How To Clean White Vans

There is nothing better than slipping on an icy pair of brand new white Vans straight from the box. They look so good and I personally rock them almost every day of the week. While these are my favorite shoes by a long shot, they have one flaw. These shoes are extremely white and get dirty very easily. Today I will be showing you how to clean white Vans in about 15 minutes and have them looking brand new.


Table of contents

  • Introduction
  • Required products
  • Prep work
  • Clean the shoe itself
  • Clean the inside of the shoe
  • Clean the bottom of the shoe
  • Clean the laces
  • Remove scuffs from the shoe
  • Final results

Well, maybe I’m just not so great at avoiding messy areas. Luckily, I’m an expert at cleaning shoes and today I will be sharing these secrets with you.

Depending on how bad you let your white Vans go, you will need to clean the outside of the shoe, the inside, the laces (important!), and if you have any, scuffs from the sole. I had scuffs on mine and was able to clean them flawlessly with the Sneak Eraser.

Required Products

There are many home remedies that people use to clean white shoes. While they are effective, nothing works better than these tailored products for cleaning white shoes. The products needed are:

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Toothbrush you are willing to part with

A bowl or Tupperware that you are willing to part with

If you are scuff free then you may get away with only purchasing the Jason Markk Premium Shoe Cleaner Kit, which is very inexpensive and lasts forever. I personally have over 20 pairs of shoes and buy one of these once a year.



The most important part of cleaning shoes is to work in an area where you cannot wreck anything. I am working on my basement floor on top of a paper background. I placed paper towels underneath the cleaning area to make as little of a mess as possible.

Once your area is set up, bring your shoe into the mix. I like to bang off any dirt I can so my brush is strictly pulling dirt off. You’ll make the job much more difficult if you are spreading more dirt around than necessary.

Make sure to also turn the shoe upside down and bang out any excess dirt.

Knocking excess dirt from white Vans shoe

Next you want to remove the shoe laces. Set them aside somewhere, we’ll come back to these later.

Now we are ready to start cleaning!


How to Clean White Vans

To get started, fill your bowl half way with warm water (not too hot!). Once that’s done, take the brush that came with your shoe cleaning kit and dunk it in the water completely.

Take it out and apply the shoe cleaner in a straight line directly on top of the brush.

Applying shoe cleaner to the brush

Start on the middle top of the shoe and brush lightly in a circular motion. Start picking up speed without pressing down too hard. This is the key. If you press too hard you have a small chance of damaging the shoe itself. Let’s try and avoid that.

Continue to work your way around the shoe as you see areas start to clean. Wipe off the excess cleaning products as you go so you are able to see the cleaning in action.

Scrubbing white Vans with shoe brush and cleaning product

You really want to scrub along the edges of the shoe and the sole to get anything in the crevices. The dirt and grime really sticks in there.

After your first pass, wipe everything off and evaluate your progress so far. Now its time to focus on the areas that are still visibly dirty. We call this spot cleaning. 

Add some more cleaner, wet your brush and scrub those areas for about 15 seconds each. Anything that doesn’t come off after 15 seconds is most likely there for good. Don’t scrub too hard or like I mentioned before, you’ll damage the shoe.

Cleaning the insides is the same process as cleaning the outside. Make sure you follow the preparation work and all of the loose dirt is out of the shoe. This step is essential and our recommended approach on how to clean white vans.

Scrubbing the inside of white Vans shoe

To start, focus on the sides of the inside of the shoe only. Spend about 30-45 seconds scrubbing it real well. Next, focus on the bottom. Angle your brush to work on the edges as well.

Cleaning the bottom of your white shoes is pretty easy. Simple flip them over and scrub upwards and sideways until all of the dirt is free. It’s pretty rare that anything will remain on the bottoms since they are rubber.

Scrubbing underneath white Vans shoe

Once you’re happy with the results, apply water from the tap directly on the shoe. Don’t be scared to get it wet, we’re going to be drying the shoe for a couple days after we’re done!


Cleaning the White Vans Laces

Cleaning your white shoe laces is a much different process. We’re done with the Markk Jacob’s Premium Shoe Cleaner so you can go ahead and dump it out. Make sure to give it a good rinse as we are reusing this container.

Fill the container up halfway with warm water again. This time, fill your Tide original cleaning lid halfway to the max fill and dump it in. Now dump 1-2 oz of bleach in as well.

Shoelace sitting in bleach and Tide detergent

Very important! Wear gloves while working with bleach. It is not good for your skin!

Drop the shoe laces into the water with tide and bleach, or any general laundry detergent for that matter. Grab a toothbrush and stir them around. Depending on how dirty they are, you’ll start to see the water get dirty almost instantly. This is a good sign.

Now it’s time for a break. Let them sit in the water after stirring for 10 minutes.

Shoe lace soaking for 10 minutes

Okay, the laces are ready for the reveal! While wearing your gloves, use the toothbrush to pull them out of the water and hold them in your palms. Run warm water and simple squeeze all of the product out of it. We don’t want any excess bleach left on the laces or they can get ruined.

Do this for about a minute just to be safe. Hang them up to dry and come back to them in 24 hours. You’ll see the laces are a very nice white, probably just as nice as they were when you bought them.


Remove Scuffs from Your White Vans

Getting deep scuffs out of the sole of a shoe is very difficult and most products will fail to accomplish this. I see a lot of people using the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser with success, however, this only applies to very weak scuffs.

If you have scuffs that have been there for a long time or simply just bad scuffs, you need to use the Sneak Eraser. This tool looks like an eraser you may have used in grade school with a pencil and paper, but is way beyond that.

Sneak Eraser product

Without any liquid or cleaning products, you can erase scuffs from your shoe, just like you would pencil from a piece of paper.

The product could not be more simple to use. Locate the scuff and start erasing! Please only use this product on the sole as you may damage the actual shoe if used aggressively.


Final Results

These shoes came out absolutely incredible. I can practically put them back in the box and return them to the store! These shoes were in incredibly rough shape. I cannot stress enough how much I vouch for the Markk Jacob’s Premium Shoe Cleaner. While this method is much more involved than our previous one, it is much more effective. We hope this guide was a helpful approach on how to clean white Vans and that you experience similar results!

Pair of White Vans after cleaning process