How to clean suede shoes: Quick and Easy DIY Steps

How to clean suede shoes

Shoe cleaning is a skill for its own sake, and it is a chore that very few are taking the time to accomplish. This is unfortunate since suede shoes look their finest when they are properly cleaned.

It’s not just that, but we feel that it puts individuals in a strong position and gives off a tidy and organized overall image to take pleasure in their outer attire and footwear.

Even with today’s clothing styles, we don’t encourage adopting the motto of business on top and casual on the bottom for your inspiration.

Can Suede Shoes Be Cleaned?

With such a fragile material, caution is needed to avoid harming your shoes in the cleaning method. If your shoes are real suede, clean them by hand and do not put them in the laundry or machine.

Before cleaning your shoes, make absolutely sure they don’t have any tags or cleaning instructions.

It is critical not to clean your shoes with water. Taking the effort to care for them will guarantee their durability as well as their appearance.

We think that just as you would use hand lotion to protect your own skin, you should treat your shoes as if they were your second skin. Cleaning your suede shoes may be necessary for a variety of reasons, including:

Toxins are attracted to suede shoes:

Because of the harmful compounds that your shoes release into the environment, it is strongly suggested that you clean your shoes especially if you have children or pets around you.

Be wary of fungi:

Cleaning includes the insides of your shoes! Depending on how long you wear your shoes typically, plus the fact that your feet sweat and the temperature inside those shoes is somewhat higher than your body temperature, the consequence is a breeding environment for viruses of all kinds.

Having said that, be prepared to wipe the inside of your shoes. Nobody wants an illness just because you neglected to clean your shoes; getting rid of it will cost far more than maintaining the shoes well enough.

Clean suede shoes contribute to a clean appearance: 

A beautiful dress cannot be complete without a pair of proper, clean shoes. It doesn’t matter how attractive a dress you’re wearing but if you’re wearing it with unclean shoes, the entire notion of your outfit will be destroyed. The fact is, cleaning a pair of shoes doesn’t take much money or effort, yet it adds so much to a classy finish, so don’t forget it!

  • Suede shoes, for example, respond extremely well to proper care and upkeep.
  • You will indeed be able to keep your shoes in pristine shape, increase their longevity, and use them for a long period. 
  • Without proper maintenance, a pair of suede shoes can lose their form and smell.

We’ve discussed a variety of reasons why it’s vital to clean your suede shoes, and to summarize, the most significant ones are health-related.

While cleaning shoes is easy to ignore, it is critical for a variety of reasons, because all of the reasons listed above indicate. It isn’t a difficult task, so a little may help a lot!

3 Home items to clean your suede shoes

Difficulty: Easy

Time: 5-15 minutes

Essentials: Free & Easy to get

You may choose not to purchase all of the essential equipment and cleansers while cleaning your suede shoes, and the best part is that you do so with what you already have at your home. Here are 3 things you will have at your home to clean a suede shoe:

1. TOOTH BRUSH / NAIL BRUSH: Suede Brush Alternative

If you don’t have a suede brush, you may clean your shoes using a toothbrush or a nail brush. Before you clean, untie the laces and wet the brush in a little quantity of suede cleanser. Put one of your hands inside of the shoe to keep it in place, and then begin scrubbing the surface to clear any dirt particles and debris.

Brush with the grain in tiny circular movements for the finest results. Allow 24 hours for your shoes to dry.

2. TOWEL: Suede Stain Eraser Alternative

If you wish to remove watermarks or dust from your suede shoes, you may wipe them with a clean towel. Do not use water to clean your shoes. For really difficult areas, you may also use an eraser.

If your shoes have mud on them, it is advisable to remove as much mud and grime as possible immediately, taking care not to scratch or damage the suede.

3. VINEGAR: Instead of Soap Water

Remember not to clean your suede shoes with soap and water. Having to clean the fabric with water might damage the shoe unless it has been coated with a protectant spray.

There are various suede products available for buy, or you may make your own using household items such as vinegar. These will help you to thoroughly clean your shoes without causing harm.

5 Simple Steps for easy suede shoe cleaning

Difficulty: Easy

Time: 20-25 minutes

Essentials: Free + Paid & Easy to get

I’ve described my cleaning procedure for suede below. Give this method a shot and see how nice your suede can still get!

