How to Clean Suede Shoes – Best Ways Explained

Lot of the people avoids purchasing of the suede shoes due to the only reason how to clean suede shoes? But now you don’t have to worry about it. You can definitely buy suede shoes of your choice. In this article, we will take a closer look at the topic “How to clean suede shoes”?

You did it. This is perhaps the best part of the process… cleaning suede shoes. You’ve done all the cleaning, water treatments, and even some white vinegar here and there. You should be rewarded for taking such good care of your suede shoes. I’ve put together a vault of pure suede shoes here so you can sit back and enjoy the style and character that these shoes bring.

Please remember that you cannot remove all stains and scuffs from every shoe. Everything is fine. This gives the shoe character and gives the shoe some uniqueness. I have a pair of suede shoes with water stains near the toe (the most common area) that I swear hardly disappear. However, it gave the shoe a lot more character and even made it look worn and ripped – designers and fashion professionals love a worn and ripped style, especially on suede.

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How to Clean Suede Shoes?

Do you sit and wonder if there is a guide to cleaning suede shoes? You are lucky because you have come to the right place. Cleaning suede shoes can leave many people in the dark as the material is very prone to damage and scuffs.

Lucky for you, I’ve put together a guide and linked it to a video to help you figure out how to RIGHT clean your suede shoes so they look brand new. Before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s take a look at what suede really is and why it’s important to our cleaning process.

The suede material for suede shoes is leather made from the bottom of animal skin. As a material for shoes, jackets, gloves and couches (yes, even suede couches!), it is less durable but softer than regular leather. With that said, we have to take extra care when cleaning.

Steps to follow:

  1. Personally, I like to start, as with any cleaning, by removing dirt or stains that are easily visible on the surface of the shoe. I would recommend using a suede brush for this as it is very effective. Focus cleaning on any areas that are already worn or frayed. If you clean entire shoes, you run the risk of breaking intact fibers.
  2. After thorough cleaning, any remaining stains must be washed off with water. To avoid creating additional water stains on an already stubborn stain, be careful when applying water. It is best to use a suede brush with a small amount of liquid on the entire shoe or boot. Before scrubbing the stain, place it in a shoe last or something similar to its shape. I recommend letting the boot dry naturally rather than heat it up.
  3. Lastly, to remove salt from the water, use a little vinegar as a suede cleaner. The smell may be a bit pungent in the first few uses, but it will fade quickly over time and you won’t notice it after the third or fourth use.

This method works with all types of shoes: women’s and men’s suede shoes, black suede shoes, brown suede shoes, and even red suede shoes. It really doesn’t matter if the material is real suede. In fact, someone recently asked me how to clean white suede shoes, and I think the above method will work just as well. Water is harmless, but be careful with white vinegar.

It’s a simple process, but the suede shoe brush, water, and vinegar trick has been around for years. Shoe shiners and leather lovers will agree.

I’d love to hear about your experience with this method and the successes you’ve had. Please feel free to send me photos (before and after) if you’d like me to review your progress (and maybe show it on the website!).

For the sake of completeness, I’ve included a video below that shows some alternative methods and more details on the process. One of the techniques that I learned from the video that I put into practice is applying an eraser (on the back of a pencil) to shoes. It literally works just like erasing a pencil on paper. Definitely worth a try and it won’t hit your budget.

Additional Tips for Cleaning Suede Shoes

I wanted to add a page that expands on the methods I’ve described and elaborates on certain types of stains and abrasions.

Water stains:

Water stains are very common on suede. If you choose to drink a glass of water on the couch and spill or perhaps take your brown suede shoes out into the rain, a water stain is required anyway.

There are plenty of sprays and clear protective adhesives that should help prevent these marks, but at some point the older a shoe or material gets, the more vulnerable it becomes to the elements.

For water stains, I would recommend… water. I know this may sound contrary or counterintuitive, but listen to me.

My best advice for discoloring a stain is to apply some water and brush the stain from the outside in (i.e. work with the edge of the stain in the middle) with a wire suede brush. It is also recommended to fill shoes with unmarked/inkless paper or similar filler.

Once completed, it is important to blot the water with a damp cloth to ensure that the shoes dry evenly and without additional water stains.

Let them figure it out for themselves. No heat or fire is required, nor direct sunlight, as these are known to damage overall color and skin.

Other stains:

It’s not a water stain. That’s not all. Maybe food, salt water, or even fat. If so, you shouldn’t worry too much.

Using water in this case may not be effective, so we recommend using white vinegar. Cleaning suede shoes with vinegar has beneficial properties that tend to break down many of the greasy and dirty stains that water just can’t remove.

Fat spots can be the most difficult. When it comes down to it, go back to the water, but this time make it warm.

Another method could be cornstarch or talcum powder left overnight and washed off in the morning.

In cases where there is more substance in the stain (such as chewing gum, wax gels, etc.), I would recommend freezing the shoes overnight and scraping off in the morning.

I’ve used this method on countless pieces of clothing and shoes that have fallen victim to chewing gum. It works and always will. This is the least abrasive method.

I hope these additional tips and tricks help!

Good luck cleaning your suede shoes!

Final Words

Thank you for visiting my pages and learning how to clean suede shoes and how to clean a suede sofa. If you have any comments, questions, concerns or problems with the website, please use my contact page so I can respond.

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