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How to get stains out of canvas shoes

Boy wearing canvas shoes on beach

Canvas shoes are a staple for any spring/summer wardrobe, evoking thoughts of carefree days, trips out, ice cream treats and having lots of fun. Once the clocks go forward, and even with an early spring chill in the air, it’s exciting to look ahead to a warm weather wardrobe.

We create brightly coloured canvas styles to excite little imaginations, featuring hand-drawn motifs from our in-house designer. And we are proud that our new canvas for spring 2022 are all vegan friendly.

We are realistic about wear and tear and work very hard to ensure our shoes stand up to the rigorous hard work children put them through. Our canvas shoes are wash tested, testing for shrinkage and colour change. We also test the material for colour fastness, perspiration on linings and abrasion on the material and linings. Our canvas material is 100% cotton (accept when it includes a touch of glitter!) and our specified thread count is selected higher than industry standard, to enhance durability.

We make our canvas shoes machine washable at 30 degrees. This lower temperature is not only better for the environment, but it protects the full integrity of our shoes. We are confident our canvas shoes, with their vulcanised rubber soles, can withstand a machine wash up to six times before you might notice any colour loss or shrinkage.

However shoes inevitably get mucky so here is some general advice on how to clean specific stains from our canvas shoes to keep them looking like new for longer.

How to remove grass stains from canvas shoes?

Grass stains are a very common occurrence with inquisitive active kids wanting to get the most out of the spring/summer months. This method to remove grass stains is quick and simple.

  • Step 1: Start by taking a soft bristle clean toothbrush and brush any residue from the shoes first.
  • Step 2: Then in a small pot mix a teaspoon of water, a teaspoon of baking soda and a teaspoon of lemon juice. Make a paste and spread the paste over the stain.
  • Step 3: In a separate container mix two tablespoons of water with a tablespoon of white vinegar and a drop of clear washing up liquid. Dip the toothbrush in the solution and begin to rub the grass stains that have been covered with the paste.
  • Step 4: When the stain has cleared, run the shoe under warm water to remove any remaining residue and leave to air dry – preferably in the sunshine.

Our Start-Rite Cleaning Mousse is an effective and easy to use pump spray mousse designed to remove dirt and marks from our canvas shoes. It refreshes the colour of old and tired looking shoes to get them looking fresh and clean ready for any occasion.

How to use:

  • Step 1: Apply to the material and work in with a cloth, using circular motions.
  • Step 2: Leave to dry and finish with our Start-Rite Protector Spray to prevent further dirt being attracted to the material.

Girl wearing canvas shoes on beach

How to get mud out of white canvas shoes?

  • Step 1: Start by taking a soft bristle clean toothbrush and brush any reside from the shoes first.
  • Step 2: In a small pot mix two tablespoons of water, a tablespoon of baking soda and a tablespoon of lemon juice. Make a paste and spread the past over the stain.
  • Step 3: Gently brush the mixture into the shoe’s surface with the clean toothbrush, work out any loose dirt and work the paste in.
  • Step 4: Brush on a second coat of paste and stir the shoelaces in the remaining paste if they need a freshen up too.
  • Step 5: Leave to dry in the sun until the paste is dry – this might take up to 3 or 4 hours depending on how sunny it is!
  • Step 6: Brush off any residue and your shoes should be ready to be worn.

The best way to tackle stains is to protect your shoes from the start, with our Start-Rite Waterproof Protector Spray. It repels water, mud, and oil and used weekly you will protect your shoes from staining and requiring lots of cleaning down the line.

How to use:

  • Step 1: Hold the can 15cm from the shoe and spray.
  • Step 2: Leave to dry - that's it!

Frequent application is required for optimum results i.e. weekly.

How to get blood stains out of canvas shoes

We know first walkers can be wobbly and all children can be super speedy on their feet so accidents can happen. Cuts can spot blood onto canvas shoes, and blood will quickly stain a dark brown colour. So how to get them scrubbed up looking like new again?

TIP: Always try to treat blood stains as soon as possible to give yourself the best chance of removing the stain without potentially damaging the canvas and pattern.

  • Step 1: Pre-treat the stain. Take a damp cloth, a microfibre cloth works very well for more stubborn stains.
  • Step 2: Dampen the shoe, dab with a penny size of clear washing up liquid and work into the stain lightly for 30 seconds. Some people advocate using a small amount of hydrogen peroxide at this point, but this can be harsh on the fabric, so we suggest using a good quality clear washing up liquid and a little lemon juice on stubborn stains instead.
  • Step 3: Take a clean damp cloth and wipe away excess suds.
  • Step 4: Machine wash the shoe at 30 degrees and leave to air dry, preferably in the sunshine.

Our Start-Rite Express Whitener easily and quickly restores colour to white soles that have become dull or yellowed over time. The liquid formula with sponge top applicator is designed to be simple and easy to use on all white-coloured leather and textile products.

How to use:

  • Step 1: Shake thoroughly.
  • Step 2: Dab the applicator on the rubber sole.
  • Step 3: Smooth the liquid across the sole ensuring a good, even covering.

Allow to dry for 15 minutes and apply further coats if the soles require additional whitening.

Remember to clean shoes regularly to prevent build-up of dirt or tough stains. Read our How to Clean School Shoes blog to see how to keep our Start-Rite School Shoes in top condition.

Please note it’s always advisable to test these methods on a small area of the shoe first and stain treatment is made at the owner’s risk.