How to Clean Suede Shoes

Most people are usually afraid to clean suede shoes as they are likely to get ruined more easily than the regular leather shoes, especially when they get wet because of their porous surface.

These shoes are also prone to scruffs, stains, and scratches  but you can still increase the longevity of suede shoes and keep them in a good condition by following the proper cleaning procedure.


First of all, suede shoes should be cleaned with a suede cleaning brush or a soft nylon brush. They should not be cleaned with excessive abrasive pressure, though.

Before you start the cleaning, make sure the shoes are completely dry, or else your cleaning attempts shall spread the dirt further on the surface instead of sweeping it away and make cleaning even more complicated.

Stuff the shoes with some newspapers, particularly in the toe area so that they can hold their shape while you work on them.

Gently brush away the dirt and mud from the surface of the shoes using a suede cleaning brush. Keep in mind that you need to brush it in the direction of the fibers rather than going back and forth.

However, if there are stubborn stains like caked mud, then you may have to scrub the affected area vigorously but carefully, regardless of the direction of the nap, but not too hard.

For marks and blemishes that cannot be removed with the cleaning brush, rub a piece of crepe rubber, or suede eraser on the affected area.

After the harsh treatment, you can brush over the suede with a nylon brush to help lift the nap.

In cases where the nap has worn down, you may have to brush the middle wire bristles of a suede brush vigorously before using the nylon brush.

Finally, remove the crumpled newspaper from the shoes and store them. If you wear them occasionally, you may wrap the shoes lightly in tissue paper and then keep them in a shoe box.

While scraping tough stains with an emery board, you can consider steaming over the affected area with an iron, or simply a kettle to help open up the pores, thereby making it easier to clean.