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Clean Suede Shoes at Home With These Simple Tips and Tricks (2024)

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can you wash suede shoes how toYou’re standing on the corner of Fashion Street and Style Avenue staring longingly into the windows of The Suede Store. Their collection has caught your eye with pumps in rich colors and boots begging to head out on the town.

But your own blue suede shoes have seen better days. A few scuffs here, a couple stains there – treating your suede shoes right will ensure they stay looking sharp.

Start with a suede brush and gently whisk away any dried mud or loose dirt. Use a damp cloth to wipe clean, then let fully dry before moving on.

With some TLC, you’ll be walking with pride again. Keep your treasured shoes going strong by regularly brushing and protecting them from the elements.

Key Takeaways

  • Use products designed specifically for suede, like suede brushes, erasers, cleaners, and protector sprays.
  • Be extremely gentle when cleaning. Lightly brush soiled areas and gently dab stains.
  • Allow suede shoes to fully air dry after washing. Stuff them with towels or paper to help retain their shape as they dry.
  • Store suede shoes properly in breathable bags or boxes, out of direct sunlight. Regularly use a suede brush to refresh the nap, prevent matting, and remove surface dirt.

Cleaning Suede Shoes

Cleaning Suede Shoes
Before getting started cleaning your suede shoes, gather the supplies including a suede brush, cloth, vinegar, and protective spray. Regularly after wear, gently brush away any loose dirt or dust. Then use a damp cloth with vinegar to remove stains or marks.

Finish by applying a suede protector spray to help repel future water and stains – this protects the material while maintaining the soft suede texture.

Materials Needed

Grab your suede brush and get ready to gently refresh your kicks, pal. First up, arm yourself with a few key materials: a stiff-bristled suede brush to whisk away loose dirt, a soft pencil eraser to gently lift stains, a spray bottle of white vinegar to tackle tough marks, and suede protector spray to shield against future scuffs.

For cleaning cloths, soft rags or an old t-shirt will lift grime without damaging the delicate suede.

Store your cleaning tools together in a small box or bag so they’re ready when your boots need some TLC.

With the right supplies on hand, you’ll keep your suede shoes looking fresh.

Regular Cleaning Tips

For regular upkeep on your kicks, brush your suede gently and apply a protector spray after to help ’em stay clean longer.

  • Brush often with a suede brush to lift dust and lint.
  • Blot stains ASAP with a damp rag.
  • Let suede dry fully between wears.
  • Use cedar shoe trees to absorb moisture.

To keep your suede shoes looking fresh, make brushing gently a regular habit. Blot stains promptly before they set. Always let suede dry fully before storing to prevent moisture damage. And use cedar shoe trees to absorb dampness – they’ll help your kicks hold their shape too.

Removing Stains From Suede

Removing Stains From Suede
When trying to remove stains from suede shoes, start by gently rubbing a suede eraser over the stained area. Use light pressure and rub in circles to lift the stain without damaging the material. For tougher stains that don’t respond to the eraser, dampen a clean cloth with white vinegar and dab it onto the stained spot.

Let it sit for a few minutes to soak in before blotting dry. Be careful not to oversaturate the suede.

Using a Suede Eraser

You’ll find that gently rubbing a suede eraser over marks lifts stains without damaging the delicate material. Test the eraser first on a hidden area inside the shoe. Then, carefully rub the eraser in small circular motions directly on any scuffs or stains, applying light pressure.

Avoid over-rubbing, and stop if the stain doesn’t lift after gentle efforts. For tough marks, dampen the eraser slightly before erasing. Let the suede dry fully before wearing again and apply a protector spray. Regularly cleaning stains promptly with a suede eraser preserves the shoes while lifting dirt.

Vinegar for Tough Stains

Dab a damp cloth with white vinegar on stubborn stains to lift ’em without damaging the suede.

  1. Test vinegar on an inconspicuous area first to check for colorfastness.
  2. Use a clean white cloth dampened with undiluted vinegar.
  3. Gently dab and blot to lift grease, mud or food stains. Don’t vigorously scrub.

The acetic acid in vinegar can help dissolve and lift staining without rough scrubbing that can damage suede. Let shoes dry fully after dabbing vinegar, then brush the nap up. Vinegar is a handy stain remover for suede shoes, sneakers, jackets or furniture.

Avoiding Water Damage

Avoiding Water Damage
When caring for your suede shoes, it’s crucial to avoid water damage. Make sure to let your shoes dry out fully before storing or wearing them again after getting them wet. Also, treat them regularly with a waterproofing spray to help repel moisture. We’ll discuss specific tips on drying and waterproofing to keep your suede shoes looking their best.

Letting Suede Dry Fully

You must let suede dry fully for 24 hours after cleaning before wearing or storing – 70% of suede damage comes from trapped moisture. After cleaning suede shoes with a suede brush, eraser and vinegar-dampened cloth, set the shoes aside in a well-ventilated area.

Letting them dry for a full day allows moisture from the cleaning process to fully evaporate. Use a soft cloth to gently blot excess dampness, then brush with light strokes to restore the nap.

For storage, keep suede items in breathable boxes and bags, and use silica packs to maintain 50-55% humidity levels.

Waterproofing Sprays

Sprayin’ on some waterproofin’ keeps your suede safe from moisture damage. Covering your suede shoes, jacket, or purse with a protective barrier is crucial. Look for a spray formulated specially for suede, like Scotchgard Suede Protector or Tarrago Nano Protector Spray.

