can i machine wash my canvas shoes 4
can i machine wash my canvas shoes 4

If you’ve ever wondered whether throwing your beloved canvas shoes into the washing machine is possible, you’re not alone.

Many have questioned whether this is a safe and effective way to clean our footwear.

This article will explore the answer to the age-old question, “Can I machine wash my canvas shoes?” We will provide you with a definitive answer and some helpful tips to ensure your shoes look fresh and clean without damage.

So, read on to discover the truth about machine washing your canvas shoes!

Things to Consider Before Washing

Consider a few essential things before throwing your canvas shoes in the washing machine.

These factors will help determine whether machine washing suits your shoes and ensure they look as good as new.

Type of Canvas

The first thing to consider is the canvas used in your shoes. Canvas vary in texture and thickness; some types may not hold up well in the washing machine.

Check the manufacturer’s instructions or research the specific type of canvas used in your shoes to ensure they are machine washable.

Cleaning Instructions

Next, take a look at the cleaning instructions provided by the manufacturer. Some canvas shoes may come with specific care instructions that advise against machine washing.

Following these guidelines is essential to avoid damaging the shoes or voiding any warranty.

Age and Condition of Shoes

The age and condition of your canvas shoes can also impact whether they should be machine-washed. Older shoes or those already showing wear and tear may not survive the rigorous washing machine cycles.

If your shoes are relatively new and in good condition, machine washing may be a viable option.

Stains and Odors

Lastly, consider the presence of stains and odors on your canvas shoes. Machine washing can effectively remove dirt and grime but may struggle with stubborn stains or odor-causing bacteria. In such cases, alternative cleaning methods may be more effective before machine washing.

Preparing Your Shoes for Washing

Now that you’ve assessed whether machine washing suits your canvas shoes, it’s time to prepare them for the washing machine. A few simple steps can ensure the best results and prevent damage during washing.

Remove Laces and Inserts

Start by removing the laces and any removable inserts from your canvas shoes.

This will allow for a more thorough cleaning, as laces and inserts accumulate dirt and can impede the washing process. Set aside the laces and inserts for separate cleaning later on.

Loosen Dirt and Debris

Before placing your shoes in the washing machine, it’s advisable to loosen any dirt or debris that may be stuck on the surface.

Use a soft brush or cloth to brush away any loose particles gently. This step will prevent excess dirt from clogging the washing machine and damaging your shoes.

Can I Machine Wash My Canvas Shoes?

Machine Washing Canvas Shoes

If your canvas shoes meet the necessary criteria for machine washing, follow these steps to ensure a successful and effective cleaning process.

Selecting the Right Cycle

When machine-washing canvas shoes, choosing a gentle cycle is crucial. Avoid using a heavy-duty or high-speed cycle, as this can put unnecessary stress on the shoes and cause damage. Opt for a delicate or hand-wash cycle to protect the integrity of the canvas material.

Using Mild Detergent

To clean your canvas shoes effectively without causing any harm, use a mild detergent specifically designed for delicate fabrics.

Avoid using bleach or harsh chemicals, which can weaken the canvas fibers. Instead, opt for a gentle detergent that will effectively remove dirt and stains without compromising the integrity of your shoes.

Adding Additional Items

To provide extra protection for your canvas shoes in the washing machine, consider placing them inside a mesh laundry bag or pillowcase.

This will prevent them from getting caught or tangled with other items in the machine. Additionally, adding a few towels or similar soft items to the load can help cushion the shoes and prevent excessive banging during the wash cycle.

Protecting the Shoes

To further protect your canvas shoes during the wash cycle, consider adding a color-safe laundry booster or fabric softener sheet.

These products can help preserve the color and texture of the canvas and leave your shoes smelling fresh.

Alternative Methods for Cleaning Canvas Shoes

While machine washing is convenient, it may not suit all canvas shoes. In such cases, there are alternative methods you can try to clean your shoes effectively.

Hand Washing

If your canvas shoes are not suitable for machine washing or if you prefer a more hands-on approach, hand washing can be an effective alternative.

