How to Clean Converse: Best Methods for Any Types

How to clean converse

Although Converse sneakers are strong and durable, they are still prone to dirt and stains (especially the white ones!). Well, I have been a fan slash user of Converse for a long time, and I feel like wearing a clean pair of Converse has become mandatory. Thankfully, I have a lot of experience in shoe cleaning matters, and I can tell you that different Converse materials require different cleaning methods.

Based on what I know about cleaning shoes, it is crucial for all Converse users to step up your cleaning game and try to clean your Converse regularly for maximum results. Down below, I’m going to mention different alternatives of how to clean converse shoes, which includes some advice from Converse themselves.

I. Cleaning Every Type of Converse Shoe Material

I know it’s hard to keep your Converse clean after use. But would you believe me when I say that you can keep your Converse shoes looking like they just came our of the box again? Well, you better believe me because soon I will be sharing with you the step-by-step details on how to clean your Converse using solutions that you already have at home, to make them look fresh and clean again.

Before we go into the details, first of all let me first list down the basic steps of cleaning your Converse:

a. General Cleaning for Converse Shoes

Step 1. Prepare the Converse Shoes that You Want to Clean

How to Clean Converse

A pair of dirty Converse shoes or Converse shoes that need some freshening up. I highly recommend that you inspect the shoes before you do some scrubbing. This way, if you find any damaged parts, you won’t make things worse.

Step 2. Prepare the Necessary Cleaning Kit and Tool

Prepare the Shoe cleaner, apron, Premium Brush, Medium Brush, Standard Brush, Small Brush, Microfiber Cloth, two pieces of Shoe Tree, and a container to store water and Shoe Perfume. 

Step 3. Remove the Laces from Your Converse

How to Clean Converse

I recommend that you remove the lace from the shoes before you proceed with the cleaning process. After you manage to separate them, you can soak the laces in the Shoe Cleaner solution. This method will be more effective, and your shoes will be a lot cleaner!

Step 4. Insert the Shoetree in Your Converse

How to Clean Converse

This is an essential step, as a Shoetree will be important to maintain the shape of your sneaker when it’s being washed. However, make sure to remove the insole before inserting a Shoetree. If the insole can’t be removed, don’t force it. 

Step 5. Dry Clean the Converse

Before you clean the Converse with water, make sure to brush the upper part of the shoes with a Premium Brush to remove any dirt and dust.

Step 6. Wash the Outsole and Midsole of the Converse

How to Clean Converse

During this cleaning stage, you can use a Standard Brush. Make sure to use all your strength when cleaning the outsole, as it’s naturally the dirtiest part of a shoe. I did say that you should be careful when scrubbing, but the outsole can take some beatings. So yep, I believe it is okay to put more strength into it.

As soon as you have finished cleaning the outsole, you can proceed by cleaning the midsole with a Medium Brush.

This time, patience and diligence are needed, as there will be a lot of dirty spots that are hard to clean. If you have found that the midsole is still dirty, make sure to repeat the steps again until you have achieved a satisfying result. 

Please consider my advice to clean the midsoles more gently because these parts are not as strong as the bottom sole.

Step 7. Wash the Upper Part of Your Converse

In order to avoid any unnecessary scratches or damages, you should use a Premium Brush to clean the upper part of your Converse. After you have finished scrubbing the section, wipe the dirt remnants with a microfiber cloth. Avoid using standard brushes at all costs.

Step 8. Wash the Inner Part of Your Converse

Use a small brush to clean the inner section of your Converse. Naturally, a small brush will be able to reach a much harder and smaller space than a normal brush can’t. Then, wipe it off with a microfiber cloth. If possible, you can also try cleaning the inner section with a Premium Brush. 

Step 9. Detailing

How to Clean Converse

Before proceeding to clean the details of your Converse, you need to soak your microfiber cloth inside a bucket of clean water. Then, you can proceed to wipe the cloth across the details of your shoes that are dirty. Wet tissue is a viable option as well, although you might want to lean more on using a microfiber cloth. After all, a microfiber cloth is more efficient in absorbing water and dirt. 

