How To Wash Converse

Converse is one of the most iconic shoe brands in the market. Chances are, you’ve owned several pairs of this classic casual sneaker in your lifetime. But one common thing all Converse owners must deal with is dirt and scruff marks on their shoes. So how do you clean a pair of Converse?

Hand-washing your Converse is the best way to remove surface dirt and stains. A Magic Eraser, rubbing alcohol, or a hydrogen peroxide/baking soda mixture can also be effective when hand-washing isn’t doing the job. It’s generally not recommended to machine-wash your Converse. 

Cleaning your converse will not only help maintain their beauty but also lengthen their lifespan. Let’s take a look at some step-by-step instructions for how to wash your converse as well as simple tips and tricks to remove stubborn stains and scuffs.

How to Wash Converse 

Two sneakers wash and dry in the sun

Hand-washing is effective at removing surface dirt and stains from converse shoes. Machine washing is generally not recommended since it may cause damage. Here are the steps to follow: 

Remove the Laces 

Soak the laces in a mixture of warm water and mild soap for an hour before washing them. For white laces, add a small amount of baking soda. Rinse with cool water and hang them to dry. 

Prepare the Cleaning Solution

In place of a dedicated shoe cleaner, you can use laundry detergent, which is equally effective at removing dirt and light stains. Add ¼ cup of laundry detergent to 2 cups of warm water in a bowl. You may also use dish soap, body wash, shampoo, or window cleaner as a cleaning solution. 

Clean the Converse

Dip a washcloth in the cleaning solution and saturate the shoe. Start scrubbing away the dirt and stains section by section. Rinse the cloth periodically in clean water before continuing with the cleaning. 

Scrub the Rubber and Soles

After you’ve washed off most of the dirt with the washcloth, use an old toothbrush to gently scrub tougher stains. The toothbrush is also ideal for cleaning the rubber parts and the soles.

Wipe Off the Soap Residue

Use a clean wet cloth to wipe off soap residue and any dirt that may still be on the shoe. Inspect the converse for stains and scuffs. If there are stubborn stains, you can try deep cleaning with another cleaning solution.    

Air Dry the Converse

Place your clean converse in a warm spot with good air circulation. You may stuff them with newspaper to help maintain their shape.    

Other Ways to Clean Converse 

There are several ways to clean converse besides washing. These include: 

Use a Magic Eraser 

If regular washing isn’t getting the job done, try using a Magic Eraser (on Amazon). The Magic Eraser is effective at removing stains caused by oil, food, grass, and other substances. It can also remove scuff marks from the rubber part of the shoe. 

Use a Hydrogen Peroxide and Baking Soda Mixture

This mixture is particularly effective for cleaning white converse. Colored shoes may, however, be bleached a few shades lighter. Here are the steps to follow: 

  1. Mix ½ tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide (on Amazon), 1 tablespoon of baking soda, and 7.4 ml of warm water to make a paste. 
  2. Use a toothbrush to apply the paste on the stain and scrub the area gently. 
  3. Let the paste sit and dry for around 20 minutes before you rinse it off. 
  4. Repeat the process if necessary.  

Use rubbing alcohol

Rubbing alcohol (on Amazon) is effective at removing small scuff marks and stains. For nail polish and paint stains, use nail polish remover (on Amazon) and paint thinner, respectively. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Dip a cotton swab in rubbing alcohol and allow it to soak. 
  2. Saturate the stained area and start wiping away the stain until it is completely gone. 

Use Bleach

Bleaching only works for white converse. It’s ideal for removing the toughest stains. Make sure you work in a well-ventilated room. Here are the steps to follow: 

  1. Dilute the bleach at a ratio of one part bleach and five parts water. 
  2. Dip a toothbrush in the solution and use it to scrub off the stain gently. 
  3. Rinse with clean water and repeat the process until the stain is gone. 

Tips for Keeping Your Converse Clean 

Sneakers and daisy

Add Extra Protection

Whether your converse is made of leather, mesh, suede, or canvas, a coat of sneaker protector (on Amazon) is necessary to keep them clean.

The protector will also make it easier to clean and remove scuffs and stains. Ideally, you should start applying sneaker protector immediately after you get the shoes out of the box. 

Watch the Weather

If you have more than one pair of converse sneakers, always choose the most suitable pair for the weather. Mesh and canvas are ideal for dry, sunny days while leather is suited for wet weather since it repels water better and is easier to clean. 

Be Careful About Cleaning Solutions and Techniques

Drying in direct sunlight or using bleach will turn white canvas and mesh to an undesirable yellow color. When using a cleaning solution or technique for the first time, it’s recommended that you first test on a section of the sneaker that isn’t visible. 

Final Thoughts

Converse trainers are a wardrobe staple for many people. That’s because they go well with just about everything. Unfortunately, these shoes tend to pick up scuffs and smudges easily and cleaning them can seem like a daunting task.

However, with the right cleaning technique, solution, and tools, you can always keep your converse sneakers looking brand new.