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6 effective steps for cleaning white Converse

Discover how to clean white Converse quickly and safely with our handy guide


Converse shoes in distressed wood cabinet

Key Steps

  1. Remove the laces and wash separately.

  2. Clean your trainers with a fragrant detergent such as Surf.

  3. Use cold water – hot water may loosen the glue holding your Converse together!

  4. Air dry naturally. The sun is a great natural brightener for white fabric.

Versatile, comfortable and stylish: white Converse are a real shoe staple. However, they can become easily dirty within a few uses and their stains can seem hard to deal with on such a light background. Thankfully, there's no need to panic. Just follow this 6-step guide to cleaning white Converse.

A detergent like Surf can be used to clean white Converse in the washing machine and by hand.

What do you need for cleaning white Converse?

Before we explain how to clean Converse, there are a few supplies you need to get together:

  • Bicarbonate of soda

  • White vinegar

  • Liquid detergent (Surf)

  • Toothbrush

  • Cold water

How to wash white Converse: a step-by-step guide

With our 6 easy steps for how to clean white Converse you will have your favourite canvas shoes ready to wear out in no time.

  1. Remove the laces. This will expose as much of the canvas shoe material as possible.

  2. Soak in cold water. Avoid hot water as this can weaken the glue holding your shoe together and cause damage.

  3. Apply a stain remover. A homemade paste of 2 parts bicarbonate of soda to 3 parts white vinegar is an effective cleaner but you can also apply a small amount of liquid detergent to stains if you prefer. 

  4. Gently scrub your Converse. Use an old, soft toothbrush and work across the entire shoe surface. Pay close attention to any stubborn stains.

  5. Rinse in cold water. Make sure you have removed all traces of detergent or paste.

  6. Dry the shoes outdoors. UV rays a natural stain remover so take advantage of our long sunny days to restore the whiteness to your Converse.


This guide provides general steps that should be safe for most footwear brands. To avoid accidental damage, always check the manufacturer’s instructions.

Can you put Converse in the washing machine?

If you’ve tried washing your Converse by hand and found it too time-consuming then you may be able to wash them in the washing machine instead. Double-check the manufacturer’s guidelines to ensure this is safe and then follow these 5 steps to learn how to wash Converse in the washing machine:

  1. Remove the laces. Just as you did when washing by hand.

  2. Pop your Converse into a mesh bag or pillowcase. This will protect them during the spin cycle of your washing machine.

  3. Use a low temperature and gentle cycle. This will help protect the glue and fabric.

  4. Add a good quality detergent and avoid conditioners. We like fragrant detergent like Surf.

  5. Air dry. Don’t forget to use the sun to help whiten your shoes!

Now you have our top tips for how to clean Converse it’s time to get started! Just don’t forget to always check your shoe manufacturer’s instructions first! For more general advice, read our article on cleaning canvas shoes.