How to clean suede shoes?

Suede is one of the most beautiful and unique materials to wear, but because it’s a natural material that can absorb liquid, it’s one that needs careful care in order to stay in tip-top condition. We’ve put together a handy guide on how to keep your suede shoes looking good, so they really last you years. Read on and find out more.

black and gold leather trainers sneakers

The initial treatment

When first purchasing your suede shoes, trainers or boots, make sure to treat them with a good quality waterproof spray specially designed for suede. This layer of protection will help to prolong the material’s colour from fading and the amount of water damage your shoes may incur.

shoe cleaning kit

When getting caught in the rain

The main thing you want to do when your suede shoes get wet is let them dry naturally. In order to retain the original shape when drying, stuff some scrunched-up newspaper inside or better yet, a shoe tree. The last thing you want to do is put them on a radiator, as intense heat can crack or distort the suede or even leave stained watermarks.

people walking in the rain


The right way to brush and wipe

There is definitely a right and wrong way to brush mud and dirt off your suede shoes. Always brush in one direction, which is with the suede fibers. Only use a suede brush or if that's not possible, it should be a brush with gentle bristles. It's important not to vigorously brush back and forth as this will damage the suede fibers. Additionally, when wiping the suede to remove a wet stain, always use a dry towel and wipe in the direction of the fibers, same as when brushing off dirt.

brushing shoes clean


Getting those stubborn stains out

It's always wiser to wait for a stain to dry before trying to remove it. This is because wet suede is weaker and therefore more at risk of cracking. The best tool to use is a suede eraser to help get the stain out and finish off the job with a gentle bristle brush to bring the fibers back in shape. For dark stains, create a mixture of water and a dash of white vinegar and dab this onto the stain with a cloth. For oil-based stains gently dust the area with cornstarch or talcum powder then leave the shoes for a day. Brush the area clean and you’re all set!

wooden shoe brushes and polishes


Yes, it’s true suede shoes are not the “throw in the machine” type! However the beautiful material is durable and soft, and if looked after correctly will bring you years of wear. If you’re in need of shoe inspo, check out our beautiful suede, hair-on and full-grain leather trainers.

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