Can You Put Converse in the Washer? Learn How to Properly Care for Your Converse Sneakers

If your Converse are dirty, Converse recommends that you spot clean them and does not recommend placing them in the washer. However, many people have thrown theirs in the washer and successfully cleaned their dirty Converse sneakers.

Converse makes some of the most comfortable sneakers around. The shoes are so iconic that people of all age ranges wear them, and they can be worn with a variety of outfits. Men can wear them with shorts or jeans, while women can wear them with leggings, jeans, skirts or even casual dresses. Converse also come in nearly every color of the rainbow, ensuring there is a pair out there to match any outfit you have. And, if you happen to come across an outfit you cannot match with a pair already available, you can customize your own.

If you are anything like me, you may wear your Converse everywhere. I personally love to wear mine while I am out running errands and taking my child to sports practices, but other people wear them in casual work environments or when taking a dog out for a walk. As you wear the shoes, they start to show their age and they can become dirty. I like my Converse looking their best, and I am sure you do as well. As such, you may be asking can you put Converse in the washer, or how can you best clean them.

Chuck Taylor All Star are Converse’s most iconic style of shoe. These shoes are made from canvas, making them lightweight and breathable. While Converse does make other shoes in other materials, such as leather, we are going to be focusing on canvas Converse in this blog, since they are the most popular seller. Here is more information about cleaning and caring for your Converse shoes and if you can put Converse in the washer.

Testing Your Sneakers Before Cleaning Them

Converse comes in a rainbow of colors and patterns. These popular shoes have been around since 1908, and over the years, different types of dyes have been used on the shoes. As such, regardless of which cleaning method you are going to use on the shoes, it is always recommended that you test the color fastness of the dye with the cleaner you are using before you attempt to clean any noticeable part of the shoe.

The easiest way to do this is to mix up your preferred cleaner with cool water. Dab at a hidden part of the shoe, such as along the inside edge of a canvas Converse shoe with a cloth dipped in your cleaner. If you see the dye spreading to your cloth or if you see the dye bleeding or lifting from the shoe, the type of cleaner you are using will not work for the type of dye on the shoe. You should use different cleaners, many of which will be discussed below, until you find one that works for your shoes. It is also important to note that you should always use cold water, rather than warm or hot water, as hotter water increases the likelihood of dye leaking or fading.

Spot Treating Your Converse

Converse advises against putting your Chuck Taylor’s in the washing machine. Instead, they advise you to spot treat your Converse. Spot cleaning your Converse basically means that you use a cleaner that works to lift any spots or stains present on your shoes. Converse recommends that you dab at the stain with a soft cloth and run lightly, rather than using a shoe cleaning brush. Brushes can damage the canvas that the shoes are made from.

If you are spot treating your Converse, there are different types of cleaners that you can use. Converse does not sell special cleaning products for their shoes, nor do they recommend a specific brand of cleaner. One of the types of cleaners that you can use is liquid laundry detergent. Mix a squirt of laundry detergent with water to create a cleaning product. You can also use a gentle liquid dish soap to clean your shoes. If you have white shoes and you are looking to whiten the shoes, you may want to add equal parts of water to baking soda and create a paste. Lightly rub it into the stain to clean the stain and whiten the shoes. Lastly, there are many shoe cleaning products on the market. You may wish to use your preferred cleaner, but be sure to test for color fastness before cleaning a spot away on a noticeable part of the shoe.

Removing Smells and Odors From Converse

Let’s be honest; feet stink. As you wear your shoes day in and day out, your smelly feet can start to make your shoes smell as well. Fortunately, there are many ways that you can remove smells and odors from your Converse, or prevent them all together.

One of the best ways to both prevent and remove foot odors from Converse is to use odor eating products. If you go down the foot care aisle in any big box retailer, you will see a variety of products that are designed to combat foot odors in shoes. This may range from balls that you can place in the shoes to powders to sprays. Simply pick a product and follow the directions to prevent or eliminate odors.

If you are looking for household remedies to remove smells and odors from Converse, you can sprinkle either baby powder or baking soda in the shoes. Allow the powder to sit in the shoes overnight before tossing it out the next day. Repeat this process until the smell is gone. Alternatively, if your shoes smell really bad, you can spritz them with equal parts vinegar and water or rubbing alcohol and water to rid yourself of the funky smell.

Putting Converse in the Washer

While Converse does not recommend putting their shoes in the washing machine, many people have done so and had great results.

