How to clean canvas shoes

Canvas shoes are easy to clean with these tips! Find out how to clean canvas shoes here!

Updated 10 June 2022


AuthorBy Cleanipedia Team

Reading Time5 minutes

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Key Steps:

  1. 1

    Cleaning canvas shoes is easy with a good quality laundry detergent like Persil Non-Bio. A non-bio detergent like this is designed to be gentle on delicate items, like canvas shoes. Just be sure to read the instructions on the product’s label

  2. 2

    Allow your canvas shoes to to dry naturally – preferably in the sun. Stuff them with paper to preserve their shape

Canvas shoes are so comfortable, they’re easy to wear day in day out. But what do you do when they start getting stained and worn? Luckily, cleaning canvas shoes is easy, and can give your footwear a new lease of life.

Quick Tip: We also have a guide specifically designed to teach you the best ways to clean Converse shoes!

Cleaning shoes in a washing machine can be a noisy business – if you do decide to machine wash your canvas shoes, throw a couple of towels in with your shoes to protect your appliance and prevent clunking noises.

How to Clean Canvas Shoes

To find out how to clean canvas shoes, start by taking a look at the material they are made from. Canvas or cotton shoes with suede detailing should also be cleaned with suede and fabric shampoo according to the instructions on the shoe label.

You have several options when cleaning canvas shoes. Machine-washing them is quick and easy, but risks discolouration and a weakening of the glue that holds the shoes together. Hand washing takes a bit longer, but is a good way of helping your favourite shoes last. 

Cleaning Canvas Shoes by Hand

Make sure the shoes are dry, and shake off as much excess dust and dirt as you can. Remove the laces, and wash these separately in a normal laundry load with similarly coloured clothing.

You will need:

  • A bucket

  • Warm water

  • Mild laundry detergent

  • A toothbrush, or a washing-up sponge

  • An old towel

  • Waste paper

How to do it:

  1. 1

    Fill a bucket with warm water, and make a lather with 1-2 tbsp (15-30 ml) of mild laundry detergent – a liquid detergent suitable for delicates, like Persil Non-Bio Silk and Wool. If you are using a powdered detergent, swirl it around until it is mostly dissolved and bubbles appear

  2. 2

    Hold each shoe above the bucket and scrub the outside, including the soles, with a toothbrush or washing-up sponge. Gently dip the shoes in the water to wash off the dirt and continue scrubbing – avoid submerging the shoes entirely

  3. 3

    Rinse your shoes with warm, clean water

  4. 4

    Use an old towel to squeeze any excess water from the shoes

  5. 5

    Stuff your shoes with paper or similar to preserve their shape

  6. 6

    Leave the shoes to dry in the sun (if possible) or in a warm, dry place indoors – away from any direct heat source. Direct heat can weaken the glue used to hold this kind of shoe together, and affect the texture of the canvas

How to Clean Canvas Shoes in the Washing Machine

  1. 1

    Pre-treat any stains if present, following the instructions on the label of your chosen product. Depending on the stain, you may not have to buy a specialist cleaner: some liquid laundry detergents can be used as a mild but effective pre-treatment

  2. 2

    Set your washing machine to a gentle cycle with cool water

  3. 3

    Add half the usual dose of mild detergent

  4. 4

    Allow machine to finish its cycle as normal

  5. 5

    Remove your shoes from the washing machine and allow them to dry in the sun, stuffed with paper or similar to preserve their shape. It’s possible to dry shoes in a tumble dryer with some old towels, but bear in mind this is tough on both dryer and shoes and may weaken the glue holding the shoes together

That’s it – just remember to let your newly clean shoes dry properly before wearing them! We even have an article on how to clean white shoes!

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