How To Clean Suede Shoes

How To Clean Suede Shoes

Times have certainly changed since Elvis sang about stepping on his blue suede shoes, as we now know that it’s possible to clean this delicate material ourselves at home without a bother.

Traditionally, someone stepping on your shoes or spilling something on them might have left the suede show owner feeling a little anxious, but there are some simple tricks you can do at home to get them looking their finest again.

Cleaning stains off suede shoes can be done a number of ways, so it depends on the tools you have handy and what type of stain they have. Provided you know the dos and don’ts of cleaning suede you won’t have a problem, and you’ll be well prepared for the next time it happens.

Cleaning Method #1: Removing Scuffs

For slight scuffs, you can simply remove these by using a specialized suede brush which should be used when dry only. Rub the brush in the same direction, never back and forth, and gently brush away the dirt and scuffs that are present. For a home remedy for cleaning suede shoes, you can use an eraser instead of a brush for the same results.

Specilized Suede Brush

Cleaning Method #2: Water Marks

Nothing damages the look of suede quite like water, but there is a way to get rid of them. To do this, you should wet the entire outside of the shoe and then dab gently with a cloth to remove the water.

Place some balls of paper inside your shoes to help soak up the excess water from the inside as well, and then allow them to dry out overnight. Once dried in the morning, go over them with your specialized suede brush and ensure to rub only in one direction.

Cleaning Method #3: Removing Special Stains

If you have oil or other stubborn stains on your shoes, you can use your suede brush and some household items to get rid of them. Start with your suede brush and gently brush the stain as you do for a scuff. Then, get a small nail brush and some warm water and brush the stain, ensuring you go in the same direction and never back and forth. Allow this to dry then repeat as necessary.

Scrub Gently in the same direction

The Do's And Don'ts Of Cleaning Suede Shoes

Being the sensitive material that it is, there are some things to remember when you’re cleaning suede to ensure you keep it at its best. If you follow these simple rules, you’ll be taking the very best care possible of your favorite suede shoes.

  • Do try to limit the damage by applying a protective coating on your suede shoes when you purchase them, as this will prevent the likelihood of stains. Each time you clean them, spray the suede protector again to give a fresh coating.
  • Don’t rub back and forth on your suede shoes, especially when trying to remove a stain. This will only make it look worse and do further damage, so you should always work in one direction only.
  • ​Don’t keep working on a stain if it’s clear that it can’t be fixed at home. It often works out cheaper to visit a professional cobbler than ruin a perfectly good pair of shoes from working too hard on them.
  • Do use items found at home when possible, such as placing your suede boots into a freezer for a few hours to get off stubborn materials such as gum. There’s no need to fork out hundreds for specialized suede cleaners when most of it can be achieved at home with care.

Using Natural Home Treatments For Suede

If you’re not interested in forking over more cash just to fix a suede shoe problem, you’ll be pleased to know there are some methods you can try at home which uses all natural ingredients you should have lying around.

  • For blood stains on your suede shoes, you can dab a cotton bud with a little peroxide soaked in and gently dab the stain until it starts to lift out. Just be sure not to stain the suede too much or it could have a bleaching effect.
  • If you’ve dropped ink on your shoe, you can dab it gently with a towel and then rub it with sandpaper before it dries to help remove it. If this doesn’t work, apply a little rubbing alcohol to a cotton bud and try dabbing it first.
  • White vinegar can be added to a rag and then rubbed onto stains if you find the other gentler methods aren’t working. This is particularly helpful for salt lines which can do permanent damage to a good pair of suede boots.

Any of these items can be found at home, but be cautious when using them that you’re not applying too much force or too many products. Give the suede a chance to come good before you go attempting the next method, and don’t always expect suede leather shoes cleaning to be a simple task.

The Final Word

Provided you’re gentle and thoughtful when treating your suede shoes, you shouldn’t come across any problems dealing with these stains at home. However, if you feel that the stain is bigger than you can manage or you’re unsure about further damage you’ve made then it can’t help to call in the professionals and take them to a cobbler for a second opinion.

clean suede shoes

Most people are put off from owning suede due to the tough stains and marks they can encounter, but this doesn’t need to be a deal breaker anymore. With a few of these tips up your sleeve, you’ll be confident and ready for action should you need to do any DIY cleaning suede shoes next time you get them wet.

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