How To Clean Suede Shoes – 5 Easy Steps

Introduction -

Many people choose suede shoes for their soft, velvety texture and stylish appearance. Yet, they need special care and attention when it comes to cleaning. In this guide, we will explore the best ways, how to clean suede shoes well. This will ensure they stay nice for years.

What is Suede?

Suede is a type of leather with a napped finish, commonly made from the underside of animal skin. Its unique texture sets it apart from other leathers, giving it a luxurious feel. Suede is often used in the fashion industry for shoes, bags, and clothing items.

Why Clean Suede Shoes?

Cleaning suede shoes is essential for several reasons. Over time, dirt, dust, and stains can build up on the surface. They dull the appearance and harm the material. Good cleaning makes shoes look better. It also makes them last longer by preventing damage and decay.

Understanding Suede Material -

Characteristics of Suede

  • Soft and velvety texture
  • Absorbs liquids easily
  • Prone to staining and water damage
  • Requires gentle cleaning steps

Common Types of Suede Shoes

  • Suede Loafers
  • Suede Boots
  • Suede Sneakers
  • Suede Oxfords

Preparing to Clean Suede Shoes

Before you begin cleaning your suede shoes, gather the needed materials. Also, take some safety precautions.

Materials Needed:

  • Suede brush or toothbrush
  • Suede eraser
  • White vinegar
  • Clean cloth or sponge
  • Steam cleaner (optional)
  • Suede protector spray
These materials will help you to know, how to clean suede shoes step-by-step.

Safety Precautions:

  • Work in a well-ventilated area
  • Test cleaning products on a small, hidden area first
  • Use gentle, light strokes to avoid damaging the suede

How To Clean Suede Shoes: Step-by-Step Guide

how to clean suede shoes

Follow these simple steps to clean your suede shoes:

Step 1: Brushing Off Surface Dirt

When cleaning suede shoes, start by removing any loose dirt or debris. You can do this by using a suede brush or a soft-bristled toothbrush. Here’s how:

  • Get a Suede Brush or Toothbrush: Use a special suede brush or a soft-bristled toothbrush. These tools have gentle bristles that won’t damage the suede.
  • Brush it: Using light pressure, brush the surface of the suede in one direction. This helps lift away dirt particles without pushing them deeper into the material.
  • Focus on Dirty Areas: Pay extra attention to areas where dirt or stains are visible. Brushing in these spots may need a bit more care to loosen the dirt effectively.
  • Avoid harsh strokes: They can damage the suede. Don’t use vigorous strokes. Gentle brushing is key to preserving the delicate texture of the material.

By brushing off surface dirt, you’re preparing the suede for deeper cleaning. This step helps stop dirt from embedding in the fabric. This makes the later cleaning steps work better.

Step 2: Using a Suede Eraser

A suede eraser is a handy tool for tackling tougher stains or marks on suede shoes. It’s designed to lift stains without damaging the delicate material. Here’s how to use it:

  • Get a Suede Eraser: Buy a suede eraser from a shoe store or online. These erasers are specifically made for suede and are gentle on the material.
  • Identify Stains: Locate the stains or marks on your suede shoes that need attention.
  • Rub the Eraser: With the suede eraser in hand, rub it over the stained area using light pressure. The eraser’s material will help lift the stain from the suede.
  • Use Careful Motions: Work the eraser in small, circular motions on the stain. This helps to break down and lift the dirt or mark.
  • Inspect and Repeat: After erasing, check the area to see if the stain has diminished. If it’s still visible, repeat the process until the stain fades away.
  • Brush Away Residue: Once the stain is gone or much smaller, use a suede brush. Brush away any eraser residue. This helps restore the suede’s nap (texture) and gives a clean appearance.

Using a suede eraser is a safe and effective step for handling specific stains on suede shoes. It’s important to be patient and gentle to avoid causing damage to the material.

Step 3: Applying Vinegar Solution

A vinegar solution can be effective in removing stubborn stains from suede shoes. Vinegar helps break down the stains without damaging the material. Here’s how to apply it:

  • Prepare the Vinegar Solution: Mix equal parts white vinegar and water in a bowl. This creates a gentle yet effective cleaning solution for suede.
  • Dampen a Cloth or Sponge: Take a clean cloth or sponge and dampen it with the vinegar solution. Make sure it’s not dripping wet, but damp enough to work with.
  • Dab the Stained Area: Dab the stained area on the suede with a cloth or sponge. Avoid rubbing, as this can spread the stain or damage the material.
  • Allow Time to Work: Let the vinegar solution sit on the stain for a few minutes. This gives it time to break down the dirt or mark.
  • Blot and Lift: After letting it sit, blot the area with a dry, clean cloth. The cloth should absorb some of the stains along with the vinegar solution.
  • Air Dry: Allow the shoes to air dry. Avoid using heat sources like hairdryers, as they can cause damage to the suede.
  • Repeat if Necessary: If the stain persists, repeat the process. Do this until the stain is no longer visible or much smaller.

