Cleaning

How to Clean Suede Shoes: Easy and Practical Tips

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Suede shoes are some of the most comfortable and easy to combine shoes you can buy. They are beautiful, but sometimes, people think they can be hard to maintain. The moment you look at some beautiful suede shoes, one of the first questions in your mind probably is “How can these soft shoes survive a night out hanging with my friends”?

Well, the good news for you is that suede shoes can survive a night out. They are actually made from the same type of leather as most of the shoes in your closet. The one exception is that suede shoes are meticulously sanded to produce a velvet-like finish. This process results in soft texture, but also causes the leather to become porous and susceptible to scuff marks and staining.



Now, if you are wondering how to clean suede shoes without ruining them, I assure you it is possible.

There are several methods, and we will look at all practical and easy ways for how to clean suede shoes.

Remove Stains immediately

It is imperative that you remove stains from your suede shoes as quickly as you notice them. If you leave the stains, they will permanently settle into the material, and cause all sorts of problems.



Here is how you can remove stains from suede shoes.

1. Use a brush or cloth to brush away the dry dirt

2. Mix two parts water and one part white vinegar

3. With a clean cloth, apply the solution and gently wipe the shoe

4. Allow your suede shoes to fully dry in the open air. Do not wear them again until they are fully dry

Understand the motions

One of the crucial things you need to know for how to clean suede shoes is the motion of cleaning. You need to clean them in the same direction with a suede brush. This will lift the nap, and remove all the dirt on your shoes. In the case you have scuff marks that remain, brush repeatedly back and forth until the marks are gone. If the scuff marks do not go away, you can use a knife, and scrape it across the area to raise the nap.




Each stain is different

Another crucial aspect of how to clean suede shoes is understanding the stains. You need to treat each stain differently. Because they are different, they require a different way of cleaning. Let’s break down the different stains.

For example, mud stains are dry and harden. To remove mud stains, use a nailbrush to remove the remaining dirt. As we said before, use the same direction when you brush the suede shoes.

For water stains, you will need to lightly coat the entire outside of the shoe before cleaning. Coat the outside with water, no matter how paradoxical it sounds. Use a sponge or dry cloth to coat the exterior. In the process, soak up excess water and ensure an even wetness. Fill your shoes with paper, and then let them dry overnight. The shoes will retain its shape, and once they are dry, lightly brush your suede shoes. One thing to note: avoid filling the shoes with newspaper, as it will soak the ink in your shoes.

For wax and chewing gum stains, you need to put your suede shoes in the freezer. After a few hours in the freezer, the gum will become hard enough that you can chip it away. Then brush your shoes with a suede brush to finish off the treatment.


If you have blood stains on your shoes, it is imperative that you use peroxide. Use cotton balls to soak peroxide, and then dab the stain with them. Use slow motions until the blood comes out.

For dry stains, brush steel wool against the stains. You need to know that the process will require roughing up the rest of the shoe for an even look. That is of course, after you’ve removed the stain.

Oil stains are hardest to remove. You can try the same treatment as for water stains, but if the stains do not go anywhere, it is oil. For oil stains, first use a suede brush and brush it back and forth vigorously. Then, use the nailbrush if the stains do not go away. Your last resort is sprinkling cornstarch over the stains. Let the solution stay overnight, and then brush it with iron. If the stains are still there, the bad news is it will stay forever.

The apple cider vinegar is best for recalcitrant stains. When a stain is giving you trouble with normal methods, apply ACV and soft towel on it. Let it dry, and then brush it away with a suede brush. The apple cider vinegar is also good for salt lines.

Cleaning dirt and scuff marks

In addition to stains, you need to clean your suede shoes from dirt and scuff marks. Your best method for cleaning dirt is with a special suede brush. Because of the soft grain of suede, this brush is specifically designed to clean your shoes.

Basic dirt and scuff marks are best dealt when your shoes are dry. Suede is very sensitive to water, so use it only in special occasions. Always brush gently when you clean your shoes from dirt. Never go back and forth, as mentioned previously, brush repeatedly in the same direction.

You can use a pencil eraser for scuffs and marks that won’t brush out. Rub the area with the pencil eraser or a piece of crepe rubber. You can also purchase suede eraser from any shoes shop.

In the end, always spray a coat of suede protector on your shoes. This will prevent stains and marks from happening.



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