Tuesday, March 15, 2016

How to make your white converse look new again, WITHOUT bleach.

For as long as I could remember, I wanted to own a pair of white converse, or "chucks" as some call them. I just loved how they looked with almost every outfit, casual or formal - yes, I've worn my chucks with a dress, don't knock it 'till you try it! My only problem was, I couldn't bring myself to pay $50 for something that I KNEW would get filthy, which would ultimately leave me feeling sad, which left me feeling constantly conflicted. On one hand they're absolutely awesome and a wardrobe "must have" for me. On the other hand, who wants to stare at a pair of converse, because they're too afraid to dirty them. Not me, that's who. 

I was absolutely determined to figure out a way to keep my potential purchase clean and/or devise a plan on how to clean them, just in case. After doing some minor research, I came across a big "no-no", bleach. I already knew why NOT to use bleach, but I felt it was imperative I add this "side note" into this post, as others may try to skip my future explanation and attempt the whitening/cleaning agent. Bleach is EXTREMELY harmful to converse. Not only does it turn your beautiful white chucks yellow, but it also wears down the fabric material AND the plastic, rendering your shoes useless. Please don't attempt to use bleach, as you will be planning a funeral for you dearly beloveds. 

For years I had always used my "secret formula" to clean anything and everything. From "baby" stains (poop, baby food, puke), red Gatorade, soy sauce, marker, blueberry juice, you name it. I even used it at a friends house, and got old stains from the carpet that had tainted the living room floors for YEARS. I've used my formula on clothes, carpets, car seats, blankets, and precious stuffed animals. Like I said, anything and everything. So when I went to Goodwill one day and found a pair of white converse (that were WAY less than white) for only $8, I just knew I had to buy them. They became my cheap test subjects, where I could use my solution and not feel guilty if it didn't work. Plus, they were $8 and fit perfectly. Unheard of!!!

I found this "recipe" on Pinterest a few years back after searching for something to remove a very stubborn stain from my son's baby blanket. After trying and failing numerous times, I ended at a particular "pin" that has literally become my holy grail. It was so simple, I couldn't believe it. I was able to purchase all the ingredients for cheap and they weren't harsh chemicals, which meant my son's skin wouldn't become agitated. The formula? Blue Dawn dish soap and Hydrogen Peroxide. For extremely stubborn stains, add baking soda. Easy right?

There are a few "specifications" numerous people say you should follow, but I'll be realistic with you guys. I don't follow ANY of them. If you are someone who loves to abide strictly by the rules, the specific "directions" on Pinterest said, 1 part BLUE Dawn dish soap and 2 parts Hydrogen Peroxide. I capitalized and reiterate BLUE when it comes to the soap, because no other color works. At least it didn't for me and numerous other people who have "testified" to only the blue Dawn working. I don't know why, but it does and I mean the original dawn. NOT THE PLATINUM. I'm sorry, but the "platinum" Dawn is crap. It doesn't work as a dish soap, hand soap, or a household cleaner. Sorry Dawn. 

Personally, I just apply some blue Dawn dish soap to the stain and douse with Hydrogen Peroxide. Then I either gently or vigorously (depending on the material) scrub. For converse (or any sensitive material), I use a slightly different technique. Now, in my "before" picture of the white converse, they aren't nearly as filthy as they were when I bought them, but at that time I wasn't blogging so I didn't really take any pictures, but when it came time for their cleaning, I figured I'd document it to show you guys how awesome this solution is. 

First, I filled a small bowl with 1/2 warm water and squeezed a good amount of blue Dawn dish soap. I "eye-balled" it, but you're going to want enough soap to have the entire water a nice shade of blue. Then, again "eye-balling", I poured Hydrogen Peroxide into the mixture. The reason I don't directly pour the soap onto the sneakers, is because I don't want ANY blue to stick, not that it ever has before, but just in case. 

Make sure to remove the shoe laces to reach all the crevasses. You can actually put the shoelaces into the bowl with the mixture, to allow them ample time to soak. Or you can just buy new white shoelaces, like I did the first time I washed them. They were too damaged to repair. I grabbed a wash cloth, and began gently "scrubbing" in circular motions all over my converse, making sure to thoroughly dampen them. After one layer of soapy solution is on the chucks, I add a thin layer of baking soda directly onto them, soak my washcloth, and really work in the entire mixture. You want to end up with an almost chalky-white layer over your entire shoe, allowing it to soak in. Continue to work in the solution, soaking your shoes (but not so much everything comes off). Just be sure to be GENTLE. You want to be tough not rough, or else you run the risk of ruining the fabric. Once you've gotten one shoe completely covered, rubbed, and soaked, do the same to the other shoe. Afterwards you should have two shoes that are beginning to show their true colors. 

To rinse the converse, I turn on the bathtub faucet on cold, and place one shoe at a time under the running water, making sure to rub every inch of the fabric with my fingers. You want to make sure all the soap gets out of the shoes, so you don't have any type of residue build up. Do the same for your shoe laces as well. When you have your shoes and laces squeaky clean with no soap left, all that's left to do is put your converse and their strings onto a towel and place in the sun, allowing them enough time to completely dry. I always leave the tongue open to really dry out the inside. I don't feel like having wet soles. 

And there you have it! Clean chucks, almost like new. To be honest, no one can tell that my chucks were $8 and from Goodwill, with absolutely no love left. They just know them as the shoes I always wear, yet never seem to be filthy. I don't walk like a weirdo, avoiding every spill and obstacle, I just simply clean them as needed and like I said, you can use this solution for all your spills and stains. Granted, there may be a few out there that this "miracle" can't resuscitate as all things have limits, but for me, I haven't found one yet. So enjoy those white converse, let your kid eat blueberries with their favorite shirt, and just know, this cleaner has got your back!

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