There’s nothing worse than getting your new pair of kicks dirty. Fortunately for you this how to clean converse shoes post will show you two ways to get them back to their former glory.

How To Clean Converse Shoes

Both of the methods that I will present in this post are really easy for you to carry out. It all depends on whether you have the items that you need to carry them out. But as they are everyday items then you shouldn’t worry.

I have included videos for both of the methods followed by instructions. I find that watching a video will show you exactly what you need to do. But anyway I thought it best to add the steps afterwards.

Please note: These methods can also be used to clean canvas shoes. Also, check out Wikihow on how to clean your Converse All Stars sneakers.

Methods discussed:


Easy Way – Scrub The Dirt Off!

Cleaning your converse shoes is a really simple method. It just takes a little time to get yourself prepared for the cleaning process and the actually cleaning. Trust me the longest step is the waiting for your shoes to dry.

Credit: EyefourStyle

For this method I wanted to share with you a really helpful video from Tennille Lawrence (Eyefourstyle). Here in this video she breaks down the process into 3 easy parts, which are cleaning the laces, the rubber soles and then the actual material.

If you really want to give your shoes a proper clean then you will carry out each of the parts. Then you will be totally satisfied that you have done a thorough job.

What You Need:

  • Dirty converse shoes
  • Bleach
  • Gloves
  • Cleaning detergent
  • Scrubbing brush
  • Bowl and bucket
  • Bleach pen
  • Toothbrush
  • Magic Eraser
  • Paper towel

Step 1 – Remove those laces from your shoes

First step that you will need to take in this cleaning process is to remove the laces from your shoes. Following this step will help as by doing so you can give your shoe laces a thorough clean.

And also you will be able to give the tongue of the shoe a proper clean as well.

Step 2 – Cleaning the shoe laces

Next you will need to fill up your bowl with water, preferably with warm water. And then add about a 1/4 cup of detergent to the water.

After that add 3-4 cap fulls of bleach to the mixture. Tennille in the video suggests not to wear gloves. However, I would recommend wearing them as if your skin is sensitive then you will obviously need to protect them.

Then give the water a good mix. You can use the toothbrush for this.

And then finally place your shoe laces into the bowl and water. Make sure that the laces are completely submerged otherwise they will not get a thorough clean.

Step 3 – Cleaning the rubber soles

With the laces set aside it is now time to clean the rubber soles of your converse shoes. To do this you will need to fill up your bucket with water. Again preferably with warm water.

Then what you will need to do is dip your Magic Eraser into the water and then squeeze the excess water out of the sponge. And then start scrubbing the soles of your shoes.

If you don’t have Magic Eraser then do not worry as an old toothbrush will do. But the eraser is great for getting those rubber soles clean, so you may want to get one of these.

Depending on how dirty the soles are you may want to dip the sponge into the water a more times.

Step 4 – Cleaning the canvas part

After you have finished cleaning the rubber part of your shoes you can then concentrate on getting the canvas part back to its former glory.

For this you will need to add about a 1/3 cup of bleach and also some laundry detergent as well, just a sprinkling will do.

Then soak one of your shoes into the mixture and then get the brush and start scrubbing. And then repeat for the other shoe.

Step 5 – Removing those stubborn spots/stains

You may find after you have given both of your shoes a good scrub that there may be a few spots/stains that haven’t come out.

That’s OK because you can use a bleach pen for those. They really easy to hold and use. And besides using them on your shoes they can be used for your clothes as well.

Or if you don’t have one of these pens then you can simply dip your toothbrush into bucket and scrub away at those stubborn stains.

Step 6 – Removing any bleach residue

When you are satisfied that your shoes are as clean as they possibly can be you will then need to scrub out the bleach that is in your shoes. This step is important as any bleach residue will damage your shoes.

For this step you will want to throw out the mixture that is in your bucket. Please do this responsibly.

Then fill up the bucket again with water. And then start scrubbing your shoes again.

After that just rinse the remaining soap and bleach that is left on your shoes.

Step 7 – Let your shoes to dry

Then let your shoes dry. For this you can put some paper towel into the shoes. This will soak up the water.

Either leave them outside overnight or for 24 hours.

Step 8 – Cleaning and drying your shoe laces

The final step to this cleaning method is to clean those dirty shoe laces of yours.

Now you may want to leave your shoe laces in the bowl overnight so that the bleach can dig deep into that dirt.

When you are happy that you have left them long enough then you will want to take each one in turn and scrub with your toothbrush. Just use soap and water for this step.

When you are happy that your shoe lace is clean enough then repeat this step with the other lace. And then finally rinse off any soap and bleach residue.

You will also need to let your shoe laces to dry with your shoes. These shouldn’t take as long as your shoes though.

Tip: Do not use a hair dryer or tumble dryer. Excessive heat can cause damage to your shoes. And it’s best not to leave them out in the sun. I would advise to leave them in the shade or a warm place inside your home.

Step 9 – Get walking

OK, so I lied, this is definitely the last step. Just inspect your shoes and laces to see whether they are dry.

