Can You Wash Old Skool Vans In The Washing Machine?



Can You Wash Old Skool Vans In The Washing Machine

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Yes, you can wash Old Skool Vans in the washing machine, but it is not recommended by the manufacturer. If you decide to proceed, use the gentle cycle, remove laces and insoles, and take precautions to protect your shoes.

Old Skool Vans are a classic, iconic pair of sneakers known for their timeless style and comfort. Over time, these beloved shoes can accumulate dirt and stains, leaving you wondering if you can give them a thorough cleaning in your washing machine. While it’s not the manufacturer’s recommended method, you can wash Old Skool Vans in the washing machine with the right precautions.

In this article, we’ll provide you with clear guidelines, dos and don’ts, step-by-step instructions, alternative cleaning methods, and answers to common questions to help you maintain your Vans and keep them looking fresh.

Dos and Don’ts of Wash Old Skool Vans In The Washing Machine


  • Gentle Cycle: If you decide to use the washing machine, choose the gentle or delicate cycle. This minimizes the risk of aggressive agitation that might damage your Old Skool Vans.
  • Remove Laces and Insoles: Before washing, take off the laces and insoles from your Vans. This prevents tangling and ensures a more thorough cleaning.
  • Protection: To protect your shoes during the wash, place them in a pillowcase or laundry bag. This precaution prevents the glue and seams from coming loose and keeps your Vans intact.
  • Combine with Soiled Items: Include your Old Skool Vans in the wash with other soiled items like bath towels or small rugs. This helps cushion the shoes and prevents them from bouncing around too much.
  • Air Dry: After washing, allow your Vans to air dry completely. Avoid using a dryer, as it can dry out the canvas and soles, potentially causing cracks along the seams.


  • Avoid Hot Water: Using hot water can damage the materials and adhesive in your Old Skool Vans. Stick to cold water to be on the safe side.
  • No Bleach or Fabric Softener: Avoid using bleach or fabric softener when washing your Vans, as they can harm the materials and affect their appearance.
  • Don’t Overload the Machine: Overloading the washing machine with too many items can lead to uneven washing and potential damage to your shoes.

Steps to Wash Old Skool Vans in the Washing Machine:

Follow these steps to properly wash your Old Skool Vans in a washing machine:

Step 1

Prepare the Washing Machine: Ensure the washing machine is clean and free of any debris. Set it to the gentle or delicate cycle with cold water.

Step 2

Remove Laces and Insoles: Take off the laces and insoles from your Vans. This prevents tangling and allows for a more thorough cleaning.

Step 3

Place in a Pillowcase or Laundry Bag: To protect your shoes, insert your Old Skool Vans into a pillowcase or place them in a laundry bag. This extra layer safeguards your shoes during washing.

Step 4

Combine with Soiled Items: To prevent excessive movement during the wash, include your Vans in the machine with other soiled items like bath towels or small rugs.

Step 5

Run the Gentle Cycle: Start the washing machine with the gentle or delicate cycle and cold water. Allow the cycle to complete.

Step 6

Air Dry: After the washing cycle is finished, remove your Old Skool Vans from the pillowcase or laundry bag. Let them air dry completely. Avoid using a dryer, as high heat can harm the shoes.

Alternative Washing Methods for Old Skool Vans:

If you prefer not to use a washing machine or have concerns about machine washing, consider these alternative cleaning methods:

  • Hand Cleaning: Mix cold water and a small amount of mild detergent in a basin or sink. Gently scrub your Old Skool Vans with a soft brush or cloth, paying attention to soiled areas. Rinse thoroughly and air dry.
  • Spot Cleaning: For minor stains or dirt, use a damp cloth or sponge with cold water and mild detergent to spot clean your shoes.
  • Insoles and Laces: Remove the insoles and laces from your shoes before cleaning. You can hand wash or spot clean them separately.
  • Professional Cleaning: If you’re uncertain about cleaning your Old Skool Vans or dealing with tough stains, consider professional cleaning services specializing in sneakers and athletic footwear.


Can I use bleach to remove tough stains from my Old Skool Vans?

Answer: It is not recommended to use bleach, as it can damage the materials of your shoes. Stick to a mild detergent suitable for cold water.

How long does it take for Old Skool Vans to air dry completely?

Answer: The drying time depends on various factors, including humidity and air circulation. It may take up to 24 hours or more for your shoes to air dry completely.

Can I wash my Old Skool Vans in a front-loading washing machine?

Answer: Yes, front-loading washing machines are suitable for washing Old Skool Vans. Follow the same precautions and steps outlined in this article.

Are Old Skool Vans machine-washable if they have suede or leather components?

Answer: If your Old Skool Vans have suede or leather components, it is advisable to avoid machine washing. Instead, use a damp cloth to spot clean those parts.

How often should I clean my Old Skool Vans?

Answer: Cleaning frequency depends on usage and the extent of dirt or stains. As a general guideline, clean them when they appear soiled or begin to look less fresh.

Final Words:

Properly cleaning your Old Skool Vans ensures that they maintain their appearance and comfort over time. Whether you choose to use a washing machine or prefer alternative cleaning methods, the key is to provide your shoes with the care they deserve. By following the recommended dos and don’ts, you can enjoy your Old Skool Vans for many more stylish and comfortable adventures to come.

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