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How to Clean Suede Shoes: A Comprehensive Guide

How to Clean Suede Shoes


Suede shoes are a stylish addition for any wardrobe, but their delicate nature requires some special care. Learning how to clean suede shoes properly can extend their lifespan and keep them looking as good as new. In this comprehensive guide, I’ll walk you through the process with expert insights, practical tips, and answers to common questions.

Suede Shoe Cleaning Guide

Understanding Suede

Suede, a type of leather with a soft, napped finish, demands unique cleaning methods. Before going into the cleaning process, it is important to understand the material.

What is Suede?

Suede is a type of leather made from the underside of animal hide, providing a velvety texture.

Characteristics of Suede

To effectively clean suede, recognizing its soft, napped finish, and porous nature is essential.

Preparation for Cleaning

Proper preparation is the key to successful suede cleaning without causing damage. Gather the necessary supplies, including a suede brush, white vinegar, and a clean cloth.

Materials needed:

  1. Suede brush or suede eraser
  2. White vinegar or rubbing alcohol
  3. Clean, soft cloth or sponge
  4. Water
  5. Paper towels

Removing Laces and Insoles

To clean every nook and cranny effectively, remove laces and insoles from your suede shoes.

How to Clean Suede Shoes: Step By Step

Step 1: Remove loose dirt

To effectively care for suede materials and maintain their pristine appearance, it is advisable to employ a specialized suede brush or, alternatively, an old toothbrush. Begin by delicately brushing the surface of the suede, ensuring the removal of any loose dirt or debris that may have accumulated over time. The key to this process lies in the gentle application of the brush, employing soft strokes to prevent potential damage to the delicate fibers of the suede. It is crucial to brush in the direction of the natural nap of the suede, as this not only aids in the effective elimination of impurities but also mitigates the risk of causing undue harm to the texture and overall integrity of the material.

Step 2: Use a suede eraser

When dealing with scuff marks or stains on your suede shoes, employing a suede eraser proves to be an effective solution. Delicately rub the eraser over the affected area, exerting only mild pressure. This method not only aids in lifting stains but also contributes to the overall restoration of your suede’s shoes appearance. In the absence of a dedicated suede eraser, a practical alternative involves utilizing the rubber end of a pencil. This makeshift approach can serve as a readily available substitute, showcasing the resourcefulness that can be applied to suede care. Remember to handle the cleaning process with a gentle touch, ensuring the preservation of the suede’s texture and visual appeal.

Step 3: Treat stubborn stains with vinegar or rubbing alcohol

How to Clean Suede Shoes

When confronted with tougher, more persistent stains on suede, consider employing a slightly more robust approach. Take a clean cloth or sponge and dip it into a modest amount of either white vinegar or rubbing alcohol. Gently blot the stained area, exercising caution to avoid saturating the suede excessively. This method helps break down and lift stubborn stains effectively. After the blotting process, allow the treated suede to air dry naturally. Patience is key during this phase, as rushing the drying process may compromise the material. This technique involving vinegar or rubbing alcohol provides an additional layer of cleaning power for those more challenging blemishes, ensuring a comprehensive and meticulous restoration of your suede items.

Step 4: Address water stains

How to Clean Suede Shoes

When faced with water stains on your suede shoes, a strategic and careful approach can help mitigate the damage. Begin by lightly dampening the entire surface of the shoe with a clean, damp cloth. It’s crucial to exercise caution here, ensuring that you don’t oversaturate the suede, as excessive water can potentially harm the material. To maintain the shoes’ structure during the drying process, stuff them with absorbent paper towels. This not only aids in retaining their shape but also assists in absorbing excess moisture. Subsequently, allow the shoes to air dry naturally, avoiding the use of direct heat sources. This method ensures a gradual and gentle drying process, preserving the integrity of the suede and effectively addressing water stains without compromising the quality of your suede footwear.

Step 5: Brush again

Once the shoes are completely dry, use the suede brush again to restore the nap and texture. Brush in one direction to maintain a consistent look.

Step 6: Use a protective spray

How to Clean Suede Shoes

To prevent future stains, consider applying a suede protector spray. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and test the spray on a small, inconspicuous area before applying it to the entire shoe.

