How to Clean Your Vans Shoes

To clean your vans shoes, use a soft brush and mild detergent. Vans shoes are a popular choice for skateboarding, casual wear, and outdoor activities, but they can get dirty and smelly over time.

Whether you’re dealing with dirt, mud, or stains, it’s important to know how to properly clean your vans to keep them looking and smelling fresh. In this article, we’ll go over the steps you should take to clean your vans shoes, including what supplies you’ll need, how to spot clean specific areas, and how to dry your shoes without damaging them.

With these tips, you can give your vans the spa day they deserve and make them look like new again.

How to Clean Your Vans Shoes


Understanding Your Vans Shoes

Vans shoes are a timeless classic that provide comfort, durability, and style to those who wear them. Whether you’re wearing a pair of classic slip-ons or high-top skate shoes, taking care of your vans shoes is essential to ensure their longevity.

Understanding the materials, texture, and anatomy of your shoes, can aid in keeping them clean and looking great.

Materials Used To Make Vans Shoes And Their Cleaning Requirements

Vans shoes are made of a variety of materials, such as canvas, suede, leather, and synthetic fabrics. Each material has its own unique cleaning requirements, and it’s important to know how to clean them correctly to avoid damaging your shoes.


Canvas is a common material used in vans shoes, and it’s relatively easy to clean. Here are a few tips on cleaning canvas vans shoes:

  • Gently remove any excess dirt or debris from the surface of your shoes using a soft-bristled brush or a clean, damp cloth.
  • Create a cleaning solution by mixing warm water with a small amount of mild detergent.
  • Dip a cloth or soft-bristled brush into the cleaning solution and gently scrub the surface of your shoes.
  • Rinse the shoes with clean water to remove any excess soap and let them air dry.


Suede is a soft and delicate material that requires special care when cleaning. Follow these tips to keep your suede vans shoes looking great:

  • Use a suede brush or soft-bristled brush to gently remove any dirt or debris from the surface of your shoes.
  • For more stubborn stains, use a suede eraser to gently rub the stain away.
  • If you need to clean the entire shoe, use a suede cleaner specifically designed for suede.
  • Let your shoes air dry and avoid exposing them to direct sunlight or heat.


Leather vans shoes are stylish and durable, but they require some extra care when cleaning. Here’s how to clean your leather vans shoes:

  • Start by wiping away any excess dirt or debris from the surface of your shoes with a soft-bristled brush or a clean, damp cloth.
  • Use a leather cleaner that is appropriate for the type of leather your shoes are made of.
  • Apply the cleaner to a soft cloth and gently scrub the surface of your leather shoes in circular motions.
  • Wipe away any excess cleaner with a clean, damp cloth.
  • Let your shoes air dry away from direct sunlight or heat.

Knowing Your Shoe’S Fabric Or Material Texture

Understanding the fabric or material texture of your vans shoes is essential to help you choose the right cleaning method. Here are some tips to help you determine the type of fabric or material texture of your vans shoes:

  • Check the tag or label on your shoes, which will usually have information about the type of material.
  • Touch and feel the fabric or material, determine whether it’s suede, canvas, leather, or synthetic.
  • Observe the appearance of your shoes, look for visual cues such as texture, grain, and patterns to know the type of material.

Understanding The Anatomy Of Your Shoes And What To Avoid When Cleaning

Knowing the anatomy of your vans shoes is important to avoid damaging them when cleaning. Here are some tips to help you identify and understand the parts of your vans shoes:

  • Avoid soaking your shoes in water or using harsh chemicals that could damage the glue and bonding materials of your shoes.
  • Pay close attention to any delicate areas on your shoes, such as the sole, toe cap, or shoelace eyelets and use a gentle cleaning method to avoid damage.
  • Understand the construction of your shoes, which will help you see how they should be cleaned. For example, high-top skate shoes may require more care around the ankle area and shoelace eyelets.

Following these tips will help you clean and maintain your vans shoes and keep them looking great for years to come.

Pre-Cleaning Preparation

Before diving into cleaning your vans shoes, there are a few essential steps you need to take to prepare.

