How To

How to Clean Suede Shoes?

How to Clean Suede Shoes

Suede shoes are a timeless and elegant addition to any wardrobe, lending an air of sophistication to your every step. 

However, to keep these luxurious footwear pieces looking their best, it’s crucial to understand the art of maintaining them.

In this article, we will delve into the essential techniques and tips on how to clean suede shoes, ensuring they remain in excellent condition for years to come.

So, if you’re ready to learn the secrets of preserving the beauty of your suede shoes, keep reading! 

What is Suede?

Suede is a type of leather renowned for its soft, velvety texture. It is crafted from the underside of animal hides, typically from cattle, goats, or sheep, and is prized for its luxurious and tactile qualities. 

Moreover, suede is characterized by its finely brushed surface, which gives it a plush feel and a distinctive nap that sets it apart from traditional smooth leather. 

This material is commonly used in fashion for items such as shoes, jackets, and accessories, as well as for upholstery and interior decor, owing to its unique combination of elegance and comfort.

8 Steps to Clean Suede Shoes at Home

8 Steps to Clean Suede Shoes at Home

Cleaning suede shoes at home can help maintain their appearance and extend their lifespan. 

Suede is a delicate material, so it’s essential to follow these steps carefully to ensure you don’t damage the material.

Suede Cleaning Kit:

  • A suede brush or suede eraser
  • White vinegar or rubbing alcohol
  • Clean, white cloth or sponge
  • Soft-bristle brush
  • Mild dish soap
  • Suede protectant spray
  • Soft, dry cloth

Step 1: Prepare Your Workspace

Find a clean, dry area to work on your suede shoes. Put some newspaper or a drop cloth to catch any debris or liquids that may fall during the cleaning process.

Step 2: Remove Surface Dirt

Use a suede brush or eraser to remove any loose dirt or dust on the shoes gently. Always brush in the same direction to avoid damaging the suede fibres.

Step 3: Stains And Scuffs

For stains and scuff marks that won’t come off with just brushing, dip a clean, white cloth or sponge into white vinegar or rubbing alcohol (you can dilute these with water for milder stains). Gently rub the stained area in a circular motion. 

Avoid saturating the suede, as excessive moisture can cause damage. Blot the area with a dry cloth to remove any excess liquid.

Step 4: Overall Cleaning

To clean the entire shoe, mix a small amount of mild dish soap with water to create a soapy solution. Dampen a soft-bristle brush in the soapy water, then gently scrub the suede in a circular motion. 

Do not soak the shoes; the goal is to use minimal moisture. Wipe the shoes with a clean, damp cloth to remove any soap residue.

Step 5: Drying

Allow the shoes to air dry at room temperature, away from direct heat sources. Stuff the insides of the shoes with paper towels to help them retain their shape and absorb moisture. Be patient; it may take several hours for the shoes to dry completely.

Step 6: Restoring The Nap

After the shoes have dried, use a suede brush to gently restore the nap (the raised surface of the suede). Brush in one direction to maintain a consistent appearance.

Step 7: Suede Protectant

Once your shoes are clean and dry, apply a suede protectant spray. It will help repel stains and water in the future. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the specific product you choose.

Step 8: Regular Maintenance

To keep your suede shoes looking their best, regularly brush them with a suede brush to remove dirt and restore the nap. Avoid wearing them in wet or muddy conditions, and store them in a cool, dry place to prevent damage.

How to Clean Suede Shoes Without Suede Cleaner

How to Clean Suede Shoes Without Suede Cleaner?

Cleaning suede shoes without suede cleaner can be done with care and some readily available household items.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to clean suede shoes without specialized suede cleaner:

Step 1: Remove Loose Dirt 

Before you start cleaning, give your suede shoes a good shake or use a suede shoe brush to gently remove any loose dirt, dust, or debris on the surface. Be gentle to avoid pushing dirt further into the suede.

Step 2: Brush The Suede 

Use the soft-bristle brush to brush the suede in one direction gently. Brushing will help to raise the fibres and remove surface dirt. Always brush in the same direction to maintain the suede’s appearance.

Step 3: Create a Vinegar Cleaning Solution 

Mix one part white vinegar with one part water in a small bowl. This diluted vinegar solution will help break down stains and refresh the suede.

