Don’t you just wish that everyone would listen to Presley’s advice and “stay off of your blue suede shoes”? Unfortunately, no matter how hard you try, your suede shoes are bound to collect dirt, stains, scuff marks, etc. And due to their delicate, supple nature, knowing how to clean suede shoes is essential unless you don’t want them to live the longest. Luckily, the process isn’t that complicated. You can get it done with nothing but simple items that every house has.
How To Clean Suede Shoes Without Damaging Them
Step 1: Fill Your Suede Shoes With Paper
Before you carry on with the actual cleaning, you’ll need to wad some of your old documents. Then shove as much paper as you can into the shoes.
This way, the shoes will maintain their optimal shape even if you have to forcefully clean a stubborn spot.
If you’ll be using water to clean challenging stains, try to pick the paper that has the least amount of ink. Water can seep through the suede, liquefy the ink, and stain your shoes. That’s why I strongly advise against using newspapers.
If you want to steer clear of any trouble, it’s better to consider a pair of shoe trees. They’ll provide the perfect amount of support with zero possibility of staining.
Step 2: Get a Suede Brush
To avoid disrupting the fine, soft grain of suede, manufacturers recommend using a special suede brush. With its delicate bristles, this brush would remove dirt, lint, and stains without damaging the suede.
Although the suede brush isn’t expensive, you can still save some bucks by opting for one of the soft-bristled brushes that you have in your home. An old toothbrush should be fine, for instance. But if you have multiple pairs of suede shoes, buying the special brush would be a smart, cost-effective decision.
Step 3: Determine the Brushing Direction
As a rule of thumb, you should be brushing gently in only one direction; going back and forth won’t dislodge dirt and dust efficiently.
However, if you’re cleaning scuff marks, it’d be ok to go back and forth, but only over the affected areas.
Why would that word? Because scuffed areas are nothing but crushed nap. If you brushed in one direction, you might be crushing it even more. When you go in both directions, you’ll be more likely to lift up and fluff the nap back to its original form.
Step 4: Use an Eraser for Tough Scuffs and Grime
If the brush doesn’t seem to work with certain stains, a rubber eraser would be the next best thing. Generally speaking, most suede brushes come with a special eraser.
If you didn’t receive an eraser, you can use the regular pencil eraser. Just make sure that it doesn’t have any leftover graphite marks that might smudge your shoes; removing these would be a dreadful ordeal.
Whichever eraser you choose, start rubbing back and forth while applying moderate pressure. You can slowly ramp up the force for heavier stains.
Step 5: Try White Vinegar
Thanks to its acidic nature, white vinegar can effectively deal with tough stains of food, salt, and wine.
Never pour the vinegar directly on the shoes. Instead, pour a small amount on a clean cloth and gently rub the stains in one direction. Next, leave the shoes to soak up the vinegar. After it completely dries, you should be able to remove the stains with a brush or an eraser.
Step 6: Apply a Suede Protector
Although the cleaning process is fairly simple, I don’t think you’d want to add it to your list of monthly chores.
To protect your shoes from future insults, use a professional suede protector. The special composition of this spray can prevent dust and stains from adhering to the shoes’ surface.
Don’t overdo it, though. Applying more than one layer within a short period of time might inadvertently leave stains.
How to Clean Water Stains
If water found its way to your suede shoes, its minerals and impurities might leave a quite visible stain. If the previous methods didn’t work, try the following steps.
Step 1: Wet the Shoes
I know what you’re probably thinking. If the initial stain was caused by water, how would wetting the whole shoes help? Well, it’s all about the application.
You won’t pour the water directly over the shoes. Instead, you’ll use a damp brush to apply a thin coat of water. Then, pick up the excess moisture by gently dabbing the shoes with paper towels.
Step 2: Let Them Dry
Now all you have to do is wait. Don’t attempt to dry the shoes with a hairdryer since this might warp the suede. Leaving the shoes under the sun isn’t suggested either — it might fade the color to a great extent.
Step 3: Fluff the Suede With a Brush
More times than not, water leaves the suede looking a bit dull after it completely dries. Luckily, you can easily restore its original tone with your suede brush.
How to Clean Unusual Stains
Oil stains are by far the toughest to clean. Before the oil dries up, sprinkle it with some cornstarch and let it sit overnight. Next, the hardened cornstarch should leave the suede looking as good as new.
Mud needs time to clump and harden up before you can clean it. After you get rid of the dry dirt, you might have to clean your shoes with water as illustrated earlier.
If you accidentally hurt yourself, blood smears won’t come out without hydrogen peroxide. Pour a small amount over a small cotton and gently rub the area.
Learning how to clean suede shoes is essential if you want to get the most out of your stuff.
Dirt and dust can be easily removed with a suede brush or eraser. If the stain has been around for a while, try white vinegar.
For water stains, nothing could be better than a simple wipe with water. The most important thing is to let your shoes dry on their own.
Remember, after you finish cleaning, apply a suede protector to shield your shoes against getting stained again.