And if they are then lace up your shoes again and get walking!


Easier Way – The Good Old Washing Machine!

If you aren’t confident with hand scrubbing your converse shoes then this method is for you. Or if you a kind of lazy. That’s OK, we’re all like that sometimes.

For this method I want to share with you a video by Tommy Today. Now this video is for cleaning mesh sneakers but I have found that it works just as well for your converse shoes.

Credit: Tommy Today

This method is a good way to get your shoes clean again, although there maybe a few signs of dirt afterwards. If you aren’t completely happy with how clean they turn out to be with this method then you can always scrub those stubborn stains.

What You Need:

  • Dirty converse shoes
  • Pillow cases
  • Rubber bands
  • Sock
  • Laundry detergent
  • Washing Machine (of course)
  • Towels
  • Small towel

Step 1 – Get Yourself Ready

Before you begin you will need to get yourself ready. The great thing about this method though is that there isn’t nearly as much stuff for you to prepare as the previous method.

For this step you just need to get a pillow case for your shoes. If you have quite a number of shoes to clean then you may need to get more than one pillow case.

Step 2 – Get Your Shoes and Laces Ready For The Wash

You will then need to take the insoles out of your shoes. These insoles can damage in the wash so it’s best to take them out first.

Hopefully they are the kind that can easily slip out from your shoes, and not the ones that are stuck to the bottom.

Untie your shoes laces and put them into an old sock. You can either tie up the sock or use a rubber band.

Then just put your shoes into an old pillow case that you are not using. You can put more than one pair of shoes into the pillow case if you have several that need cleaning.

Then tie up the pillow case with a rubber band.

Step 3 – Put Your Shoes and Lace In

The small towel will be needed if you have a top-loader. This can be placed around the spindle of the machine. Doing this will save the shoes from banging against the inside of the machine.

Putting extra towels into the wash with your shoes will also help with cushioning your shoes.

Then put your shoes and laces into the machine.

Step 4 – Start The Washing Machine

You can either set your washing machine to a small or medium wash, depending on how many shoes you are cleaning and the number of towels that you have put in.

Or if you have a machine like mine then you can set it to Auto.

The water temperature should be set to cold. You do not want it to be hot as this can damage your shoes and laces too.

Also, a delicate wash will need to be selected.

Then put in some laundry detergent and then start the cycle.

Step 5 – Leave Your Shoes and Laces To Dry

Finally we are getting to the end of this cleaning method.

When the machine has finished just take out your shoes and laces and check to see whether they are as clean as you want them to be.

You may want to scrub the stubborn stains that didn’t get removed from the wash. For this you just get a toothbrush and brush the dirt off. A bowl with soapy water will do.

Then place your shoes in a warm area to let to dry.

As mentioned with the previous method a tumble dryer or hair dryer can cause damage, so it’s best to let them dry overnight or in a shaded area outside.


Thank You and Please Leave A Comment

I hope that this how to clean converse shoes guide was both helpful and useful. If you think that this post will be helpful then please share it with family and friends using the social media buttons below.

If you have any questions or comments then please leave a comment below. I would love to hear from you.


Owain Couch

Making and repairing boots and shoes has been an occupation in my family for generations. I want to carry on the family business by helping you find the best footwear, as well as provide useful guides that will help make them last longer.

6 Comments

Eric J. Cantu · February 23, 2018 at 5:14 am

I’m a huge fan of the throwing the dirty shoes into the washing machine. And I love the tip on adding some towels for cushioning. Really nicely written article especially for us bachelors! lol Thanks man!

    Owain Couch · February 23, 2018 at 8:54 am

    You’re welcome Eric, I am glad that you liked it. Just make sure you set the washing machine to cold and delicate, it will help to make your shoes last longer.

thomas g · February 23, 2018 at 8:21 am

I have scrubbed many a Converse sneaker in my day. though I usually have the canvas color hence, no bleach. It is good to mention to folks no dryer as that does damage the rubber. i have never owned a colored pair so I would not know about fading.

    Owain Couch · February 23, 2018 at 8:55 am

    Yep certainly, I have mentioned that a dryer can cause damage to your shoes. The excess heat is definitely not a good thing for your shoes.

Ronnie Jordan · February 23, 2018 at 11:14 pm

Now, this is what I am talking about. I used to wear the canvas converse growing up and played a good game of basketball in them. We used to toss ours in the washing machine because of the quickness.

The new shoes these days are outrageously priced and if you washed them in the machine they probably will come apart. The other you described will give you great results I am sure. We did not have the pen and magic eraser back then.

    Owain Couch · February 23, 2018 at 11:48 pm

    Certainly throwing them into the washing machine is a lot easier than going to the time and effort of hand scrubbing them yourself. But for me this longer process is definitely worth it as your shoes will come out cleaner.

    And also there is the possibility that your machine may damage your shoes as you say. But if you, or anyone else, does use their washing machine then please use the tips provided in this post. It will help your shoes to last longer.

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