How to Gets Stains Off of Your Vans

Updated April 17, 2017

Vans is a brand of shoe that is popular with skateboarders, snowboarders and surfers. Often worn by people with active lifestyles, it is not uncommon for Vans to go through above average wear and tear. Along with leather, Vans are made of suede and canvas; both of which stain easily. Luckily, stains are removed from Vans just as easily as they are obtained.

Remove the laces from the shoes and set them aside.

Brush away any removable dirt with a soft bristled brush.

Wet a bar of soap, such as Ivory, with a small amount of water and rub it against a clean towel to lightly soap the towel. Rub the soapy portion of the towel against the stained portion of the canvas on the shoe in small circles until the dirt stains are removed. Wet a clean portion of the towel with water and wipe away any soap residue and leftover dirt.

Put a tablespoon of baking soda into an empty bowl. Add just enough water to make a thick paste. Dip a clean towel into the baking soda paste and rub the paste onto any yellow stains on the canvas portion of the shoe; do not touch any suede. Coat the yellow stains on the canvas with the paste and let it sit overnight.

Wet a clean towel with water and wipe away the baking soda paste. If any yellow stain remains, repeat the process until the stain is completely removed. Sometimes, more than one application is necessary.

Mix a one-to-one ratio of water and rubbing alcohol in a small bowl. Dip a clean towel into the solution and rub away any mould or mildew on the canvas; do not touch any suede.

Dip a clean towel into some cleaning solvent and rub any ink stains on the suede part of the shoe. Use an evaporating cleaning solvent that is made for shoes. Apply the solvent to any ink stains and let sit overnight. The solvent evaporates and removes the ink stains.

Apply leather degreaser to any grease or oil stains, including body oils, using a clean towel. Rub the degreaser into the stains until the stains are removed. Use a clean portion of the towel to remove the degreaser from the shoe.

Fill a small bowl with a one-to-one ratio of water and bleach. Dip a clean towel into the solution and vigorously rub the soles of the shoes to remove any stains.


Do not clean suede with soap and water. Only use cleaning products that are safe for use on suede.

Things You'll Need

  • Soft bristle brush
  • Baking soda
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Bleach
  • Bar of soap
  • Cleaning solvent
  • Leather degreaser
  • Bowls
  • Clean towels
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About the Author

Rob Kemmett began writing professionally in 2010 and specializes in writing about food and hospitality. Kemmett has worked in various fine-dining restaurants throughout his career and holds an Associate of Applied Science in Le Cordon Bleu culinary arts from the Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago.