How To Clean Suede Shoes Easily With Household Items?

How To Clean Suede Shoes Easily With Household Items?


“Does washing suede ruin it?” – Anonymous.

Suede shoes or suede boots make the trendiest spotlight from year to year. Of course, you own them, but you may not know how to clean suede shoes?

You’ve come to the ideal blog if you’re searching to know how to clean suede shoes. Stay tuned if you also have these style staples in your wardrobes, whether in an ultra-high over-the-knee fashion or itty-bitty ankle boots.

To simplify, you can directly invest in a suede cleaning kit, but it could be easier if you already possess certain household cleaning items. Therefore, we’ll discuss the same below with the straightforward cleaning process.

What is a suede shoe?

If you’re into too much suede, you must probably have remembered the episode of Seinfeld where Jerry destroyed a suede jacket. So, what are suede shoes or suede boots exactly?

Are they anything different from the fabric used in designing shoes? Before we get you to know this, let’s stress a bit about the suede fabric. It will help you better understand the complex structure and care behind the fabric.

Suede is a kind of leather extracted from beneath the animal skin. It is comparatively softer than actual leather because of being an inner layer. When an animal’s skin is separated from the top, it gives a flowy, thin, smooth leather texture.

There could be a difference in the appearance and quality of the suede depending upon the kind of animal hide used in the production. Some common types of suede include cowhide suede, sheepskin suede, pigskin suede, and more.

Suede is also used to create different accessories from handbags to gloves and belts despite the footwear. In addition, there is outerwear such as jackets made up with a beautiful suede texture.

How are suede shoes made?

Suede Fabric

Suede shoes are made of suede fabric. This fabric has various benefits over other forms of fabric used in footwear.

Benefits of Suede Fabric

1. Smooth texture

Suede has a smooth and soft nap to give you a compelling fabric texture.

2. Durable

It is a challenging and durable fabric as compared to other cloth fabrics. The delicate nature of suede gives it a soft and excellent drape.

3. Long lasting

As compared to other footwear fabrics, suede can exceptionally be long-lasting.

And these are some of the reasons as well why do people like suede shoes so much! While it does sound weird to the modern ear, those who love suede goods – especially suede boots – know precisely how the King feels about his blue suede kicks. Why not, indeed?

How to clean suede shoes/boots easily with household items?

You should take proper care of suede maintenance and cleaning, but some tips as precautions beforehand can also do the trick.

You should follow the tips below to maintain the suede’s premium appearance.

  • Do not let the suede fabric come into contact with water. Being absorbent, water can ruin the suede’s appearance and make it irreparable.
  • If the stain on the suede fabric is dried, you can quickly treat it with some white vinegar. Else, you can go for talc powder to clean a wet stain.
  • You can use a suede brush made with nylon bristles or brass or a simple toothbrush to keep the fabric fresh. Even if you’re buying any specialized cleaning treatment, clean your suede beforehand.

Here’s a list of some of the essential household cleaning items you will need to clean suede shoes!

  • A simple toothbrush or suede brush
  • Microfiber cloth
  • White vinegar or rubbing alcohol
  • Clean block eraser or suede rubber
  • Emory board nail file

How To Clean Suede Boots: Step-by-Step Process

Step 1: Clear away the loose particles & dust

Suede Brush

You can easily wash away loose particles or dirt using a simple toothbrush or a suede brush. Begin by brushing in the same direction as the nap’s grain or pattern.

Move ahead for a soft back-and-forth motion for set-in grime just in case the stain or spot won’t budge.

Step 2: Use an eraser to rub out stains

Suede Eraser

This is a step to proceed with the spot cleaning. Use a clean block eraser to rub the small marks. You need to smoothly rub the eraser back and forth over the stain. If it doesn’t work, stop and move on to another method of suede stain removal.

However, you should not rub too hard and damage the fabric. And, if you already have or were successful in arranging the emery board nail file, it will help buff out stains and lift the nap. To avoid scratching the material, use light pressure.

Step 3: Take white vinegar to clean suede

White Vinegar

Use a microfiber cloth and dip it in white vinegar to remove any tough stains on the suede shoes or suede boots. Make sure to dampen and not soak the surface simply.

The white vinegar might temporarily change the color of suede boots while it’s a bit damp. However, the fabric will return to its original color as the moisture evaporates.

Allow the wet spot to dry, then look for if the stain remains. You need to repeat the steps as required until the stain goes completely. Brush the surface again once it is dry and clean to restore its original appearance.

Step 4: Apply suede protector spray [optional]

Suede Protector Spray

It also depends upon the kind of fabric of suede footwear as they may already come as pre-treated to resist stains and moisture. However, an additional layer of protection is always a smart idea to go for.

The best way to keep your suede boots clean is to reserve them for dry weather even with the water and stain repellent product and avoid spills and splatters wherever possible.

Tips to remove stains from suede shoes

Certain stains need special techniques while maintaining suede footwear. These tips will help you remove some of the commonly found stains from suede shoes and boots.

A. Grease or oil stains

Apply cornstarch to the stained area and allow it to soak up the extra grease for a few hours for the grease or oil stains on suede shoes. Then, gently rub the cornstarch with a toothbrush.

Repeat the step as required until the spot is entirely gone. Next, clean the area with small dish soap for the dried grease stains. Allow it to stay over the top of the stain for about 10 minutes and then rinse the residue by blotting with a damp cloth.

B. Mud or dirt stains

First, you need to ensure that the fabric is completely dry to remove dirt or mud from the suede boots. Here, drying also refers to the process where you take a toothbrush to remove as much dirt as possible from the suede fabric.

You can use a steamer to gently loosen the dirt if marks still remain, then blot with a cloth or paper towel to lift it out. Let the area dry.

C. Water stains

Adding water can significantly help clean the suede shoes, even though it might sound counterintuitive. First, use a spray bottle to spritz water across the surface lightly. Next, gently brush the surface using a suede brush or toothbrush.

Then, blot up any extra water with paper towels or a clean cloth. Once dry, you can also apply a waterproofing spray to avoid future spots. However, it’s optional if you don’t have one!

D. Salt stains

Begin by brushing as much salt as possible to remove salt or salt stains from the suede shoes. Salt stains from ice and snowmelt are a common issue if you wear suede shoes or boots outside in the winter.

Dip a clean cloth in cold water with small dish soap. Gently blot the stain; don’t rub. Repeat as needed until the stain is gone. Let dry completely.

Here are some of the common reasons why you’re required to clean your suede shoes/boots.

  • Watermarks
  • Scuff marks
  • Dirt accumulation
  • Liquid spills
  • Mud stains or other solid stains

How to remove stains on suede fabric?

– For light stains

You need to brush the shoes with a firm back and forth motion via a stiff-bristled brush. Or, you can clean spot stains by rubbing over a suede eraser.

– For heavy dark stains

You can dampen a clean rag with any of the following rubbing alcohol, white vinegar, or liquid suede cleaner. Then, rub the dampened rag over the stained area with a firm, circular motion, and let your shoes dry entirely.

When the shoes are dry, give them a good brush to fluff up the nap and clean any excess dirt.

Household products that use to clean suede shoe

1. Cornstarch or Baking Soda

Cornstarch or baking soda works wonders, especially over oil stains. You need to sprinkle an adequate amount directly over the oil stain gently. Now, let your suede boots stay as it is the whole night.

Simply scrape off the baking soda into the dustbin. Then, take a clean towel and brush off the excess dirt. They’re incredibly cheap to purchase even if you don’t have any of these items in your pantry!

2. Water + Soap

If you don’t have white vinegar available readily, you can also use a mixture of water and mild soap to substitute for a suede cleaner. We don’t use dish soap, but a mild hand soap or even children’s shampoo work.

Some FAQs

1 – How do you clean suede shoes fast?

Even though we’ve already mentioned the steps above in detail on how to clean suede boots, here is a quick checklist worth considering!

  • Dry your suede shoes if they are damp or wet.
  • Use a suede brush or a simple toothbrush over the shoe surface and rub it.
  • Use a suede rubber or a simple pencil eraser to remove obvious scuffs or spots.
  • Scrub more hard stains with white vinegar applied on a soft cloth.

Check the sections above to understand the process better and in detail.

2 – How do you make homemade suede shoe cleaner?

You will need the following items to make a homemade suede shoe cleaner.

  • A spray bottle
  • 99% Isopropyl Alcohol
  • A toothbrush for cleaning small spots
  • New scrub sponges or scrubbing pads
  • Soft brush
  • Clean dry rags

3 – Can baking soda clean suede boots?

Yes, baking soda can clean suede shoes. It has the ability to absorb grease, odors, and clean dirt. You need to sprinkle baking soda on the dirty suede, and then rub it in with a soft brush. Now, let it stay as it is for 15 minutes or so and then brush it off. The dirt and oil should go away too.

4 – What kind of vinegar do you use to clean suede?

Move ahead to the pantry for some white vinegar. Pour a little bit onto a dry, clean cloth, and rub the vinegar over the stains. Ensure that you’re just dampening the suede and not soaking it.

5 – How to clean the red suede?

There is a similar process to cleaning the red suede shoes as cleaning other suede boots or shoes. However, while using the white vinegar, the color of the shoes may change a bit which doesn’t mean they will not come back to their original color.

6 – Does water stain suede?

Most notably, its napped surface can be hard to clean. Water damage, in particular, is immediately apparent on suede — you’ll notice dark spots and a surface that feels stiffer and less supple. Therefore, removing water stains is essential to improving the look and texture of your suede garments, shoes, or handbag.

7 – What is a suede eraser? Do suede erasers work?

Suede erasers help to get rid of scuff marks from your suede shoes or boots. But you should consider a couple of caveats too. However, they effectively help get rid of scuffs, mud, and dirt from your shoes.


When it comes to how to clean suede shoes or suede boots, it doesn’t have to be an issue. Although some of these ideas may seem weird, these are great things to keep in mind when cleaning your suede boots in the future or getting rid of water stains.

Cleaning suede doesn’t have to be an extra expense, they just need a little extra love and care.