How to Clean Suede Shoes Like a Pro

A pair of suede shoes

Table of Contents

Suede shoes are a stylish and versatile addition to any wardrobe. However, their unique texture and finish require special care to maintain their pristine appearance. This guide will provide you with expert tips and techniques to clean your suede shoes like a pro.

Understanding Suede

Suede is a type of leather with a napped finish, commonly used for jackets, handbags, and most notably, shoes. Its softness, thinness, and pliability make it a favored material for high-quality fashion items.

However, suede is also highly absorbent, making it prone to stains and water damage. Therefore, understanding how to properly clean and care for your suede shoes is crucial to prolonging their lifespan and maintaining their aesthetic appeal.

The Basics of Cleaning Suede Shoes

Materials You Will Need

Before you start cleaning your suede shoes, you will need to gather the necessary materials. These items can be found in most homes or easily purchased at a local store.

  • A suede brush
  • Suede eraser
  • A clean towel
  • White vinegar or suede cleaner

Step-by-Step Cleaning Process

Now that you have your materials ready, you can start the cleaning process. Follow these steps carefully to ensure the best results.

  1. Remove any loose dirt or debris from the shoes using the suede brush. Always brush in the direction of the grain to avoid damaging the material.
  2. For stubborn stains, use the suede eraser. Rub it gently over the stain until it lifts.
  3. If the stain still persists, dampen the area with a little white vinegar or suede cleaner. Use the brush to gently work in the product and lift the stain.
  4. Once the stain is removed, dab the area with a clean towel to remove excess moisture.
  5. Allow the shoes to dry naturally, away from direct heat or sunlight.
  6. Once dry, brush the shoes again to restore the nap of the suede.

Advanced Cleaning Techniques

Dealing with Water Stains

Water can cause discoloration and even shrinkage in suede. If your shoes get wet, it’s important to dry them properly to prevent water stains.

First, blot away as much water as possible with a clean towel. Then, fill the shoes with paper towels or newspaper to help maintain their shape and absorb interior moisture. Let them dry naturally, away from direct heat or sunlight. Once dry, use the suede brush to restore the nap.

Removing Oil or Grease Stains

Oil and grease stains can be particularly challenging to remove from suede. However, a common household item – cornstarch – can be an effective solution.

First, blot the stain with a clean towel to remove any excess oil or grease. Then, sprinkle a generous amount of cornstarch over the stain and let it sit overnight. The cornstarch will absorb the oil or grease from the suede. The next day, use the suede brush to remove the cornstarch and hopefully, the stain as well.

Maintaining Your Suede Shoes

Regular Care

Regular care is key to keeping your suede shoes looking their best. Brush your shoes after each wear to remove dirt and dust, and use a suede protector spray for added protection against water and stains.

Proper Storage

Proper storage is also important. Store your suede shoes in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Use shoe trees or crumpled newspaper to help maintain their shape.

Professional Cleaning

If your suede shoes are heavily stained or you’re not comfortable cleaning them yourself, consider taking them to a professional. They have the skills and equipment to clean suede without damaging it.


Cleaning suede shoes may seem daunting, but with the right materials and techniques, it can be a simple task. Remember, regular care and proper storage can go a long way in maintaining the appearance and longevity of your suede shoes. And when in doubt, don’t hesitate to seek professional help.

Become a Suede Cleaning Expert

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