How to Clean Suede Shoes Without Ruining Them?

Do you want to refresh your suede’s velvety texture but are afraid of damaging them due to its extremely delicate surface?

Suede is a unique material with a soft surface and short-haired finish. It is manufactured from animals such as lamb’s and calf’s underside skin. However, many alternatives are also available that are made from synthetic materials and resemble them.

As a fragile material, some people are afraid of buying suede shoes because they think it is daunting to maintain them. Don’t worry; luckily, your suede footwear will look brand-new forever with a little upkeep.

In this article, I will share effective ways to clean dirt off suede shoes without ruining them.

how to clean suede shoes

How to Clean Suede Shoes?

  1. First, make sure the suede shoe surface is completely dry; if not, the cleaning process will increase the stain further.
  2. Use a suede brush to remove any loose grime and dirt particles.
  3. Remove minor stains and marks using a suede eraser.
  4. For severe stain cleaning, use a cloth dampened with vinegar.
  5. Dry and apply the brush again to restore the appearance of the suede.
  6. For greasy stains, cover the spot completely with baking soda overnight.

Things Need to Clean Shoes Made of Suede Material

  • White vinegar
  • Toothbrush or suede brush
  • Suede eraser
  • Rag
  • Suede protector spray
  • Emery board (long, flat object with an abrasive surface used for nails care)
  • Small container
  • Paper towels
  • Baking soda
  • Towel

Techniques to Clean Suede Shoes

Suede shoes are a superb winter option because they provide warmth and relaxation. Unluckily, the velvety fur on its outer layer makes it prone to moisture, oils, and dirt stains.

I don’t soak them in soap and water to clean them because suede material can’t withstand excess moisture. Instead, I use simple household products, which provide the best way to clean them.

Many suede cleaning kits are also available, which provide all the necessary tools, so you can follow them if you don’t want to use household cleaning items.

I have given many strategies to clean this footwear; all work wonderfully and do not ruin the delicate suede material.

1. Quick Cleaning Suede Shoes

Before you start cleaning suede shoes, make sure their surface is fully dry because working on wet suede can increase the stain by getting it deeper into its surface, and its cleaning will become difficult.

If they are excessively wet, use towels or papers to blot them, then keep them in an airy place to dry. For quick drying, don’t use a hairdryer, sunlight, or any such thing because the material will become hard due to excessive drying.

After completely drying the footwear, follow these steps to clean them.

Scrub Loose Dirt

A suede cleaning brush is easily available in the market and is used to clean the suede surface without ruining it. A toothbrush can also be used to remove loose particles of dirt and grime from small areas.

Remember that you must brush in the direction of the fuzz grain and pattern. If some grime is deeply embedded into the surface, move the brush back and forth to remove them.

Using the Eraser as Suede Stain Remover

You can spot-clean its surface using a suede eraser. Hold it and move it gently back and forth; you will see the stain has disappeared. This approach will help remove minor suede water stains and other spills marks.

If this method doesn’t work, you will have to use some advanced stain removal method. When the stain seems stubborn, please don’t rub it too hard with the eraser; instead, stop working.

You can check the emery board on the stain but use it carefully by applying low pressure.

Using Vinegar as a Suede Cleaner

A suede eraser and emery board help to clean minor stains, but you will use a more effective cleaner if the shoes have stubborn stains. For this purpose, take vinegar in a small container and submerge a rag in this solution.

Make sure the cloth is only damp and not fully saturated because the shoes will become too wet, which is harmful. Gently use the damp cloth to wipe the surface of the shoes.

After wiping the surface, temporarily, the color of the surface may change. Once you have wiped the suede, allow it to dry and check the stain has disappeared. Repeat this step if required.

Once the stain has gone, dry the shoes completely and reuse the brush so that the original look can be achieved again.

Prevent Moisture Damage by Applying Suede Protector Spray

Some footwear made of suede material is made with ingredients that can withstand moisture and spills; however, applying a protector spray is a smart idea. Purchase the spray, designed for suede protection, and use it according to the company’s directions.

Although this spray contains all the ingredients that protect the suede from moisture and spills, you must try to use them on dry surfaces as much as possible and avoid using them in wet areas and rainy weather.

2. Cleaning Grease Stains Out of Suede

Greasy substances seep into the fibers of the suede material and worsen the stain, whether it’s a drop of butter or a splash of cooking oil. Before starting the process, ensure the shoes are completely dry, and there is no moisture.

Blot the Stain with Paper Towels

While dealing with a greasy stain, take some paper towels and dab the spot with them as much as possible. Please don’t rub it; otherwise, the stain will seep into the fibers and worsen the situation.

