How to clean suede leather shoes

How to clean suede leather shoes? The cleaning method for suede is different from shoes made of other materials. The cleaning of the patent leather shoes demands attention. It’s recommended that you should never use excess water while cleaning suede shoes.

Water use affects the skin of nubuck shoes. Tools for cleaning the suede shoes are a suede brush, suede rubber, a pencil eraser, and a fingernail file. You also need a paper towel, white vinegar, and a cloth towel. A special leather degreaser made for suede to clean shoes.

Your shoes can get dirty in several ways whether you are walking on the road/ streets or in a park for a walk. The possible factors that can make nubuck shoes dirty are as follows: mud or dirtiness, oil and grease, gums and wax, and many others.

How to clean suede leather shoes

How to clean suede leather shoes at home?

Leather shoes, especially those made from suede, exude a timeless charm. nubuck shoes are a stylish addition to any wardrobe, but they demand attention and care to retain their beauty. Neglecting proper cleaning can lead to stains, discoloration, and a shorter lifespan for your favorite pair.

However, maintaining that elegance requires special care. In this guide, we’ll explore the ins and outs of cleaning suede leather shoes, ensuring they stay impeccable for years to come.

Before diving into the cleaning process, let’s understand what suede leather is. Suede is a type of leather with a soft, napped finish, making it more susceptible to stains and damage compared to other leather varieties. This characteristic calls for specialized care.

Common Stains on Suede

From water stains to oil marks, suede is prone to various types of stains. Each stain poses a unique challenge, and addressing them promptly is crucial for preserving the shoe’s appearance and integrity.

Preventive Measures

The best way to keep suede shoes looking pristine is to prevent stains in the first place. Regular maintenance, avoiding certain environments, and protective sprays can go a long way in safeguarding your footwear.

Essential Tools and Products

To embark on the cleaning journey, gather essential tools like a suede brush, eraser, and specialized suede cleaner. Each item plays a vital role in restoring and maintaining the suede’s natural beauty.

Step-by-Step Cleaning Process

Begin the cleaning process by removing surface dirt with a brush, followed by targeted stain removal. Our step-by-step guide ensures a thorough and safe cleaning routine for your suede shoes.

To effectively clean suede shoes follow the steps below.

Step 1: Cleaning the mud and Dirtiness

Dirt and mud stains are easy to clean. Let the mud stains dry, after that follow the steps below.

  • Take a suede brush
  • Rub the area of the stain with a suede brush
  • This method will remove any dirt and mud spots.
  • You can also take a simple cloth towel
  • Make the towel damp and rub the spots
  • This will remove all stains.

Step 2: Removing the grease/ oil stains 

Oil and grease spots are not so easy to clean, it requires some extra measures to be taken out. If the spots are fresh, you can apply baby powder to the spot area.

  • Apply baby powder to oil spots
  • Leave it for some time
  • Once powder absorbs oil/ grease
  • Take a tooth or suede brush
  • Rub the powder area, it will clean the spots
  • You can also use a towel or cloth

The dried oil/grease stains can be cleaned by applying dishwashing soap solution with water. The Dishwashing soap is a strong candidate for cleaning oil/ grease stains from shoes.

Take a miner amount of dish soap and apply it to the stained area. Now rub the stains with a towel or cloth. Again use a towel or cloth and clean carefully. Don’t apply excess dish soap. You can also use a paper towel for cleaning suede shoes.

Step 3: Dealing with Stubborn Stains

When facing stubborn stains on patent leather leather shoes, take a careful approach to preserve the material. Begin by gently brushing off any loose dirt with a suede brush. For more persistent stains, use a white eraser, rubbing it lightly over the affected area. If the stain persists, try dabbing the spot with a small amount of rubbing alcohol or white vinegar on a clean cloth.

Remember to test in an inconspicuous area first. Patience is key, so allow the shoes to air-dry naturally, away from direct heat. This method helps tackle stubborn stains without compromising the quality and appearance of your suede shoes.

