This Is the Most Effective Way to Wash Converse Sneakers With Soap and Water

Keep your Chucks spotless with this handy step-by-step guide.

Chances are you've owned a pair of Converse Chuck Taylor All Star shoes at some point—especially since the company has been making shoes since 1908. They're a classic, casual sneaker that goes with just about everything from jeans and T-shirts to dresses (and even a wedding gown for an adventurous bride). We've seen people wear them at school, work (if the dress code is casual), and even on a fancy red carpet.

The versatile shoe is a favorite because it comes in a variety of colors, patterns, and styles (low top or high top). Even high fashion brands like Missoni and Commes Des Garçons have collaborated with the brand to make limited edition kicks.

But, like any comfy shoe, we know that it can get some wear and tear. The good news: There are some easy ways to get your Chucks looking (almost) new. All you need is soap, water, and a little elbow grease. Take a look at our surprisingly simple step-by-step guide below.

Jeans and white Converse
Edward Berthelot/Getty Images

What You'll Need

Here's How to Do It

Test a small spot first.

When cleaning any product for the first time, you'll want to test a small part of it before you clean the whole thing, just in case the cleaner or method doesn't work and stains the material. Converse suggests testing your cleaning method on a section of the sneaker that isn't visible (like the sides of the tongue that are hidden inside the shoe).

Rub with soap and water.

Converse advises against throwing your sneakers in the washing machine. Mild soap and lukewarm water will do the trick for your canvas sneakers. Use a damp cloth to rub the shoes—don't be too rough on the material. You can take a toothbrush or smaller brush to scrub the toecap and rubber base of the shoe.

Let dry thoroughly.

You might be tempted to put your shoes in the dryer for a quick fix, but the manufacturer recommends leaving the shoes out to air-dry. Don't even think about using your hair dryer to speed up the process—it won't help prolong the life of your shoes. Before you leave them out to dry, fill the shoes with paper to reshape, changing the filler throughout the process if the paper gets damp.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Are Converse shoes easy to clean?

    Yes, Converse shoes are easy to clean because you need only three items to give them a good scrub. Just water, soap, a microfiber towel, and an optional toothbrush will spiff up your Chucks to near-new status. This means no need to throw them in the washer (which could damage the shoes), and there's no need for a dryer either. Converse do best when left to air dry, and that's a simple hands-off task that is also easy to tackle.

  • Can I soak my Converse in water?

    In short, the answer is no. Converse advises that their shoes should not be machine washed, and soaking them in water is similar. If the water is too hot, the shoe's color may run, and the canvas may shrink. The shoe's insoles may soak up much water, making them harder to dry completely, leaving you with a bad smell. You don't need a lot of water or soap to get the job done. A damp towel will work just fine.

  • Can I use dish soap to clean my Converse?

    Any mild soap will work to clean your Converse, including dish soap, as long as it doesn't contain bleach or other harsh cleaning additives. Bleach can not only cause skin irritation, but it can cause the color of your shoes to fade and run.

  • How do I get my converse white again?

    When washing white Converse, it is okay to use a bit of baking soda in addition to your mild soap and lukewarm water. This is where the optional toothbrush comes in. Wash the entire shoe as directed above, then dip a wet toothbrush into baking soda. Scrub away at stains with the toothbrush, wipe clean, and repeat until desired results are obtained.

  • Can I use a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser to clean my Converse?

    You can use a Mr. Clean magic eraser to clean the non-fabric parts of your shoes. This includes the soles, rubber sides, and the toe cap. Wet the Magic Eraser and make sure to ring it out so it is not dripping with water. It just needs to be damp to get the job done. Scrub with enough pressure to clean the stains but not too hard to scuff the fabric.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles