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How to Clean Suede Shoes: The Ultimate Guide (Your Shoes Will Thank You!)

Ah, the suede. Velvet touch, luxurious feel, instant upgrade to any outfit. But let’s face it, keeping these suede shoes clean can feel like walking a tightrope. One wrong move and bam! Water-stained city. Fear not, suede fans! This guide is your roadmap to spotless shoes, with easy-to-follow steps and bonus tips for other shoe needs. So, grab your suede treasures and let’s get down to business!

Keep Your Suede Shoes Looking Flawless

how to clean suede shoes

Cleaning Essentials:

Think of it as your suede-cleaning SWAT team:

Suede Brush: Your secret weapon. Choose a natural bristle brush (think horsehair!) to gently but effectively remove dirt.

How to Clean Suede Shoes: The Ultimate Guide (Your Shoes Will Thank You!)
Photo of Soft Bristle Suede Brush

Eraser: Not just for pencils! A regular eraser works wonders on light scratches and marks.

white art supplies and blank sketchbook
  • Cleaning Solution: DIY Option? Get one teaspoon of mild dish soap and mix it with one cup of warm water. The store-bought option? For tough stains, look for a cleaner specific to suede.
How to Clean Suede Shoes: The Ultimate Guide (Your Shoes Will Thank You!)
Photo of the suede cleaning solution bottle
  • Clean Cloth: Microfiber is your best friend here. Soft and absorbent, it won’t leave any lint behind.
How to Clean Suede Shoes: The Ultimate Guide (Your Shoes Will Thank You!)
Photo of microfiber cleaning cloth

BONUS TIP: Can’t find a suede brush? A clean toothbrush in good condition can be your temporary hero!

The Secret to Sparkling Suede Shoes

Step-by-step cleaning:


  1. Lace Up, Lace Out: Take out the laces and insoles (if removable). They later get their spa treatments.
  2. Fresh Air Therapy: Let your shoes air out for a while. Trapped dirt likes to play hide and seek, so give it a chance to emerge.
  3. Brush of the Blues: Time for your suede brush! Gently brush in one direction, like petting a friendly cat (unfortunately without a paver). It removes loose dirt and debris.

Stain Removal:

Mild Stains

  • The power of the eraser! Gently rub the eraser over scratches and light marks. It’s like magic, minus the wand and spells.

Water Stains:

  • Don’t panic! Blot the stain with a damp cloth (not wet!). Resist the urge to purge – Patience is key. Allow the shoes to dry naturally. Remember, suede and water aren’t the best things, so keep future splashes at bay!
  • Oil or grease stains: *Baking soda to the rescue! Sprinkle baking soda on the stain, let it sit for 30 minutes, then brush. Run out of oil!
  • Stubborn stain: Time for the cavalry! Apply a small suede cleaning solution to your fabric (test on an inconspicuous area first). Gently press on the stain until it is gone. Rinse the cloth often and repeat if necessary.

BONUS TIP: For really tough stains, consider consulting a professional shoe cleaner. They have the tools and skills to deal with even the most stubborn attackers.

Finishing Touches:

  1. Brush again: Give your shoes one last brush to restore nap and stretch the fibres. Think of it as a pillow for your feet.
  2. Protective Potion (Optional): Apply suede protector spray to protect your shoes from future stains. Think of it as a hidden superhero cape for your shoes.
  3. Laces Back On!: Reattach your shoes with their laces and insoles. They are waiting patiently!

Bonus Tip: Remember, prevention is key. Regularly brushing your suede shoes and applying a protector spray can save you much cleaning time and heartache in the long run.


There you have it! Your suede boots are now back in their velvety glory, ready to conquer the world (or at least the sidewalk). Regular cleaning and maintenance are key to keeping your suede looking great. And don’t forget to explore the bonus tips below for all your other footwear needs!

Say Goodbye to Suede Stains Forever


Q: Can I wash suede shoes in the washing machine?

A: Definitely not! Water ruins suede. Stick to the dry cleaning methods in this guide for happy, healthy shoes.

Q: What if I get a water stain on my suede shoes?

A: Don’t panic! Dab lightly with a damp cloth (not wet!) and let them air dry naturally. Remember, water and suede aren’t BFFs, so future splashes require careful dodging.

Q: How often should I clean my suede shoes?

A: It depends on how often you wear them and the conditions you expose them to. Generally, a quick brushing after each wear and a deeper clean every few weeks is sufficient.

Q: Can I use household items to clean my suede shoes?

A: Yes! Baking soda for oil stains, white vinegar for stubborn marks, and even a pencil eraser for light scuffs can be your budget-friendly heroes. Remember to test any household remedy on an inconspicuous area first.

Q: Where can I find suede cleaning products?

A: Most shoe stores or online retailers carry suede-specific cleaning solutions and protectors. You can also find DIY concoctions like the mild soapy water mix mentioned in this guide.

Q: Can I dye my suede shoes?

A: While possible, it’s a delicate process with unpredictable results. Consider consulting a professional shoe recolouring service if you want to change your suede shoes’ colour.

Q: My suede shoes look dull and lifeless. What can I do?

A: A suede brush is your friend! Brushing regularly raises the fibres and restores the velvety texture. You can also consider a suede refresher spray to revive the colour and protect against future stains.

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