How To Clean Checkered Vans

The checkered Vans have one of the coolest designs ever. But while they may look really cool, they’re also black and white cloth, and as you might’ve experienced, the cloth, especially the white squares can get very dirty, it’s like a stain magnet.

But there are ways to clean them, some very effective, some not that much. There are tons of methods online, but I believe most of them are overcomplicated for no reason.

Plus, a lot of them use very harsh cleaner solutions which might not appear to damage your Vans at the moment, but might damage them in the future. We’ll explore an easy and not-so-harsh cleaning method.

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The Supplies Which You Need

As I’ve said, we’ll go through an easy method of cleaning your Vans, without those harsh cleaners which might do more damage than good.

The things which you will need are simple household items:

  • Dishwasher soap;
  • Tape;
  • Toothpaste;
  • Toothbrush;
  • Bristle brush;
  • Wet wipes;
  • Black sharpie;
  • Some laundry detergent.

Step 1 – Sole

For the sole, start by taping off the cloth above it. This is to ensure that no toothpaste gets on the upper part of the shoe, the part above the sole. I recommend taping it off two times, because that way it will be more effective.

Grab a container of warm water and a toothbrush. Soak the toothbrush in warm water and put a bean sized toothpaste on the toothbrush and start scrubbing the sole.

Do circle motions and go over every section at least 4-5 times. Once you’ve went through the whole sole, wipe it off using wet wipes and take off the tape from the upper part.

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Step 2 – Upper Part (Cloth)

Grab a bigger container of warm water now, and submerge the Vans fully. Take them out and put them to the side. Now, sprinkle a hefty amount of dishwash soap in the container and mix it up.

Take the bristle brush and start brushing the cloth (checkered part) of the shoes. Brush in a circle motion. Put a bit of pressure on the dirtier parts, otherwise, keep pressure even and not that hard.

Brush each part at least 10-15 times.

Then, brush the soles as well. Dump out the container of water and put new warm water in it. Run the shoes under a sink and wash off any clear soap leftovers. In the warm water, put a bit of laundry detergent and mix it up.

Grab the bristle brush and soak the shoes in the container full of water and detergent. Start brushing the shoes fully. Repeat until necessary.

To wrap up, run the Vans under the sink through warm water (if possible) and clean any leftover detergent.

Leave your shoes to air dry at a 60-degree angle. Avoid leaving your shoes in direct sunlight and subzero temperatures. Once they’ve fully dried (usually takes 3-7 days), it’s on to the next step.

Step 3 – Damage Control

Your Vans’ black squares might be discolored after a lot of time of use and cleaning. Thankfully, it’s very easy to fix that.

If you see clear signs of discoloration, grab a sharpie and color the black squares.

NOTE: Be careful on this step, sharpie on cloth can be very hard to remove. Avoid coloring the boxes’ edges, and only color the middle.

Also, you can completely skip this step if there is no discoloration of the black squares, or you want to keep the Vans authentic. Leaving them scuffed up does add character to them, and there are more and more that are leaving them as is.

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