How to Clean Converse Shoes (Easily & Fast)

Maintain the fresh-out-of-the-box look for your Converse shoes with these simple cleaning tips.

Converse sneakers, including the famous Chuck Taylor All Star, are widely loved for their versatility, seen everywhere from sports arenas to glamorous events. One of the great things about Converse shoes is that they look stylish both well-worn and brand new. However, there are occasions and fashion preferences that call for a pair of shoes that looks new or almost new. Here, you’ll find step-by-step instructions for cleaning Converse sneakers made of canvas, leather, and synthetic materials. Additionally, there are tips for preventing damage and treating common stains like grass, mud, and blood.

Before You Start Cleaning

Converse recommends using mild soap to clean its canvas, leather, and synthetic sneakers. “Mild soap” typically means dish soap, hand soap, or diluted liquid laundry detergent. An excellent choice is foaming liquid hand soap because its formula is gentler than concentrated liquid soaps, making it suitable for spot-treating fabrics, especially those that can’t be put in the laundry.

Regardless of the cleaning agent you choose, it’s crucial to test its safety on the sneakers to avoid causing permanent damage. Converse suggests testing the cleaning process “on a hidden section of the sneaker, such as the outer edges of the tongue.” This ensures that the cleaning solution won’t affect the color or material of the shoes.

What You’ll Need:


  • Melamine foam sponge (optional)
  • Soft bristle brush or toothbrush (optional)
  • Leather conditioner (optional)


  • Microfiber cloth
  • Mild soap
  • Stain treatment product (optional)

Instructions: How to Clean Converse Shoes

Converse provides official cleaning instructions on their website, and it’s helpful to check them out to understand their recommendations. Avoid machine washing or drying at all costs, and refrain from applying direct heat to prolong your Converse shoes’ life. The following steps offer detailed guidance on cleaning canvas Converse sneakers:

  1. Remove Laces:
    • Take off the laces before cleaning your Converse shoes. Dirt tends to accumulate around the eyelets and on the tongue, and removing the laces provides access to clean these areas.
  2. Brush Away Debris:
    • Use your hands, an old toothbrush, or tap the shoes together over a trash bin to dislodge any dried-on mud, dirt, grass, or other debris. It’s essential to eliminate loose soil before introducing liquid cleaning agents to prevent it from turning into mud.
  3. Spot-Treat and Clean Uppers:
    • Apply mild soap to a damp microfiber cloth or toothbrush. Gently rub the uppers to remove stains and give the shoe an all-over clean, focusing on the tongue and toe box where most staining occurs. For deeper stains, consider using a stain treatment product.
  4. Clean Midsoles:
    • Clean the rubber midsoles using the same cloth and mild detergent or a melamine foam sponge like the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. Wet the sponge, wring it out well, and lightly rub it on the midsoles to remove scuffs and stains.
  5. Rinse Converse Shoes:
    • Rinse the microfiber cloth thoroughly and wring it out, ensuring it’s damp but not dripping. Go over the entire shoe multiple times, rinsing the cloth as needed, to remove soap residue, which can cause staining and stiffness if left on the shoe.
  6. Dry and Re-Lace:
    • Allow the shoes to air dry away from direct sunlight and heat sources. To maintain the sneakers’ shape, stuff them with paper or a shoe tree during drying. Once dry, re-lace the shoes.

How to Clean Leather Converse Shoes

Cleaning leather Converse sneakers requires a gentle touch and avoiding machine washing and drying at all costs. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  1. Remove Shoelaces:
    • Before cleaning leather Converse shoes, take off the laces. Dirt often accumulates around the eyelets and on the tongue, and removing the laces provides access to clean these areas.
  2. Brush Away Mud, Grass, and Debris:
    • Use your hands, an old toothbrush, or tap the shoes together over a trash bin to loosen dried mud, dirt, grass, or debris. If using a brush, be gentle to avoid scratching or damaging the leather.
  3. Spot-Treat and Clean Uppers:
    • Dampen a microfiber cloth with mild soap and gently rub the uppers to remove stains, focusing on the tongue and toe box where stains usually occur. For deeper stains or scratches, use a bit of leather cleaner and conditioner on a dry cloth, gently buffing the sneaker in circular motions.
  4. Clean Midsoles:
    • Use the same cloth and mild detergent or a damp melamine foam sponge to clean the rubber midsoles. Wet the sponge, wring it out well, and gently rub it on the midsoles to remove scuffs and stains.
  5. Rinse Shoes:
    • Rinse a microfiber cloth thoroughly and make sure it’s damp but not soaking. Wipe over the entire shoe several times, changing the cloth as needed, to remove any soap residue that could cause staining or stiffness.
  6. Dry and Re-Lace:
    • Use a clean, dry microfiber cloth todry and buff the leather. Once dry, re-lace the shoes. To smooth out creases in leather Converse sneakers, insert paper or a shoe tree inside them while they dry.

How to Get Rid of Dirt, Mud, and Grass Stains on Converse Shoes

If your Converse sneakers have stubborn dirt, mud, or grass stains, mild soap and water might not cut it. Instead, reach for a laundry stain pre-treatment product for a more effective solution. For protein-based stains like those from dirt, mud, or grass, using an enzyme-based stain treatment, such as Zout, works best.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Dampen a microfiber cloth or toothbrush.
  2. Apply the laundry stain pre-treatment product to the cloth or brush.
  3. Gently rub the stains, reapplying the treatment if necessary, until the stains lift.
  4. Rinse the cloth thoroughly and wipe the area several times to remove any residue from the stain treatment.

Tips for Handling Blood Stains on Converse Sneakers

Blood stains, being protein-based as well, can be treated similarly to dirt, mud, and grass stains. Besides enzymatic stain treatments, hydrogen peroxide is effective for both fresh and set-in blood stains. However, be cautious, as hydrogen peroxide can bleach certain materials. Conduct a spot test before using it on your Converse sneakers.

Avoid using bleach or bleach-containing products, such as bleach pens, on blood and protein stains. Chlorine bleach may cause protein stains to darken to a deep yellow color, worsening the situation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Converse shoes be washed in a washing machine?

While it’s technically possible, tossing your Converse sneakers in the washing machine can harm them. Cleaning Converse shoes is simple without a washing machine.

Using the soap and water method requires only three items: water, soap, a microfiber towel, and an optional toothbrush to freshen up your Chucks and make them look almost new.

Can I soak my Converse in water?

In short, it’s not recommended. Soaking Converse shoes in hot water may cause the color to run and the canvas to shrink.

Excess water can be absorbed by the insoles, making them difficult to dry thoroughly and resulting in unpleasant odors. Using a damp towel with minimal water and soap is sufficient for the cleaning task.

Can I use dish soap to clean my Converse?

Certainly! Any mild soap, including dish soap, can effectively clean your Converse shoes, as long as it doesn’t contain bleach or harsh additives.

Bleach can irritate the skin and cause the shoe color to fade and run. Stick to mild soaps to keep your Converse looking great without any unwanted side effects.

Leave a Comment