Additional Tips:

  • Never use water alone to clean suede, as it can leave water stains.
  • Avoid using colored cloths or sponges, as the dye may transfer onto the suede.
  • Always test any cleaning method on a small, inconspicuous area first to ensure it won’t damage the suede.

By following these steps, you can effectively clean your suede shoes and keep them looking their best.


In conclusion, mastering the art of cleaning suede shoes is not just a practical skill but a testament to your commitment to maintaining your footwear’s longevity and aesthetic appeal. Through my comprehensive guide, I’ve provided a roadmap to ensure your suede shoes remain in impeccable condition, offering insights into understanding suede, preparation for cleaning, the cleaning process itself, and post-cleaning care.

By following the outlined steps, you can confidently address surface dirt, tackle stubborn stains, and implement effective drying techniques. The importance of regular maintenance, including brushing and appropriate drying methods, cannot be overstated in preserving the delicate nature of suede.

Read More:  Is RBX & Reebok The Same?

FAQs section further addresses common queries, offering clarity on using water, determining cleaning frequency, considering professional cleaning, choosing suitable soap, dealing with wet shoes, and even the possibility of polishing suede. These answers are designed to empower you, dispel uncertainties, and contribute to the overall health and appearance of your suede footwear.

Remember, maintaining suede shoes is not just about cleanliness; it’s a reflection of your commitment to quality and style. As you embark on your suede-cleaning journey, armed with the knowledge and insights provided in this guide, take pride in stepping out in shoes that not only look pristine but also tell a story of your meticulous care and attention to detail.

So, go ahead, implement the tips and techniques shared here, and let your suede shoes be a testament to your dedication to both fashion and functionality. Keep striding confidently, knowing that your suede footwear is not just an accessory but a statement of your commitment to timeless elegance.

How to Clean Suede Shoes

Frequently Asked Questions About Cleaning Suede Shoes

 Here are some frequently asked questions about cleaning suede shoes:

How do I clean suede shoes at home?

    • Follow a gentle cleaning process using a suede brush or eraser to remove dirt and stains. Avoid using water alone, as it can cause water stains.

Can I use water to clean my suede shoes?

    • Water alone is not recommended, as it can leave water stains on suede. Use specialized suede cleaning tools or solutions for effective cleaning.

What should I do if my suede shoes get wet?

    • Dab off excess water with a dry cloth, then stuff the shoes with paper towels to help them retain their shape. Allow them to air dry naturally.

How do I remove scuff marks from suede shoes?

    • Use a suede brush or eraser to gently rub away scuff marks. For stubborn marks, a mixture of vinegar or rubbing alcohol may be effective.

Is it safe to use a suede protector spray?

    • Yes, suede protector sprays can help prevent future stains. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and test on a small area first.

Can I use a regular brush to clean suede shoes?

    • It’s recommended to use a suede brush with soft bristles to avoid damaging the delicate suede fibers. Avoid using a regular brush with stiff bristles.

How do I maintain the texture of suede after cleaning?

    • After cleaning and drying, use a suede brush to restore the nap and texture. Brush in one direction to maintain a consistent look.

Can I speed up the drying process of wet suede shoes?

    • It’s not advisable to use heat sources like hairdryers, as they can damage suede. Let the shoes air dry at room temperature.

What should I avoid when cleaning suede shoes?

    • Avoid using colored cloths or sponges, as the dye may transfer onto the suede. Additionally, never use heat sources or harsh chemicals that can damage the material.

How often should I clean my suede shoes?

    • The frequency of cleaning depends on how often you wear the shoes and the conditions they are exposed to. Regularly brush off dirt and treat stains promptly for better maintenance.

Remember to tailor your cleaning approach based on the specific care instructions provided by the manufacturer or any additional guidelines for your particular suede shoes.

Ahmad Xidd

Ahmad Xidd

Hey, I'm Ahmad Xidd, the brain behind whatbehind.com. I'm a shoe lover with over 100 pairs in my wardrobe. I tarted whatbehind.com in october 2023 with a vision to help people understand all kinds of shoes better. Me and my team of fellow shoe fans give you honest reviews and detailed guides, all based on our own experiences. We keep it real and practical. If you have any questions about shoes, just drop a comment. I'm here to help you out!

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