How to Clean & Care for Suede Shoes

Suede shoes are year-round favorites due to their classic look and velvety texture. But the more you love a shoe, the more it can get dirty no matter how careful you are. For moments when your favorite pair of suede shoes needs a refresh, you may wonder how you can clean them. In this blog, we’ll go over how to properly clean and care for your suede shoes.

Tips for Cleaning Suede Shoes at Home

The good news is you can easily clean suede shoes or boots at home! There are, of course, specialty products for cleaning suede, such as soft brushes and suede rubbers. But if you need to clean your shoes in a pinch, some of your pantry staples may have you covered.

How to Clean Suede Shoes

Light colored suede is classic, and perfect for wearing with long flowy dresses and denim jeans  – but it also collects dirt much faster than darker colors. To clean light suede, start by taking a soft dry brush and sweeping it across your shoes. Make sure both the brush and your shoes are completely dry to avoid spreading any stains. If you don’t have a shoe brush, you can use a clean toothbrush or nail brush. If the stain is particularly stubborn, you can use a suede rubber to rub away anything that’s a little deeper in the suede. You can also use a conventional eraser (the kind used for pencils), as long as you make sure there’s no pre-existing stains on it. Repeat these steps as needed for clean light suede shoes.

How to Clean Black Suede Shoes

When it comes to black suede, you have a few more options for removing any grime or stains. Like with white suede, start with making sure the shoe is completely dry. Then take a dry brush or suede rubber across the shoe to eliminate any dirt or grime. For tougher stains, you can try using white vinegar (if you don’t have white vinegar, rubbing alcohol will do just fine). Take a soft washcloth and add enough white vinegar to wet it, then rub the cloth across the stain on your shoe. The vinegar or alcohol may temporarily change the color of your suede, but it should go back to normal once the substance evaporates. Repeat these steps as needed.

How to Get Oil Out of Suede Shoes

Sometimes mistakes happen. When those mistakes happen to be oil, it can be a little easy to worry. If you take care of an oil stain ASAP, you can increase your chances of getting it out. First, get a cloth and try to blot out or absorb as much of the oil as you can. Then get a little bit of baking soda and do a test on a small piece of the suede to see how it reacts. Wait a few hours, and if all seems okay, add baking soda to the rest of the stain. Let the baking soda sit on the shoe to absorb the oil for as long as you can (overnight would be ideal). The next day, use a soft suede brush or toothbrush to remove the baking soda. You can repeat this process as needed.

How to Wash Suede Shoes

While some suede can be washed, try to use this option as a last resort. If there’s a stubborn stain that won’t come out, you can try using a store-bought shoe cleaning spray or create a soapy mixture and rub away with a soft cloth. To err on the side of caution, test these options on a small part of the suede to see how the fabric will react.

How to Care for & Protect Suede Shoes

Proper care and maintenance of your suede shoes can ensure they look nice and clean for years to come. When possible, avoid wearing your suede shoes during rainy days or snowy weather. When water comes in contact with suede, it can harden the suede or darken its color. Some suede shoes (such as sneakers) stay clean with suede spray protectors as well, which can repel water and dirt. As your regular maintenance routine, brush your suede shoes every few weeks to eliminate any dirt and identify small stains as soon as possible. Check out beek’s Leather Waterproofing Spray, Leather Cleaning Spray, microfiber cloth and cleaning brush to keep your suede shoes clean and protected all year round!