Fill a basin or sink with lukewarm water and a small amount of mild detergent. Gently agitate the shoes in the soapy water, paying extra attention to any stained or soiled areas. Rinse thoroughly with clean water and allow them to air dry.

Spot Cleaning

Spot cleaning can quickly and easily solve minor stains or localized dirt. Use a soft cloth or sponge dampened with water and a mild detergent to clean the affected area gently. As with hand washing, rinse the spot thoroughly and allow it to air dry.

Using a Brush or Toothbrush

A brush or toothbrush can agitate the affected areas for tougher stains or stubborn dirt. Wet the brush or toothbrush with water and apply a small amount of mild detergent.

Gently scrub the stains in circular motions, taking care not to scrub too hard and damage the canvas. Rinse thoroughly and allow the shoes to air dry.

Can I Machine Wash My Canvas Shoes?

Drying Your Canvas Shoes

Proper drying is crucial after cleaning your canvas shoes to prevent damage or deformation. Here are some recommended methods for drying your shoes effectively.

Air Drying

The best way to dry canvas shoes is by allowing them to air dry naturally. Find a well-ventilated area with good airflow, and place your shoes in an excellent spot away from direct sunlight.

Avoid using heat sources such as heaters or hairdryers, as excessive heat can cause shrinkage or warping of the canvas material.

Stuffing with Newspaper

Consider stuffing your canvas shoes with crumpled newspaper to help them maintain their shape while drying. This will absorb excess moisture and prevent the shoes from becoming misshapen. Leave the newspaper in the shoes until they are scorched.

Avoiding Direct Heat Sources

As mentioned earlier, avoiding exposing your canvas shoes to direct heat sources is essential. Placing them on a radiator or using a hairdryer can cause the canvas to shrink or become brittle. Instead, opt for the gentle air-drying method mentioned above.

Cleaning Shoe Inserts and Laces

While cleaning the canvas part of your shoes is important, cleaning the inserts and laces is equally essential for a complete refresh.

Laces: Machine Washing or Hand Washing?

When it comes to cleaning your shoe laces, there are two main methods you can choose from: machine washing or hand washing.

If your laces are made of sturdy material, such as cotton or polyester, machine washing on a gentle cycle can be a convenient option. However, if your laces are delicate or have intricate designs, hand-washing them using mild detergent and lukewarm water is safer.

Cleaning Shoe Inserts

Shoe inserts can accumulate dirt and odor over time, especially if not removable. Prepare a mixture of mild detergent and warm water to clean non-removable inserts.

Use a cloth or sponge to gently clean the inserts, mainly any stained or smelly areas. Rinse thoroughly and allow them to air dry before reinserting them into your shoes.

Can I Machine Wash My Canvas Shoes?

Removing Stubborn Stains and Odors

Despite your best efforts, some stains and odors may persist on your canvas shoes. Here are some additional methods you can try to tackle those stubborn blemishes.

Vinegar Solution for Stains

To remove stubborn stains from your canvas shoes, create a solution of equal parts white vinegar and water. Apply the solution to the stained areas using a clean cloth or sponge, and gently rub in circular motions.

Rinse thoroughly with water and allow the shoes to air dry. Vinegar is known for its natural stain-removing properties and can effectively lift many stains from canvas.

Baking Soda for Odors

If unpleasant odors plague your canvas shoes, baking soda can be rescued. Sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda inside each shoe, covering the entire insole.

Leave the baking soda in the shoes overnight to absorb any odors. The next day, carefully shake out the baking soda and enjoy fresher-smelling shoes.

Using Hydrogen Peroxide

For tough and stubborn stains on white canvas shoes, hydrogen peroxide can be a powerful cleaning agent. Dilute hydrogen peroxide with equal water and apply it directly to the stained areas. Allow it to sit for a few minutes, then gently scrub it with a soft brush or toothbrush. Rinse thoroughly and air dry.

