Introduction: How to Clean and Restore Converse Shoes
Recently, I found some size 13 Converse shoes in a thrift store for one dollar. As large size shoes are quite difficult to find on the second-hand market and old Converse shoes can't be bought from stores anymore, I just had to buy them.
The fabric was in quite a good shape - no damage or unwashable stains. However, the white soles and laces didn't scream new anymore.
In this Instructable, I'll show you how to clean old Converse shoes (or any shoes with a white rubber sole in that matter) to make them look like new again.
Step 1: Watch the Video
As always, I made a video on the project so you can get all the information you need in under two minutes.
PS: If you could subscribe to my YouTube channel that would be incredibly kind, I'm trying to get to 1000 subs so that I can get remunerated for the videos and be able to afford better tools and materials for the upcoming DIY projects.
Step 2: Cleaning the Soles
There are many ways you can clean white rubber. For mild greyness, nail polish remover or hand sanitizer usually does the trick. However, as the dirt on these Converses had already petrified after all the years the shoes weren't in use, we need to use the strongest cleaning solution known to mankind (according to last year's Oxford's research).
To make some very powerful cleaning solution, you'll need laundry detergent and vinegar. Mix them with a mixing ratio of 1:1.
Now, before using the solution, put on some gloves and make sure you're in a well-ventilated area; vinegar vapours are quite nasty and you really don't want to breathe them in.
Also, remove the laces from the shoes prior to the cleaning, we don't want to make them dirtier than they are.
I used a sponge to rub the soles. After 10 minutes, both shoes were clean.
Note: Using an old toothbrush you can really get into all of those nooks and crannies to make as much of the shoes clean as possible.
To finish with the cleaning process, give the shoes a thorough rinsing under the sink. The vinegar and the detergent have a very strong smell that needs to be washed out before going out with the shoes (for obvious reasons). Use some soap to make the task easier for yourself. This will also help clean the fabric and get out some of the smell that was in the shoes prior to the cleaning out.
Step 3: The Laces
For the laces, I tried three different methods: (detergent+vinegar , detergent+baking soda and laundry whitener) and none of these worked. I didn't want to use bleach as it can attack the cotton fibres too aggressively and weaken the laces.
Luckily, new laces cost only two dollars so it was a lot wiser to just buy them. The time and effort I would have had to put in the old laces simply wouldn't have paid off if I had continued to try whitening them.
Note: The original laces were wayyyyyy to long. Even when tied into a butterfly bow, there were at least two inches of laces dragging on the floor on either side. Buying new laces also solved that issue :)
Step 4: The Little Details
As many great painters have said: it's the details that matter.
On my Converses, some parts of the blue rubber line on the sole had peeled off. To fix that, I used some ordinary transparent glue.
Also, on the backside of the shoes, the paint on the ALL STAR logo had been worn off. I used some acrylic to repaint the missing letters back using a toothpick. I'll give you an update on how the paint has held up with time in the future.
Step 5: DONE!
After two afternoons of work, the shoes are clean and look like new!
Usually, my projects take a lot longer to complete so it was really refreshing to be done with this one so quickly. I'm also really happy with the result: I now have a pair of authentic Converse sneakers that look like new and cost me only two dollars!
I hope you liked this project! Thank you for reading this far and have a great day ahead!
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