How To: Clean Suede Shoes

Monday, November 08, 2010

Woodlore Suede Bar And Brush
Suede shoes are certainly fashionable and are an essential part of a fall and winter wardrobe. Although they are a popular shoe to don during the cooler months, it requires a certain amount of maintenance to clean suede shoes. The following are a series of steps that will keep your suede shoes looking beautiful each time you want to wear them:

Step #1: Remove all the loose dirt

Ensure that your shoes are thoroughly dry and, with a brush used to clean suede, brush all of the dirt and dust off of the shoes. Make sure, when cleaning suede, to brush one way, not back and forth, so that the dirt is thoroughly removed and the shoes appear good as new.

Step #2: Remove all scuffs

Take the suede brush and brush the scuffed areas thoroughly in a back and forth motion. In the case of matted scuffs that are not able to be removed with the brush, the area can be scraped using a knife in order to remove the mats. For scuff marks that still need to be removed, try using a pencil eraser to rub out the dirt. Rubber crepe, which is the material used in many soles of shoes, may also be effective.

Kiwi Suede Protector
Step #3: Remove any stains caused by water

It is unavoidable that water will at some point get on your shoes. Unfortunately, water acts by discoloring suede material and water spots may not be completely reversible. In order to mask or partially correct water damage, use a nail brush to apply a thin layer of water to the entire exterior of the shoe and allow the shoes to dry for a period of least 10 hours. Before moistening the shoe, make sure to place a shoe tree within the shoe so that there is no shrinkage or loss of form in the shoe. Use a suede brush to gently brush the shoe after the drying is complete.

Step #4: Remove all other stains

Use the suede brush to remove all of the other stains in a similar manner as is used to remove the scuffs. The most difficult type of stain to remove is grease. To remove a fresh grease stain, try using baby powder or talc to absorb the grease, then brush with a suede brush. In order to clean suede shoes of old grease, as a last resort, you can use the nail brush with warm water in a manner similar to removing water stains. However, don’t be surprised if the shoes don’t look as good as they did before the staining as water cleaning is really more of a way to mask the stain rather than completely remove it.

Suede is a fun material and can be highly fashionable, but is also hard to care for. Don't leave caring for and cleaning suede to an afterthought. After cleaning suede or, even better, when you first purchase the shoe, use a protector spray on the material. This will prevent staining and scuffs and keep your shoes looking new much longer!

→ Buy the Woodlore Suede Bar and Brush, $7.95, at

→ Buy the Kingsley Mini Nylon Nail Brush, $1.59, at

→ Buy Kiwi Suede Protector, $5.99, at