Here is exactly how to clean your gross and dirty white vans

Yes, even if they now look almost completely black with grime.


I don’t know about you, but I LIVE in white sneakers—specifically my Vans. I wear them with everythinggg. We’re talking jeans, shorts, skirts, dresses, and tons of other outfits. But they can go from bright-white to dingy and dusty fast if you wear ’em as often as I do, so keeping them clean is key.

Don’t get me wrong, the worn-in look is also a vibe, but there’s a difference between looking like they got a bit scuffed and looking like you walked through mud. If your white Vans fall into the latter category, they’re probably in dire need of a deep clean to look good-as-new again. Whether they’re canvas or leather, we’ve got you covered. These tips will save you a ton of money on buying new sneaks, plus they’re pretty dang easy. If you don’t know, now ya know…

Get all the sneakers cleaning tips and tricks below:

If you just need to spot clean…

A Clorox Bleach Pen will work wonders on canvas white Vans. If your sneakers are really dirty this probably isn’t the way to go, but if there’s just a few small stains, this is a great solution.

If your sneakers are canvas…

  • The good news is you probably already have most of these supplies at home. Grab some hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, and either an old toothbrush or a sneaker cleaning brush. Then follow the below steps!
  • Remove the laces. It’s best to clean those separately, but we’ll get into that later.
  • Make a cleaning solution. In a bowl, combine the baking soda and hydrogen peroxide. The trick is to use twice as much baking soda as hydrogen peroxide, so for every one tablespoon of baking soda, you want a half tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide.
  • Take the toothbrush (or any other bristle brush), dip it into the cleaning solution, and start scrubbing the grime on your shoes. This combo is a dynamic duo: The baking soda helps lift the stubborn stains and the peroxide acts as a bleaching agent.
  • Once you’re content with the whiteness of your sneakers, rinse them off with a water soaked cloth.
  • If you want to get really thorough, you can finish off by cleaning the soles with a magic eraser. Let them air dry (read: DO NOT PUT THEM IN THE DRYER) and voilà!

If your sneaks are leather…

You’re going to want to be a lil more gentle with them. You can still totally clean the soles with a magic eraser, but in terms of the actual shoe, it’s going to be a little different than cleaning canvas ones.

  • Remove the laces.
  • Ditch the hydrogen peroxide. To make the cleaning solution for leather, use baking soda and water instead. You still want that 2:1 ratio that we mentioned above, so use twice as much water as baking soda to make your paste.
  • Use a cloth instead of a brush. A brush can be harsh on the material, so simply dip the cloth in the solution and rub away at any dark marks until they’re gone.
  • As an optional but fancy step, you can finish your Vans off with a leather conditioner after they dry.

What if you don’t want to DIY it?

If you’re not into using the supplies you already have handy in your house or you just don’t have them on hand, no biggie. There are plenty of sneaker cleaning kits that you can buy that provide you with the materials; plus, they often come in an easy-to-store container that you can keep for future use.

‘Can’t I just put them in the washer?’

If your sneakers are leather, it’s a big ol’ NOPE. If they’re canvas, eh. Sometimes the washer can be risky even if your kicks seem like they’ll hold up– I’ve washed sneakers before and they just weren’t the same after. So basically, wash at your own risk. And never (I repeat, never) put your shoes in the dryer.

Some fresh white Vans and cleaning products for you to try out


Clorex bleach pen


This small device is extremely handy. No stains stand a chance.


Royal baking powder


A very common household item that is multiple purposes. Total must-have.


Shoe cleaning brush

R28Builders Warehouse

A very useful tool to properly and thoroughly clean your sneakers.


Sneakerlab premium kit


All the tools you need to keep your sneakers squeaky clean. Go the extra mile!


Prep protect cleaning kit


In Shelflife we trust! Your sneakers have never looked better.


Old skool white vans


You truly cannot go wrong with a pair of white sneakers.


Vans authentic true white sneakers


What a throwback! These babies have been around for a long time, and there’s a good reason for it.


Vans classic slip on


These shoes are easy to wear and pair with any outfit.


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