How To Clean Suede Shoes in 2024


Suede shoes are a classy footwear option, but can easily get dirty. Here’s how to clean suede shoes the simple way.

Suede shoes are a common staple in a man’s wardrobe. They’re soft, flexible, and more breathable than leather footwear.

Suede’s unique matte shine and structure give it a beautiful look on top of its luxurious texture. Despite their popularity, these shoes are generally less durable than full-grain hides.

Unless treated, they also have less water resistance compared to other materials. It’s best to avoid wearing them when there’s a heavy downpour.

To make sure they last long, you need to know how to clean suede shoes properly. You should be capable of removing stains and grime without harming the fabric.

Without the proper knowledge and techniques, you might do more harm to your boots and loafers. You can prevent that from happening by reading this guide. It provides you with the tools and steps to keep your suede shoes nice and neat.

Like any cleaning procedure, you need to start first by gathering the right equipment. Make sure you have these important tools before you start giving your suedes a good scrub:

  • Use a suede brush to brush away any loose dirt or particles. A toothbrush is also a good alternative and fit for small areas.
  • A soft, dry cloth and a suede cleaner will let you remove stubborn stains and grime. Try not to drench the footwear in liquid when rubbing it, as it’s counter-productive.

A good suede rubber allows you to deal with annoying scuff marks. If you can’t find one, then use a pencil rubber instead.

TAFT Shoe Care Kit

Now that you have the basic tools, it’s time to start cleaning your kicks, boots, and slides. 

How To Clean Suede Shoes at Home

Starting from the basic steps, here are the steps on how to clean suede shoes at home:

  1. Set up your shoes for a good clean. A good preparation technique is to use a shoe tree or crumpled paper to stuff your footwear. Doing so will retain their shape while you’re tidying them up.
  1. Take a suede brush and test on an inconspicuous area of your shoes to make sure the delicate material isn’t damaged. A fine wire brush may be too rough for some suedes but not for others. When in doubt, use a suede eraser or a delicate silicon brush.
  1. Once you’ve determined the right tool for the job, brush away dirt and debris from the uppers. Do a quick side-to-side motion to lift the fibers away from the shoe and loosen any particles. Make sure that the brush is not too rough for the type of suede you’re dealing with. 
  1. If there are any surface marks, then rub a suede rubber to make quick work of them. Make sure to apply the right amount of pressure, as too much may damage the material.
  1. Deal with tougher stains by wetting a dry cloth with a tiny amount of suede cleaner. Gently rub the shoe side by side and let it dry.

Repeat the steps as many times as you need until your shoes look as good as new. Ensure that you allot time to clean them regularly so they’ll remain sleek and last longer.

How To Clean White Suede Shoes

White suede shoes are stylish and will definitely grab attention. Their beautiful and fashionable design, however, comes with a heavy responsibility.
Stains are more noticeable in white than on any other color. So, for this section, you’ll learn how to clean white suede shoes and effectively remove stains.

Cuffed chino pantsCuffed chino pants
  1. Remove dried stains by gently rubbing them off with soft towels. If that doesn’t work, then use a pencil eraser or an emery nail file.
  1. You can effectively get rid of oily messes by sprinkling the shoe with baby powder or cornstarch. Let it sit for an hour, and gently brush away the saturated powder.
  1. Do away with liquid stains by blotting the moisture as much as you can. You can use cotton balls or rags, whichever one you have on hand.

Don’t forget to dry the products in direct sunlight, and if traces remain, just go back to the first step. Religiously follow these instructions, and you can continue to rock your white suede kicks without fear of repairs.

How To Clean Suede Shoes Without Suede Cleaner?

Suede cleaners are commercial-grade solutions to ensure that your shoes remain neat and maintain their natural texture. However, they do tend to be pricey, and if you’re constantly wearing your suede shoes, it’s not an economical choice.

TBC honey suede Chelsea bootsTBC honey suede Chelsea boots

Now it’s a good thing you aren’t limited to just buying it or not. There are alternatives, and in this part, you’ll learn how to clean suede shoes without a suede cleaner.

