The Easiest Way to Clean White Canvas Sneakers

Now that temperatures are rising and the sun is shining, it’s time to store away the heavy duty winter boots and pull out your cute canvas sneakers. Not only are they comfy and fresh, but they go with anything, from jeans and a tee to a day dress. Without a doubt, the most popular color for sneakers this year is white. With celebrities wearing them and memes being created about them, they are a spring wardrobe staple. However, as anyone who has ever worn white shoes for more than a few hours knows, they get dirty. Like, really dirty. Anything that touches them creates a stain or at least a smudge. Once you have an effective cleaning method down, though, you won’t suffer every time a friend accidentally steps on your pristine sneakers (or at least not as much).

Prevent stains

Before we get into the nitty-gritty, it’s important to point out that preventing stains to a certain extent is important. You could always buy a water and stain repellent, but the easiest way to prevent really bad stains is simply common sense. Although it can be annoying to avoid wearing your cute canvas shoes to the park simply to avoid grass stains, it all comes down to how much cleaning you want to do afterward.

Spot-cleaning only!

Getting your white canvas shoes fully wet is a rookie mistake I made the first time I tried to clean mine. I naively put them in a bucket of water and soap and hung them out to dry, only to find a yellow stain on the part closest to the sole. I concluded it was probably due to the glue holding the shoe together, or something to that effect. In any case, spot cleaning is the best option. Now, this doesn’t mean you can’t clean the whole shoe, just that you should do it in parts. Clean the sole and the canvas separately to keep them both looking impeccable.

The ingredients

In order to return your sneakers to their former glory, you’ll need:

  • baking soda

  • hydrogen peroxide

  • water

  • old toothbrush or other cleaning tool

Remember to lay down newspaper or a towel before you begin to avoid making a mess! Combine the baking soda and water in equal parts, and hydrogen peroxide in a smaller amount, about half the amount of water. There’s no need to measure, as approximate amounts will work fine. Start by making a small amount of the mixture and make more as needed, to ensure none is left over.

The method

Apply the baking soda mixture to your shoes slowly and evenly. Take time to gently brush the areas with stains in a circular motion. It is important to wet the shoe evenly and stay away from the rubber so as to not cause the previously mentioned yellow stains. There’s no need to wash it away with water, simply let them dry in the shade, away from direct sunlight but preferably outside. This is a good time to add deodorizing powder to make your shoes smell nice too. Once they are dry, simply wipe away the baking soda with a dry cloth.

UPDATE: I have tried Mr. Clean’s Magic Eraser on my white canvas sneakers and I’m pretty happy with the results! As you use the sponge, it starts disintegrating, so make sure you do this over a sink or outside. Also, make sure not to soak the shoes completely with this method as well. The outcome is quite similar to the baking soda method, but requires you to buy this product, whereas with the one mentioned above, it might be things you already have around the house. Either way, both are good options!

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