How to Clean White Vans (shoes) When They Are Yellow

Yellowed Vans canvas shoes is caused by several different factors. The age of the canvas will cause yellowing, as will washing the shoes in a washing machine. The glue separates from the shoe and stains the canvas an unsightly yellow. It is possible to prevent yellow stains by adding a few grains of borax to the liquid every time you wash the shoes. Removing yellow stains from Vans canvas shoes is surprisingly difficult, but there is a way to remove most or all of the yellow from the fabric.

Clean the shoes thoroughly with a small amount of liquid washing powder placed onto an old toothbrush. Wet the brush and scrub the surface of the shoe gently. Rinse the shoe with clear water when finished. Allow the shoe to dry so that you can tell if the stain is lifted already or if you need to take more drastic measures.

Create a mixture of powered stain fighter, water and washing powder. Add the recommended amount of ingredients based on the package directions. Usually a tablespoon per gallon is an appropriate amount.

Dip the toothbrush into the liquid and scrub it onto the shoe's surface. Allow the solution to sit for about 5 to 10 minutes, or until the stain is noticeably lighter.

Scrub the area with the brush. Check to see if the stain is lifted. Repeat the process until you can no longer see any signs of a yellow stain. Rinse the shoes with warm water and allow to dry in the sun to prevent moulding. Do not dry the shoes in the dryer.


Protect your hands with rubber gloves while working with borax, or stain lifting powder. Some people have allergic reactions to these ingredients, so it is important to take care when working with the substances to prevent rashes or other allergic reactions.

Things You'll Need

  • Liquid washing powder
  • Old toothbrush
  • Powdered stain fighter
  • Gallon bucket
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About the Author

Brenda Priddy has more than 10 years of crafting and design experience, as well as more than six years of professional writing experience. Her work appears in online publications such as Donna Rae at Home, Five Minutes for Going Green and Daily Mayo. Priddy also writes for Archstone Business Solutions and holds an Associate of Arts in English from McLennan Community College.