How to Clean White Canvas Shoes

Person putting dirty white shoes in a washing machine
Canvas shoes are comfortable, affordable, and low maintenance. Just slip them on or tie them up and you’re ready to go — that is, until you notice your once-white shoes have now turned a dingy gray. Luckily, there are two effective ways we recommend cleaning white canvas shoes that will take your kicks from blemished to bright!

Before learning how to clean white canvas sneakers, you will need these common household items:

  • One or five-gallon bucket
  • Baking soda
  • Laundry detergent
  • Cleaning brush or an old toothbrush with medium bristles
  • Access to a washer and dryer (for the second recommended process)

Make sure to always knock off any heavy dirt from the bottom of your shoes before cleaning. If your canvas shoes have mixed fabrics (like suede detailing), they should not be cleaned in the washer, but they can be hand washed with fabric shampoo (not detergent). Before starting, always check the label of your shoes for cleaning instructions.

How to Clean White Fabric Shoes or Canvas Shoes

It may take more time than simply tossing your canvas shoes in the washer, but this hand cleaning method yields the best results. To keep your shoes clean, we recommend repeating this process weekly or once a month, depending on how often you wear your white canvas sneakers.

Follow these steps to learn how to clean white canvas shoes:

  1. Fill up your bucket or container with 1-gallon of water and 1 cup of baking soda
  2. Add a drop of laundry detergent for extra cleaning strength
  3. Remove your shoelaces and soak both the shoes and laces for one hour
  4. Next, use a cleaning brush (or toothbrush) to scrub away stains
  5. Scrub the inside of your shoes (including the insole) to eliminate odors
  6. Rinse your shoes thoroughly and allow them to air dry before lacing them back up

How to Wash White Canvas Shoes in the Washing Machine

Not in the mood to wash your white canvas shoes by hand? No problem! Most fabric shoes can be cleaned in the washer. Similar to the hand-washing steps above, we still recommend soaking your laces in a water-baking soda solution to prevent tangling in your washer.

  1. Place shoes in the washing machine, along with a small amount of mild laundry detergent
  2. Do not run laces through the washing machine, due to risk of tangling
  3. Run the washing machine on a gentle cycle with cold water to prevent discoloration or weakening of glue
  4. Allow your shoes to air dry and then replace the laces

Make Your Home as Spotless as Your Shoes

Although Molly Maid does not provide shoe cleaning services, we are home cleaning experts with decades of experience. You can say we know a thing or two about cleaning and stain removal. Contact your local Molly Maid to explore the benefits of professional home cleaning services on your schedule.