How to Clean Keds

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Strolling through town in your comfortable canvas or leather Keds all day might result in some wear and tear on your sneakers. Mask those stains, scuffs and marks, and keep your kicks in optimal condition, by regularly spot cleaning and air drying.


Never wash leather or canvas Keds in the washing machine.

Things You'll Need

  • Toothbrush or soft-bristled brush

  • Washcloth or paper towel

  • Laundry detergent

  • Water

  • Bowl or basin

  • Dry towel

  • Newspaper

Step 1: Brush Away the Debris

Use a toothbrush, soft-bristled brush, clean cloth or paper towel to brush away any dirt and debris caked onto your Keds.


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Step 2: Create a Spot Treatment Solution

Add a few drops of your favorite detergent into about a quart of water to create a homemade stain fighter. Mix vigorously until the solution is soapy.


Don't use a laundry detergent with bleach on Keds, which may result in discoloration of the canvas.

Step 3: Target the Stains

Use a soft-bristled, microfiber brush or a clean toothbrush to spot treat any scuffs or stains on the Keds. Dip the brush into the homemade stain-fighting solution, and rub it gently on the stain until it lifts from the Keds' canvas. Move the brush in a circular motion around the outside of the stain, gradually working to the inside.

Step 4: Rinse and Repeat

Dip a clean washcloth into water, and rub it onto the now-softened stain to eliminate any soap. Continue brushing the stain with your solution and rinsing in between rounds until the stain has lifted.


While this solution will work on leather Keds, you can also target stains and scuffs by applying a cotton swab dipped in nail-polish remover to the leather. Always test this solution in an inconspicuous area of the shoe, and only use it for spot treatment rather than all-over cleaning.

Step 5: Soak or Wipe Keds

Place your freshly cleaned canvas Keds upside down in a basin of shallow water, focusing the water on the stained area. Let your Keds soak for about 20 minutes to fully remove any remaining dirt, debris or residue. Instead of soaking leather Keds, simply wipe them dry with a clean cloth to remove the cleaning solution.



Don't let the Keds' insole rest in the water basin. Position the shoes so only the canvas outsole is wet.

Step 6: Dry the Keds

Place your damp, clean Keds on a dry towel, out of direct sunlight and indoors, to dry. Stuff the Keds with newspaper so that they retain their shape as they dry.


Yellow stains on Keds are usually caused by bleaching gone wrong. If you've used bleach on your Keds and they are left with yellow stains, the stain is irreparable. On the other hand, if your Keds are yellow due to sweat and general wear-and-tear, this stain-fighting spot treatment should help restore their original color on both leather and canvas Keds.


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