Step 10. Drying Process

Place your clean Converse in front of a fan and leave them for around an hour or two. I’ve said this repeatedly before on various occasions, but I’ll say it again here now: never dry your converse under direct sunlight!

Step 11. Finishing

How to Clean Converse

Once the Converse is dry, you can remove the shoe tree and place the laces (and, in some cases, the insoles) back where they belong. Now, your Converse is as good as new.

Now that you have the tools ready, it’s time to start with the cleaning process based on the material of the shoes. Below I will share with you with the steps to clean your Converse based on materials in details. So, read on to find out the best ways to step up your shoe cleaning game!

b. How to Clean Suede Converse

We all love suede shoes because they are soft and velvety, including our suede Converse of course. But once we step outside, our suede Converse may start to attract dirt and stains. But do not worry my friends, because I have the complete steps on how to get your suede Converse back to their soft and velvety form.

Cleaning Tools:

  • Shoe Tree
  • Suede Brush or Toothbrush
  • Micro Fiber Cloth
  • Suede Eraser or Pencil Eraser
  • Vinegar or Rubbing Alcohol (for stubborn stains)

Cleaning Steps:

  • Remove the shoe laces and use a shoe tree to retain the shape while you clean them.
  • Use a dry suede brush, toothbrush or a clean microfiber cloth to brush away any dirt or debris from your suede Converse. This step does not require water or shoe cleaner solution in any form.
  • For stubborn stains, I recommend you to use a suede eraser or a pencil erase by gently rub the stainer area. Remember to tub gently, because you don’t want the rubber to damage the fabric, don’t you?
  • For stubborn stains, you can also use an acidic liquid like vinegar or rub alcohol by wetting the small corner or a clean dry cloth, and massage the shoe with rapid side-to-side motion.

If the stains remain, you can repeat the steps again until they are completely removed from the shoes. In most cases, I found that cleaning my sueded shoes using a suede eraser is enough. It is a perfect tool to remove dirt and stains from my suede Converse shoes.

However, do remember that suede is a delicate fabric, so make you use delicate approaches to clean your suede Converse, too.

c. How to Clean Canvas Converse

Canvas is undoubtedly one of the most basic materials of Converse shoes out there. Converse has released canvas sneakers in various colors in different types and sizes as well. Cleaning canvas Converse shoes has become a routine for me, and based on experience in washing countless canvas Converse shoes, I would like to share my version of the best way to do it as below:

Cleaning Tools:

  • Apron
  • Dry Brush or Toothbrush
  • Liquid Dish Soap
  • Laundry Detergent
  • Micro Fiber Cloth
  • Shoe Tree
  • Bowl

Cleaning Steps:

  • Wear your apron so that your shirt or outfit will remain clean during cleaning, and then remove the laces of your Converse.
  • Start with Brush away debris using a dry brush or toothbrush, or clap the shoes against one another to knock loose any dried-on mud, dirt, grass or other debris from the shoes.
  • Create a mix a mild dish soap and water to be come the shoe cleaning solution, and use a medium brush or toothbrush to gently rub the upper area of the shoes to remove stains.
  • Once you’re done with the upper area, continue cleaning the rubber midsoles using a mix of detergent and water with a medium brush.
  • Once you brushed off the dirt and stains on the upper and midsole area of the shoes, use a clean and damped microfiber cloth and wipe the entire shoes several time to remove soap residue.
  • Let the shoes air dry away from direct sunlight. However, in order to maintain the shape of the shoes, stuff the shoes with paper or a shoe tree while drying.

I think the best solution to clean canvas Converse is a mild liquid dish soap. I have proven many times that the mixture of dish soap and water can remove most of the stains on my canvas shoes, including the stubborn ones.

