Cleaning a pair of Vans shoes sometimes involves the need to treat them to pull out old stains or dirt that simply won’t wash out with soap and water. However, avoid using too much bleach as the chemical will quickly eat away at the integrity of the shoe canvas and destroy it. If your shoes are white to begin with, then substitute bleach with another cleaning agent altogether. Knowing the difference and how to proceed can make your shoes last a lot longer with a fairly clean look.
Treating White Shoes
Break up and remove any hard dirt with a toothbrush. Don’t use water yet. Try to break off any dry soil or material that can be removed without adding liquid. Do the same for the bottom sole as well.
Hold the scrubbed shoes under a water faucet. Apply running water over the outer surface. Try to not get water inside the shoe. Do not soak the shoes in sitting water.
Place 1 or 2 tbsp. of baking soda in a small bowl. Add a similar amount of water. Mix the powder and water together until it forms a pasty consistency. Add another tbsp. of dish-washing soap and mix again.
Apply the mixture in the bowl to the shoes’ outer surface. Scrub the mix into the shoe sole and canvas as needed.
Run water over the Vans again after applying the mixture in Step 4. Let the water drain off after washing.
Place crumpled-up newspaper inside the Vans to soak up moisture. Make sure not to get newsprint toner from your fingers on the outside of your shoes by accident. Hang up the shoes so that they can air-dry.
Treating Colored Shoes
Perform the same procedures as you did in Step 1 and 2 for white shoes.
Machine wash the shoes in cold water and set to the “Gentle” cycle. Pour 1 cup of bleach into the machine's detergent receptacle.
Air-dry the shoes when the cycle has finished, and inspect their cleaning when they are dry.
Since 2009 Tom Lutzenberger has written for various websites, covering topics ranging from finance to automotive history. Lutzenberger works in public finance and policy and consults on a variety of analytical services. His education includes a Bachelor of Arts in English and political science from Saint Mary's College and a Master of Business Administration in finance and marketing from California State University, Sacramento.
Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images