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How to clean your Converse sneakers

Red Converse All Stars

Converse shoes are a staple in many people’s wardrobes. From white to black, to green and pink, and from high-tops to slides, a good pair of “Chucks” can up the cool factor of just about any outfit. But over time, they can get muddy and worn in.

While many varieties are made of canvas, putting them in the washing machine (or dryer) is not recommended by the manufacturer. We have a few tips and tricks on how to clean Converse that will have them looking as good as new in no time.


How To Clean Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Shoes

Thankfully, you don’t need much to get your canvas shoe fabric looking refreshed — just soap, water and a microfiber cloth. If you have an old toothbrush, that’s even better. Start by removing the laces and knock off loose dirt with your hand or a soft brush. Before you get started, test your soap in an inconspicuous spot, like the sides of the tongue that are usually hidden from view. Once you know you’re in the clear, gently rub a wet soapy cloth over the fabric to remove dirt stains. Be gentle, as scrubbing too hard might cause the material to degrade. Put the laces in the same soapy solution to soak for several minutes. Then take them out to scrub with a toothbrush and rinse thoroughly.

Then let them dry at room temperature away from direct sunlight or heat. You can always dab them with a dry paper towel to help soak up excess water. Skip the temptation to toss them in a dryer or shorten the drying time by using a hair dryer. These will cause too much wear and tear on the shoes. Fill them with paper to help them keep their shape, swapping out fresh sheets once the old ones get too damp. Don’t use newspaper because the ink can transfer to the canvas.

White Converse might need a little extra cleaning power and will likely benefit from an added dash of baking powder to form a paste.

MORE: How to clean white shoes made of any material

For suede Converse shoes, we recommend keeping them dry. Use a soft brush or toothbrush to rub off dirt. Sprinkle cornstarch on oil stains and let them sit for several hours to absorb the mess. Then brush them again.

How To Clean Scuff Marks

If you have a Magic Eraser, you probably already know it can get out just about anything. Lightly wet it and rub it along the white rubber of your Converse. If you don’t have a Magic Eraser, try using an old toothbrush and soapy water to scrub the toecap and base of the shoes.

How To Keep White Converse Sneakers Looking Fresh

White Converse can stay extra clean with a little prep work. Before you wear your pair out, spray them with stain repellent. If a mud stain occurs, wipe it off as quickly as possible.


Frequently cleaning the laces can keep shoes looking in tip-top shape. If you don’t wear them regularly, consider storing your Converse in a breathable cotton bag to keep dust from settling.

Whether you slip on a pair of Converse every weekend or they’re your go-to daily pick, we hope these cleaning tips help keep your shoes looking good.

About the Author
Emily O'Brien

Emily is a freelance writer who loves connecting the dots among facts and finding obscure little details to weave in throughout her work. Whether she's interviewing Olympic athletes, small business owners, dessert cookbook writers, or world-renowned architects, she's passionate about shining the spotlight on good people doing remarkable work. More.