We all adore our Converse, but what do we do when our beloved high tops look a little worse for wear? They tell the story of all life’s moments—from that time you accidentally spilled mom’s homemade spaghetti sauce because it was just so yummy, to last week’s soggy trek through the city when it unexpectedly started to rain. And while all those memories are well and good, we’d rather leave the lasting marks on our minds, and not our shoes.
Below, we’ve created a go-to guide for cleaning your Chuck Taylors. Because no matter if you’ve had that same pair for years, it’s actually possible to make them look brand new again!
In order to get the best results, you’ll first want to remove the laces for easy access around the eyelets and tongue. Run your shoes under warm water to get them damp, then shake off any excess water. From here, there are a variety ways you can choose to clean your shoes.
1) First, you can try powder cleaners. Use a powder detergent and mix it in a bowl with a small amount of warm water to create a paste-like substance. Then, use a toothbrush to scrub the paste onto any dirty areas. Finally, rinse the shoes with warm water and towel dry them. You can repeat the process if the stains are still apparent. When you’re content with the results, leave the shoes out to air dry, and viola! Sparkling clean.
2) Surprisingly, the same hack for cleaning faux gold jewelry applies to cleaning your shoes—you can use a bit of toothpaste to do the trick. Make sure to use a non-gel white toothpaste, as colored toothpastes may further stain your shoes. Work the paste into the dirty spots, and let it sit for 10 minutes. Once the time has passed, wipe the toothpaste off with a damp towel. If you’re in a rush, this is an easy, quick way to get the job done.
3) You can also use baking soda and vinegar to bring your Converse back to life. Combine one tablespoon of white vinegar and one tablespoon of baking soda with the same amount of hot water until you achieve a pasty consistency. You’ll also want to use a toothbrush for this method to massage the paste into the fabric. Once you’re done, rinse the shoes in warm water and towel dry them. Find a warm place in the sun to place your shoes so that they can completely dry.
4) If you’re feeling a bit lazy, you can opt for throwing the Converse straight into the washing machine. Place them alone in the drum without any other garments. Use half a cup of detergent, but avoid adding bleach so that the pattern of your Converse stays intact. Wash on a cold cycle. Although it might be tempting, refrain from putting your Converse in the dryer, as they’ll bang up the inside of the machine.
5) While this last method may come as a shock, it turns out that you can actually clean your Converse in the dishwasher! Make sure the washer is empty before putting them in, and place them on the top rack of the machine, face down. Start the cycle, and let the machine work its magic.
For more shoe cleaning tips, check out how to clean your Stan Smiths.