Once the shoes are complete dry, put the laces back on, remove the shoe tree and your clean and fresh Converse are ready for wearing.

d. How to Clean Mesh Converse

In order to clean to clean your mesh Converse, you will need to prepare a detergent since it is the perfect agent to make your mesh sneakers clean again. Here are my personal step-by-step guide on how to properly clean them to have the best result:

Cleaning Tools:

  • Shoe Tree
  • Laundry Detergent
  • Micro Fiber Cloth
  • Soft Bristled Brush or Toothbrush
  • Medium Brush (for stubborn stains)
  • Paper Towel

Cleaning Steps:

  • First, create a mixture of 1 teaspoon laundry detergent and warm water in a bowl until the mixture becomes soapy.
  • Before you go on with the next steps, always remove the shoe laces and use a shoe tree to ensure your shoes stay in shape while you clean them.
  • Grab a clean, absorbent cloth and stuff it into the shoe to absorb extra liquid that might leak during cleaning. My advice, use a microfiber cloth for the best absorbency.
  • Use a dry soft bristled brush or toothbrush to remove dry dirt and other debris from the shoes before you use liquid solution for cleaning.
  • Then, continue with the cleaning process using a soft cloth and the cleaning mixture that you have prepared before. Scrub the surface of the shoes using circular motions while also applying a light pressure. For stubborn stains, you can also use a medium brush by scrubbing the stains until they are completely gone.
  • Once all stains and dirt are removed, use a wet cloth to wipe the surface of the shoes to remove the any soapy residue.
  • Next, you can start cleaning the midsoles using a disinfectant cleaning wipes. Ad for this step you can also use a paper towel with 4 drops of bleach. However, make sure you avoid touching the of the shoes with the wipes or towels.
  • Once you are done with the whole steps, it’s time to air-dry your Converse in a dry and cool place for at least 24 hours.

I have tried several solutions to clean my mesh Converse, but until today, nothing can clean the shoes better than a laundry detergent. It is undoubtedly the most recommended cleaner to keep mesh Converse clean.

After 24 hours, you can un-stuff the shoes and put the laces back on, and your mesh Converse is now back to their original condition, clean and fresh!

e. How to Clean Silk Converse

Silk or satin Converse is pretty rare, and just like other silk shoes, you need to treat them carefully using the most delicate approach. Don’t worry, with an extensive experience in cleaning shoes made of different materials, I can share with you the best way to clean your Converse that are made of delicate satin.

Cleaning Tools:

  • Soft Bristled Brush or Toothbrush
  • Mild Detergent
  • Soft Towel or Micro Fiber Cloth
  • Bowl

Cleaning Steps:

  • The first step is to brush away any loose dirt or debris from the shoes using a soft bristled brush. Make sure you do it gently since you don’t want to damage the silk material of the shoes, right?
  • Mix a solution of 3 parts cold water to 1 part mild detergent and use a soft bristled brush or toothbrush to the stained area on the shoes using gentle motions. Try not to rub the dirt further into the shoes as it would create a bigger stain.
  • Once the dirt and stains removed, immediately dry the shoes with a clean and dry towel, and leave your shoes overnight to completely air-dry.

When you wake up the next morning, be prepared to see your silk Converse return to their original condition. If the stains remain, you can repeat the steps again until they are complete gone.

However, gentle scrubbing is crucial when it comes to cleaning silk Converse. Trust me, you don’t want to scrub too hard that it damages the shoes like I did. So, I highly advice you to use a soft brush or toothbrush for this kind of shoes.

f. How to Clean Velvet Converse

Canvas Converse has the potential to boost your appearance and make you look a lot cooler than others. But they won’t be when they have dirt and stains all over them. If you are one stylish owner of velvet Converse, you better check the details on how to clean them below.

