How To Clean Converse Shoes

Image of a black and white pair of Converse high-tops on-feet of someone in rolled-up jeans.
Credit: Jaizer Capangpangan

Image of a black and white pair of Converse high-tops on-feet of someone in rolled-up jeans.
Credit: Jaizer Capangpangan

Knowing how to clean Converse shoes can be challenging as they are often composed of a variety of materials, each of which needs to be cleaned with a specific technique. So, while it may seem like an easy task at first, cleaning them properly can be a tricky endeavor.

However, with so many great Converse sneakers on the market right now, including some amazing Converse collabs, we'd argue there's never been a better time to learn the correct technique.

Therefore, we've put together a step-by-step guide to lead you through the cleaning process from start to finish to get your favourite sneakers from Converse looking fresh once again.

We've also highlighted a few top tips along the way to help ensure your shoes come away looking pristine, plus have included a few tricks to maintain their like-new condition thereafter. So, grab your Converse and follow along with our guide right here...

How to clean Converse

The following method is what we believe to be the most effective way of cleaning a classic pair of Chuck Taylor All-Stars seeing as they are one of the brand's most popular models.

Not only that, but even some of the variations and best sneaker collabs, like the GOLF le FLEUR Chuck Taylor 70 Lows, stick mostly to a combination of cotton canvas and rubber in their construction. So, with this in mind, here are our top tips for cleaning fabric Converse sneakers.

What You'll Need:

A red Converse high-top featuring white All Star branding and white sole unit and mudguard.
expand image
Credit: Kris Gerhard

Step 1: To begin cleaning your Converse sneakers, take out the shoelaces and allow them to soak in a mixture of warm water and mild soap.

Top Tip: You can add a small amount of baking soda to the mixture if your Converse shoes come with white laces.

Step 2: In a separate bowl, mix a small amount of shoe cleaner with warm water. While you can opt for dedicated shoe cleaners such as Angelus Easy Cleaner, a neutral cleaning agent can also be used.

Step 3: Dampen a cloth with the mixture and delicately scrub away any grime from the canvas part of the sneakers. Be careful not to apply too much pressure as this may harm the material.

Top Tip: If you're unsure whether the soap you use will damage your sneakers, Converse FAQs recommends testing the cleaning product on a section of your sneakers that isn't visible, like the outer edge of the tongue.

Step 4: Using the mixture from the previous step, dampen the bristles of a soft-bristled brush or toothbrush and gently scrub away any dirt or debris on the rubber sections such as the toe caps.

Step 5: Take another, dry cloth and remove the excess water from the rubber, whilst at the same time making sure to get rid of any last remaining stains.

Step 6: Once you've cleaned both your shoes, fill the insides with newspaper to ensure they keep their shape.

Step 7: Remove the laces from their soak and leave everything to dry naturally, away from direct sunlight, before re-lacing them.

A pair of light cream and white Converse high-tops in front of a brown background.
expand image
Credit: Apostolos Vamvouras

Top Tip: If you're looking to keep your Converse shoes clean for longer, then we'd recommend applying a protective spray, like Crep Protect, as featured in our list of the best protector sprays. Use as per the instructions.

What about other Converse materials?

Although most Converse trainers are made from canvas and rubber, there are some iterations out there that are made from other materials. Don't worry though, here are some of our top tips for when you encounter an alternative material to what you're used to.


While the original Chuck Taylor's remain fan favourites, the Converse Pro Leather Oxs are also an incredibly popular Converse option, particularly for summer.

Converse Pro Leather Ox "White Black" product image of a white pair of leather low-tops featuring black Converse branding on the sides.
expand image
Credit: Converse

Fortunately, Converse recommends using an almost identical technique to the one used to clean canvas. This involves using a damp cloth to clean the surface of your shoes until the dirt is gone.

We'd also recommend using a soft brush beforehand to remove any loose debris to avoid spreading it across your shoes with your cloth. For more information and top tips, check out our guide to cleaning leather shoes right here.

Read More: Best shoe deodorizers


As touched on in our guide to cleaning suede shoes, removing dirt and stains from the material is notoriously difficult.

If you do own a pair of suede Converse though, like the Converse GLF 2.0 Low "Verdant Green Seaport", for instance, then there are a few techniques you can use to ensure your shoes are kept clean.

Converse GLF 2.0 Low "Verdant Green Seaport" product image of a green and blue suede Converse low-top featuring an off-white midsole.
expand image
Credit: Converse

Converse recommends using a suede brush, like this Shacke 4-Way Suede Brush, to remove any dirt when your shoes are dry.

You can then take this a step further by using a suede eraser to rub away any tough stains and smaller marks. Make sure you also check out our list of the best suede protectors to help keep your suede Converse clean for longer.

Read More: Best leather shoe cleaners

Things to avoid when cleaning Converse shoes

It's important to treat your Converse sneakers carefully when cleaning them as one wrong move or product could result in irreversible damage. As a result, here are a few things we'd recommend avoiding.

Firstly, Converse strongly suggests you never put your shoes in a washing machine or dryer, regardless of the material. The intensity of the spin, water, and heat can damage delicate materials, often leading them to crack and/or deform.

Converse also advises you to avoid using direct heat to dry your sneakers. Again, this can cause the materials to lose their shape and, in the case of leather or rubber, crack.

On top of that, we'd suggest you avoid using any soap that contains harsh chemicals, particularly bleach. Not only can soap be a degreaser that could end up removing the oil from your shoes, but the chemicals can also dry out the materials.

Finally, we'd recommend avoiding wired brushes or rough sponges, particularly when cleaning suede, because they can both leave permanent scratches on the surface of your shoes.

This Article's Topics

Explore new topics and discover content that's right for you!