How To Clean Canvas Shoes – Simple Effective Ways

Posted on the 06 March 2020 by Zoey Fawell @Zoey_hioutside

There are many different types of canvas shoes, but they all have one thing in common. They look great when you first buy them, then they slowly start to accumulate dirt, becoming your favorite comfy footwear.

Of course, eventually the dirt and grime f hundreds of places visited takes its toll. But, you can extend the life of your favorite canvas shoes just by learning how to clean canvas shoes!

Providing they are still in one piece, they are worth cleaning and saving! In fact, if you apply the following tips on how to clean canvas shoes early in the shoe's life, you can dramatically extend the period that they last and look good.

What Is Canvas?

How To Clean Canvas Shoes – Simple Effective Ways

Canvas is a cloth-like material that is usually made from hemp, it's the same material that is used to make tents and sails. In short, it's durable, tough, and surprisingly comfortable.

The average canvas shoe is not built for running, but it is great as a casual choice. The top is usually made of canvas and the base will be rubber.

Canvas shoes are not generally expensive, which means you don't want to spend a fortune cleaning them. Fortunately, you don't need to.

How To Clean Canvas Shoes The Easy Way

There are several steps you need to be aware of when discovering how to clean canvas shoes:

How To Clean Canvas Shoes – Simple Effective Ways

Cleaning canvas shoes actually starts when you purchase them. As soon as you get the shoes home you should spray your shoes with a waterproof care spray. Alternatively, a starch spray will work.

This will give the canvas a protective layer, helping the canvas to last longer and making it easier for you to wash them regularly.

Top Tip: You should wear gloves when spraying and do it in a well-ventilated area, this will help to prevent skin or throat irritations.

Removing Mud

How To Clean Canvas Shoes – Simple Effective Ways

It's almost inevitable that you'll end up with mud on your canvas shoes. You need to remove this to extend the life of your shoe. The first step is simply to leave your shoes to dry. Don't place them directly on a heat source but do put them close.

Once they've dried you'll be able to bang the shoes on the pavement or a wall, the majority of the mud will fall off.

You can then carefully remove the laces and, using a damp cloth, wipe over your shoes. This should remove the rest of the mud on your shoes.

The laces can be soaked in a bowl of water with a little dish soap. If necessary scrub them with a brush to remove the dirt before leaving them to dry. It's best to air dry the laces or put them on a radiator, this will help them to dry faster.

It's probably best to have a separate toothbrush for your shoes as opposed to the one you use for doing your teeth. Of course, you can always borrow your partner's.....

You'll need a bowl of warm water with a little dish soap in. Dip the toothbrush into the warm water and get it nice and wet, then scrub your canvas shoe. Ideally, you should do the inside as well as the outside.

Once you're finished use fresh cold water to rinse the shoe. You can apply water with the toothbrush or a cloth.

How To Clean Canvas Shoes – Simple Effective Ways

While washing with your toothbrush should remove most of the marks, you may find a scuff stubbornly remains.

You'll need a nylon pad that can be used to scrub your canvas shoe over the affected area. Don't forget to do this gently to ensure you're removing the scuff and not the finish on your shoes.

Liner Odor

There is little point in cleaning your canvas shoes properly if they still stink afterward. You need to check the liners and, if necessary, remove them.

The liners can be scrubbed separately. Mix 3 tablespoons of water with a tablespoon of baking soda to make a paste. Apply this directly to the liners and scrub.

Once you've scrubbed them you can rinse them in clean water and then leave them to dry. This will remove the odors in your shoes.

Skip The Washing Machine

How To Clean Canvas Shoes – Simple Effective Ways

The above technique for how to clean canvas shoes works. While you may be tempted to simply chuck your shoes in the washing machine, this is not a good idea.

Although the washing machine is very good at cleaning canvas materials, it will also encourage the breakdown of the adhesives in your shoe. Without them, your canvas show will simply fall apart.

If you do feel the washing machine is the only way to go then remember to use a mild detergent and place a couple of towels in the machine, this will reduce the noise associated with washing them. You should also make sure the machine is set to a cool cycle to ensure the shoes are not damaged by too much heat.

Special Considerations For Colored Canvas

If you have colorful canvas shoes then you need to approach the cleaning more carefully. If the colors run your shoes will be ruined.

It's best to use a mild non-bleaching soap and to complete a small test on your shoe before you clean the whole shoe.


How To Clean Canvas Shoes – Simple Effective Ways

Once you've got your canvas shoes wet it's important to let them dry properly. If you don't they'll lose shape and the material may deteriorate faster.

The best method is to stuff your shoes full of paper, this helps them to maintain the desired shape. Then, place them in the sun to dry as naturally as possible.

However, if it's a particularly hot day, the shoes should be placed in partial shade. Too much heat risks breaking down the glue that holds these shoes together.

Final Thoughts

Remember, it's never too soon to start looking after your canvas shoes. In fact, the earlier you discover how to clean canvas shoes the longer they will last.

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