Ultimate Guide: How to Clean Suede Shoes and Keep Them Looking Like New

Suede shoes are undoubtedly a stylish choice to incorporate into your wardrobe, but they require extra care and attention to maintain their pristine appearance. However, suede shoes are prone to getting dirty or stained easily, making their maintenance a bit challenging. Most people are often hesitant to buy suede shoes, afraid they’ll ruin them in no time. But don’t worry, proper maintenance and cleaning can keep your suede shoes looking good as new. In this article, we’ll discuss effective tips to clean and maintain your suede shoes and eliminate any apprehension you may have about purchasing this type of footwear.

Suede leather is soft and delicate, making it susceptible to water damage and causing irreversible damage to the shoes. When suede gets wet or dirty, it is necessary to address the problem immediately to prevent stains from setting in permanently. Cleaning suede shoes can be intimidating, but with the right techniques and tools, you can keep your shoes looking brand new without causing any damage. So, let’s delve into the details of how to clean suede shoes efficiently and maintain their pristine appearance.

How to Clean Suede Shoes

Step 1: Brushing

The first step in cleaning your suede shoes is to use a suede brush. A suede brush is a gentle brush with soft bristles that is specifically designed to clean suede material without damaging it. Use the brush to gently remove any dirt or dust on the surface of the shoes. Brush in a single direction, either side-to-side or top-to-bottom, to ensure that you don’t damage the suede fibers.

If your shoes have stains or spots, use the brush to gently rub the area and see if you can remove the stain. If not, try using an eraser specifically designed for suede. Use the eraser to gently rub the area until the stain is gone.

  • Use a suede brush to gently remove dirt and dust
  • Brush in a single direction to avoid damaging the suede
  • Try using a suede eraser for stubborn stains

By thoroughly brushing your suede shoes, you can remove any dirt and dust on the surface and prepare them for the next step in the cleaning process.

Step 2: Removing Stains

If you notice stains on your suede shoes, it is important to act quickly to prevent them from setting in.

Oil-based stains: Blot the stain immediately with a clean, dry cloth to remove as much of the oil as possible. Then, apply cornstarch or talcum powder to the stain and let it sit for a few hours. Brush off the powder and repeat the process if necessary.

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Water-based stains: Use a clean, damp cloth to blot the stain gently. Avoid rubbing, as it can cause the stain to spread. Let the shoes dry completely, and then use a suede brush to restore the texture of the suede.

Mud stains: Allow the mud to dry completely, and then use a suede brush to remove as much dirt as possible. Use a damp cloth to gently blot the stain, and then let the shoes dry completely before brushing them again.

Ink or dye stains: These stains can be difficult to remove and may require professional cleaning. However, if you catch the stain early, you can try using white vinegar or rubbing alcohol on a clean cloth to gently blot the stain.

Food stains: Blot the stain immediately with a clean, dry cloth to remove as much of the food as possible. Use a damp cloth to blot the stain gently, and then let the shoes dry completely before brushing them with a suede brush.

Remember to always test any cleaning method on a small, inconspicuous area of the shoe first to ensure that it does not damage the suede.

How to Clean Suede Shoes: Step 3 – Dealing with Scuffs

If your suede shoes have scuffs, don’t worry. You can still make them look as good as new with a few simple steps. First, use a suede brush or eraser to gently rub the affected area. This will remove any dirt or debris and help restore the suede’s texture.

If the scuff is still visible, try using a suede shampoo or cleaner. Be sure to follow the instructions carefully and apply the product only to the scuffed area. Use a soft-bristled brush to gently massage the cleaner into the suede, then wipe it away with a clean, dry cloth. Allow the shoes to air dry naturally.

If the scuff remains after cleaning, you may need to use a suede dye or touch-up pen. These products are designed to help restore the color of the suede and cover up any imperfections. Be sure to choose a dye or pen that matches the color of your shoes, and always test a small area first to make sure the color is a good match.

