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How to Get Rid of Yellow Stains on Canvas Shoes

by Amy Davidson, studioD

White canvas shoes are a classic look that can be ruined by the appearance of yellowed stains. Yellowing occurs easily and may be caused by dirt, sweat, or bleach and harsh cleaning chemicals. Keep the yellow stains at bay with regular cleaning and a few easy laundering tips.

Remove the laces and wash them separately from your shoes in the washer and dryer. Throw them into a pillowcase and tie the case shut before washing to keep them together and tangle-free.

Fill a sink with lukewarm water, adding half a tablespoon of detergent to the running water to create suds. Dip a toothbrush into the soapy water and use it to scrub any heavily stained areas. Also, scrub dirt off of the soles.

Place the shoes into the washer set on warm water and a gentle, low-agitation cycle. Pour 1 cup of white vinegar into the washer during the rinse cycle to help detergent residue that can lead to yellowing and to brighten whites.

Dry the shoes in the dryer on low heat and check them every 30 minutes until dry. Never allow white canvas shoes to air dry, as this can cause yellowing.

Items you will need
  •  Gentle detergent that is bleach-, dye- and chlorine-free
  •  Toothbrush
  •  White vinegar


  • Presoak shoes in white vinegar before washing to help remove odors.
  • For heavy yellowed stains, make a paste of warm water and baking soda, then rub it into stained areas and allow it to dry. Wash as usual, remembering to add vinegar to the rinse, and repeat as needed. Baking soda is an effective stain fighter and deodorizer that is gentle to use.
  • Always wash shoes alone or with one or two other pairs of white shoes. Don't overfill your washer with shoes or wash them with colorful garments or shoes that can bleed dye onto white canvas.

About the Author

Amy Davidson is a graduate from the University of Florida in Gainesville, with a bachelor's degree in journalism. She also writes for local papers around Gainesville doing articles on local events and news.

Photo Credits

  • Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images