How To Clean Suede Shoes | Fashion Tips

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Are you afraid of wearing your new suede shoes just because someone told you that they are hard to clean? Would you rather store them and wear them only in you your room than to give them to dry-cleaning? What if I told you that you can Clean Your Suede Shoes without any hassle – and that too in the comfort of your home?

How To Clean Suede Shoes

Let me start by sharing my first experience with a pair of beautiful brown suede boots. They were ankle length, has a zipper on the side, and had little bows on them.

I was very excited when I first got a pair of suede shoes as a birthday gift from my elder brother. I was very happy and yet skeptical at the same time. You see, I was just 15 at that time and I had no idea how will I be able to take on such a huge responsibility. I had heard from my friend that suede shoes even get dirty from water. They get patches when you walk in rain wearing them and god forbid if you dropped something oily on them!! That is why I was scared to death that I might end up ruining them as I already am a clumsy person. So, I did what anyone would have done – I put them in a box and stored them on the top of my cupboard.

One day my mother asked me about them, and I told her why I was afraid to wear those boots. First, she laughed like I had told a joke, then she told me that there are always ways to clean suede shoes if they get ruined. I knew that of course but didn’t know that it was that easy to clean suede items. Next, she taught me how I can clean any suede item including jackets, bags, and shoes, at home without any hassle. After that day, I have owned like 15 pairs of suede shoes and a cute suede bag, and I have spilled things on them – but, I have always cleaned them and returned them into a new state.

How To Clean Your Suede Shoes

Today, while cleaning my pretty red suede shoes, I thought why not I share my experience with you guys. I can tell you how you too can enjoy wearing those pretty shoes that you had bought in the sale, and not worry about getting dirt on them.

The initial stage of you cleaning the shoes would be to not wash them in a washing machine and/or cleaning them with your fabric cleaner. They are absolutely a no-no. If you ever accidentally threw your suede in the wash with other clothes/shoes, you are going to end up with a pair of “ruined-I-will-never-wear-them-again” shoes. You don’t want that to happen, do you?

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How To Clean Suede Shoes At Home

I will walk you through the procedure of cleaning sand/dirt from your shoes. The rest of the stains can be removed with somewhat similar methods. Try to be calm and light with your hands when you are cleaning your suede in order to “not-ruin” them.

What are some tools that you might need while cleaning your shoes?

  1. A suede cleaning brush. You can find it on any online store or a mart near you. Find the one with soft bristles so that you do not end up harming the suede fibers. If you don’t find one you can use a toothbrush, but I would advise you against it.Suede Cleaning Brush
  2. A regular pencil eraser. These come in handy when you are cleaning some tough stains that are hard to remove with simple methods.
  3. Some vinegar. Yes, the one that you add in your noodles. Depending on your situation, vinegar can help a lot. But you must do a test on a hidden part of your shoe to make sure that the vinegar doesn’t damage the fabric.

Any cautionary words?

YES!! To make sure the following method doesn’t harm your shoes, you must first check the shoes for labels or any other way to check if there are any care instructions on them. Because, if your suede is absolutely real, then some cleaning methods might hurt the fabric.

Again, no washing machine or dryer or direct sunlight!!

Best Way To Clean Suede Shoes

So, let’s start cleaning.

Step #1 You have to start by analyzing the type of stain/dirt your shoe has.  If there is a caked-on mud, then you might wanna let it dry first to avoid scraping the fabric. keep the shoe in a cool, dry place to dry it. Avoid keeping it in direct sunlight or dryer.

Step #2 When the mud is super dry, it will start breaking off just by tapping on it. Using your fingers dust off as much soil as you can. Once you are sure that you cannot remove more dust with your hands, use the suede brush to gently brush the entire shoe. Take your time, be gentle, and use strokes in one direction. Repeat until no more soil is releasing. If you want to know how to clean suede shoes without suede brush you can use a terrycloth towel instead of the suede brush.

Step #3 Your shoe must already be looking cleaner now, but we have to clean it to the core. For that, I recommend steam. Use your steam iron or a kettle for the steam. This will loosen the suede fibers. But, take care of how you steam the shoes. Do not bring the steam very close to the shoes. Keep the steamer at least 5 inches away from the shoes, and don’t let droplets form on the fiber.

Step #4 Once the fiber is softened, use paper towels to remove any access water on the fiber. And after that, brush the matted area back up.

Step #5 The final step would be drying the shoes in a cool and dry place. Place some paper towels inside the shoes to dry them from inside too.

If you see any stain remaining after the clean-up, use the pencil eraser to clean the stain. If you need to clean the stains further, especially in case of oil stains, use vinegar.

How To Clean Suede Shoes With Vinegar

How to use vinegar to clean stains on suede shoes?

  1. Take a soft and clean fabric
  2. Put a small amount of vinegar on the piece of cloth
  3. Rub the vinegar on the stain with soft and light motion
  4. Once cleaned dab dry with a clean cloth.
  5. Allow the shoes to dry and brush the suede fibers with the brush.


Wearing Suede shoes looks pretty fine. If you take care of them as you should, you can extend the life of your shoes by many years (unless your foot size increase). So, keep your suede brush handy, don’t wash the shoes in washer, and don’t dry them in direct sunlight. You may also buy some good quality Suede Cleaning Kit to get better cleaning results.

suede cleaning kit

And with that, this guide has ended. Care to share your stories with us???

If you want me to post a guide/article/DIY on any topic, post in comments!! I will post it with a mention!