1. Using a Suede Brush, firmly brush the surface

Brush the affected areas lightly in a specific direction. This is because brushing in a single direction aids in the removal of the surface mound of dirt from the fibers.

After that, brush the stains again in a circular motion. Brush with a bit extra force as well since you’re attempting to reach the bottom through dirt stuck under the surface.

2. Use a stain remover

You might not need to proceed any further if your suede item isn’t too filthy! However, for deeply embedded stains or debris, use the eraser that is included with your suede cleaning kit.

Don’t be scared to use some strength while rubbing the eraser over the spots! Continue rubbing until the stain is removed; this may take a few minutes, so be calm. As a forewarning, this section will be a shambles. Make sure to do it on a towel or even outdoors!

3. White Vinegar or Rubbing Alcohol can be used to remove stains

If the mark Is not really gone, it’s surely time for you to pour some simple white vinegar or rubbing alcohol onto a white cloth.

One thing is certain that vinegar and rubbing alcohol will not stain suede-like water does!

Allow the area to dry fully after rubbing the moistened cloth over the stain. When the cloth is dry, use the brush to put away any dislodged dirt.

4. Use Razor to Retain the Smooth Texture

Suede fabric can become fibrous after a time, but it’s simple to remove with a regular shaving blade. Scrape the strings off the cloth gently wherever you see them. After shaving, try and remove the stringy pieces with your brush.

5. Spray Suede Protectant on the suede

The last step is to preserve your suede so that it doesn’t get as unclean in the future. Suede protectant sprays are widely available online, and many of them are reasonably priced.

Follow the directions on the box to apply your suede protectant spray. This additional effort will keep your suede cleaner for longer as well as make future cleaning so much easier!

The Actual Best Suede Shoe Cleaner Kit

Our editors’ research, test, and recommend the actual best products; you can learn more about our product review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases.

Jason Markk Essential Kit

This contains a 4-ounce bottle of their Premium Shoe Cleaning Solution and one of their Standard Shoe Cleaning Brushes hence the ideal match for shoe maintenance.

The Premium Shoe Cleaning Solution can remove tough filth and oil stains without harming suede or leather.

This cleaner is non-toxic and produced with 98 percent natural components.
The Standard Brush’s synthetic bristles are softer than your usual brush, allowing it to remove grime without irritation.
Ideal for removing dirt from midsoles.
Because of its small size, it is readily portable.
The bristles of the synthetic brush may be fragile.
This product looks to work well on canvas shoes at first, but when they dry, it leaves a yellow or dark residue in odd places, even if you use mild water.

Read Next: 10 best shoe cleaners to remove stains

How To Clean Black Suede Shoes 

Difficulty: Fairly Easy

Time: 20-25 minutes

Essentials: Paid & Easy to get

If the color of your black suede shoes has faded, you may use a black suede dye.

As a result, washing your black suede shoes may brighten the color. If this occurs, you can purchase black suede dye. To correctly color your shoes, follow the recommendations on the suede dye packet. Allow the dye to set on the affected area.

Also, be sure to get the suede-specific dye.

1. Prepare a vinegar solution

If brushing does not remove the stain, you can use vinegar to remove it. Combine one portion of white vinegar and two parts of water to make a solution. Wet a soft cloth with the solution and place it on the counter. Check that the fabric is moist but not dripping wet.

Then, using moderate pressure, wipe away the stain.

Allow the shoe to cool thoroughly before wearing it or storing it in a shoebox.

2. Use a rubber stone

Unless you can remove a stain with a brush, such as mud, you can use a rubber cleaning stone. 

You could also be able to get a suede eraser, which is frequently included with suede cleaning kits.

It may take some time to rub the stain away with a rubber suede eraser or cleaning stone, but with moderate pressure, the stain should be gone.

Rubber particles may need to be brushed away.

Make your shoes in the hands of an expert

Consider sending your black suede shoes to a pro if you have severe stains that basic at-home procedures cannot remove.

Someone who specializes in leather products or a cobbler or shoes are the options.

These stains might be wine, blood, or paint.

