Are you a proud owner of a pair of go-to ‘beater’ shoes that carry you through the day?And without questioning their loyalty, you just put them on without a second thought!

We all have a pair of shoes that diligently serve as our partners in enduring the harshest brunt of life. While they are exceptionally formed to the contours of your feet, they have also lived in that vibe of wear for months, maybe years.


But with the comfort and ease that they offer also comes a hitch – the trouble of cleaning them! Canvas shoes are made of cotton and thus are easily prone to getting dirty. One walk around the park and your brand new pair looks ages old. So, all you can offer them in return for their loyalty is to show them some love.

A proper cleaning routine is what you need to follow. When cleaning your dirty canvas shoes, you need to be patient and work with a gentle hand to make them look new. This way you can give them a run for their lifespan and money, without damaging them.


The good news is that cleaning canvas shoes is relatively simple. You can either wash your shoes manually or use a washing machine.


Whichever method you plan to use, remove the laces first and clap the shoes together to shake off as much excess dirt and dust as possible. Thereafter, proceed with any of the following methods of your choosing.

Method 1: Using Baking Soda and Vinegar


Things you’ll need:


  • Baking soda – 2 tablespoons
  • White vinegar – 2 tablespoons
  • Toothbrush – 1
  • Lukewarm water – 1 tablespoon
  • Kitchen towel

Step 1. Pour water into a bowl


Pour 1 tablespoon of water into a bowl.


Step 2. Add baking soda and vinegar


  • Add 2 tablespoons each of baking soda and white vinegar.
  • Mix them together to achieve a pasty consistency.

Step 3. Work the paste around on your shoes


  • Pick an old toothbrush and apply this mixture along the soles and canvas of your shoes.
  • Work in circular motions to clean off any signs of dirt from the shoes.

Step 4. Remove any paste residue and let your shoes dry


  • The baking soda mixture will dry very quickly and start cracking off. You can easily make the dried mixture fall off by clapping your shoes together.
  • Brush off any traces of residue using a damp sponge or a towel.
  • Allow your shoes to dry completely in a warm or sunny location for 2 to 3 hours.


Method 2: Using Detergent



Things you’ll need:


  • Mild laundry detergent – 2 tablespoons
  • Bucket or tub
  • Warm water
  • Old towel
  • Paper towels
  • Toothbrush or washing sponge

Step 1. Add detergent to warm water


  • Fill a tub with lukewarm water.
  • Mix in 2 tablespoons of mild liquid laundry detergent and work it into a lather.

If you are using a powdered detergent, mix and swirl until it is completely dissolved in the water. If bubbles appear, your detergent is dissolved.

Step 2. Soak and scrub


  • Soak your canvas shoes in the detergent solution for 5 minutes.
  • Hold each shoe above the bucket and scrub the inside and outside, including the soles, using a toothbrush.

Step 3. Dip and rinse


  • Gently dip the shoes in the water and wash off all the excess dirt (avoid submerging the shoes entirely).
  • Continue scrubbing until there are no traces of dirt. Rinse them with clean warm water.
  • Use an old towel to absorb any excess water from the shoes.

Step 4. Stuff paper towels inside and allow your shoes to dry


  • Ball up some paper towels and stuff them inside your shoes. This helps preserve the shape of the shoes.
  • Let the shoes sit out in the sun for 3 to 4 hours to dry. Make sure you keep your shoes away from any direct source of heat, as this may affect the texture of your canvas.


Method 3: Using Toothpaste


Things you’ll need:


  • Toothpaste (non-gel)
  • Toothbrush
  • Laundry detergent (liquid) – 2 teaspoons
  • Towel
  • Water

Step 1. Pour detergent in water


  • Pour 2 teaspoons of mild laundry detergent into a bowl of lukewarm water.
  • Mix and swirl until it lathers and bubbles.

Step 2. Remove laces and dip them in the detergent solution


  • Remove the laces from your shoes and dip them in the detergent solution.
  • Set them aside for 10 minutes.

Step 3. Brush, clean and dry your laces


  • Using a toothbrush, brush off all the dirt and dust on the laces.
  • Hang them up to dry.

Step 4. Rub a blob of toothpaste on your shoes


  • Put toothpaste on your toothbrush and rub it on your dirty shoes.
  • Work it around on the dirty areas and let it sit on the fabric of the shoes for 10 minutes.

Step 5. Rinse and dry


  • Using water, rinse off all the toothpaste from your shoes.
  • Take a damp towel and wipe off any traces of toothpaste and pat your shoes dry.


Method 4: Using a Washing Machine


Things you’ll need for pre-treatment:


  • Dish soap– 2 tablespoons
  • Hydrogen peroxide – 2 tablespoons
  • Baking soda – 2 tablespoons
  • Water
  • Toothbrush
  • Towel

Step 1. Mix the ingredients to form a paste



For pre-treatment:

  • Put 2 tablespoons of dish soap in a bowl.
  • Add equal portions of baking soda, hydrogen peroxide and water.
  • Mix them together to form a smooth paste.

Step 2. Work on your shoes and pat dry


  • Using a toothbrush, work this paste on your dirty shoes.
  • Begin to clean your shoes using circular motions from the outside of the stains inward.
  • Once you see all the dirt removed, pat dry your shoes using a damp towel.

Step 3. Wash on gentle cycle and let your shoes dry


  • Place the shoes in a washable bag.
  • Set your washing machine to the gentle cycle mode with cool water. Add 1 teaspoon of mild detergent and place the bag of shoes in the machine.
  • Allow it to rinse for 5 to 7 minutes, then remove and run under more cold water to remove any traces of soap. Make sure you run the shoes under cold water to avoid any stains of dried detergent.
  • Set your shoes out in the sun and allow them to dry for 3 to 4 hours.

In order to preserve the shape of your shoes as they dry, ball up some newspaper or paper towel and stuff it inside the shoes.


Additional Tips

  • Never put your shoes in the dryer, as this destroys their soles and also damages the dryer. Instead, air-dry them under the sun.
  • Do not use a bleaching agent, especially if you have colored canvas sneakers. This may cause yellow discoloration of your shoes. It is advisable to carry out a small patch test with your cleaning mixture to ensure that it does not fade the color.
  • For shoes with leather detailing, it is best to use leather cleaner and clean the shoes as directed.
  • Toothpaste treatment is only advised for white canvas, as it may leave a white patch on colored canvas.
  • Ball up some paper towels or just a small towel and use it to fill the inside of shoes. This helps protect the shape of your shoes.
  • If you have sweaty feet, you would probably like to deodorize! Leave some dryer sheets or sprinkle some baking soda on the side of your shoes, as these help in absorbing any odors.
  • For machine washing, you may place the shoes in delicate washable bags or even a pillowcase tied at the top. This not only helps protect your shoes but also safeguards your washing machine from getting pummeled.