How to Clean Suede Shoes With Baking Soda Like a Pro

A pair of suede shoes

Table of Contents

Suede shoes are a stylish addition to any wardrobe, but they can be notoriously difficult to keep clean. Fear not, for there is a simple, cost-effective solution right in your kitchen – baking soda. This household staple is not just for baking; it’s a versatile cleaner that can restore your suede shoes to their former glory. Let’s delve into the process.

Understanding Suede and Its Care

Suede is a type of leather with a napped finish, commonly used for jackets, furniture, and of course, shoes. Its velvety texture is luxurious but also quite delicate, making it prone to stains and damage if not cared for properly.

Unlike smooth leather, suede cannot be cleaned with just any product. It requires special care to maintain its texture and appearance. That’s where baking soda comes in. This common kitchen ingredient is gentle on suede, but tough on stains and odors.

Why Baking Soda?

Baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, is a mild alkali that can dissolve dirt and grease. It also has deodorizing properties, making it perfect for cleaning items that can’t be washed in water, like suede shoes.

Moreover, baking soda is non-toxic, environmentally friendly, and inexpensive, making it a great alternative to commercial suede cleaners.

Materials Needed

Before we get into the cleaning process, let’s gather all the necessary materials. You will need:

  • A soft cloth
  • A suede brush or a soft toothbrush
  • Baking soda
  • A small bowl
  • White vinegar (optional)

Step-by-Step Guide to Cleaning Suede Shoes with Baking Soda

Now that we have all our materials, let’s get started on cleaning those suede shoes. Follow these steps carefully to avoid damaging your shoes.

  1. Remove any loose dirt from your shoes using a soft cloth or a suede brush. Be gentle to avoid damaging the suede.
  2. Lightly dampen the stained area with a little water.
  3. Sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda onto the stain. If the stain is stubborn or greasy, make a paste of baking soda and water and apply it to the stain.
  4. Let the baking soda sit on the stain overnight. This will allow it to absorb the stain and the odor.
  5. The next day, gently brush off the dried baking soda using a suede brush or a soft toothbrush.
  6. If the stain is still visible, repeat the process.

Additional Tips and Tricks

While baking soda is a great cleaner for suede shoes, there are a few other tips and tricks that can help you maintain your shoes in top condition.

Prevent Stains

The best way to keep your suede shoes clean is to prevent stains in the first place. Consider using a suede protector spray, which creates a protective barrier on the surface of the shoes, repelling water and stains.

Also, try to avoid wearing suede shoes in wet or muddy conditions, as water can damage the texture of suede and make it harder to clean.

Dealing with Water Stains

If your suede shoes do get wet, don’t panic. Blot the shoes with a clean, dry cloth to absorb as much water as possible, then let them dry naturally, away from direct heat or sunlight. Once they’re dry, use a suede brush to restore the texture.

If a water stain remains, lightly wet the entire outer surface of the shoe, then sponge it with a clean, dry cloth and let it dry naturally. This should help eliminate any water lines.

Using Vinegar

For tough stains that baking soda can’t remove, try white vinegar. Apply a small amount of vinegar to a clean cloth and gently rub the stain. Let it dry, then brush the suede to restore its texture. Be aware that vinegar might slightly darken the suede, so test it on an inconspicuous area first.


Cleaning suede shoes might seem intimidating, but with a little patience and the right tools, you can keep your shoes looking their best. Baking soda is a safe, effective, and affordable cleaner that can tackle most stains and odors. Remember to always test any cleaning method on a small, hidden area first to ensure it won’t damage your shoes. Happy cleaning!

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