  • Gently brush or erase the scuffed area
  • Use a suede shampoo or cleaner
  • Apply cleaner only to scuffed area
  • Massage cleaner with soft-bristled brush
  • Wipe with clean, dry cloth and let air dry
  • If scuff remains, use suede dye or touch-up pen
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Pros Cons
+ Restores suede texture and color – Dye or touch-up pen may not match exactly
+ Easy to use – May not be effective for deep scuffs or tears
+ Can extend the life of your suede shoes – May not work for all types of suede

Step 4: Protect Your Suede Shoes with Waterproofing

Step 4: Protect Your Suede Shoes with Waterproofing

Suede shoes are naturally porous, meaning they absorb water easily. Therefore, protecting your suede shoes from water damage is a vital step in maintaining their quality and durability. To do this, you’ll need to use a waterproofing spray, which can be found at most shoe stores or online retailers.

Choose the Right Waterproofing Spray: Make sure to select a spray specifically designed for suede shoes. Look for a spray that is silicone-free and has a neutral pH level to avoid damaging the delicate suede material.

Apply the Spray Correctly: Always test the spray on a small, inconspicuous area of your shoes first to ensure it doesn’t discolor or damage the suede. Once you’re sure it’s safe to use, apply the spray evenly over the entire surface of each shoe. Be sure to hold the spray can about 6 inches away from the shoes and apply in a well-ventilated area.

Let Dry Completely: Allow your shoes to dry completely before wearing them. Depending on the type of waterproofing spray you use, it may take several hours for the shoes to dry completely. Make sure you don’t wear the shoes until they are fully dry to avoid damaging the suede.

By following this step, you’ll help protect your suede shoes from water and other liquids, ensuring they remain in great condition for years to come.

Maintenance Tips for Keeping Your Suede Shoes Clean

Step 5: Maintaining the Cleanliness

Once you have successfully cleaned your suede shoes, it is important to take proper care of them to ensure that they stay clean for as long as possible.

  • Brush your suede shoes regularly with a soft-bristled brush to remove any dirt or debris.
  • Avoid wearing your suede shoes in wet or muddy conditions, as this can damage the material.
  • If your suede shoes do get wet, stuff them with newspaper to help retain their shape and absorb any excess moisture.
  • Consider using a suede protector spray to help repel dirt and water and keep your shoes looking new.

By following these maintenance tips, you can ensure that your suede shoes stay clean and looking great for years to come!

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Questions and Answers:

What is the best way to remove stains from suede shoes?

To remove stains from suede shoes, you should use a suede cleaner or a mixture of white vinegar and water. Apply the solution to the stain and blot with a clean cloth. Avoid rubbing the stain, as this can cause damage to the suede material.

Can I put suede shoes in the washing machine?

No, you should not put suede shoes in the washing machine. Suede is a delicate material and can be easily damaged by the harsh agitation and heat of the washing machine. Instead, you should clean suede shoes by hand using a suede cleaner and gentle brushing.

What can I do to protect my suede shoes from water damage?

To protect suede shoes from water damage, you can use a waterproof spray or suede protector. These products create a protective barrier over the suede material, preventing water from soaking in and causing damage. However, it is still important to avoid getting suede shoes wet and to clean any water stains promptly to prevent permanent damage.


Matthew Johnson

Thanks for the tips, this article really helped me keep my suede shoes clean and looking good for longer.

William Davis

As someone who values high-quality footwear, I was delighted to come across this article on how to clean suede shoes. Suede is a notoriously fragile material, and it can be challenging to keep it looking good for long periods of time. However, the author provides some valuable tips that can help preserve the natural beauty of suede shoes. For example, advising the use of cornstarch for removing greasy stains was a revelation for me, and it worked like a charm. The article also emphasizes the importance of using specialized cleaning products and tools, such as a suede eraser or brush, to ensure gentle but thorough cleaning. What I appreciate most about this article is that it doesn’t just offer generic advice, but rather provides specific steps and tips that can be implemented right away. In conclusion, if you’re someone who wants to look suave and stylish, while also taking good care of your suede shoes, then this article is a must-read.

Christopher Collins

I’ve always had trouble cleaning my suede shoes, but this article really provided some helpful insights. I especially appreciated the recommendation to use a specialized suede brush to gently remove dirt and stains. I’m now confident that I can keep my suede shoes looking great and extend their lifespan. Overall, a concise and practical guide for anyone who wants to maintain a sharp appearance.