DIY: How to clean Vans shoes
Vans shoes were designed to withstand skatepark wear and tear, but they still need a little love every so often. Get yours back to their former glory with our official DIY guide to quick cleaning and deep cleaning your Vans.
How to clean Vans – your questions answered
We’ve answered the most commonly asked questions on cleaning suede, leather and canvas Vans below.
Can you put Vans in the washing machine?
We don’t recommend it. Even if you put them in a pillowcase, they could still get damaged.
So how do I clean them?
You’ll find the different recommended ways to clean your Vans, depending on what they’re made from, further down this page.
What about the inside of my Vans?
You can use a paste of baking soda and mild detergent to whiten the
inside of your Vans. Put a towel on your work surface, then take a
small brush or toothbrush and work the paste into the inside of your
shoes. Leave it for up to 15 minutes, then rinse with warm water and
How to safely bleach the white strip on your Vans
Most Vans have a white rubber strip that runs around the outside of
the sole to give them a distinctive edge. Your first instinct
might be to reach for the bleach, but that could turn your shoes
yellow. Restore yours to box fresh using these steps.
- Choose a clear work
surface and cover it with a towel or sheet
masking tape to cover the material of the shoe, to avoid damaging
the top or sides with any stray cleaning product.
- Fill a small cup with a cleaning product from our recommended
list: white vinegar, lemon juice, rubbing alcohol or acetone.
- Take an old toothbrush or small, soft-bristled cleaning
brush, dip it into the cleaning product and gently buff the white
rubber in small circular motions.
- Wipe with a clean,
damp cloth and you’re done!
You can use the same method to clean the rubber bottoms of your Vans
too. Be sure to get loose dirt and grit off first with a brush.
Cleaning leather or suede Vans
Leather and suede Vans can last for years, so they’re bound to get
a little worn as you tear up skate ramps or pound the pavement.
Here’s how to quickly clean or deep clean your suede Vans shoes.
Suede quick clean
- Brush any loose dirt and
grime off your shoes with a soft-bristled suede brush.
- Remove dark stains by blotting them gently with a cloth dampened
in equal parts water and white vinegar, being careful not to
saturate the whole shoe.
- Use a magic eraser to clean the
rubber strip around the outside of your suede Vans.
your Vans to air dry.
Leather deep clean
For a quick clean for leather shoes, miss out step 3 below, and
leave your shoes to dry overnight.
- Start by removing surface
grime from the bottoms, sides and tops of your shoes with a shoe
- Clean your leather shoes using Nikwax Footwear
Cleaning Gel and a synthetic brush.
- Once your shoes are
clean, work a waterproofing product into the leather and the
stitching (again, we recommend Nikwax).
- Leave your shoes to
air dry naturally for 24 hours.
Cleaning canvas Vans
Cleaning canvas Vans is easy when you know how.
The quick clean and deep clean methods below are suitable for
synthetic and canvas Vans.
Canvas quick clean
- Use a brush to remove
loose dirt and mud before you start cleaning the fabric.
- Use warm, soapy water and a toothbrush to clean the tops, sides
and rubber strip of your Vans, working gently to remove stubborn
- Use a clean, damp cloth to wipe down the surface and
remove any remaining soap suds.
- Leave to air dry.