How Do You Clean White Vans?

So you’re ready for a night out with friends. You’ve got your best clothing on and you’re ready to hit the down, when you put your white vans on. Suddenly, you realize that they’re covered in mud!

Thus, you spend the next 10 minutes frantically scrubbing at your shoes so you don’t look like a total mess when you’re out.

Sounds familiar? We’ve all been there. Thankfully, cleaning your white vans doesn’t need to be a total chore.

Sure, they stain easily but you can actually use a bunch of household products to clean your vans with ease. With that in mind, here’s everything that you need to know about how to clean your white vans.

How Do You Clean White Vans

Should I Put My Vans In the Washing Machine?

Ideally, it’s better to wash a pair of white vans manually by hand. This is especially true if they’re a new pair of shoes. 

Now, of course we don’t always have as much time as we would like to clean things by hand. In this case, it is possible to put canvas vans in the washing machine, but don’t even think about putting a leather pair in the washing machine.

It can be simple to toss them in the machine. Simply put them in a mesh bag to start, since this will help to ensure that they maintain the right shape.

Then, put some towels in as this will help to be a bugger for the shoes. Choose a gentle cycle, and the water should be warm or cold. The spin speed should be moderate or low.

You don’t want to put your shoes through anything too vigorous. You shouldn’t put them in the dryer either – just fill them full of dry paper towels and allow them to dry for a while. 

How To Clean Vans By Hand

There are a few steps to hand cleaning your vans.

  1. Get a cleaning solution and mix it together. Usually, it’s best to get some warm water and laundry detergent. You’ll need just ¼ of a cup of laundry detergent to 2 cups of warm water. Alternatively, you can also use ¼ cup dish soap, ¼ cup of window cleaner, ¼ cup of shampoo, or you can use the specific cleaning solution sold on the Vans website.
  2. When you have your bowl ready, you should then get another bowl of clean water that you will use to clean off the dishcloth while you are cleaning. 
  3. Now you can put the cleaning apparatus – a brush or a washcloth – into the solution and begin the scrubbing. It’s best to do this in small sections to get the best results. You can also clean the laces separately by using the same formula as above but in a separate bowl.
  4. With a toothbrush or the abrasive side of a kitchen sponge, start scrubbing the rubber sections of the shoe. Sometimes you may just need a wet wipe to do this if the rubber parts aren’t super dirty already. 
  5. When you have followed the above steps, you can then go over the shoes again using a wet, clean cloth. This will help to get rid of any leftover soap or dirt that’s on the shoes. You can double check that you are fine with them before you then decide to put them out to dry. You may notice that there are areas that aren’t as clean as you would like, in which case you may need to pay more attention to these parts. 
  6. The final thing to do is to allow the shoes to dry. To do this, fill them up with some clean tissue paper as this will help them to retain their shape. Put them somewhere a little sunny, and allow them to dry for a while before you try to wear them and thread the laces back into them. 

Cleaning Leather

  1. Start off by taking out the insoles, laces and any loose soil on the shoe. The leather and the laces/insoles need to be cleaned differently. You can then wipe the shoe, working with a microfiber cloth and some warm water. Make sure that you pay special attention to any seams. 
  2. The next thing to do is clean off the soles of the shoe. It’s best to use a melamine sponge for this and just clean off the edges. Do not, under any circumstances, put the sponge onto the leather parts though.
  3. You will then need to clean the uppers using a clean microfiber cloth dipped in leather cleaning solution.
  4. Finally, allow your vans to air dry after rinsing them off. When they are dry you can then wear them! 

Things You Can Do To Make The Shoes Look Good

There are a couple of things that you can do to keep your vans in their best possible shape!

First of all, get some fabric water and stain repellent and spray it over your canvas vans before you wear them for the first time. If you have suede or leather shoes, there are versions made for this particular material too.

Every now and again, you should also brush down the vans using a damp cloth as this will help to get rid of any stray soil. As such, the soil is less likely to build up on the top of your shoe.

Finally, your shoelaces may look a little worse for wear after a while. If this is the case, simply get new ones and thread them through. Your shoes will look brand new again! 


There’s no reason to be walking around with dirty vans! If you have followed the advice listed in the article, you can have squeaky clean vans in no time, all ready for your next night out! 

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