Don’t Put Converse in the Washer (Do These Instead)

You’ve been rocking those classic Chuck Taylor canvas sneakers for a while now. They were once clean and bright, but are starting to look dull and dingy. 

Lots of sites will tell you to just throw them in the washing machine, even though Converse tells you not to. That probably leads you to wonder, can you put Converse in the washer?

Keep reading for a list of great hacks for cleaning your Converse sneakers.

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The Official Converse Way

The Converse website features washing instructions for each type of fabric they offer. 

To clean canvas, leather, or synthetic Converse, use a damp cloth and rub gently with lukewarm water and mild soap. For suede Converse, brush away the dirt with a suede brush when dry.

Never machine wash or dry Converse sneakers. Dry them at room temperature. Stuff with paper to help maintain their shape. Change the paper occasionally throughout the drying process.

To prolong their life, do not apply direct heat.

The methods above are all great for spot cleaning. But what if you have more than just a few spots that need a touch-up? You can learn the methods below without using the washer.

More Ways to Clean Your Converse

So, you can’t use a washing machine to clean your Converse. But, you can hand wash them using one of these methods (baking soda and vinegar, baking soda and peroxide, and OxiClean).

Luckily, you don’t have to purchase expensive products to get your shoes back to looking their best. Most of the following instructions use things you probably have around the house already.

1. Baking Soda and Vinegar

You might remember making your elementary school volcano erupt with vinegar and baking soda. Mixing small amounts of each with water makes a gentle cleaning solution. 

  • 1 Tablespoon of Baking Soda
  • 2 Tablespoons of Vinegar
  • 1 Cup of Warm Water

Slowly mix the ingredients to form a solution. Dip a clean cloth or soft scrubbing brush into the solution and go to work on your shoes. Rinse the shoes under running water after scrubbing.

Let them dry, and you are ready to wear them again.

2. Baking Soda and Peroxide

If you have ever gone blonde with the help of peroxide, you might be wondering about using it to clean your Converse. Only use this cleaning solution if you have white Converse shoes. 

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 Tablespoon of Baking Soda
  • 1/2 Tablespoon of Water
  • 1/2 Tablespoon of Hydrogen Peroxide

Mix the ingredients into a paste. Use a small scrubbing brush to rub the paste onto the fabric. Brush on a second coat of paste. You now have two options with this method. You can set them in the sun to dry the paste or rinse them and let them dry. 

Setting them in the sun dries the paste. It will crack and flake away leaving your shoes sparkling white. Brush away any excess dried paste and relace them. 

3. OxiClean

Readers of a certain age will remember the OxiClean commercials and the excitement of removing stains. Well, that famous cleaning power can help you get the shine back in your shoes. 

For this method, you’ll need:

  • A Bucket
  • OxiClean
  • Mild dish soap

Mix equal parts dish soap and OxiClean in a bucket of warm water. Follow the directions on the container for how much OxiClean you’ll need for the amount of water you have.

That will determine how much dish soap you need. Once clean, leave your shoes in the solution overnight. The next day, take them out of the bucket and rinse them with cold water. 

Drying Your Converse Shoes

You’ll want to dry your Converse completely before wearing them again.

Just like the washer is not a good option for cleaning, your automatic dryer is a no-no. The dryer heat could compromise the glue, leading the soles to fall apart

Use this method recommended by Converse: Stuff your shoes with paper to help keep their shape and absorb water. Change the paper every few hours until your sneakers are dry. 

You can use this method with hand towels too. 

If you are anxious to speed up the process a bit do not use direct heat. Instead, set the Converse shoes in front of a fan. The moving air will dry the outside faster without heat.

Not drying the shoes thoroughly can cause them to squeak.

Things To Consider

Test your cleaners first.

Converse recommends testing your soap on an unseen part of the shoe, such as the outer edge of the tongue. It is a tedious task but will keep you from potentially ruining your shoes.

Use a cloth to rub a small amount of the cleaner you will use on the test patch. Rinse and let it dry. When the test patch is completely dry you’ll see whether the cleanser harmed the fabric.

If you inspect your test spot and don’t detect any problem, go ahead and fully clean both shoes. 

Lastly, remember to scrub very gently. While the canvas is tough enough to be an excellent shoe material, scrubbing it too harshly can break fibers and damage the fabric.

Too much wear from scrubbing could lead to holes and make your shoes look dull. The methods above describe using a soft cloth or a toothbrush.

Alternatively, you can use microfiber cloths because they are soft and non-abrasive. 

Cleaning The Rubber

Use the same methods on Converse’s rubber base and toe cap.

If you are soaking your shoes overnight, you may need to do some additional scrubbing on the rubber and toecap to make sure you remove all the dirt and scuff marks. 

Any of the above cleaners and a little scrubbing brush will work fantastically or remove spots and brighten the rubber base as well. You can use more force to clean the rubber.

Cleaning the Laces

Converse laces are prone to get dirty, especially the white ones.

You can use any of the above methods to clean the Converse laces. You will likely have some leftover solution from hand washing the shoes. 

Soak the shoelaces in the leftover solution. You can also scrub any stubborn spots on the laces. Rinse and ring out the laces. Lay them flat on a towel or paper towel to dry. 

Final Thoughts

So, can you put Converse in the washer?

No. Using your washing machine and dryer can seriously damage your Converse sneakers. You can hand wash them with various homemade solutions or products like OxiClean. 

It may take some time to soak your sneakers overnight, let them dry in the sun, or stuff paper to help them keep their shape, but it’s worth it. It’s easier than it seems to give your Converse some tender loving care by hand washing them to keep them looking their best.