soap and water to gently scrub the white canvas, avoiding bleach as it can yellow the fabric. 

Pay extra attention to the rubber soles and use a toothbrush or a small brush to clean the textured areas. Once clean, let them air dry naturally, avoiding direct sunlight or heat sources. 

You can consider using a shoe protector spray designed for sneakers to prevent future stains. I used this Crep Protect spray on my Converse and it’s one of the best. Don’t just take my word for it, read through the reviews on Amazon.

Reshoevn8r makes for a good Converse shoe protector spray as well, but it’s a little more expensive than the Crep brand.

Lastly, remove the shoelaces and wash them separately or replace them if they are too stained or worn. Your white Converse can stay crisp and white with consistent care and attention.

If your Converse are white, you may also enjoy reading my research on how to clean white shoes.

Can I wash my Converse shoes in the washing machine?

Yes, you can wash your Converse shoes in the washing machine, but there are some important steps to follow to ensure that they come out clean without getting damaged. 

  1. First, remove the shoelaces and any insoles, if possible, as these can be washed separately.
  2. Place your Converse shoes in a pillowcase or a laundry bag to protect them during the wash cycle. 
  3. It’s essential to use cold water and a gentle cycle to prevent any color fading or material damage. Avoid using bleach or harsh detergents, as they can be too abrasive for the shoes. 
  4. Add some towels to balance the load and reduce the impact of the shoes bouncing around in the machine.
  5. After the wash, let your Converse air dry naturally, avoiding direct sunlight or high heat sources, which can warp the rubber soles. 

This method can help refresh your Converse shoes, but it’s not recommended for frequent washing, as it may shorten their lifespan.

Can I use dish soap to clean my Converse shoes?

You’ll be happy to find out that you can rely on the convenience of regular, mild, or dish soap to clean your Converse sneakers.

However, it’s critical to exercise caution and pick a dish soap with no strong cleaning agents like bleach. In addition to perhaps irritating your skin, bleach might ruin your prized Converse sneakers. Unfortunately, it also causes the bright colors of your shoes to fade and run.

Therefore, choose a mild, bleach-free soap to keep your Converse clean and vibrant for many more adventures to come.

If you want an even deeper cleaning than dish soap can offer, these detergent pods will work wonders on your dirty Converse shoes.

How to Clean Converse Shoes – In Conclusion

Keeping your Converse sneakers clean and in good condition is not difficult. You may quickly restore your cherished shoes to their former glory using the easy method I have described.

Regular care, such as gentle cleaning, appropriate drying, and spot cleaning, will greatly increase the lifespan of your Converse shoes and keep them looking good. Always use the proper cleaning supplies to avoid damage and steer clear of strong chemicals.

Simply following these simple instructions, you may maintain the appearance and style of a pair of Converse shoes for a longer period of time, making the purchase of these enduring sneakers well worth it.

If you just can’t seem to get your old Converse clean again, both Amazon and Zappos have a great selection of new Converse shoes.

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