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How to Clean White Converse

How to clean white Converse

Converse are one of our all-time best selling brands, and the white versions of their Chuck Taylor All Star high tops and Ox low tops are the most popular of the bunch. They’re the complete package; highly versatile, timelessly stylish and effortlessly cool.

With such a perfect pair of shoes, nobody can blame you if you wear them constantly, rain or shine. Unfortunately, if white Cons have one downside, it’s that their canvas upper isn’t exactly the most resilient when it comes to staying pristine.

This guide will cover several different methods of cleaning, depending on just how dirty your Chucks are:



Complete clean

If your Converse are in a pretty desperate state and need a good wash all over, the best approach is to use the washing machine.

  1. Remove the laces - this stops them getting in the way of the canvas during washing. If the laces are dirty, you can leave them to soak in some warm, soapy water.
  2. If your shoes aren’t too dirty, you can go ahead and skip to stage 4.
  3. If you feel as though a standard wash won’t get them completely clean, you can pre-empt the process. Drench the shoes in cold water, then take a non-bleach based stain removal spray and use it on the particularly bad areas. Gently scrub the areas with a toothbrush or cloth before rinsing the shoes again in cold water.
  4. Put the shoes in a mesh bag to help avoid them clanking around in the washing machine.
  5. Wash them in your machine, using a cold temperature wash and a non-bleach based washing powder or liquid, as this can weaken the shoes.
  6. Let your shoes dry. They should be allowed to dry naturally, not in a dryer, and away from artificial heat sources. They can be left in sunlight, as this can help visually “bleach” the shoes back to their original colour. Note: If following this guide with non-white Converse, do not leave your shoes to dry in sunlight, as it can discolour them.


Spot cleaning the canvas upper

If there are a couple of obvious marks on the canvas part of your shoes, try the following:

  1. Use the above guide for complete cleaning, paying particular attention to the problem areas when applying the stain remover.
  2. Alternatively, you can use a stain removal stick or even a “magic eraser” to help restore the white colour.
  3. If a stain is particularly stubborn, you can create a paste which can be applied to the area. To do this, mix two parts baking soda with three parts vinegar (you can use washing powder in place of the baking soda and liquid washing detergent in place of the vinegar - just make sure neither have bleach in them). Don’t use a metal spoon or bowl, as these can react with the vinegar.
  4. When you’ve achieved a paste-like consistency, apply this to the stain and give it a gentle scrub with a toothbrush.
  5. Rinse in cold water and wash as per the instructions above.


Spot cleaning the rubber outsole and toe cap

It isn’t just the canvas that can get grubby - here’s how to get the rubber outsole of your Chucks gleaming:

  1. Once again, for an overall clean or small marks, follow the cleaning instructions given in the “Complete clean” section.
  2. For particularly tough marks on the toe cap or outsole, first try a mix of warm water and soap, rubbed in with a cloth or brush.
  3. If this doesn’t yield the desired result, you can graduate to using nail polish remover.
  4. If you still have no luck, rubbing alcohol can be used. This contains a higher alcohol percentage than nail polish remover, and so is more abrasive and effective on marks. However, be aware than rubbing alcohol can cause the rubber to harden, so use it sparingly.
How to clean white Converse

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