If you have attempted to spot clean your Converse and you still are not satisfied with the outcome, or you are ready to toss your Converse, throwing them in the washer and seeing if it works for you may be a last ditch effort to revive your shoes. If your shoes are too dirty to wear out in public, you may have nothing to lose by attempting to throw them in the washing machine.

If you are going to wash them in the washing machine, follow these rules:

  • Always check for color fastness before washing the shoes
  • Wash the shoes on a low cycle, such as delicate or hand wash
  • Never use hot water to wash your shoes; use a cold water cycle
  • Always wash your shoes by themselves, without any other garments
  • Immediately remove your shoes from the washer when the cycle is done so mildew doesn’t develop

Tips For the Best Washer Results

While Converse does not recommend that you put your Converse in the washing machine, placing them in the washer can be a way to breathe new life into shoes that you are unable to clean any other way. If you are looking to clean your Converse in the washer, there are a few tips you can follow to increase the chances of being successful with that venture. Here are those tips:

  • Wash the Shoes in a Laundry Bag

Prior to washing your Converse in the washing machine, purchase a laundry bag that is designed for tennis shoes. Then place your shoes in the bag prior to laundering. A laundry bag prevents the shoes from bouncing all over the machine while they are being laundered, which can be beneficial for both the shoes and your washing machine. This method also decreases the chances of sole damage that can occur to your shoes during the laundering process.

  • Remove Laces Prior to Washing

If you are washing your Converse in the washing machine, it is recommended that you remove the laces from the shoes. The laces can become entangled with parts in your machine, which can pull on the shoes, damaging the grommets and tongue. You can wash the laces at the same time as you wash the shoes, or you can purchase new laces to help enhance the clean look of your freshly laundered shoes.

  • Wash Your Shoes On a Warm Day

When possible, launder your Converse on a warm day. Your shoes will dry faster after they have been removed from the wash on a warm day, compared to a cooler day. Drying quickly helps to prevent mold and mildew from forming. You should never dry sneakers in a clothes dryer, as the heat can cause the glue on the sole of the shoe to separate from the shoe.

Drying Converse After Cleaning

After spot cleaning or using a washing machine to clean your Converse, you will need to get them dry. Never put them in the dryer as it can damage the sole of your shoe. You should also avoid putting your shoes in direct sunlight, as the sun’s ultraviolet rays can fade your sneakers.

If desired, you can stuff your shoes with socks or newspaper to help the shape or mold of your shoes during the drying process. It is important to note that you should avoid using colored paper or colored socks, as the dye can leak onto your wet shoes. You do not have to stuff your shoes, but if you are concerned with them retaining their shape after being washed, stuffing them can help.

Place the shoes in a dry, warm spot. You do not want to put them somewhere overly hot, as hot temperatures can cause a small amount of shrinkage. Likewise, you do not want to put them somewhere cool or humid, as the shoes will not dry as quickly. Keep the shoes in that spot until the shoes are completely dry. It may take several hours or even a couple of days until your shoes are completely dry. Do not wear your shoes until they are dry, as they are more likely to become stained if they are worn while damp.

Protecting Your Converse

Whether you have a brand new pair of Converse, or you have a pair that have been freshly cleaned, you may be wondering if there is anything you can do to protect your shoes from dirt and stains. Converse does not sell any shoe protection products, nor do they endorse any products. However, many people have used Scotchguard on their shoes and recommend it, including myself.

There are many Scotchguard products on the market. Both fabric and upholstery Scotchguard products work for canvas Converse shoes. Before spraying the shoes, you will want to remove the shoelaces. Some people also use painters’ tape to tape off the rubber on the shoe, as Scotchguard may yellow the rubber with repeated use.

After you have prepared your shoes, you will want to spray the shoes with the Scotchguard in long, even strokes, staying about six inches away from the shoes. Continue until you have coated both shoes. Allow the Scotchguard to fully dry to ensure the shoes are as waterproof and stain-proof as possible.

Converse are comfortable and stylish. If you are like me, you love your Converse and wear them everywhere. You also may be so in love with your shoes that the thought of having to throw them away may break your heart. Fortunately, there may be a solution. If you are thinking of tossing your Converse because they are dirty or smelly, you may be able to clean them. While Converse does not recommend putting your Converse in the wash, if your shoes are beyond spot cleaning, throwing them in the washer may help to bring life back to the dirty, worn or smelly shoes so you get just a bit more life out of them.

If you liked our post on cleaning your Cons, check out if we think they make good skate shoes.

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