How to Clean Suede Shoes at Home?

Sued shoes are cool, classy and go with just about anything, but the hard part about them is in the cleaning. However, you don’t have to dread your cleaning your suede shoes. Remember, you don’t need a professional shoe cleaner to enjoy the natural smooth look of your suede.

You only need to known the right cleaning gadget and tips on how to do the job perfectly. Here are some golden tips on how to clean suede right at home If you follow these rules regularly, your suede shoes will last longer and maintain their luster.

Stuff them before Cleaning

Stuff the inside of your suede shoes with old newspapers to keep their shape intact during cleaning. Remember suede is a very delicate material and any heavy pressure on the surface will distort their original look. Additionally, if you wear your suede shoes regularly, always stuff the toes with tissue paper when you are putting them away for storage.

Get the Right Gadgets

The suede texture is special, so it needs a special brush cleaner to do the job. A suede cleaner brush has brittles harder than the normal shoe brush; these are designed to stroke the suede fiber surface, reaching their depth to ensure dirt is effectively cleaned out.

Scraping off dirt or mud clusters on the surface is the first step to cleaning your suede shoes. This is stage is often the only required one in most light cleaning procedures; for tougher stains, more is required to be done.

Never Clean Wet Suede

If you could help it, try as much as possible not to get water or any other solvent on your suede shoes. Excess soaking of suede distorts its original shape and you will notice the fabric starting to get discolored.

However, if you were caught unawares on a rainy day and there is some dirt to deal with, first allow the shoe to dry up so you can start cleaning. Brushing a wet suede surface will only make the dirt spread out to other areas and this makes cleaning even harder.

Cleaning Direction

As a rule of thumb, always follow the direction of the fiber on the surface. If the fibers are facing front, sideways or backwards, make sure your follow that direction with your brush.

Brushing against will only distort the fibers and make your shoe look hideous. Also be gentle with the brushing; using a lot of force may scratch the surface and this is not easy to get off no matter what.

Dealing with Tough Stains

If you are going to wear your suede shoes, it’s always best to avoid the oil spills on the road, the wet paint on walls or taking that jog through a field of fresh green grass. But if you couldn’t avoid getting your suede loafers stained, there is still hope of getting them clean.

You should get a suede eraser or crepe rubber and gently scour the area with the blemish. You can also do the same process with emery boards, also available in most stores.

Other tough stains like road salt can be erased off your suede shoes using white vinegar. Pour some vinegar on a clean cloth then dab at the salt lines with it. Never pour the vinegar directly on the suede surface. White vinegar will remove any food stains on your shoes.

When dealing with stains like grease, things may get a little tough cleaning. You will have to break a rule and use warm water to clean the affected area. Sprinkle some talcum powder or cornstarch on the suede surface and leave it over night.

Next day, use the warm water or steam iron to rub off the affected surface and finish the cleaning with a suede cleaner brush. This should handle the stains perfectly.

Ink, just like grease, can also be stubborn to remove but the trick is to dub at it with alcohol. Alcohol will work on ink stains that are a day, week or months older. For fresh ink stains, the stain can be removed instantly if you get a hold of grit sandpaper.

If you cannot access any of these, then try removing the stain with your suede eraser. Finally, when dealing with chewing gum stuck on the shoe, freeze the shoe to harden the chewing then use a nail brush to chip it off.

Drying Suede Shoes

Suede shoes should be kept away from heat or direct sun when drying them. Storing them in cool ventilated rooms ensures the surface dries evenly. Direct sun or heat will cause the surface to dry unevenly.

Moreover, suede doesn’t need to dry fast as this will cause the surface to lose its silky nature. Bright sunlight also fades away the original color of the shoes.

Taking Care of Scuffed Areas

Your suede shoes are bound to get scuffed at one point in life. You can reduce the appearance of scuffs by brushing the area using a back and forth motion with your suede cleaner brush.

This goes against the rule of using a suede brush, but you do this so you can break off the lose fiber and reduce the magnitude of the scuffs. While scrubbing, make sure you limit the movement on the scuffed area and not extend the brushing to undamaged areas.

Extra Maintenance Tips

As they say, prevention is always better than cure. It is advised to always spray your suede shoes with water and stain protector before going out in them. The surface is brushed before applying the spray and brushed after for a smooth polished look.

Consider brushing your suede shoes every evening after wearing them to keep their surface as soft as possible, for longer. When you notice color starting to fade, you can revive it using shoe dye made specifically for suede shoes; make sure you match the color right when purchasing.

Still on tough stains, if none of the above method worked for you then it’s about time you see a shoe cleaning professionals. They are a little more experienced handling stains on suede shoes.

Always use the above recommended methods to clean your suede and never venture into any aggressive cleaning method. And by all means, never wear your suede shoes out in the rain, snow or expose them to saline atmosphere like at the beach.

Suede shoes are quite classy and you can maintain the suave look by following proper maintenance tips. Purchase all the necessary cleaning equipment meant only for suede fabric shoes. Avoid getting your suede wet and if tough stains cannot come off, take your shoes to a cleaning professional.


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