The steps below are based on my personal experience in cleaning velvet shoes. Velvet is a fabric that can attract dirt easily, and therefore I searched for many expert references on how I can keep my velvet shoes clean and fresh, which made me an expert myself. And below, I am delighted to share an expert guideline on how to clean your velvet Converse:

Cleaning Tools:

  • Micro Fiber Cloth
  • Dish Soap
  • Toothbrush
  • Hair Dryer

Cleaning Steps:

  • Prepare a fiber cloth and use it to lightly dab at the stained area of your shoes to soak up some of the stain before it dries.
  • Create a mix of dish soap and water to have a DIY cleaning solution in the form of a sudsy water.
  • Use a toothbrush to scrub your shoes with the cleaning solution. Once the stains are washed away, leave the shoes alone for a couple of minutes and then wipe the shoes with a clean and dry cloth.
  • Gently press a fresh microfiber cloth or towel against the stained area to soak the moisture, which will help to dry the spot. To speed up the process you can also use a hair dryer.

Since velvet is a very delicate material, I also suggest that you take the shoes to a professional cleaner if the stains are too stubborn to remove.

g. How to Clean Wool Converse

A pair of wool Converse is cool. If you happen to own a pair of two, then you need to make sure your wool shoes are looking fresh always, and smelling fresh, too. Don’t worry, being an expert in shoe cleaning, including shoes made of wool, I will share with you how I clean my wool Converse to make them last a lifetime.

Cleaning Tools:

  • Clean Towel
  • Soft Bristled Brush or Toothbrush
  • Neutral and Mild Detergent
  • Washing Machine (if needed)

Cleaning Steps (Hand wash):

  • Just like other Converse, start by brushing off the excess dirt with a towel or soft brush, and then remove the insoles and laces from your shoes.
  • Prepare a neutral, mild detergent, preferably one that is Woolmark recommended. Make sure you avoid bleach or heavy duty detergent for cleaning.
  • Use a dry soft bristled brush or toothbrush to remove dry dirt and other debris from the shoes before you use liquid solution for cleaning.
  • Gently scrub the surface of the shoes.
  • Once all stains and dirt are removed, use a wet cloth to wipe the surface of the shoes to remove the any soapy residue.
  • Once you are done with the whole steps, it’s time to air-dry your Converse in a dry and cool place until they are completely dry.

Cleaning Steps (Machine wash):

  • If your shoes are machine washable, you can use machine wash them by putting them in a linen bag and wash in a washing machine preferably using a Woolmark-approved wool cycle.
  • Hand-wash the laces using a mild wash detergent and cold water.
  • Once you are done with the above process, you can air-dry your shoes.

When the shoes, laces and insole are dry completely, reinsert the soles and laces, and your wool Converse are ready to go!

h. How to Clean Leather Converse

Cleaning leather Converse require extra attention since leather is a solid yet delicate material. Since I am fan of leather Converse, I can honestly tell you that handling your leather shoes wrongly will make the shoes look dull and lost their shine. I have also conducted several deep cleaning trials on the best ways to clean leather shoes, and the result are the following methods which I will share with you in details:

Cleaning Tools:

  • Medium Brush
  • Shoe Tree
  • Dish Soap and Mild Detergent
  • Leather Cleaner or Conditioner
  • Micro Fiber Cloth
  • Bowl

Cleaning Steps:

  • First, remove the shoe laces and use a dry medium brush to clean dirt, grass or mud fro the shoes. You can also clap the shows to make sure the debris are removed before you you continue with the next cleaning steps.
  • Insert papers or shoe tree inside the shoes to make maintain the shape of your Converse during cleaning.
  • Mix a mild dish soap with a bowl of water and use a soft brush to rub the uppers of your Converse to remove the stains. Do pay extra attention to the tongue and toe box because most stains are there.
  • For stubborn stains, apply a small amount of leather cleaner and conditioner to a dry microfiber cloth and gently buff the sneakers using a circular motion.
  • Clean the rubber soles using a medium brush and a mix of detergent and water solution, and rub the rubber soles to remove scuffs and stains.
  • Last step, buff the leather dry using a clean and dry microfiber cloth and put the laces back on.

Moreover, I also learned that cleaning leather shoes immediately after wearing will help to keep the shoes in their excellent conditions longer. Also, applying leather conditioner is highly recommended. My advice is to use leather conditioner regularly after you clean your leather Converse. The conditioner will make your shoes look fresh and it will also maintain the natural shine of the leather, too.

