How to Clean Suede Shoes (Quick Guide)

Among kinds of shoes, suede shoes are the most difficult to clean because, without carefulness, you can quickly ruin the pleasant and soft texture of your shoes. Moreover, their material is vulnerable to stains, scratches, and scuffs so when searching on the Internet, “how to clean suede shoes” is overwhelmed.

How to Clean Suede Shoes

How to Clean Suede Shoes

Actually, to clean a pair of suede shoes, keep in mind some critical notes like using a soft nylon brush or a specialized suede brush since they can’t stand a heavy abrasive pressure and making sure your shoes are dry entirely before cleaning (if not, they are just dirtier). My step-to-step guide below will put your suede shoes back in its original appearance:

What You Need to Prepare

Below is what you will need in this process:

  • A specialized suede cleaning kit: due to soft grain of suede material, you should buy this kit including suede brush, suede eraser and so on (emery board and steamer are replacements for suede-cleaning brush)
  • Knife: you should prepare it to scrape if there is a matted scuff.
  • A piece of crepe rubber or pencil eraser: these are other choices if you don’t have the special suede eraser.
  • Water: you will need to deal with water stains.
  • A dry cloth or sponge: apply with water to get rid of visible water stains.
  • Shoe trees or dry paper: these things keep both the inside of your shoes away from water and your shoes in their original shape.
  • A nail brush: it is used to remove special stains.
  • Freezer: you can take frozen gum stains out easier.
  • Cotton balls: they are a support to clean blood and ink stains.

How to Clean Suede Shoes

Clean dirt and scuff marks

Get rid of dirt and dust by using the suede cleaning brush as gently as possible. Don’t move the brush according to going back and forth movements (that’s the same direction).

When it comes to scuff marks, you had better brush more vigorous. At first glance, the grain of the suede is pressed down towards only one direction but everything will come back the original position if you brush these areas back and forth. To deal with matted scuffs, let you use a knife to scrap and lift the nap.

You can’t remove stubborn scuffs and marks by a brush only. Therefore, let you try with a special suede eraser, a piece of crepe rubber or pencil eraser. Depend on the tougher level of each different mark you will apply a different level of pressure.

Clean water stains

At this step, it’s time to use water to wet the surface of your suede shoes. Using the brush to apply a light layer of water can get rid of water stains but if you perform in the wrong way, water will cause discoloration.

After finishing, let you use a dry cloth or sponge to dab lightly until excess water is soaked up all without leaving any visible water stains.

When it comes to removing excess water inside your shoes, you should invest in a shoe tree or the use of dry crumpled paper is also ok. Both of them are responsible for keeping the original shape of your shoes during the drying process. Don’t think about the newspaper which its excess ink will stick your shoes.

Get rid of “unknown” stains

When it comes to special stains, you will need the support of a nail brush. However, first of all, you have to determine whether or not it is a stubborn stain (grease stains, for example) by a suede-cleaning brush. If that is a special one which you can’t remove by normal way, scrub it with warm water with a nail brush.

For a light case _ a wet oil strain, sprinkling cornstarch on the surface and leaving it overnight can clean.

To deal with a muddy strain, wipe away lightly excess mud on the surface by hands then remove dirt particles residue by the suede-cleaning brush. Finally, air-dry your shoes.

For wax and gum stains, put your shoes in the freezer in a while. After being harder, chipping it away is very easy. The last step is to use the suede-cleaning brush.

Dab blood stains with peroxide by a few cotton balls until they are removed completely. For ink stains, you have to blot that by a towel in no time after that scrape by sandpaper or use a cotton ball of alcohol for serious cases.

Air-dry the suede shoes

What you have to do is just put them in a dry and well-ventilated place. On the next day, water will evaporate completely. Don’t forget to apply the suede- cleaning brush on the surface after drying in order to put the grains of suede back the original position.

Pro Tips

  • Although how to clean suede shoes can vary, you need to follow what the manufacturer suggests in its label also (normally, cleaning when your suede shoes dry).
  • After cleaning or taking them out the box for the first time, remember to spray a layer of suede protector on the surface to protect them away marks and stains. Pay attention to read direction in advance.
  • To remove recalcitrant stains, apply a towel of a little bit vinegar then let it dry before using the suede- cleaning brush.
  • Even all ways mentioned aren’t effective don’t use suede dyes which may cause damages your suede shoes.


A pair of suede shoes is a worthy investment so how to clean suede shoes is an important task which everyone wants to know. Nonetheless, I used to meet this problem and solve it in success. Therefore, you just need to follow my guide you can complete this laborious process to reach the maximum lifespan.
How do you think about my post? Can it help you clean your suede shoes successfully? Please put your comment below and share with your loved ones.

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