How to Clean Suede Shoes

How to Clean Suede Shoes

Suede shoes are some of the most comfortable shoe types to use during any season. Overall, these are some of the most versatile clothing pieces you can wear, so it’s easy to see how fast they can get dirty.

While suede shoes are excellent for most people, they also seem to be exhausting to clean due to their materials. First, suede shoes can’t even get wet, so using water is off the table. 

Some people even believe suede shoes can’t be cleaned at all, so they have to stick with dirt stains forever. Thankfully, suede shoes can be cleaned with some basic household items. If you have suede shoes that haven’t been cleaned in ages, this may be a new fun activity to do.

Not only are you going to give new life to your shoes, but you’re also going to feel much more confident while wearing them. Keep reading if you want to know more about how to clean suede shoes!

Why Would You Need to Clean Suede Shoes?

Suede shoes are known for being highly resistant to damage due to their materials. Unfortunately, these items are much more likely to soak up water and liquids in general, meaning suede shoes are perfect for holding stains.

Logically, suede shoes aren’t great for rain or snow since those weather conditions could permanently damage your footwear. In these cases, it’s much better to keep suede shoes for dry weather only.

There are many reasons why you may need to clean your suede shoes, and those involve the following:

  • Water marks
  • Liquid stains
  • Dirt accumulation
  • Mud stains
  • Scuff marks

While some suede shoes are designed so that they’re much more resistant to water, they’re still likely to pick watermarks under certain conditions. 

Keep in mind that suede shoes can get dirty as any other clothing piece, so you don’t have to treat those shoes as if they were made out of glass. As long as you have all the necessary tools to clean those yourself, you’re going to take care of any problems in a few minutes.

What You Need 

First, it’s vital to go over what we need to start the commercial cleaning process. Keep in mind that most of these items can be found right now in your household. However, there are some extra items that you can get to make the process easier.

You need the following basic items:

  • White vinegar
  • Rubber or eraser
  • Face cloth or flannel
  • Nail brush or suede brush

If you want to take things a step further, you may also get some suede protectors in your local store. It isn’t that expensive, and it can make your suede shoes look brand-new once you finish!

Step One – Using the Suede Brush or Nail Brush

You’re going to use the brush to remove any excess grit and dirt from your shoes’ surface. Keep in mind you don’t have to be harsh in this part. Start by using light brushes to remove any superficial particles, and remember to brush in the same direction as the suede.

If you see any scuff marks, you can add a bit more pressure to your brushes to see if you can remove them that way. In the case the dirt particles in your shoes are wet, you may leave your shoes to dry before trying anything. Brushing your shoes while they’re wet may cause the dirt particles to go even deeper into the suede.

Step Two – Using the Rubber

The following process is much easier if you have a suede rubber, but a regular rubber works too. Here, you must apply pressure to remove scuff marks. In this particular case, you must go for a back-and-forth motion to see if you can remove any of those dirt particles.

Keep in mind that if this method doesn’t work, you may go for another one since applying too much force for too much time can cause the shoe to get damaged.

Step Three – Using White Vinegar

White vinegar is a commonly used product at the time of cleaning clothing pieces. In this particular case, this product can do wonders for your shoes! We know we’ve said that you can’t get suede shoes wet, but the acidic compositions of white vinegar and rubbing alcohol do a great job at breaking down dirt particles.

If you’re planning on using white vinegar, dip your flannel into a small bowl with white vinegar. You don’t have to dip the entire cloth; only the corner is enough. Once you’re done, you may start applying the cloth to the stain and going for a back-and-forth motion again until everything is cleaned.

Depending on the stains, you may not be able to remove them on your first go. If you feel you need to reapply some more white vinegar, you’re free to do it until you successfully remove all stains. 

It’s important to note that white vinegar can dampen your suede temporarily, which may make it a bit harder to see if you removed the stain successfully. Make sure to use as many applications as possible until you ensure you’ve removed everything.

Step Four – Using the Suede Protector

The following is an ‘extra step’ for prevention measures. If you want your suede shoes to stay beautiful for a long time, you may get some suede protectors and use them on your shoes. Keep in mind you must go for a top-rated product if you want to avoid permanent damage to your shoes.

If you want your suede shoes to last for a long time, make sure you store them away from heat. Heat can cause your shoes’ colour to fade quickly, so we suggest you find a shoebox or dust-proof bag that allows your shoes to stay protected.

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Bottom Line

Suede shoes are some of the most beautiful footwear you can use, especially during dry weather. However, some stains and spills aren’t avoidable, so we must be prepared to deal with any kind of issue with our shoes at home.

While you can take your shoes to a professional cleaner, it can cost you some time and money that you may not be too excited to spend. As long as you have the items we told you for this guide, you’re more than likely to clean your suede shoes in under a few minutes!

Check out our other articles if you want to know more about how you can clean different items!

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About the Author

Hi, This is Amelia. I work as a commercial cleaning operations manager at Clean Group. I also handle the customer support responsibilities on behalf of the company through a team of 10+ fully trained support professionals. Besides managing a team of cleaners and ensuring healthy communication between clients and cleaners’ teams, I handle customers’ complaints and grievances, especially the ones that need special or immediate attention. If you need help sorting out the best cleaning for you or just want to chat, feel free to connect.

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