  1. First off, you can replace the solution with 99% isopropyl alcohol. Don’t use anything less, as a more water-based substance may cause stains instead.
  1. Put the liquid into a spray bottle and sprinkle your shoes with it. You can gently brush away the unwanted particles.

In case you want more budget-friendly options for your clean-up methods, then just find a microfiber cloth to gently wipe away dirt. A scrub sponge with a built-in scrubbing pad or a toothbrush will work just as well as a suede brush.

How To Clean Suede Tennis Shoes

Some shoes are built tougher than others to the point that you can use them for sports. If you love looking good and feeling great on the tennis court, then chances are you’re wearing suede sneakers.

Raffinata Sneaker Cleaning Kit

Now, of course, it’s still a pretty delicate material. So, like the others, you have to know how to clean suede tennis shoes. Here’s how:

  1. Prepare your sneakers for cleaning. If they’re laced, remove them first and use a shoe tree to retain the form.
  1. Gently brush off scuffs and marks. Scrub in one direction so you’ll retain a smooth appearance while removing dirt, dust, or any other dry particles.
  1. Deal with set-in stains by using a rubber eraser. Just rub it over smeared parts and remember to apply light pressure. Once done, gently brush the suede to bring back the knap and color.
  1. If your shoes get splashed with water, remove the stains by using cleaners or alcohol. Let the pair dry overnight and gently stroke the material for a natural, fresh look.
  1. Lastly, apply a suede protector to weatherproof your kicks. Try to read the labels properly, as water-based sprays may change the color and texture.

Do these steps regularly and you won’t have to worry about dirtying your favorite pair every tennis match.

How To Clean Faux Suede Shoes

Faux suedes are made from polyester microfiber woven to create a thin, synthetic fabric that eventually leads to durable shoes. They retain the original material’s attractive appearance while also providing a more affordable option to consumers.

They’re also more robust than regular suedes, making them easier to maintain. Some are tough enough to handle getting wet but still ill-advised.

Knowing how to clean faux suede shoes can save you tons of money in the long run and still keep up with modern style trends. So, to maximize the gains and minimize the losses, here are the steps to keeping them tidy:

  1. Use a soft bristle brush and dry towels to remove dirt and grime from the shoes.
  1. Spot clean any deep stains using rubbing alcohol or a suede cleaner. You can dip a clean washcloth into a dish soap and use that, but wring out the excess water first.
  1. Once both steps are done, let them dry out fully and give them one last gentle brush to soften the texture.

Faux suedes are pretty low-maintenance compared to regular ones but still quite delicate compared to pure leather. As long as you care for them occasionally, they’ll last for as long as you want them to be.

Can You Wash Suede Shoes?

Some of you may want to skip all the details and ask questions like, “Can you wash suede shoes”? The simple answer is no. Wetting your suedes may cause water stains and damage the material in the long run.

You can apply other techniques to clean them, like sprinkling the stain with cornflour to remove oil and grease. If you have wax and gum stains, you can stuff the shoes in the freezer until the stains harden, then simply peel them off.

Can You Put Suede Shoes in the Washer?

For men asking, “Can you put suede shoes in the washer”? Please don’t. You can, however, have it spot-cleaned or dry-cleaned.

When spot-cleaning them, use baking soda, dish soap, or cornstarch. Their effectiveness will depend on the type of stains you’re dealing with.

It’s also fundamental not to completely drench the shoes when rinsing them. The better option is to wipe a damp cloth on the parts you’re cleaning. If you do have to deal with water stains, then blot them with a clean cloth soaked in white vinegar.

The Benefits of Cleaning Suede Shoes

When you’re equipped with the right knowledge on how to clean suede shoes, they’ll last for years to come. You’ll protect their appearance and quality no matter how many times you wear them.

The last thing you want is to constantly replace your shoes. Take note that they’re not meant to get wet, so it’s better to weatherproof your pairs no matter the occasion.

Do you want more clothing care tips? Drop a comment below to let me know!


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