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How to Clean Your Converse [6 Methods Put To The Test!]

September 5, 2018


Erin Schrader

It’s a question we’re constantly asking ourselves at Team LIY – how in the world can we keep our white Converse clean without the obvious answer – buy a new pair [every three weeks]?! We all know that while they are the easiest shoe to throw on and go, they are the quickest to get dirty, something about the all white cloth thing. I literally wear my Converse multiple times a week whether it’s running errands, traveling, tailgating and the list goes ON which means one thing – my Converse aren’t typically the cleanest on the block. While this can scare people off from buying / wearing white Converse, I say have no fear – tips on how to clean them is HERE [and good news – there’s nothing challenging about it!]

While we set out on our challenge of how to get these Converse clean, we stumbled across many suggestions on the internet and because we are curious little creatures, we decided to give them all a shot [and maybe made up a few of our own versions along the way]. Today I’ll be sharing what six methods we tried and which ones we are deeming a success and methods we most likely won’t be trying again soon. Lets get this Converse cleaning party underway….

METHOD ONE: OxiClean Gel Stick 

This is a method that we didn’t read about on the internet but wanted to give it a shot. It turns out that it ended up being our winning method when it came to getting our white Converse white again! The process is super simple:

  1. Remove shoelaces
  2. Simply use your OxiClean gel stick all over the shoes
  3. Per the label, allow the OxiClean to sit on the shoes for anywhere from 5 minutes up to a week [nothing like a little window of time there ;)] We allowed our shoes to sit for a couple of hours.
  4. Throw into a washing machine and use the rinse cycle on hot water [we didn’t use a laundry detergent]
  5. Allow to air dry then re-lace!

Here are the visible results that we saw from this method [again, this was the most noticeable difference of all of the processes that we tried!]

how to clean your converse

clean your converse

Before —

clean converse

how to clean your converse

And After —

While there are still a few stains, you can see that these shoes are almost back to brand new without a lot of effort!

METHOD TWO: Dishwasher + Dishwasher Detergent

converse in dishwasher

clean converse in dishwasher

I get it, this method may disgust a few of you, however, I had absolutely no problem throwing my shoes into the dishwasher to see the results. It turns out it can be quite effective. To test this method, here’s the process we used:

  1. Place shoes on the top rack of an empty dishwasher, facing downward would be preferred.
  2. Load dishwasher detergent [we used a detergent pod]
  3. Wash on your normal wash cycle
  4. Allow shoes to air dry once complete

clean converse

Before —

And after — With results like this, I’d be willing to load my dishwasher with Converse on the regular.

METHOD THREE: Sh0ut Spray + Washing Machine 

cleaning your converse with shout

clean converse with shout

Similar to the OxiClean method, we simply swapped out for Shout Spray to see which had more powerful results. Here’s how this process works:

  1. Spray Shout Spray all over shoes, concentrating on where the heaviest stains are.
  2. Allow shoes to soak for 10 minutes or so
  3. Throw into a washing machine and use the rinse cycle on hot water [we didn’t use a laundry detergent]
  4. Allow to air dry!

Before — 

And after — 

While we preferred the OxiClean Gel Stick, this method was still effective in cleaning up the shoes and taking away a lot of those stains that linger.

Method four: Washing Machine + Laundry Detergent This method is very similar to the other ones above, however, no pre stain or spot treatment was performed. We didn’t see this method as the most effective and would recommend first using one of the suggested spot cleaners above. To do this method simply:

  1. Remove shoelaces
  2. Throw into a washing machine and use the rinse cycle on hot water along with your preferred laundry detergent
  3. Allow to air dry then re-lace!

Method Five: Vinegar + Baking Soda The last two methods involve a little more scrubbing with the use of a toothbrush. We had read about this method online several times as an all natural solution so thought it was worth trying. Here’s how you do it:

  1. Mix together 1 tablespoon warm water, 1 tablespoon vinegar and 1 tablespoon baking soda
  2. Mix until you create a paste like consistency
  3. Use an old toothbrush to scrub the shoes in a circular motion
  4. Once you have scrubbed the entire shoe, rinse with warm water to remove the paste mixture
  5. Allow to air dry

Unfortunately, we didn’t see dramatic enough results to want to try this method again, however, if you are looking for an all-natural option, you may want to consider this.

Method Six: Toothpaste + Toothbrush The last method that we tried for cleaning Converse was with a good ole toothbrush and toothpaste. Toothpaste as we know, has whitening capabilities, so we thought “why not see if it can clean these guys?!” To make this happen simply:

  1. Apply toothpaste to toothbrush and start to clean in a circular motion
  2. Once cleaned, rinse with warm water
  3. Allow to air dry

Again, this is a great quick spot treatment on Converse that maybe haven’t been marked up a ton, but if your Converse are downright dirty, this may not be the first method I’d try.

There we have it! Our six methods tested and tried! I’d love to hear what methods you have used for cleaning Converse and what your results have been like. Here’s to having Converse that look as good as they feel day after day!

Shop today’s post [complete with my favorite no show socks to wear with Converse] below! Note: You can set-up a sale alert on any of the products bellow which will notify you via email once the price drops!

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  1. Michele says:

    I don’t have white Converse but what I do with ALL my clothes shoes of any color is spray them with Scotch Guard.

  2. Autumn says:

    I am also a Converse addict. Another quick tip is to use a magic eraser or a baby wipe to quickly clean the rubber parts of your sneakers between washes!

  3. Tera says:

    Bleach pen works amazing for really bad stains. I use it on all my white stuff

  4. chris says:

    magic eraser if you just want to clean up scuffs on the rubber.

  5. Ashley says:

    Vinegar + Baking Soda may not be the best for white Converse, but it is fantastic for cleaning the foot beds of Birkenstocks (for those times you accidentally go on a mud bog while wearing your brand new sandals… Just me?)

  6. Alaina says:

    Magic eraser is the only way to go!

  7. Brandi says:

    Soak in hot water with White Brite (from laundry isle) overnight, then throw in the washer with tide. Whitens both the canvas and the rubber to like-new!

  8. Maureen says:

    Curious if any of those pairs had been pre-treated before they were ever worn? I’ve heard about using Scothguard or a similar spray to protect them before beginning to wear them. Thanks!

  9. Aubrey says:

    YES! I use magic eraser as well! And I buy white leather converse which seem easier to keep clean than the standard canvas option. Great tips.

  10. Becky Cary says:

    Going to get myself an Oxi Gel stick immediately!! Question…how do you clean the shoe laces?

  11. Thanks for doing all the leg work to find the best option! I always love those cleaning hacks, but it’s hard to try everything! I’m so all about popping my shoes in the dishwasher — it makes sense and is so easy! Great tips!

  12. Jennifer Webster says:

    Cassie from Hi Superplum! shared her method, which I copied and it was amazing. The canvas AND rubber were bright white again. Soak in diluted Mrs Stewart’s Blueing Liquid overnight and then scrub with a stiff brush. Toss in the laundry and air dry. Worked like a charm.

  13. Lana Gunia says:

    It’s annoying to get the converse dirty. Thanks for pieces of advice.

  14. Erin Badurina says:

    I am so upset I didn’t take before pictures!! I did the dishwasher and they look brand new! I did treat one spot with Shout before putting them in. I am so excited!! Thank you for the tip! I would never have tried that on my own!

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