How to Clean Suede Shoes at Home: A Comprehensive Guide for Impeccable Results (2023)

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how do you clean suede shoes at home

1. The Initial Steps to Take Before Cleaning Suede Shoes at Home

Gather the Necessary Supplies

Before you begin cleaning your suede shoes, it’s important to gather all the necessary supplies. This will ensure that you have everything you need on hand and can complete the cleaning process without any interruptions. Some essential supplies for cleaning suede shoes include a suede brush or eraser, a clean cloth or sponge, mild soap or suede cleaner, and a protective spray.

Prepare the Shoes

Before diving into the cleaning process, it’s important to prepare your suede shoes properly. Start by removing any loose dirt or debris from the surface of the shoes. You can do this by gently brushing them with a suede brush or using a soft cloth to wipe away any dirt particles. It’s important not to scrub too vigorously as this can damage the delicate suede material.

Check for Stains

Once you’ve removed any loose dirt, carefully inspect your suede shoes for any stains or marks. Note down the location and type of stain so that you can treat them accordingly during the cleaning process. Common stains on suede shoes include oil, grease, water spots, and salt stains.

Perform a Spot Test

Before applying any cleaning solution to your entire shoe, it’s recommended to perform a spot test on a small inconspicuous area of your shoe. This will help ensure that the cleaning solution doesn’t cause any discoloration or damage to your suede shoes. Apply a small amount of the cleaning solution onto a clean cloth and gently dab it onto an inconspicuous area of your shoe. Wait for it to dry completely before proceeding with the full cleaning process.

By following these initial steps before cleaning your suede shoes at home, you’ll be better prepared and reduce the risk of damaging or discoloring your shoes during the cleaning process.

2. Materials and Products for Cleaning Suede Shoes

Choosing the Right Tools

When it comes to cleaning suede shoes, it’s essential to have the right materials and products on hand. Start by gathering a soft-bristled brush specifically designed for suede, as this will help remove dirt and restore the nap of the fabric. Additionally, you’ll need a suede eraser or block to tackle any stubborn stains or scuffs. These erasers work by gently rubbing away the marks without damaging the delicate material.

Suede Cleaning Solutions

There are various cleaning solutions available for suede shoes, but it’s crucial to choose one that is specifically formulated for this type of material. Look for a suede cleaner that is gentle yet effective in removing dirt and stains. It’s also advisable to opt for water-based cleaners rather than solvent-based ones, as they tend to be less harsh on suede.


  • Soft-bristled brush designed for suede
  • Suede eraser or block
  • Suede cleaning solution (water-based)

3. A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Clean Suede Shoes Without Damaging Them

Cleaning suede shoes requires a delicate touch to avoid causing any damage. Follow these steps to effectively clean your suede shoes without compromising their quality:

Step 1: Remove Surface Dirt

Start by using a soft-bristled brush to gently brush away any loose dirt or debris from the surface of your suede shoes. Brush in one direction to avoid further spreading the dirt.

Step 2: Treat Stains and Scuffs

For stubborn stains or scuffs, use a suede eraser or block. Rub it gently over the affected area in a circular motion until the stain or scuff is lifted. Be careful not to apply too much pressure, as this could damage the suede.

Step 3: Clean with Suede Cleaner

Apply a small amount of suede cleaner onto a clean cloth or sponge. Gently dab the cleaner onto the stained areas, working in small sections at a time. Avoid saturating the suede with too much liquid.

Step 4: Dry and Brush

Allow your suede shoes to air dry naturally, away from direct heat sources. Once they are completely dry, use a soft-bristled brush to restore the nap of the suede by brushing it in one direction.


  • Gently brush away surface dirt
  • Treat stains and scuffs with a suede eraser or block
  • Clean stained areas with suede cleaner
  • Air dry shoes away from heat sources
  • Restore nap of suede with a soft-bristled brush

Continue this format for each subheading.

4. Techniques and Motions to Follow While Cleaning Suede Shoes


One of the most important techniques for cleaning suede shoes is brushing. Use a soft-bristled suede brush or a clean toothbrush to gently brush away any dirt or debris on the surface of the shoes. Make sure to brush in one direction to avoid damaging the suede fibers.

Dabbing with a Cloth

If there are any stains or spills on your suede shoes, it’s important to act quickly. Use a clean cloth or sponge to dab the affected area gently. Avoid rubbing as it can spread the stain further into the suede. Instead, blot the stain until it is no longer visible.

5. How Long Does It Take for Suede Shoes to Dry After Cleaning?

The drying time for suede shoes after cleaning can vary depending on various factors such as humidity, temperature, and how wet they were during cleaning. On average, it may take anywhere from 24 to 48 hours for suede shoes to fully dry.

To speed up the drying process, stuff your shoes with crumpled newspaper or paper towels to absorb excess moisture. Place them in a well-ventilated area away from direct sunlight or heat sources that could damage the suede.

6. Alternative Methods and Home Remedies for Cleaning Suede Shoes

In addition to traditional cleaning techniques, there are alternative methods and home remedies that can be effective in cleaning suede shoes:

  • Mix equal parts white vinegar and water in a spray bottle and lightly mist over stained areas. Gently rub with a clean cloth.
  • Create a paste using cornstarch or baking soda mixed with water and apply it to grease stains. Let it sit overnight and brush off the dried paste the next day.
  • Use a suede eraser or pencil eraser to gently rub away scuff marks or small stains.

7. Precautions to Prevent Discoloration or Fading of Suede Shoes During the Cleaning Process

When cleaning suede shoes, it’s important to take precautions to prevent discoloration or fading:

  • Avoid using excessive water or liquid cleaners as they can cause the suede to become discolored.
  • Test any cleaning products on a small, inconspicuous area of the shoe before applying them to the entire surface.
  • Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning and maintenance.

8. The Importance of Using a Protective Spray on Suede Shoes After Cleaning

After cleaning suede shoes, it is crucial to apply a protective spray specifically designed for suede. This helps create a barrier against stains and water damage, prolonging the lifespan of your shoes and keeping them looking their best.

To apply the protective spray, hold the can about six inches away from the shoes and spray evenly over the entire surface. Allow them to dry completely before wearing or storing them.

9. How Often Should You Clean and Maintain Suede Shoes for Longevity and Appearance?

The frequency of cleaning and maintaining suede shoes depends on how often you wear them and the conditions they are exposed to. As a general guideline, it is recommended to clean and maintain your suede shoes every few months or when they start showing signs of dirt or stains.

In addition to regular cleaning, proper storage is also essential for maintaining suede shoes’ longevity and appearance. Store them in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and moisture. Use shoe trees or stuff them with tissue paper to help maintain their shape.

10. Additional Tips and Tricks for Keeping Suede Shoes in Good Condition Between Cleanings

Here are some additional tips and tricks to keep your suede shoes in good condition between cleanings:

  • Invest in a suede protector spray and apply it regularly to create a barrier against stains and water damage.
  • Avoid wearing suede shoes in rainy or snowy conditions as excessive moisture can damage the suede.
  • Brush your suede shoes regularly to remove any dirt or dust that may accumulate on the surface.
  • If your suede shoes get wet, stuff them with newspaper or paper towels and let them air dry naturally. Avoid using heat sources like hairdryers, as they can cause the suede to shrink or warp.

In conclusion, cleaning suede shoes at home can be achieved effectively with a few simple steps and common household items.

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