Step 4: Apply The Vinegar Solution 

Dip a clean cloth or sponge into the vinegar solution and gently dab the stained or soiled areas on your suede shoes. Do not oversaturate the suede, as excessive moisture can damage it. Be cautious not to spread the stain.

Step 5: Blot & Dry 

After applying the vinegar solution, use a clean, dry cloth to blot the area. It will help absorb the moisture along with the loosened dirt and stains. 

Allow the shoes to air dry naturally; avoid using direct heat sources like hairdryers, as they can cause the suede to warp or crack.

Step 6: Brush Again 

Once the shoes are dry, gently brush the suede in the same direction as before to restore the nap or texture.


  • Always test the vinegar or soapy solution on a small shoe area first to ensure it doesn’t discolour or damage the suede.
  • Be patient and gentle when working on stains. It may take several rounds of cleaning to remove them completely.
  • Avoid using coloured or dyed cloths, as the dye may transfer onto the suede.
  • For salt stains, mix one part vinegar and two parts water to gently remove the salt residue, then brush and dry as usual.
  • Cleaning suede shoes without suede cleaner requires patience and a delicate touch, but with the right techniques, you can keep your suede footwear looking clean and fresh.
How to Remove Stains From Suede Shoes

How to Remove Stains From Suede Shoes?

Cleaning stains from suede shoes can be tricky. However, with the right approach and some care, you can successfully remove stains and maintain the elegant look of your suede shoes.

Here are the steps to remove stains from suede shoes: 

  • Identify the stain: Before you begin, determine the stain on your suede shoes. Common stains include oil, water, ink, and dirt. The cleaning method may vary depending on the type of stain.
  • Brush off loose dirt: Use a soft-bristle suede brush to remove any loose dirt and debris from the suede gently. Brush in the same direction as the nap of the suede to avoid damaging it.
  • Handle dry stains: For dry stains or scuff marks, use a suede eraser. Rub the eraser gently over the stain, applying minimal pressure. Be patient and avoid over-rubbing, as this may damage the suede.
  • Address wet stains: For wet stains, such as water or mud, gently blot the stain with a clean, dry cloth or sponge to soak up as much moisture as possible. Do not rub, as this can spread the stain.
  • Tackle oil or grease stains: Oil or grease stains can be challenging to remove from suede. Sprinkle cornstarch or talcum powder on the stain and let it sit for a few hours to absorb the oil. Then, gently brush off the powder with a suede brush. You can repeat this process as needed.
  • Remove ink stains: If you have an ink stain on your suede shoes, dampen a clean cloth or sponge with rubbing alcohol or white vinegar. Gently blot the stain, being careful not to saturate the suede. It’s essential to act quickly with ink stains as they can be stubborn.
  • Let the shoes dry naturally: After you’ve treated the stain, let your suede shoes air dry naturally. Avoid direct heat sources like hairdryers or radiators, as they can damage the suede. Stuff the shoes with paper or shoe trees to help them retain their shape as they dry.
  • Brush and protect: Once your shoes are dry, use a suede brush to restore the nap and remove any remaining residue. Finally, apply a suede protector spray to safeguard your shoes from future stains. Be sure to follow the instructions on the spray product.


In conclusion, learning how to clean suede shoes is an essential skill for anyone who values their footwear and wants to keep it looking its best. 

Suede shoes, with their luxurious texture and stylish appeal, deserve the care and attention that will prolong their lifespan and maintain their aesthetic appeal. 

So, take the time to clean your suede shoes properly, and keep your footwear collection looking as fabulous as ever.

Your suede shoes deserve the best!

How to clean suede shoes with household items?

To clean suede shoes with household items, you can use a soft-bristle brush or an eraser to remove dirt and stains. For deeper cleaning, try a mixture of white vinegar and water or rubbing alcohol on a cloth.

What household item can I use to clean suede shoes?

A household item you can use to clean suede shoes is white vinegar or rubbing alcohol. These can help remove stains and restore the suede’s appearance.

What is the best natural way to clean suede?

The best natural way to clean suede is using a soft brush to remove surface dirt and stains. For more stubborn stains, you can use a mixture of white vinegar and water or rubbing alcohol.

Can you clean the suede with soap and water?

It’s generally not recommended to clean suede with soap and water, as it can damage the material. Instead, use a soft brush, eraser, or household items like white vinegar or rubbing alcohol for safer cleaning.

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