II. 4 Alternative Ways to Clean Converse

Aside from dish soap or mild detergent, there are other household cleaning solutions that you can use to clean your Converse. The following items are the best solutions to remove some stubborn stains from Converse shoes, which I found out about from the experts in cleaning a while back.

Being a cleaning expert myself, I have sorted down the list of solutions since I did my own trials using the solutions to clean my shoes. As a result, below I am sharing with you my top 4 cleaning solutions that you can rely on, in terms of cleaning your precious Converse shoes.

a. How to Clean Converse with Lemon Juice

Lemon juice turns out to be more than just a fruit. It is also one of the best cleaning solutions that you can have at home. It cleans lots of things, including shoes as well. Here is the detailed step on how you can feel the magic of lemon juice to clean your shoes:

  • Create a DIY shoe cleaning solution using lemons by squeezing the juice from one lemon and create a 1-to-1 solution of lemon juice and water.
  • Then, use a toothbrush to apply the diluted juice onto your stained Converse shoes.
  • Once the stains are removed, allow the shoes to sit for an hour and rinse them clean.

After you’re done with the cleaning, just leave the shoes to air-dry before wearing them again. One more thing about lemon juice that I need to share with you. Lemon juice will not only make your shoes clean, but the freshness of the lemon will also help to keep your shoes fresh and free of odor.

b. How to Clean Converse with Baby Wipes

I can also tell you that baby wipes are also one of the perfect shoe cleaning solutions. I often needs to leave the house in a hurry and of course, I can’t leave with my Converse looking dirty and full of stains. That’s when the baby wipes come handy! Here’s what i do with the wipes:

  • Grab a few wet baby wipes.
  • Scrub or wipe away any dirt, mud, or stain on your shoes.
  • Wear your Converse and you can start with your activities while the shoes are air drying automatically.
  • And you are done. Your Converse are looking as good as new!

However, bear in mind that I recommend baby wipes only during emergency situations. Also, it works wonderfully for thin dirt and stains. For thick and stubborn one, I recommend that you do the proper cleaning as explained above.

c. How to Clean Converse with Rubbing Alcohol

You probably know that Rubbing alcohol is an efficient solution to get rid of germs and bacteria from different surfaces, including your Converse shoes, too! I often use this particular solution to clean white shoes, including my white Converse as well. Here’s how I do it:

  • Create a solution by using a three-to-one concoction or rubbing alcohol and water.
  • Continue the process by gently rubbing a damp cloth on the outside of the shoes
  • Let the shoes air dry a bit and you can start wearing them again.

Based on my personal experience, I use rubbing alcohol to keep my Converse clean and free of germs. Also, aside from making your Converse sterilized from germs, they will be free of bad odors, too!

d. How to Clean Converse with Cornstarch

Cornstarch is the last solution on the list, which I love so much since it can clean my Converse from stains and naughty dirt. Cornstarch is a good solution to remove oily stains from the surface of my Converse.

I had oils stains on my Converse when I was working on the car. Although I hate oil stains so much, I have the sense of calmness in me since I believe Cornstarch will do the job to remove the oil stains perfectly. Here’s how I do it:

  • Sprinkle cornstarch on the oils stained are on your shoes. Make sure the stained area are fully covered by the solution.
  • Let it sit for a few hours to absorb oil.
  • Once you’re done with the process, you can just simply brush it off and the oil stains are gone, completely absorbed by the sprinkled cornstarch.

III. Converse Shoes Do’s & Don’ts

Cleaning a pair of Converse shoes is fun. However, there are some important things that you need to take note of. I do think that these “do’s and don’ts” are essential in order to clean your shoes without necessarily causing any damage to them. 

Dry clean the Converse before washing them with water.Do not brush the upper section of your Converse with a strong brush.
Dry your Converse by leaving them in front of a fan or at room temperature.Avoid using baking soda or vinegar to clean non-white Converse shoes.
Use a microfiber cloth to wipe your shoes.

