Cleaning suede shoes: 9 tips for removing stains and precautions to take

Cleaning suede shoes: 9 tips for removing stains and precautions to take

Suede shoes are stylish, but they tend to quickly become damaged and stained. With dirt or even rain, it is difficult to keep them clean and intact. And cleaning them is no easy task either due to their delicate material which must be treated with care. Check out these tips and tricks to make your suede shoes look like new.

Precautions for suede shoes

  • Prevent dirt buildup:  Clean your shoes after wearing them using a soft brush. This is effective  for cleaning even light-colored suede without damaging it.
  • Do not leave your shoes in the open air:  Dust may settle on your shoes over time and become difficult to remove. Store your shoes in boxes to better protect them before use.

Some tips for cleaning suede shoes

Some products are known  to clean your  suede shoes without damaging them:


  1. Soak a cotton pad in milk and wring it out;
  2. Then rub the stains on your shoes with the piece of cotton soaked in the solution.

An eraser

For “dry” cleaning, you can use an eraser or a special suede eraser to remove stains.

Household alcohol and dishwashing liquid

This method is more aggressive and only concerns dark-colored shoes.

  1. Prepare a solution by mixing half a teaspoon of dishwashing liquid, a few drops of 70% household alcohol and a tablespoon of water to dilute everything;
  2. Scrub the stains with the solution using a soft brush;
  3. Rinse the affected area;
  4. Leave to dry in the open air, away from light and heat.

On the other hand, certain more stubborn stains, such as those caused by ink, glue, grease, coffee or even mold, require specific cleaning.

Clean suede shoes

How to clean suede from glue and ink stains?

Glue stains

This type of stain is stubborn and difficult to remove.

  • If it is vinyl glue:
  1. Dilute it gradually with lukewarm water;
  2. Remove the filamentous residue with your fingers.
  • For other types of glue:

Prepare a mixture composed of a tablespoon of liquid Marseille soap and a few drops of 70% household alcohol. Dab the stain with a sponge soaked in the solution then rinse with a damp cloth.

These practical tips will allow you to easily overcome difficult stains that tarnish the appearance of your pair of suede shoes, without damaging them!

Ink stains

To remove this type of stain, you can use milk. If the stain persists, scrape it with a nail file or very fine sandpaper.

Note that there are several special solvents for dissolving ink stains that can be used on suede without damaging it. For added precaution, it is advisable  to test the product on a hidden corner of your shoes  before using it on the area concerned.

How to Clean Suede from Oil, Water, Mold and Coffee Stains

For oil and grease stains

Use the washing paste to clean the dishes. This is gentle and degreasing.

  1. Moisten the stain;
  2. Apply a little washing paste to the stained area;
  3. Remove excess with a brush or microfiber cloth.

Note that if the stain is still fresh, it is advisable  to sprinkle  baking soda  or talc to absorb the grease. Then rub the washing paste onto the surface of your suede shoe until the grease disappears.

For water stains

  1. Prepare a solution by mixing one part white vinegar in two parts water;
  2. Soak a clean cloth with this preparation and dab the stained area;
  3. Rinse with a damp cloth;
  4. Let dry then brush properly to restore your suede to its fluffy appearance;

For mold stains

  1. Make a solution by mixing half a glass of water and a few drops of 70% household alcohol;
  2. Scrub the stains with a toothbrush.

For coffee and other beverage stains

  1. Spray a few drops of 70% alcohol or diluted vinegar on the stained area;
  2. Dab the stains with a cloth and let dry.


Is suede water resistant?

Suede is not waterproof,  as it is a more delicate and porous material than classic leather. When  suede gets wet, it can become discolored and damaged. It may therefore have a rough appearance.

Can you machine wash suede shoes?

It is not recommended to machine wash suede shoes, as this can cause them to become deformed  and the suede leather to crumble.

How to waterproof suede shoes?

To protect your suede shoes, it is important to waterproof them with special products, especially when you wear them for the first time.

  1. First brush your shoes using a special suede brush;
  2. If you choose a waterproofing spray, spray your product about 20 cm from your shoes;
  3. Apply two or three thin coats of the product  then let dry.