Cleaning suede shoes

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Cleaning suede shoes
Cleaning suede shoes

Suede shoes are very susceptible to wear, scratches and stains, and anyone who owns a pair of suede shoes can confirm that they are difficult to clean. Could your walkers use a makeover? Follow these steps to get them looking as good as new again.


Method 1 of 4: Remove dirt and scuffs

Clean Suede Shoes Step 1

Step 1. Take a suede brush and make sure your shoes are dry

Suede has soft bristles that are best cleaned with a brush, which you often find in a special package to care for suede. For some shoes, the manufacturer tells you how to care for them. Then follow these suggestions. Suede does not tolerate water well, so try to dry off dirt and scuffs.

Step 2. Gently brush the shoes to remove any dirt

Use the suede brush to brush away any dust and dirt that may be on your shoes. Do not move the brush back and forth: always brush in the same direction. Once you've brushed off this layer of dirt, your shoes will look a bit newer.

Step 3. Brush firmly to remove scuff marks

If your shoes show signs of wear, it means that the hairs of the suede have been pressed flat in one direction. Lift the hairs by briskly brushing back and forth. Again, this is best done with a suede brush.

If the worn spot can no longer be brushed away, try scraping over it with a utility knife

Step 4. Use an eraser for stubborn spots

Wear spots that you can no longer brush out can sometimes be repaired with an eraser or a piece of rubber. There are also special suede erasers for this job. Start with moderate pressure on the eraser and increase if the scuffs don't come out.

Step 5. Protect suede

Spray a coat of protective spray on your shoes when you first bought them, and after every cleaning. This prevents new stains and scuffs. Follow the instructions on the aerosol, making sure to remove all dirt before spraying your shoes.

Method 2 of 4: Removing water stains

Step 1. Wet the entire outside of the shoe

Apply a thin layer of water with your brush. Water can discolor suede, but applied properly can actually remove these stains.

Step 2. Use a sponge or dry cloth to absorb excess water

Gently pat until the suede is evenly wet with no visible water spots.

Step 3. Put paper and shoe trees in your shoes

Especially if you have used a lot of water, you should put dry paper in your shoes to absorb excess water. Shoe trees (or just crumpled paper) help keep your shoes in shape. Do not use newspaper, as the ink can soak into your shoes.

Clean Suede Shoes Step 9

Step 4. Let the shoes dry at least overnight

Place them in a dry, well-ventilated area and let the water evaporate.

Step 5. When they are dry, treat the shoes lightly again with the suede brush

Then all the hairs stand up again.

Method 3 of 4: Removing Special Stains

Step 1. Remove grease or "unknown" stains from suede with a nail brush

Use a suede brush as you would with scuffs. Then use a nail brush with warm water on the stubborn stain. Grease stains are very difficult to get out of suede, and if there are a lot of stains on your shoes, it will probably never look nice again.

Some people recommend cornmeal while the grease stain is still wet. Sprinkle it over the stain and let it sit overnight. The next day, brush off the cornmeal and spread some steam over the stain with a steam iron

Step 2. Just let mud dry

Remove excess mud without wiping the suede too hard. Let it dry. Once it's dry, you can easily break off the large pieces. Use a suede brush to brush off the remaining bits.

Clean Suede Shoes Step 13

Step 3. Put the shoes in the freezer if they have wax or gum stains on them

If your shoes have gum or other things stuck to them, put them in the freezer for a few hours. It will then become hard enough that you can pick it off in large pieces. Then brush it with the suede brush.

Clean Suede Shoes Step 14

Step 4. Remove blood stains with a cotton ball with hydrogen peroxide

Blot the stain with a cotton ball dipped in hydrogen peroxide until the blood is gone.

Step 5. Remove ink before it dries - then use sandpaper

If you've spilled ink on your shoes, grab a cloth and blot it up quickly. If it has already dried, try sanding it off with sandpaper. A cotton ball with alcohol can also help in an emergency.

Method 4 of 4: Other home remedies

Clean Suede Shoes Step 16

Step 1. Apply white vinegar to stubborn stains

Apply a tiny amount of vinegar with a soft cloth to a stain that won't come out with other methods, let it dry, then brush it gently with a suede brush. This can also be a good method for removing salt rings.

Clean Suede Shoes Step 17

Step 2. Use steel wool on dry stains

Brush firmly over the stain with steel wool. Note that you may also have to brush the rest of the shoe with this to ensure that it remains the same.

Step 3. Use a nail file and steam

Rub the suede with a paper nail file. First, hold the shoe over a steaming kettle or kettle. The steam opens the pores of the suede and makes cleaning easier.


  • If you don't wear your shoes for a while, wrap them in tissue paper and put them in a shoe box. Don't let them get too damp and don't expose them to light, as suede can get moldy, and bright light can damage the colors.
  • If your shoes are too wet, you can pat them dry with kitchen paper.
  • Remove the laces if you really want to clean them properly. If your laces are dirty, you can put them in the washing machine, depending on what they're made of. Otherwise you can buy new ones.
  • Avoid suede paint. If you can't get your shoes clean with one of the above methods, you probably won't be able to with suede paint either. You can damage your shoes even more with that.


  • Be careful when applying a protective spray. Make sure there is adequate ventilation and follow the instructions on the label. Some sprays are flammable.
  • Do not use a wad of newspaper instead of shoe trees. If the newspaper gets wet, you can get stains on your shoes.
  • Do not use any solvents that the dry cleaner uses. These may work, but they are very strong chemicals that linger in your home.

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