How to Clean White Canvas Vans That Turned Yellow

man wearing white canvas vans

White canvas Vans can turn yellow if left in the sun or open air for too long, particularly after cleaning them with bleach. Residual chemical components from bleach get oxidized, causing yellow bleach stains. Canvas shoes can also turn yellow due to consistent deposits of dirt and sweat.

This article will discuss 5 effective ways to clean white canvas Vans that have turned yellow.

1. Baking Soda and Detergent

Baking soda has whitening properties and also serves as a natural deodorizer. It is best to use dish soap or a liquid laundry detergent to prevent further yellowing as these solutions are mild and have minimal oxidative elements.

What You Need

  • Baking soda
  • Mild liquid detergent or dish soap
  • Toothbrush


  • Mix one part baking soda with 1.5 parts mild liquid detergent or dish soap
  • Use the toothbrush to spread the paste onto your white canvas shoes and the stain
  • Scrub the shoes with the paste
  • Leave the paste on the shoes for 20-30 minutes
  • Wipe it off with a damp cotton cloth and warm water
  • Leave the shoes to air dry in a cool, dry place

2. Baking Soda and Hydrogen Peroxide

While baking soda alone can remove the yellowing from white Vans, if the shoes are deeply stained, a combination of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide will be more effective. Hydrogen peroxide has bleaching and disinfectant properties. As such, when used together with baking soda, they can remove even the most stubborn stains.

What You Need

  • Small laundry bowl
  • Baking Soda
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • An old toothbrush or soft-bristled shoe brush
  • Wooden spatula or stick
  • Cotton cloth
  • Mild liquid detergent (optional)


  1. Put 2 tablespoons of baking soda into a small bowl
  2. Add a spoon of hydrogen peroxide
  3. Add a tablespoon of room-temperature water
  4. Mix all the ingredients properly to make a thick paste. Do not make the paste too thin as it will dry out too fast, reducing its efficacy
  5. Use the brush to spread the paste over the canvas upper, ensuring all the yellow stains are fully covered
  6. Place the white shoes in direct sunlight for 30-60 minutes until the paste is completely dry
  7. Use a cotton cloth to wipe away the dried toothpaste, then rinse the white shoes with cold water. If need be, use a mild detergent to wash the Vans
  8. Air-dry the shoes in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight

3. Baking Soda and White Vinegar

White vinegar also has whitening properties. To use baking soda and white vinegar to clean white Vans that have turned yellow, use the steps described above for using baking soda and hydrogen peroxide but replace hydrogen peroxide with white vinegar.

4. Tartar Cream and Baking Soda

What You Need

  • Tartar cream
  • Baking soda
  • Water
  • Bucket
  • Brush
  • Cotton cloth
  • Mild liquid detergent (optional) or dish soap


  1. Mix one part hot water with one part cream of tartar in a laundry bucket
  2. Submerge the yellowed white shoes and let them soak overnight
  3. Remove the soaked shoes and rinse off the excess tartar solution and pour it out
  4. Put clean, room-temperature water into the bucket and add a mild detergent or dish soap
  5. Submerge the shoes in the soapy water
  6. Using a soft-bristled shoe brush, scrub the shoes, then rinse the clean white Vans with clean water
  7. If there are any yellow stains left, clean them with baking soda
  8. Mix one part baking soda and one part warm water to make a paste
  9. Apply the paste to the shoes and let it sit for at least 2 hours or until dry
  10. Brush off the paste or wipe it off
  11. Rinse the shoes and wipe them down with a damp clean cloth
  12. Air-dry the white sneakers in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight

5. Toothpaste

Most conventional kinds of toothpaste contain whitening or abrasive components such as hydrogen peroxide, silica, and pyrophosphates. These whitening properties can help clean yellow stains on your white Vans.

The effectiveness of using toothpaste to clean white Vans varies depending on the extent of the stain, toothpaste components, and percentage of the whitening component. Generally, it is less effective than using hydrogen peroxide and baking soda but may work for minimal yellowing.

With this method, it is best to use white, non-gel toothpaste. Colored and gel toothpaste does not have high efficacy and may cause stains on your canvas shoes.

What You Need

  • Non-gel white toothpaste
  • Old toothbrush
  • Cotton cloth
  • Mild liquid laundry detergent


  1. Put toothpaste on the old toothbrush
  2. Apply a thin layer of toothpaste onto the shoes
  3. Use the toothbrush to scrub the shoe, paying attention to areas where the yellowing is most dominant
  4. Let the toothpaste sit on the shoes for 20-30 minutes. It will soak into the deeper layers of the canvas
  5. Wipe it off thoroughly with a damp cotton cloth
  6. Put some water in a laundry basin or bowl and add mild liquid laundry detergent and mix properly
  7. Dip the cotton cloth into the soapy water, wring off excess water, and use it to wipe the shoes
  8. Then, rinse the cloth with cold clean or warm water and wipe the white sneakers again to rinse them
  9. Air-dry the shoes in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight

pair of white shoes

Tip for Drying White Van Shoes to Prevent and Remove Yellowing

When drying white canvas Vans shoes, wrap them completely with white tissue paper or a white paper towel or towel. Do not leave any spaces, so also cover the inside of the shoes with the towel.

The towel absorbs any residual detergent. Therefore, you may notice that the tissue turns yellow, but not the sneaker, as the oxidation takes place on the tissue instead of the white Vans shoes.


The best method for cleaning white Vans that have turned yellow is using hydrogen peroxide. However, if the yellowing is not too extensive, you can only use baking soda, vinegar, or toothpaste.

If you use tartar cream, you will need to follow up the cleaning process with baking soda or a baking soda and hydrogen peroxide solution to clean off the yellowing completely.

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