Maintaining and Extending the Lifespan of Canvas Shoes

Proper maintenance is vital to keeping your canvas shoes looking good and prolonging their lifespan. Here are some tips to help you maintain and care for your shoes.

Regular Cleaning and Maintenance

Make it a habit to regularly clean your canvas shoes, even if they don’t appear visibly dirty. Doing so can prevent dirt and grime from building up and causing long-term damage.

Spot cleaning or brushing off debris can go a long way in maintaining the appearance and condition of your shoes.

Storing Properly

When you’re not wearing your canvas shoes, storing them properly can help preserve their shape and prevent damage.

Avoid folding or cramming them into small spaces, which can cause creases or distortion. Instead, please place them in a dedicated shoe rack or on a shelf where they can remain upright and have enough breathing room.

Avoiding Harsh Chemicals

Avoiding harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners is essential when cleaning your canvas shoes.

These can strip the color or weaken the canvas material. Stick to mild detergents and natural cleaning agents to protect the integrity of your shoes.


Consider applying a waterproof spray or wax to protect your canvas shoes from water damage and stains. These products create a protective barrier that repels liquids and prevents them from seeping into the canvas.

Remember to reapply the waterproofing treatment periodically, especially if you frequently wear your canvas shoes in wet or muddy conditions.

Can I Machine Wash My Canvas Shoes?

When NOT to Machine Wash Canvas Shoes

While machine washing can be a convenient and effective method for cleaning canvas shoes, there are instances when it’s best to avoid this cleaning method.

Delicate Materials

Canvas shoes made from delicate materials, such as silk or thin linen, should not be machine-washed.

These materials are more prone to damage and may not withstand the agitation and water exposure in the washing machine. Instead, opt for alternative cleaning methods suited to delicate fabrics.

Shoes with Embellishments

Canvas shoes adorned with beads, sequins, or other embellishments should not be machine-washed.

The agitating motion and water can loosen or damage these delicate embellishments. Spot cleaning or hand washing is a safer option for preserving the integrity of such shoes.

Leather or Suede Accents

If your canvas shoes have leather or suede accents, avoiding machine washing is best. The moisture and agitation can cause these materials to warp, shrink, or become discolored.

Instead, use a suitable cleaner and conditioner designed for leather or suede to clean and maintain these accents.


In conclusion, properly cleaning your canvas shoes can help extend their lifespan and keep them looking fresh.

Machine washing is a convenient option for many canvas shoes. Still, it’s essential to consider the type of canvas, follow cleaning instructions, assess the age and condition of the shoes, and address any stains or odors before proceeding.

Additionally, alternative cleaning methods such as hand washing or spot cleaning can be effective for more delicate or heavily embellished shoes.

Proper drying techniques and caring for shoe inserts and laces are also vital steps in the cleaning process.

Following these guidelines and maintaining your canvas shoes, you can enjoy their comfort and style for years.

Can I Machine Wash My Canvas Shoes?

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Lucy Markk
Hi, I'm Lucy Markk, your go-to shoe cleaning expert at With years of experience in the industry, I have built a strong reputation as a reliable source for shoe cleaning tips and tricks. Throughout my career, I have received numerous prizes and rewards for my exceptional techniques and knowledge in keeping shoes looking brand new. I take immense pride in sharing my expertise with readers who are passionate about maintaining the longevity and aesthetics of their footwear. Whether you have a collection of high-end sneakers or need guidance on how to care for your favorite pair of leather boots, I am here to help. My writing philosophy revolves around providing practical, easy-to-follow advice that anyone can implement. I believe that with the right care and maintenance routine, you can extend the lifespan of your shoes and keep them looking their best. Besides being a shoe cleaning expert, I am also a dedicated enthusiast in the shoe industry. I understand the love and connection people have with their shoes, which is why I am committed to delivering content that not only educates but also inspires. Thank you for visiting I invite you to explore the site and discover valuable tips and techniques to make your shoes shine. Stay tuned for regular updates and remember, a little care goes a long way in preserving the beauty of your beloved footwear. Best regards, Lucy Markk