Gathering Cleaning Materials

Ensure you have all the necessary cleaning materials before you begin. Here are the items you should have on hand:

  • A bowl of warm water
  • Cleaning solution (mild detergent or an all-purpose cleaner)
  • A soft-bristled brush
  • A clean, dry cloth
  • Toothbrush (optional for hard-to-reach spots)

Preparing The Cleaning Area

You’ll want to work in an area that’s easy to clean up after and well-ventilated. Here are a few tips to get your cleaning area ready:

  • Spread out an old towel or newspaper to protect your work surface.
  • Ensure the area has good ventilation to allow the shoes to dry properly.
  • Keep a garbage bin nearby to dispose of any dirt or debris.

Removing Laces And Inserts

Take out the laces from your vans shoes to prevent them from getting in the way during the cleaning process. Similarly, it would be best to remove the inserts to clean the inside of your shoes. Here’s how:

  • Gently pull out the laces from the eyelets.
  • Remove the inserts located at the bottom of your shoe.

Dry Brushing Your Shoes

Before you start cleaning your vans shoes, it is best to give them a quick clean with a brush or towel to get rid of any excess dirt or debris. Here’s how you can do it:

  • Use a soft-bristled brush or a clean towel to wipe off the dirt and dust from your shoes.
  • Work in a back and forth motion, ensuring you reach all the nooks and crannies.
  • Use a toothbrush to clean hard-to-reach spots.

Cleaning your vans shoes can be easy if you follow these pre-cleaning preparation steps. Once everything is in place, you’re ready to move on to the cleaning process, and your shoes will soon look as good as new!

Cleaning Techniques

Vans shoes have been a popular choice for decades, thanks to their stylish appeal, durability, and comfort. While vans’ high-quality construction allows for long-term use, regular cleaning is necessary to maintain their appearance and extend their lifespan. Cleaning techniques vary depending on the material your vans shoes are made of.

Here are some ways to clean your vans shoes effectively:

Spot Cleaning Stains And Dirt:

  • Using a toothbrush, gently scrub the stain or dirt with a small amount of mild detergent mixed with warm water.
  • Rinse the area with water to remove the detergent and let it air dry.
  • Don’t use bleach or other harsh chemicals as they can damage the fabric and color of your shoes.

Deep Cleaning Your Shoes:

  • Before starting deep cleaning, remove the laces and wash them separately.
  • Using a mixture of mild detergent, warm water, and a soft-bristled brush, scrub your shoes gently.
  • Avoid soaking the shoes in water, as it can damage the glue that holds the shoes together.
  • Rinse the shoes with warm water and stuff them with paper towels to help them retain their shape.
  • Allow the shoes to air dry completely. Avoid using a dryer or hairdryer as it can shrink or warp the shoes.

Cleaning Suede And Canvas Vans Shoes:

  • Brush the surface of the shoes gently with a suede brush, in one direction only, to remove any surface dirt or stains.
  • If the shoes have any stubborn stains or dirt, use a small amount of baking soda and water to create a paste, apply it to the stain, and gently scrub using a soft-bristled brush.
  • Wipe away the paste and make sure the shoes are completely dry before using a suede brush to re-fluff the nap.

Cleaning Leather And Synthetic Vans Shoes:

  • To clean, mix water with a mild detergent and apply it to the surface of the shoes, using a soft-bristled brush.
  • Wipe the shoes with a damp cloth to remove the detergent, and let it air dry.
  • After the shoes are dry, apply a small amount of leather conditioner to bring back the shoes’ luster and prevent cracking.

Cleaning The Rubber Sole Of Your Vans Shoes:

  • Fill a basin with warm soapy water and dip an old toothbrush into the mixture.
  • Scrub the soles of your shoes gently, making sure to get into all the crevices.
  • Rinse the shoes with warm water and pat dry with a clean towel.

By following the above techniques, you can maintain your vans shoes’ cleanliness, prolong their lifespan, and keep them looking new for a long time.

Drying And Post-Cleaning Care

Vans shoes are iconic and timeless footwear. They come in an array of designs, colors, and materials – suitable for every style and occasion. But keeping them clean can be a challenge. Follow these tips on how to properly dry and care for your vans shoes after cleaning to prolong their lifespan and keep them looking new.