Hold the can 6-8 inches away and apply a light, even coating to help seal pores and prevent staining. Let dry fully, then continue layering more thin coats until water beads up on the surface.

Spray any worn spots again after a few months. Finishing sprays restore color while repelling future weather damage. Treating your suede helps it endure seasons of wear while maintaining its soft nap and supple feel.

Deep Cleaning Suede

Deep Cleaning Suede
When suede becomes very dirty or has stubborn scuff marks, a deep clean is necessary. First, gently brush away all loose dirt. Then, carefully scrub at scuff marks with a suede brush or eraser. Use cleaners specifically made for suede and test first in an inconspicuous area, lightly rubbing to lift marks without damaging the material.

Loosening Dirt

Before brushin’ away loose dirt, let your suede dry out completely after gettin’ wet. Grab a suede brush and gently brush the whole surface, goin’ with the nap first to lift any dried mud or dust. Use a soft horsehair shoe brush in circular motions to work dirt out from the fibers without abrasion.

Try a fabric tape lint roller on particles clingin’ tight, rollin’ slowly to lift away gunk. For stubborn spots, place a cloth over and rub oh-so-lightly overnight to loosen bits, then brush off in the mornin’.

With care and the proper brushin’, you’ll have those suede shoes lookin’ crisp again in no time.

Cleaning Scuff Marks

Gently rubbin’ a suede eraser over sc■ areas can lift marks without abradin’ the delicate fibers, fixin’ up your shoes’ appearance. Be sure to test it first in a hidden spot, then rub oh-so-lightly in a circular motion.

For stubborn spots, a barely-damp eraser can help lift deep scuffs without harm. Let your shoes dry fully after, then give a good brushin’ to revive the texture.

With a soft touch and the right suede tools, those scuffs don’t stand a chance. Just take your time and remember – less is more when handlin’ suede.

Caring for Suede Long-Term

Caring for Suede Long-Term
Proper storage and frequent brushing are key when caring for suede shoes long-term. Always store your shoes in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight to prevent fading and drying out. Brush the entire surface weekly with a suede-specific brush to lift dirt, restore nap, and keep the material soft.

Use a brush like the Shacke 4-Way Leather Cleaner with its interchangeable nylon, horsehair, and brass bristle heads to gently buff your suede shoes.

Storing Properly

Keep your suede shoes in shape by letting them fully dry, brushing away dirt, and storing in breathable bags. After wearing, stuff shoes with soft cloths to absorb moisture and help retain their shape.

Allow a full 24 hours to dry out before storage. Use a nubuck cleaning brush to remove dried dirt and refresh the nap. Treat them with a suede protector spray to repel future stains. Finally, place the shoes in cloth shoe bags, not plastic.

Keeping suede breathable prevents moisture damage and color fading. With proper storage, your suede shoes will stay clean, soft, and vibrant for seasons to come.

Frequent Brushing

Stimulate the pile by frequently brushing your shoes with a nubuck brush. Use short strokes along the nap to lift dirt trapped deep in the fibers. Brush the entire surface before and after each wear to refresh the texture. Choose a brush with soft bristles specifically for suede, like the Jason Markk Premium Shoe Cleaning Brush.

Natural bristles glide smoothly without snagging delicate threads. Avoid excessive pressing or harsh back-and-forth motions that can damage the material.

Frequent brushing removes embedded dust to keep suede clean, flexible, and soft. It also restores the fluffy finish that gives suede its signature look and feel.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How do I dry suede shoes after getting them wet?

Gently dry wet suede with a clean towel first. Next, stuff with paper towels to draw out moisture. Once mostly dry, use a suede brush and the Kiwi Suede and Nubuck Cleaning Kit to revive the nap.

What home remedies can I use to clean suede?

Use a suede brush to remove loose dirt. Dab stains with a white vinegar-dampened cloth. Allow suede to dry fully before proceeding. Gently rub stubborn spots with a suede eraser. Always brush the nap upward after cleaning to restore texture. Apply suede protector spray once completely dry.

Is it okay to put suede shoes in the washing machine?

No, avoid washing suede shoes in the machine. Hand wash them gently with a suede brush, cleaner, and toothbrush for small spots. Let them air dry fully after cleaning, then use a protector spray. Machine washing risks permanent water damage.

How can I soften up stiff and dried out suede?

Gently lift the nap first with a suede brush. Then, lightly dampen a clean rag with white vinegar and massage into affected areas. Allow to dry thoroughly. Once dry, vigorously brush with the suede brush to restore softness.

What is the best way to wash suede shoes to avoid damage?

Avoid fully washing suede shoes. Instead, spot clean with a suede brush and shampoo. Gently scrub stains using circular motions. Let the shoes air dry completely afterward. Finish by brushing the entire surface to restore the nap. This refreshes suede without risking water damage.


Your suede shoes tell a story shaped by the road beneath your feet, so treat them as the friends they’ve become. Arm yourself with the right tools, from brushes to erasers, and you can wash suede shoes by loosening dirt, dabbing stains, and letting them dry fully.

Regular care brings out their true colors again – so you and your shoes can write the next chapter together.

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Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is the founder and editor-in-chief of, a site dedicated to those passionate about crafting. With years of experience and research under his belt, he sought to create a platform where he could share his knowledge and skills with others who shared his interests.