You don’t have to be Elvis Presley to slip into your suede shoes! But, you do need to learn how to clean suede shoes if you want to wear them on a regular basis.
Suede is actually a type of leather but it is fuzzy and has a softer, almost fur-like, finish. It’s a very popular material when making shoes, jackets, purses, and even furniture. In fact, it’s made from the underside of animal skin, making it softer than leather but not as durable.
Unfortunately, the softer material is also more likely to be affected by dirt and rain while you’re walking. Any contamination can damage the outer layer of suede and cause a stain. But, you can protect against this by discovering how to clean suede shoes.
The first step in maintaining your suede shoes and making subsequent cleaning easier is to spray them with a dedicated suede shoe protector. The primary thing this is good for is waterproofing your shoes, effectively protecting them from an unexpected downpour that could stain your shoes.
The protector will also make it harder for dirt to stick to your shoes, effectively making it easier to clean them and keep them clean.
It’s almost impossible to properly clean your suede shoes without a good suede cleaning brush. This is the most effective way to remove dirt and debris that have been picked up during a normal day. Simply run the brush across the shoe in the direction of the suede fibers.
Repeat as many times as you like but always go with the fibers you want to remove the top dirt first.
You can then rub the brush back and forth, rubbing more vigorously in the process, this will encourage the dirt hidden deeper in the fibers to come to the surface and then be brushed away.
Fill It With Paper
After brushing you need to fill the shoe with crumpled up paper. This is the easiest way to make sure the shoes retain their shape while you’re cleaning them. Just as canvas shoes can lose shape, so can suede and that will ruin them.
Considering a good pair of suede shoes can be expensive it’s a good idea to discover how to clean suede shoes properly.
The next step is to take your nice new clean bath towel and rub your suede shoes. You don’t need any type of cleaner or water but you should rub gently, too hard will damage the fibers.
This will remove all the outer layers of dust and dirt, specifically the dirt that your brush has stirred up from deeper in your shoe.
If stains are visible before or after the above steps then use a suede shoe eraser to gently remove water marks, oil, or even grease. The eraser comes with full instructions but basically involves rubbing the stain lightly until it disappears.
The eraser is designed to fluff the suede fabrics, helping to make the shoe look new again without any chemicals. In fact, water isn’t even necessary to clean suede shoes properly.
Although this process is gentle, you’ll need to rub quite hard with the eraser to get the best results. You should note that this part of the how-to clean suede shoes process can be very messy. It’s best to do it outside or over a towel, you can use the bath towel from the previous step!
Everyday dirt and debris can be removed with the brush, bath towel, and suede eraser. But, if you’ve got food waste, salt, or even wasted wine, on your favorite suede shoes you’re going to need something a little stronger.
White vinegar is a natural product that is great for cleaning many different materials. You can use it, or rubbing alcohol, to get rid of stubborn stains on your suede shoes.
Simply pour a little onto a clean cloth, you don’t need to be shy, white vinegar will not stain suede-like water does.
Rub the stained area vigorously for 1-2 minutes. You can just do the stained area or you can do the entire shoe if you prefer.
You’ll then need to leave the shoe to dry completely, leaving it in a warm spot but not direct sunlight will speed this part of the process up.
Once it’s dried use your new suede brush to fluff the area of the shoe. You’ll need to lightly brush your shoe in both directions. This will encourage any remaining dirt to come out of the fabric and restore the original look.
Any razor will do as long as it has blades on it. Gently glide the razor across the surface of the suede shoe. The aim is to locate any stringy looking parts and remove them. It’s important to go in the direction of the fibers, not against them. Going against the fibers will create a choppy look and make your suede shoes look scruffy.
But, going with the fibers removes the stringy parts. You can then use your brush to fluff the fibers, restoring the original look.
In fact, using the brush to fluff is one of the most important steps in the cleaning process. Suede is surprisingly delicate and all the above steps will take their toll on the shoes. Fluffing with your brush helps to negate this effect and restore your shoes to new.
More Suede Protector
After you’ve spent the time discovering and implementing the how to clean suede shoes techniques, it’s a good idea to use some more suede protector. This will help to ensure they stay waterproof, are impervious to water stains, and make it easier to keep your shoes clean in the future.
Suede shoes look fantastic when new or freshly cleaned, take the time to discover how to clean suede shoes properly and you’ll have the best-looking shoes at every event you go to.
If you do have a water stain then use a damp brush to wet the stained area and then use a paper towel to remove excess water. Allow your shoes to dry slowly and away from direct heat.
Oil or grease can be removed with a little cornstarch, simply put it straight onto the stain and leave it there for at least 12 hours before brushing it away. You may then need to repeat the process to remove water stains.
Mud is best removed by allowing it to dry and then knocking it off, before going through the how-to clean suede shoes process.
Blood can be removed by dabbing the stained area with a little hydrogen peroxide on a paper towel.
Ink can be removed with vinegar or rubbing alcohol, you’ll need to follow the instructions and above and then use your suede eraser.
With the right approach and a little payment most stains and dirt can be removed from your suede shoes, it’s just a matter of knowing how to clean suede shies properly.