Using a vinegar solution is a gentle and natural way to clean suede shoes. Be patient and gentle. This will avoid damaging the material.

Step 4: Steam Cleaning

Steam clean to remove stubborn stains from suede shoes. But, be careful to avoid damage. Here’s how to do it:

  • Get a Steam Cleaner: If you have a steam cleaner at home, you can use it to gently clean suede shoes. Ensure the steam cleaner has a suitable attachment for delicate materials.
  • Hold the Steam Cleaner at a Distance: Hold the steam cleaner a few inches away from the stained area on the suede shoe. Please do not hold it too close, as direct steam can damage the suede.
  • Apply Steam: Turn on the steam cleaner and apply steam to the stained area. The steam helps to loosen and lift the dirt or stains from the suede.
  • Blot with a Clean Cloth: After applying steam, immediately blot the area with a clean, dry cloth. This helps to absorb the moisture along with the lifted dirt.
  • Repeat if Necessary: If the stain persists, you can repeat the steam cleaning process. But, be mindful not to overdo it, as excessive steam can damage the suede.
  • Allow Shoes to Dry: After steam cleaning, allow the shoes to air dry completely. Do not use heat sources to speed up the drying process, as this can cause damage to the suede.
  • Brush the Suede: Once the shoes are dry, use a suede brush to restore the nap (texture) of the suede. This helps to maintain a soft, velvety appearance.

It’s important to note that steam cleaning is an optional step and should only be used for particularly stubborn stains. Always test the steam cleaner on a small, hidden area of the shoe first. This is to ensure it does not cause damage.

Step 5: Using a Suede Protector

A suede protector spray helps to prevent future stains and damage on your suede shoes. It creates a protective barrier that repels liquids and dirt. Here’s how to use it:

  • Get a Suede Protector Spray: Buy a suede protector spray from a shoe store or online. Ensure it’s specifically designed for use on suede materials.
  • Prepare the shoes: Before applying the spray, make sure the shoes are clean and dry. Brush off any remaining dirt or debris using a suede brush.
  • Test in a Hidden Area: It’s always best to try the suede spray on a small, hidden part of the shoe first. This ensures compatibility and prevents any unwanted reactions.
  • Apply it: Hold the suede protector spray about 6-8 inches away from the shoes. Spray the entire surface of each shoe, ensuring complete coverage.
  • Allow to Dry: After applying the spray, let the shoe air dry. Avoid wearing them until they are scorched to allow the protector to set properly.
  • Reapply as Needed: Suede protector prays to give temporary protection. You should reapply the spray often. Do this, especially after cleaning or if the shoes face harsh conditions.
  • Store safely: Store them in a cool, dry place once the shoes are dry and protected. Keep them away from direct sunlight. This helps maintain the effectiveness of the suede protector.

Using a suede protector spray is a proactive step to keep your suede shoes looking their best for longer. It forms a barrier against stains and spills. This makes future cleaning easier and better.

Tips for Maintaining Suede Shoes:

To keep your suede shoes looking their best, follow these maintenance tips:

Storing Suede Shoes

  • Store your suede shoes in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.
  • Avoid placing heavy objects on top of them, as this can cause misshaping.

Regular Cleaning Routine

  • Clean your suede shoes regularly to prevent dirt buildup.
  • Use a suede brush to maintain the nap and remove surface dirt.

Professional Cleaning

  • If your suede shoes have deep stains, take them to a professional cleaner. Or if they need cleaning, take them to a pro.
  • They have the expertise and tools to clean suede without causing damage.


Cleaning suede shoes may seem hard at first. But, it can be a simple and rewarding task with the right tools and steps. Follow the steps in this guide. It will keep your suede shoes looking fresh and stylish for years.

Now, put these tips into practice and enjoy your clean and well-maintained suede shoes!

The above article will help to know, how to clean suede shoes step-by-step.


1. Can I use water to clean suede shoes?

  • Water can cause stains on suede shoes, so it’s best to avoid using it directly. Instead, use gentle cleaning solutions like vinegar diluted with water.

2. How often should I clean my suede shoes?

  • It’s recommended to clean suede shoes often. This is especially important after wearing them in dirt or rain. A monthly cleaning routine is a good rule of thumb.

3. Can I use regular shoe polish on suede shoes?

  • No, traditional shoe polish is not suitable for suede shoes. Use products specifically designed for suede, such as suede brushes and erasers.

4. Will steam cleaning damage my suede shoes?

  • When done right and with care, steam cleaning can remove tough stains from fabric.

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