Allowing Your Shoes To Air-Dry

The most effective and safest way to dry vans shoes is by allowing them to air-dry. Follow these steps:

  • Remove any insoles or inserts from your shoes and open the laces to loosen them.
  • Stuff your shoes with a clean, dry cloth or paper towels to help absorb moisture and maintain their shape.
  • Place your shoes in a dry, well-ventilated spot, away from direct sunlight or heat sources.
  • Leave them to air-dry naturally.

Using A Dryer To Dry Shoes

If you need your shoes to dry quickly, you can use a dryer. However, this is not the most recommended way to dry them, as it can distort or damage the shoes. If you must use a dryer, here’s how:

  • Set the dryer to the lowest possible heat setting.
  • Again, remove any insoles or inserts from your shoes and stuff them with a cloth or paper towels.
  • Place your shoes in the dryer, along with a few clean, dry towels to help absorb moisture and reduce the impact of tumbling.
  • Dry for 20-30 minutes, checking the shoes every 10 minutes.

Conditioning Your Shoes After Cleaning

Keeping your shoes clean is essential, but conditioning them is also crucial. Conditioning helps keep the shoes soft, supple, and resistant to wear and tear. Here’s how:

  • Choose a conditioning product suitable for the material of your shoes.
  • Apply a small amount of the conditioning product onto a clean, soft cloth and spread it evenly over the shoes. Do not apply too much, as excess product can damage the shoes.
  • Leave the shoes to absorb the conditioner for a few hours before wiping them down with a clean cloth.

Storing Your Vans Shoes Properly

Properly storing your vans shoes can prevent them from getting damaged, dirty or wrinkled. Here are some tips:

  • Choose a cool, dry place to store your shoes.
  • Stuff them with newspaper or shoe trees to maintain their shape and absorb odors.
  • If you’re storing them for a long period, wrap them in acid-free tissue paper or cotton to prevent discoloration and creases.

By following these tips, you can maintain the look and lifespan of your vans shoes for years to come.

Frequently Asked Questions On How To Clean Your Vans Shoes

How Often Should I Clean My Vans Shoes?

You should clean your vans shoes regularly, ideally after every use. If you wear them frequently, clean them once a week to avoid dirt buildup.

Can I Machine Wash My Vans Shoes?

Yes, you can machine wash your vans shoes. Use a gentle detergent and put them on a gentle cycle on a cold setting. Don’t put them in the dryer; air dry them instead.

Can I Use Bleach To Clean My Vans Shoes?

We don’t recommend using bleach to clean your vans shoes. It can weaken the fibers and damage the color. Instead, use a mixture of water and vinegar or baking soda to clean them.

How Can I Remove Stubborn Stains From My Vans Shoes?

For stubborn stains, use a soft-bristled brush and a mixture of water and vinegar or baking soda. You can also apply a small amount of toothpaste or white vinegar directly to the stain and scrub gently.

Should I Use A Shoe Protector Spray On My Vans Shoes?

Using a shoe protector spray on your vans shoes can help repel water and prevent stains. Make sure to choose a spray that is safe for canvas or suede material and to follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Can I Dye My Old Vans Shoes To Give Them A New Look?

Yes, you can dye your old vans shoes to give them a new look. However, make sure to choose a dye that is safe for the material your shoes are made of and follow the instructions carefully.


Finally, keeping your vans shoes clean isn’t as challenging as it may seem. Whether your shoes are made of canvas or suede, it’s easy to maintain them with regular cleaning and care techniques. By following our guide and using the right tools, you can keep your vans shoes looking brand new for a long time.

Remember to always read and follow the washing instructions on the label to prevent any damage to your shoes. You can also use protective sprays to prevent stains and keep them looking fresh. With these tips, you can enjoy your favorite vans shoes for years to come without worrying about damaging them.

So start cleaning your vans shoes today and show off your stylish footwear!

Daniel Methews
Daniel Methews
Daniel Methews is a cleaning expert with a wealth of experience and knowledge in the field. With his expertise in various cleaning techniques, he has become a trusted specialist in the industry. Daniel's mastery lies in the art of vacuum cleaning, where he excels in utilizing the latest advancements in technology to ensure impeccable results. Additionally, his skills in stain removal are unparalleled, as he possesses an in-depth understanding of different types of stains and the most effective methods to eliminate them. Daniel Methews is dedicated to providing top-notch cleaning solutions, leaving spaces spotless and customers satisfied.

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