How To Clean White Suede Shoes 

In the case of white suede shoes, the steps and situation are very similar:

  • Go to the pantry and get some white vinegar.
  • Pour a little amount of vinegar onto a fresh, dry cloth and massage it into the damaged suede. You would want to moisten the suede rather than saturate it.
  • Allow the suede to air dry before brushing away any remaining markings.

How To Clean Faux Suede Shoes

Difficulty: Fairly Easy

Time: 20-30 minutes

Essentials: Easy to get

A unique fashion statement may be made with a pair of faux suede shoes. However, any filth or grime that comes into touch with the shoes will stand out against the faux suede.

A deep cleaning at home may revitalize a pair of bright suede shoes just in time for another night out with friends.


While robust and long-lasting, fake suede is readily stained. Thus, caring for shoes made of this man-made material is quite important. 

A suede brush, as previously noted, is an important piece of equipment for cleaning fake suede shoes. It will eliminate dirt and dust that has become caught in the fibers and will aid in keeping them uplifted and soft.

  • Make sure your shoes are dry. If they’re moist or damp, you’ll spread the dirt all over the place.
  • Brush the shoes starting at the bottom and moving up. A brush with nylon bristles is an excellent option.


  • Clean the welt, or the region between the sole and the top, with the suede brush’s firm rubber ridge.
  • A soft toothbrush will suffice if you do not have a suede brush. Because of the reduced surface area, it may take a little longer.
  • When eliminating dust and debris, start with the bristle side. After that, use the nodular side to elevate the fibers of the faux suede.


Brushing alone may not be sufficient to complete the task. You may need to employ more techniques from your collection at times.

Here are some tips for cleaning faux suede shoes:

  • To begin, use your suede brush to remove dirt and grime from your shoes.
  • The suede stain eraser is similar to the one used to remove pen or pencil traces on paper. Rub it gently over the stain.
  • Continue until the mark is no longer visible.
  • Raise the fibers with your suede brush once more.


  • If you use a dirty eraser, you will spread extra dirt and markings on your shoes.
  • You don’t want to harm the cloth, so be careful.


When applying the cleaning product, make sure your sponge is clean. This may be accomplished by washing and wringing it out frequently as you clean your suede shoes. 

  • Apply the cleanser to the shoes all over. Again, work from top to bottom and with care.
  • To stop leaving watermarks, cover the whole shoe equally.
  • Wash away the cleanser with another clean towel that has been dampened with water. Take care not to soak the shoes.
  • Leave the shoes to dry naturally. This process might take up to 24 hours.
  • Once the fibers are totally dry, use your suede brush to elevate them again.
  • Start by eliminating dirt and dust as described above.
  • Fill your dish with cold water; approximately half full is sufficient.
  • Put a few drops of mild dishwashing soap to the water in the bowl. That would be enough to produce foam without discoloring the water.
  • To make foam on top, use your toothbrush to combine the soapy water.


  • Saturating the shoes may result in watermarks, so proceed with caution.
  • If there are any visible marks, use your eraser to eliminate them first.
  • You may put old clothes or paper onto the shoe to keep their form while you clean them.


Faux suede will look far better and stay longer if it is treated with a waterproofing spray. It repels water and helps to keep blemishes and stains at bay.

  • Using the procedure described above, brush your shoes with the suede brush.
  • Cover your shoes evenly with the spray, keeping the can six to eight inches far.
  • You must not soak the shoes, but rather leave them moist.
  • Overnight, dry the shoes. Please ensure they’re in a well-ventilated place, away from direct sunshine or heat.
  • It will take around 24 hours for them to dry.
  • Raise the fibers with your suede brush once more.


  • Do a patch test on an isolated place first to guarantee that the spray will not change the color of your shoes.
  • Sprays can harm decorations like buckles, so cover them up before spraying.
  • Two coatings will provide additional protection, but allow the shoes to dry between sprays.

Should We Wash Suede Shoes In The Washing Machine?

It is not advisable to wash suede in a washing machine. Suede shoes may lose their color when wet, and the material may stiffen. In addition, water can discolor and harm the stitching of your suede shoes.

