How to clean suede shoes

Shoes and boots made of noble natural materials are very popular. Models made of soft fleecy leather need proper care. Questions become relevant for their owners: how to clean suede shoes, what tools and tools will be needed for this. Neglect of preventive care, improper removal of dirt can quickly render even a high-quality product unusable.

How to clean suede shoes
suede shoes blue color

Suede footwear is known for its stylish comfort and velvety texture. However, it’s also prone to stains and dirt. Learn how to clean suede shoes effectively using common household products and restore their softness.

Suede shoes and boots are a fashionable choice, especially in colder weather. However, their soft and fuzzy texture makes them susceptible to stains from moisture, dirt, and oils. Cleaning suede shoes requires special care and attention to avoid damaging the delicate material. In this article, we will guide you through the process of cleaning suede shoes effectively, using household products that are easily accessible.

Project Overview

  • Working Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $15

Understanding Suede Shoes

Before we delve into the cleaning process, let’s familiarize ourselves with suede shoes. Suede is a type of leather with a napped finish, giving it a velvety texture. It’s important to note that suede is more delicate than other types of leather, and excess moisture can cause it to become damaged or discolored. Therefore, it’s crucial to follow the correct cleaning methods for suede shoes.

What You’ll Need


  • Suede brush or toothbrush
  • Suede rubber or clean block eraser
  • Emery board nail file
  • Microfiber cloth


  • White vinegar
  • Suede protector spray

These items will help you effectively clean and maintain the velvety texture of your suede shoes.

Preparing for Cleaning

Before you begin the cleaning process, ensure that your suede shoes are completely dry. Cleaning damp shoes can push stains deeper into the material, making them more challenging to remove. Use paper towels or a soft cloth to blot up any moisture, and allow the shoes to dry naturally. Avoid using direct heat sources like blow dryers or sunlight, as they can dry out and harden the material.

Step 1: Brush Away Loose Particles

To start cleaning your suede shoes, use a suede brush or a toothbrush to remove any loose dirt or particles. Brush in the same direction as the nap’s pattern or grain. For stubborn grime, use a gentle back-and-forth motion to loosen the spot. If necessary, you can also use a toothbrush for cleaning smaller areas.

Step 2: Rub out Stains with an Eraser

For small marks on your suede shoes, you can spot-clean them using a suede eraser or a clean block eraser. Gently rub the eraser back and forth over the mark, being careful not to apply too much pressure. If the eraser doesn’t seem effective, you can try using an emery board nail file to lift the nap and buff out stains. Remember to use light pressure to avoid scratching the material.

Step 3: Clean Suede with Vinegar

For tougher stains on suede shoes, you can use white vinegar to clean them. Dip a microfiber cloth in white vinegar and gently rub the stained area, making sure to dampen it without soaking the surface. Keep in mind that vinegar might temporarily alter the color of the suede while it’s damp, but it should return to its original color as it dries. Allow the spot to dry, and check if the stain is still visible. Repeat the process if necessary until the stain is completely gone. Once the shoes are clean and dry, brush the surface again to restore their original appearance.

Step 4: Apply Suede Protector Spray

To protect your suede shoes from future stains and moisture, it’s recommended to apply a suede protector spray. Choose a spray specifically designed for suede and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application. Even with a protective spray, it’s advisable to wear your suede shoes in dry weather and avoid spills and splatters whenever possible. This will help keep them clean and in good condition for longer.

Tips for Removing Common Stains

Suede shoes can encounter various types of stains. Here are some tips for removing common stains from suede footwear:

Dirt or Mud

To remove dirt or mud from suede shoes, make sure the material is completely dry. Use a suede brush or toothbrush to remove as much dirt as possible. For persistent marks, use a steamer to gently loosen the dirt and then blot with a paper towel or cloth to lift it out. Allow the area to dry completely.

Oil or Grease

If your suede shoes have oil or grease stains, apply cornstarch to the affected area and allow it to soak up the excess grease for a few hours. Then, gently scrape off the cornstarch using a brush. Repeat the process if necessary until the stain is gone. For dried grease stains, clean the area with a small amount of dish soap. Let the soap sit on the stain for about 10 minutes, then rinse the soapy residue by blotting with a damp cloth. Avoid soaking suede shoes directly in water.


Salt stains from snow and ice melt are common during winter. To remove salt from suede shoes, start by brushing away as much salt as possible. Then, dip a clean cloth in cold water mixed with a small amount of dish soap. Gently blot the stain without rubbing. Repeat the process until the salt stain is completely removed. Allow the shoes to dry thoroughly.

Water Stains

Contrary to intuition, water can help remove water stains on suede shoes. Use a spray bottle to lightly spritz water across the surface. Gently brush the surface with a suede brush or toothbrush. Blot up any excess water with a clean cloth or paper towels, and let the shoes dry completely. Once dry, apply a suede waterproofing spray to prevent future water spots.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What will ruin suede?

Suede is highly susceptible to water damage. Soaking suede shoes can lead to irreparable damage. It’s important to avoid wearing suede in the rain or exposing it to excessive moisture.

Can Magic Eraser clean suede?

Yes, Magic Eraser pads can effectively clean suede. However, it’s crucial to test a small spot first to ensure that your suede item reacts well to the Magic Eraser before cleaning the entire shoe or garment. Magic Erasers are particularly useful for removing scuff marks on suede shoes.


Learning how to clean suede shoes is essential for maintaining their velvety texture and appearance. By following the step-by-step cleaning process outlined in this article and using common household products, you can easily remove stains and dirt from your suede footwear. Remember to handle suede shoes with care and avoid excessive moisture to preserve their softness and longevity.

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