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How to Clean White Vans (Canvas, Leather, & Suede)

For loyal customers of the brand, classic white Vans are always a beloved pair of shoes in their collection. From their simplicity and style, to comfort and aesthetic appeal; anyone who owns white Vans knows their true value even though they are one of the most affordable, high-quality sneakers on the market. 

With that in mind, shoe care must be prioritised if you want to keep them looking, feeling, and smelling good! This means you need to know the right way to clean white Vans according to their outer material; i.e. canvas, suede, or leather (three of the most common materials Vans are made of). As you know, using the wrong cleaning products, tools, and/or techniques can damage the shoe material. Worst case scenario is that an incorrect cleaning method leads to irreparable damage and, ultimately, your favourite white Vans have to be tossed. 

Nevertheless, if you’re looking for a safe and effective way to make your white Vans look new again, Maid For You can help you with that. We’ve compiled simple, material-appropriate cleaning guides that will make your filthy white Vans look new again! Read on to learn more.

NOTE: Vans do not recommend machine-washing their products, however, the laces can be cleaned in this manner by simply placing them in a mesh bag before running them through a regular wash cycle. 

How to Clean Canvas White Vans

Although there are various ways to go about this, we are sharing the two best methods to clean white Vans that are really dirty and stained. Take a look below.

Laundry Detergent/Dish Soap

  • In a bowl, measure 2 cups of warm water and 2-3 tablespoons of dishwashing liquid or 1/4 cup of liquid laundry detergent. Stir the solution well to combine the soap and water.
  • Using a soft brush, remove as much mud and loose debris as possible. 
  • Clean the canvas material first by dampening the bristles of a clean soft-medium toothbrush or cleaning brush. Scrub the material in circular motions, and rinse off the bristles as they start to get dirty (under running water or in a separate bowl of water).
  • Clean the rubber soles with the brush and cleaning solution after the canvas has been scrubbed thoroughly.
  • Dampen a clean white towel or absorbent cloth and wipe over the canvas Vans to remove the soapy solution. Rinse the cleaning tool, wring it, and repeat the wipe-down until there is no soap residue left on the material.

Baking Soda + Hydrogen Peroxide

WARNINGS: Stick to dilution rates as full-strength bleach can cause yellowing. Always use dye-free hydrogen peroxide and wear gloves when handling the substance. Clean the shoes in a well-ventilated room or area.

  • In a bowl, combine 1 part bleach to 2 parts baking soda. Mix well with a spoon to form a paste.
  • Use a soft-medium toothbrush/cleaning brush to clean the canvas by dipping it in the paste, and scrubbing in circular motions.
  • After you have cleaned off most of the dirt, coat the canvas with the remaining paste, and allow it to harden completely. 
  • Brush off the dry paste with a clean brush.
  • Wipe over the material with a damp cloth to remove all traces of the bleach and baking soda.

How to Clean Leather White Vans

Although leather Vans require more gentle cleaning, they have a higher resistance to stains and dirt. Just like cleaning white canvas Vans, we have selected the best two cleaning methods for white leather Vans.

Baking Soda

  • Make a paste using 1 part baking soda and 2 parts water. 
  • Spot clean stains/scuff marks by dipping a clean microfibre cloth in the paste, and gently scrubbing the leather.
  • Clean the rest of the shoe in a similar manner until you are satisfied with the result.
  • (Optional) When the material is completely dry, apply a leather conditioner to prevent scuff marks and stains.

Nikwax

NOTE: The company itself recommends using this product to clean leather white Vans.

  1. Brush or wipe off loose debris from the material.
  2. Follow the instructions on the label to safely use the product to clean your white leather Vans. 
  3. Finish off with a leather conditioner after the shoe material has dried up.

How to Clean Suede White Vans

When it comes to suede, you don’t want to risk damaging this delicate material with anything other than a suede cleaner. This is because these particular products are specially formulated to clean the material safely and effectively. 

Follow the steps below to clean your white suede Vans:

  • Clean off surface debris with a soft brush or suede brush. Use gentle pressure when doing this.
  • Apply the Nikwax gel to the suede using a soft toothbrush. The goal here is to gently work the product into the material, paying special attention to stains.
  • Suede cleaners generally do not require to be rinsed or wiped off after use, however, if there is product buildup on the material, wipe the shoe with a clean soft cloth.

How to Clean Insoles & Insides of White Vans

The inside of your white Vans and insoles also need cleaning from time to time. This is what is going to keep them feeling and smelling fresh! 

Here are the steps to clean the insoles and insides of your white Vans:

  • Take out the insoles and clean them separately using a mixture of baking soda, mild dish soap or laundry detergent, and water. Scrub the insoles (on both sides) with a toothbrush and your DIY cleaning solution before rinsing them off. Allow the insoles of your Vans to air-dry before placing them back into the shoes.
  • Make a slightly runny paste with mild dishwashing liquid and baking soda. Use this to coat the entire interior of the shoe. For the application process, your fingers work best, however, you can also use a toothbrush if you are having trouble reaching the inside tip of the toe box.
  • Allow the paste to dry before wiping it away with a damp cloth.

How to Dry Your White Vans Safely

Many people make the mistake of leaving their freshly cleaned shoes out in the sun to dry up quickly; this is never a good idea because harsh sunlight can damage some shoe materials, and also cause white Vans to yellow. 

So, to dry your white Vans safely, keep the tips below in mind:

  • Stuff the shoe with paper towels to maintain its natural shape
  • Keep it in a shaded but warm spot outside
  • Make sure that the surface and surrounding area is clean so that no dust/mud/dirt gets blown onto the material while damp
  • Allow it to air-dry completely before putting the insoles and laces back

Give your white Vans the TLC they deserve and they will surely serve you well while looking their best for years to come! Remember, regular care and cleaning is the best way to keep white Vans actually white! 

Adriana Aziz is the operations manager at MaidForYou. With over 6 years of experience managing cleaning operations, she knows all the best hacks when it comes to cleaning residential and commercial buildings. With expert experience in managing house cleaning operations, interior design and logistics. She spends her free time with her family and as a freelance food critic.

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