Even while you may theoretically do so using the procedures we discussed below, we highly urge you to avoid using a washing machine. Hand-clean them using the ways we’ve discussed, and invest in a protection spray for the long term. 

Steps to wash suede shoes in the Washing Machine

Difficulty: Easy

Time: 5-10 minutes

Essentials: Easy to get

While it is not advised, suede shoes can be washed in a washing machine. This should be done solely on rare occasions since it will swiftly ruin the shoe. If you wish to take a chance, you may do so by following these instructions.

1. Detergent/ Dish soap:

There are detergents as well as dish soaps developed particularly for suede. It is preferable to use this over any normal detergent. You should also avoid using fabric softener.

2. Configuration:

Set your washing machine to a leisurely spin cycle at a low temperature. If it has a ‘hand wash’ setting, use it. If not, choose the gentlest option available.

3. Drying:

Wrap the shoes in a towel to soak as much water as possible in a quick manner. They should be air-dried rather than tumble-dried.

How to Get Rid of Suede Stains Easily

Oil stains:

  1. Never use talcum powder to cleanse suede shoes.
  2. Do not use water to remove the discoloration. Suede leather is a porous skin that absorbs water, therefore if you put water to it, the stain will spread.
  3. If you use a colored spray, make sure to choose the color closest to the suede leather. If you do not want to take risks, you can simply choose a neutral spray to give the shoe shine and protection. 
  4. Finally, to remove oil stains or grease, wipe the affected area with a dried gum eraser until the stain is gone. Don’t be concerned if the area becomes lighter as a result of the rubbing.
  5. Then, using the dried gum eraser, massage the whole shoe to clean it thoroughly. After cleaning, apply a coat of suede protection spray to your shoes. This will assist to avoid more stains and markings.
  6. If it doesn’t work, try cornstarch. Apply a thin layer of cornstarch to the oil stain. Allow the cornstarch to rest for approximately eight hours.
  7. Sweep away the cornstarch after that. Then, using the steam from a hairdryer, softly dampen the discolored area. Continue removing the stain with the brush.

Water stains

  1. Wet the stain slightly with a moist brush.
  2. Then blot away any extra water with a paper towel.
  3. Allow it to sit overnight.
  4. Don’t bother to dry the item quickly, and do not dry it in direct sunshine since the color may disappear.

Chewing gum/ Wax

A brush will not work if you have chewing gum, wax, or anything else greasy on your suede shoes. In this case, you could position the shoe in the freezer until the sticky material has hardened and frozen.

Then, using a brush, remove the hardened material.


If the ink or pigment or paint is still liquid, dab it with a paper towel to soak most of it. If the ink has dried, you might try to remove it with rubbing alcohol. You will also need to scrub it with your special suede eraser.


In the case of blood, dab a little amount of hydrogen peroxide on a paper towel or cotton ball and gently dab at the spot until it disappears.

Read: How To Remove Grass Strains From Any Shoe Easily

Select Baking Soda

Vinegar and baking soda are commonly used together. You could try baking soda first, then vinegar, or likewise. This procedure is quite simple because you’re attempting to get the baking soda to absorb the stain or oils. You’ll need the following items to try this cleaning method:

  • Sprinkle baking soda over the stain.
  • Allowing it to sit overnight is ideal in this scenario.
  • Using a dry towel, remove the baking soda.
  • Brush the suede carefully with the toothbrush.

Read: How To Clean White Shoes With Baking Soda and Bleach

How to Keep Suede Shoes Clean For A Long Time?

Cleaning your suede shoes requires regular maintenance and protection.

  • Give your shoes a good brush to eliminate any dirt after every use. Also, keep your shoes in a dry location while not in use.
  • In order to absorb moisture and keep their form, fill them with crumpled paper or just use a cedar shoe tree.
  • Lastly, use a suede sealer to protect the fibers and keep stains at bay.

Read: How to repair suede shoe and make it shiny

Our Takeaway 

We’re not sure about you, but we adore suede shoes!

Suede is a fantastic material, but so many people avoid it since it requires some extra care to keep it looking beautiful. It’s easier if you use shoe cleaners to remove stains than DIY and also quicker. Nevertheless, we hope that today we were able to successfully tell you that suede shoe care isn’t as difficult as you would imagine!