Who does not love a pair of Vans? They are probably one of the most popular pairs of shoes across the globe. One of the main reasons is that they can be worn anywhere, anytime, and suit almost any occasion.
That being said, they are also prone to getting dirty very often. And mostly, if they are a pair of white Vans, then you will have a very tough time cleaning them. The best way to tackle with your pair of Vans is by cleaning them manually. However, for those who love it quick and easy, tossing them in the washing machine is also quite an appropriate choice.
With that being said, tossing your Vans in the washer is not as easy as it sounds. Your washing machine can literally end up damaging your favorite pair of shoes if not washed the right way.
Therefore, we decided to set this straight once for all by providing a step-by-step guide on how you can clean your favorite pair of Vans shoes to perfection in the washer.
How to Wash Your Vans shoes in the Washing Machine
Prepping You Vans
You cannot toss your Vans right into the washing machine. First off, make sure that the Vans material is machine-friendly or not. If it is Canvas, you can surely toss them into the machine and wash them with a gentle cycle. However, if it is anything like suede or leather, or mesh material, then you may want to reconsider before tossing the shoes in the washer.
The next step to consider is if the shoes have any laces or removable insoles. Make sure to remove the laces to not hinder the washing machine and cause any damage. If the insoles are removable, make sure to not soak them too much in water and avoid washing them in the machine. Particular shoes have memory foam insoles that may require handwash, and hence, you may want to check with the shoe specifications at first.
Removing Stains and Dust
The next step would be to check for stubborn stains and dust particles on the shoe’s surface and the outsoles. If there is any removable mud or dirt that can be easily dusted off, then use a soft-bristled brush or a toothbrush to remove them from the surface first. If you directly toss it in the machine without dusting, it can choke your washer and spoil the machine. Moreover, it would not even clean the shoes well.
The same goes for stains. If there is any stubborn stain on the shoes’ surface, you may want to scrub it off manually. To do this, you can consider any of the following:
- Use a good quality cleansing agent. Vans have their in-house shoe cleansing agents readily available online or in any Vans store around you. These are safe, free of chemicals, and do not cause any damage or discoloration to the shoe. You can use the solution in the washing machine as well.
- You can prepare a solution of baking soda and water. Baking soda is very effective on stains while it also removes odor. It is not only easily available anywhere but is also a cheap and promising solution to remove stains.
You can prepare a paste of baking soda with water (3 tbsps of baking soda with 1/3rd water). Apply this paste over the stains with a toothbrush and rub the brush in circles gently around the shoes. Allow the boots to dry and check if the stains have come off.
For white stains, you can always use Clorox bleach and spray it on the surface. Rub it gently with a brush and allow the shoes to dry for a day before you use them.
You can also use bleach for the laces if they are white. Just dip them in Clorox bleach solution for a few hours. Allow them to dry for sometime before you put them back on the Vans.
Putting Vans in The Washer
While you toss your Vans in the washer, you need to be extra careful about the machine settings and how you handle the shoes. The first step is to ensure that the Vans have a layer of protection around them. By protection, we mean that you can cover them with a pillow cover or a laundry bag before you put them in the washing machine. This is simply because you do not want to damage the shoes due to the washer’s harsh and fast movements.
Secondly, if the shoes hit the walls of the washer, it would damage the machine and your shoes as a whole. Additionally, you do not want the shoes to come in extreme direct contact with the water and not soak them completely. Therefore, the pillow cover comes in handy. Another rule of thumb is to put some cushiony clothes like towels that provide an additional layer of covering to the shoes and not allow them to hit the washer walls.
Managing the washer settings is relatively easy after that. Use the same amount of detergent that you would use for your regular wash of clothes. Make sure to use a mild detergent and not any harsh chemicals. You can use Purex, which is very safe for shoes and highly recommended by shoe experts as well. It does not react adversely with shoes either.
Pro Tip: If you want to check and test if the detergent is safe for your shoes, try them over a small surface on the shoes and check for any reactions. If it causes color changes over a small patch, it is not safe for your shoes.
