How to Whiten Vans

by Daisy Cuinn ; Updated September 28, 2017

Use a toothbrush, some mild cleaners and a little elbow grease to whiten canvas Vans.

toothbrush image by Nicola Gavin from

When whitening a pair of classic canvas Vans shoes, stay away from bleach. While bleach is the preferred whitener for materials such as cotton sheets and towels, it can create yellow stains on canvas. It's not possible to keep a pair of well-worn shoes spotless at all times, but they can be noticeably whitened without using bleach. When your white Vans become dirty, clean them by hand and air dry for the best results.

Scrub theshoes with a dry toothbrush to remove surface dirt. Remove any dirt from the sole, as well as the canvas.

Rinse the shoes with warm running water. Avoid saturating the inner sole for faster drying.

Combine 1/2 cup of baking soda with warm water 1 tbsp. at a time until a thick paste is formed. Mix in 1 tbsp. of dish soap.

Scrub the damp canvas and rubber sole with tooth brush and baking soda paste.

Rinse your Vans thoroughly with cool water. Shake off the excess water.

Crumple white paper and stick it into each shoe so that the shape is retained. Air dry the pair.

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About the Author

Delaware-based Daisy Cuinn has been writing professionally since 1997, when she became the features editor for her local biweekly music newspaper. She has been a staff writer and contributor to online and offline magazines, including "What It Is!," and Slashfood. Cuinn holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Temple University.