Canvas sneakers look great when kept as new. Before you polish any canvas sneaker, clean it properly by hand washing. Applying a polish over soiled, muddy sneakers will not look very good. Follow these directions to step away with a fresh look.
Prepare your water first. Place a few drops of any gentle detergent into warm water. Do not add bleach, especially if your canvas sneakers are colored. Read washing instructions for your specific shoes.
Remove your laces. Keeping the laces in the sneakers will leave markings and possibly hide some dirt underneath.
Shake your canvas sneakers or tap off any loose dirt and mud against a hard surface outside. Getting off the hard dirt will give your sneakers a better chance to look terrific once they're polished.
Dip your sneakers into the prepared water to wet them down. Use a nylon sponge or soft brush to loosen soil into the water.
Rinse sneakers in clean water until all soapy residue is removed and there are no signs of packed on mud. Rinsing a second time might be required.
Put a combination of baking soda and warm water in a small bowl and dip a toothbrush into the mixture. Brush back and forth and inside and out with the brush on the sneaker for a deeper cleaning.
Dry the sneakers completely. Once sneakers are dry you can begin to polish them. Put a white liquid polish on white canvas sneakers, but check on the back of the product to see if you can use it on color.