Once done with the detergent, you can set the machine washer to a gentle cycle. Use cold water for cleaning the shoes. If the stains are too tough, you can use warm water. Keep the temperature to around 40-60 degrees celsius. A minimum of 30-45 minutes should be more than sufficient in the washing machine. Remove them from the washing machine and allow them to dry sufficiently to see the results.
Post Wash Care is an equally important process, just like the other steps. Before you put the shoes back into use, they must be well dried. Using the shoes when they are wet can cause the growth of molds and fungus, which is not safe for your legs as well.
While wanting to dry your Vans shoes, make sure they are placed in a well-ventilated area. Do not dry the shoes under direct sunlight; else, it can spoil the fabric and make them rough for use. This deteriorates the overall shoe quality as well.
While you wash them during winters, do not keep them around the heater or dryer as the excessive temperature can spoil the shoes. Keep the shoes in a well-ventilated and warm place for drying them effectively.
Allow the shoes to dry for at least 24-48 hours before you use them.
Some Dos and Don’ts
If you want your Vans shoes to last for a long time, here are some do’s and donts for Vans shoes that you need to follow:
- Do not clean colored Vans with bleach.
- Avoid tossing your Vans in the washer always.
- Keep an alternative pair of Vans handy. Do not clean them in the machine very frequently.
- Make sure to dry wash the insoles and the laces.
- Always remove the insoles from the shoes before washing.
- Check with the brand if the shoes are machine washable or not.
- Do not wash Vans shoes at a very high temperature. This will cause the glue to melt and deteriorate the shoes.
- Use a mild detergent that is free of chemicals for washing. Consider using a cleansing agent that is available from the parent brand for safe washing.
- If the insoles are not removable, stuff some clothes inside the shoes if you don’t want them to get too wet.
- Do not dry Vans inside the washer.
Can You Hand-Wash Vans?
Yes! You can hand wash Vans very easily. In fact, hand wash is much recommended over machine wash. Even Vans as a professional brand and shoe experts prefer manual washing over cleaning them in the washer. This keeps the shoes intact for longer and reduces the chances of damage.
As we mentioned above, pre-cleaning the stains with baking soda or Clorox bleach is a good option if you have the time and patience to clean and washing your shoes. This prevents the shoes from getting excessively wet and targets the stain areas as well.
You can also find cleansing agents available online or at any shoe store. These are almost free of chemicals as well as eco-friendly. The best part is they are shoe-friendly and won’t damage your shoes in any way.
Even while handwashing, make sure to remove the insoles and laces for a better and much effective cleaning. Do not go very rough, and use a smooth bristled brush for cleaning any dust or stubborn stains.
The bottom line
If you are a shoe freak, then Vans are quite a precious investment to up your style game. However, maintaining your Vans shoes can be quite a task. One of the easiest ways of keeping them is tossing them in the washer and getting them cleaned in a jiffy. But it’s not as easy as it sounds. There are many things to take care of when tossing your shoes in the washer; else, you may end up spoiling your favorite pair of Vans.
Therefore, we decided to help all the Vans fans by giving a detailed step-by-step guide on cleaning your Vans shoes to perfection. Ideally, it is not recommended to toss the shoes in the washer. However, if you follow the steps above correctly, then not only do your shoes remain safe, but they are also clean as new.
From pre-cleaning, removing the stains and tossing them using the appropriate settings in the washer, and drying them safely, we have it all included in our article above.
Follow the above steps and let us know how clean your Vans turned out to be through the comments section below.
Brandon R. Katz is a registered professional nurse who has been instrumental in providing us with an informed opinion on the medical aspects of footwear. He graduated from NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and currently provides his services at a non-federal long-term care hospital in Brooklyn, NY.
Brandon proves to be the champion in the group of expert writers with his in-depth knowledge in foot health, how to take care of it adequately, and what shoes, socks, or insoles will be supreme for you. He has previously worked with hospitals where he has foreseen both inpatient and outpatient departments and has been a practicing nurse since 2009.
Brandon hails from Jersey City, NY, and has a loving family of four with a small popper called Rozo. His decision to become a nurse arises from the desire to be in the position of helping and rehabilitating people.