Step 4: Drying and Brushing Techniques

When drying suede leather shoes, avoid direct sunlight and heat sources. Instead, let them air-dry naturally. Stuff the shoes with newspaper to help retain their shape while drying. Brushing is key for nubuck maintenance. Use a suede brush with soft bristles to remove surface dirt and restore the nap (the fine surface fibers).

Brush in the direction of the nap for best results. For tougher stains, a rubber eraser or a suede-cleaning solution can be gently applied. Regularly employing these drying and brushing techniques will keep your patent leather leather shoes looking fresh and well-maintained.

Step 5: Conditioning Suede

Conditioning suede leather shoes is essential for maintaining their softness and appearance. Follow these simple steps:

Clean First: Ensure the shoes are clean and dry before conditioning. Use a suede brush to remove any surface dirt or debris.

Choose a Suede Conditioner: Pick a high-quality suede conditioner specifically designed for suede shoes. Ensure it’s appropriate for the color of your shoes.

Apply Conditioner: Use a clean, dry cloth or a sponge to apply a small amount of the suede conditioner. Gently rub it into the suede in circular motions, covering the entire surface.

Let it Absorb: Allow the conditioner to absorb into the calfskin for a few hours or overnight. This helps to nourish and soften the leather fibers.

Brush Again: After the conditioner has absorbed, use a suede brush to gently restore the nap and remove any excess conditioner. Brush in the direction of the suede’s grain.

Tips for cleaning suede leather shoes:

Regular Brushing: Brush your suede shoes regularly with a suede brush to remove surface dirt and maintain the nap.

Waterproofing: Apply a calfskin protector spray to guard against water damage and stains. Ensure your shoes are dry before application.

Stain Prevention: Address stains promptly. Use a white eraser or a nubuck cleaner for gentle stain removal.

Proper Storage: Store suede shoes in a cool, dry place. Avoid damp areas to prevent mold and mildew.

Rotation: Rotate your nubuck shoes with other pairs to allow them to air out and maintain their shape.

Common Mistakes to Avoid:

Water Exposure: Avoid wet conditions as water can damage the suede. If they get wet, let them air-dry naturally.

Direct Heat: Never use direct heat sources like hairdryers or heaters on suede. It can cause the material to warp or shrink.

Incorrect Cleaning Agents: Use only products specifically designed for nubuck. Avoid harsh chemicals that may damage the material.

Overbrushing: Brushing too aggressively can wear down the nubuck fibers. Be gentle to preserve the texture.

Ignoring Specialized Care: Suede requires specific care. Don’t treat it like other materials; follow suede-specific cleaning and care instructions.

Cleaning the Leather Shoes

 Here is the answer to some queries related to cleaning leather shoes.

1.      How to clean white leather shoes?

Well, white leather shoes get dirty quicker than shoes of other colors. You can clean the white leather shoe by applying a solution of warm water with washing soap (dishwashing).

  • Take a brush, towel, or cloth
  • Make a solution of warm water with dish soap or Castile
  • Slightly apply the solution to your shoes
  • Rub with cloth or towel
  • Saturating leather with solution may damage it.
  • Slightly clean by rubbing a brush
  • Use a clean cloth and clean the solution
  • You can also use a paper towel to absorb damp
  • Enjoy a clean look with your white leather shoes.

2.     How to clean leather dress shoes?

Leather dress shoes can be cleaned by using a damp cloth or paper towel.  You can clean your leather dress shoes with a special spray (made for leather shoes). Another method for cleaning dress shoes is using a soft brush and rubbing the shoe surface, crevice, and welt. The brush can easily remove any dust and dirt and gives your shoes a new look. You can get a good shoe-cleaning spray from the market to clean your leather-made dress shoes.

3.     How to clean the inside of leather shoes?

The insole of shoes gets dirty and creates a bad odor, cleaning the inner of the shoes removes their odor and dirt from the inside. First of all, you need to check if the inner of the shoes are removable/ detachable. Remove the detachable insole of the shoes, you can also wash the insole if recommended. A mixed solution of dishwash soap and water is effective for cleaning footbeds.  If the insoles are not removable you can use a cloth, damp it in a soap solution, and clean the inner of the shoe. Once all stubborn stains and odors are removed, use a clean towel or cloth to absorb moisture.

