Cleaning Canvas Shoes – Tips on How to Clean Canvas Tennis Shoes

By Mrs. Mathis

Image by Miguel Checa

In general, cleaning canvas shoes is not very difficult. After all, the best way to clean canvas shoes is to just throw them in the wash, right? Well, it’s not quite that easy to clean canvas tennis shoes, but it’s not hard, either. And after all, aren’t clean canvas shoes worth a little extra effort?

The first step in cleaning canvas shoes is to remove as much excess dirt as possible. You can do this in one of several ways. First, you can use a stiff brush to brush the dirt off. Or, you can wipe them with a slightly damp cloth. You can even try knocking them against something hard.

Next, remove the strings from the shoes and soak them in a cup of hot water with a teaspoon of laundry detergent in it. While this step is not technically necessary, it will clean the strings and prevent them from getting tangled in the wash.

One the strings are out of the shoes, pretreat them with whatever laundry pre-treater you normally use and throw them in the washing machine. You can soak white shoes in a sink full of hot water to which ½ cup of bleach has been added. Don’t let them soak too long, just until the stains are gone. Then rinse them well and wash as usual.

While the shoes wash, remove the strings from the cup and rinse them well. Dry them with a towel and let them air dry. When the shoes are finished washing, allow them to air dry, either out in the sun, or on top of a dryer that is drying another load.

The one problem you may run into when trying to clean canvas tennis shoes is if you have worn them to the beach or on a street pretreated with road salt. If so, you may be dealing with salt stains and residue, which must be removed as soon as possible to prevent permanent damage. To clean canvas shoes that have been exposed to salt, use a suede shoe shampoo or cleaner according to the directions on the package. Then leave the shoes somewhere away from direct heat to air dry.

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