How to Clean White Vans Shoes

Updated February 21, 2017

White Vans shoes, whether in canvas or leather, look brilliant when new and clean. Unfortunately, as striking as white can be, it also shoes dirt well. The key to keeping your white Vans looking their best is to clean them frequently and correctly. Whether your shoes are classic canvas or leather, the cleaning method is very similar. It isn't difficult, but may take a bit of time.

Remove shoelaces if applicable. The laces can either be replaced (if they are very dirty, it's easiest just to replace them) or cleaned separately (soak them in washing powder).

Brush off loose soil from the shoes using a toothbrush. Mix water and 1 teaspoon of washing powder in a cup or bowl. Wet the toothbrush in this cleaning solution.

Scrub stains on the upper with the damp toothbrush. When you are finished with the canvas or leather areas, scrub the soles with the toothbrush. If stains are especially stubborn, dip the toothbrush directly in the detergent or baking soda, and work this into the material to loosen the stain.

Let the shoes dry. Next, use a white shoe polish or creme (for canvas or leather as applicable) on the shoes (use the kind of polish or creme that comes with a sponge applicator tip). Holding the bottle upside down, squeeze the bottle to work the formula to the tip, and then dab the product onto the canvas.

Allow the shoes to dry. If you notice you missed any stains after they are dry, reapply the shoe creme or polish.


For grease stains, use a little liquid dish detergent on the toothbrush (instead of washing powder or baking soda). Wait until shoes have completely dried before wearing them, as dirt is more likely to cling to the shoes when they are still damp.


Don't ever use bleach on white canvas vans. Although bleach whitens many white fabrics, it will yellow canvas.

Things You'll Need

  • Washing powder or baking soda ( no bleach)
  • Water
  • Clean cup or bowl
  • Toothbrush
  • White shoe polish with sponge applicator
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