4.     How to clean smelly leather shoes?

If you are tired of shoe odor and smelly shoes? Here is the guide to removing odor from shoes. There are some possible ways through which you can remove odor from your shoes.

  • By applying baking soda to the inner of the shoes
  • By using specific sprays for odor removal
  • By applying vinegar solution, apply vinegar to the insole and let it be dried.
  • You can also use mint and other herbs.

5.     How to clean patent leather shoes?

The method for cleaning patent leather shoes includes a soapy solution and a soft cotton cloth. Now dampen the soft cloth with a solution and wipe out the outer of patent leather shoes carefully. A paper towel or a soft cloth is best for wiping out moisture from the skin of the shoes. Dry your shoes at room temperature for approximately 24 hours.

Related Guide: Best Leather Soccer Cleats


How to clean suede shoes with household products?

To clean tough stains on suede shoes at home, use a soft cloth and white vinegar. Dampen the cloth with the vinegar and gently rub the stain, careful not to soak the patent leather. The vinegar might change the color temporarily while wet, but as it dries, the suede should go back to its original color. Remember to go easy on the liquid to avoid soaking the shoes. This simple trick can help you tackle stubborn stains and keep your suede shoes looking good.

How do you deep-clean suede leather?

To deep clean suede leather, use a suede cleaner with a soft brush (made of natural silk hair to prevent damage). Scrub the shoes over a basin or sink. Rinse the brush and remove dirt following the patent leather’s grain. Repeat as needed. Let the shoes air-dry away from the sun and heat. This process helps maintain your suede shoes, keeping them clean and stylish.

What liquid to clean suede shoes?

To clean suede shoes, you can use a product called PRO Suede N Nubuck Foam Cleaner. It’s a shampoo specifically designed for suede and nubuck leather shoes. The foam cleaner comes in a 150 ML bottle and is effective in removing dirt and stains. Another option is the PRO Cleaning Shampoo for Sports Shoes Sneakers and Canvas which is also suitable for various types of shoes. These products make cleaning suede shoes easy and convenient.

What is the best homemade suede cleaner?

For a homemade nubuck cleaner, skip water and try white vinegar or rubbing alcohol. Dab some on a cloth, gently rub the stain, and let it fully dry. If the stain vanishes, use a suede brush to revive the texture. Remember, water-free methods like vinegar or alcohol work well for cleaning suede.

What’s the best thing to clean suede?

To clean suede shoes effectively, avoid using water as it can cause stains. Begin by using a dry brush to remove dirt. Next, employ a rubber eraser to address any marks gently. For stubborn stains, utilize rubbing alcohol, white vinegar, or a calfskin-cleaning solution. This step-by-step process helps maintain the suede’s texture and prevents water-related issues.

How to clean suede shoes without suede cleaner?

To clean suede shoes without the suede cleaner, start by removing loose dirt with a soft brush. Mix equal parts white vinegar and water, dampen a cloth or sponge, and gently blot any stains on the suede.

Also, Avoid vigorous rubbing to prevent damage. Once stains are treated, use a soft brush to gently restore the nap of the suede by brushing in one direction. Allow the shoes to air dry completely, avoiding heat sources.

After drying, brush the suede again to lift the fibers and restore the soft texture. For stubborn stains, repeat the process or use a pencil eraser for spot cleaning.

Test the cleaning solution on a small area first to ensure it doesn’t discolor the suede. Regular maintenance, including brushing off dirt and avoiding wet conditions, can help preserve the condition of suede shoes

How to clean suede leather shoes? Conclusion

Cleaning calfskin leather shoes is a simple process that requires a gentle touch. Start by brushing away any loose dirt with a suede brush, then use a white eraser to tackle stubborn stains. For more extensive cleaning, a mixture of water and white vinegar on a soft cloth can be applied that can be followed by a final brush to restore the patent leather’s texture.

Always let the shoes air-dry naturally, avoiding direct heat. Regular maintenance and swift stain removal can keep your suede shoes looking fresh and stylish. Overall with a bit of care, your calfskin leather shoes will stay in great condition for a long time.

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