Apply Baking Soda

Baking soda can be used as suede shoe cleaner and provide many wonderful results in removing oily stains. Apply this powder on the spot as much as possible and ensure the stain is completely covered with baking soda.

Let the powder sit on the spot for a few hours to remove the grease. It is better to leave the baking soda overnight for the best results.

Scrubbing the Stain

Once you have given enough time to the baking soda, take a brush and scrub the surface gently. A suede brush is easily available in the market and is used especially to clean the suede surface; otherwise, an old toothbrush will also work fine.

You have to perform the scrubbing with proper attention so that the surface doesn’t get ruined by the hard movement of the brush.

Cleaning the Surface

Once you have scrubbed the grease stain, examine it carefully and ensure it has been removed. If it still exists, you can repeat the steps.

Use the brush to remove all the baking soda. If the residues are left, clean the surface with a dampened cloth. After drying the surface completely, apply the suede brush to restore the original look of this material.

You can grab cornstarch if you don’t want to use baking soda. In case these home remedies don’t work and the oily stain still exists, I suggest you purchase suede degreaser cleaner.

These products are made from such ingredients that don’t harm the suede and effectively clean them.

3. Cleaning Suede Boots

During winter, cleaning suede sneakers and boots become difficult due to salt stains from walking in the snow.

Furthermore, before the tanning process, the leather and suede are preserved with salt, so when the shoe surface encounters any moisture, salt starts appearing on the footwear.

Whatever the reason, the salt lines look so annoying on the shoe’s surface. And it looks like the surface has been damaged.

Luckily, it is easy to clean them, and only a few things will be required for this purpose.

  • Blend equal quantities of vinegar and water in a small container.
  • Grab a small towel and submerge one corner of it into the solution.
  • Now, use it to wipe the shoe surface until the salt marks are disappeared.
  • Once the salt stains are removed, let the suede shoes dry completely.
  • Then, take the suede brush and apply it to the footwear so that the softness and appearance of the shoes can be restored.

Can Household Items Work in Cleaning Suede Shoes?

Unluckily suede material is not so strong that it can withstand moisture and spills. However, thanks to the household items available at our home, they can work amazingly and removes all types of stains on suede.

Things like vinegar, baking soda, and rubbing alcohol clean the stains from suede effectively without ruining them. It is strongly recommended that you follow all the instructions given in this article to clean your favorite shoes.

FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions

Can We Clean Suede Shoes at Home?

Vinegar and rubbing alcohol are available in every home that can be used to clean suede shoes without staining them. Apply the cleaner on a clean cloth and wipe the shoes with it.

Is It Possible to Clean Suede Naturally?

For general stain cleaning from suede shoes, rubbing alcohol and white vinegar works amazingly. Pour a few drops of one of these liquids into a cloth and use it to wipe their surface. Gently rub and dry.

Will Suede Shoes Ruin if Encountered by Water?

If your suede shoes get wet in water, they should be dry as soon as possible to protect them from damage. If you know the weather is rainy, or the outdoor area is wet, you should avoid wearing this footwear.

How Do You Clean Stains that Occur on Suede?

For minor stains, you can use a suede eraser; however, if the stains are not cleaned using this ingredient, you can use vinegar or rubbing alcohol to get better results. After drying, if you still notice the stain, you can repeat the steps.

Can I Use Shampoo to Wash Suede?

Sometimes the suede shoes get too dirty, so you can use shampoo to clean them. However, please don’t use this method too much to protect them from damage.

Use a brush while cleaning the suede surface, and keep scrubbing with circular motions and strong pressure. When this material is saturated, it will change into a darker color, which is normal.

Use water to rinse the shampoo from the shoe surface so that there are no more residues of cleaner.

Final Thoughts

Everyone chooses suede shoes for the cold season due to a variety of stylish, comfortable, and warm footwear. However, most people are afraid to buy them because they think it is not easy to keep them clean due to their delicate surface.

But its cleaning is easier and requires a little maintenance. To keep these shoes in good condition for a long time, avoid wearing them in wet weather and moist areas. Hopefully, this article will help you in cleaning suede footwear.

Daniel Robert is a shoe lover who enjoys writing about all kinds of footwear, including sneakers, Crocs, Vans, and more. He shares his vast knowledge on, a website dedicated to helping people find the perfect pair of shoes. With years of experience and a passion for all things shoe-related, Daniel's easy-to-understand advice has helped countless people make confident and stylish choices.

Leave a Comment