IV. Converse Shoecare Tips

Cleaning your Converse is one thing, but taking care of them is another important stage that you also need to master. After all, you don’t want (or don’t have the time) to clean your Converse every two days, right? Plus, you can also prolong the life expectancy of your precious Converse. 

Although Converse has mentioned some things that you can do to preserve their products (as I have stated before), let me add some important things that you might want to know:

  • Don’t store your Converse in a moist area
  • Store the shoes inside a box
  • Never store your shoes when they’re not cleaned yet, and don’t put them inside a shoe wrapper. 
  • Clean your Converse after usage. If you use them regularly, make sure to clean them once every week or two.

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V. Frequently Asked Questions

1. How to clean converse with detergent

  • Remove your shoelaces and insoles (if possible) so that they can be cleaned separately. 
  • Pour a nice amount of mild detergent into a bowl of clean water. 
  • Dip a cloth and soak it inside the mixture that you have just made. 
  • Wipe the upper section of the Converse first, then proceed to the midsole and outsole.
  • If you can’t remove the dirt on the outsole with a cloth, you can use a standard brush or toothbrush instead. 
  • Wipe your shoes clean.
  • Leave them in front of a fan for a while and let them dry.

2. How to clean converse with baking soda

On the other hand, you have two other alternatives in the form of baking soda and toothpaste.

  • Prepare baking soda and vinegar. Create a mixture between both ingredients.
  • Remove shoelaces from your Converse.
  • Before proceeding to use baking soda, make sure that you have rinsed your Converse with cold water. 
  • Use toothpaste and scrub the mixture across your Converse. You can put more of the mixture on the dirty sections.
  • Rinse the Converse once more to get rid of both the dirt and mixture.
  • Let the shoes dry off before storing them back or using them once more. 

3. How to clean Converse with Toothpaste

  • Prepare white toothpaste and a cotton swab.
  • Remove the laces from your Converse shoes.
  • Scrub the dirty section of your Converse shoes with toothpaste and a cotton swab.
  • Make sure to scrub it as many times as possible until the dirt has been lifted. 
  • Rinse the Converse with water to get rid of toothpaste remnants. 

4. How do you clean dirty converse at home?

You can clean your dirty Converse at home. As a matter of fact, the instructions that I have laid out before is a specialized instruction for a manual cleaning method! You can also take note that Converse forbids you to clean their shoes using a machine. All you need to do is to prepare the cleaning kits that I have mentioned before and follow the detailed steps above!

5. What can you soak converse in to clean them?

Converse can actually be soaked directly inside a bucket of warm water that has been mixed with a mild detergent. However, it’s important to note that I don’t personally recommend this method, and it seems that the people on Converse also agree with me! Some materials that are used to make Converse aren’t resistant to water. Therefore, putting them under a bucket of water might not be a really great idea!

6. How do you clean white converse without ruining them?

Generally, you can deal with a white Converse by using the same trick that I have mentioned before. But the fun part is that you can also use bleach and vinegar as an alternative for mild detergent. Still, you need to make sure that you use a soft brush in order to prevent any damage to the shoes. 

7. How do you clean white converse without turning them yellow?

Yellow stains will appear on your Converse if there are some parts that didn’t dry off well after a cleaning process. Therefore, I suggest a more careful approach when you clean your Converse. After wiping dirt and stains with wet tissue, you need to make sure that you have dried them off before storing your Converse back in their box. 

8. How do you clean super dirty converse?

The first thing that I do when my Converse has become super dirty is to wipe off the loose dirt, mud, and stains. After that, I would proceed to clean my Converse by using the steps that we’ve discussed before.

VI. Summary on How to Cleaning Converse

Converse shoes are cool, unique, and one-of-a-kind. Despite their budget-friendly cost, people still love to wear and collect them. Although some people love to leave their Converse dirty, it’s still important for you to know the tricks in order to keep your shoes clean without damaging them. After all, Converse is made using sensitive material that can be prone if not treated well. 

While cleaning your Converse can be tricky sometimes, I believe that this task will be worthwhile! If you are a shoe lover like me, try out the methods above at home and see how effective they are!