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How to Clean Suede Shoes the Right Way

how to clean suede shoes blue
Photo by Norasit Kaewsai
With fall well underway, now’s a great time to rearrange your closet and make room for all of your winter shoes and clothing. This means packing up items that won’t be able to handle these frigid, wet seasons —which includes any shoes made of suede.

Unfortunately, this stylish fabric just doesn’t do well when exposed to the wet grime of autumn and winter as it’s highly susceptible to stains and warping. Before you say goodbye to your favorite pair of suede shoes, make sure to give them a thorough cleaning so they’ll be primped and ready for spring.

For some best practices and tips on how to clean suede shoes, check out our guide below.

clean blue suede shoes

Get the Gear

Before you get started, make sure to grab some suede cleaning essentials. While some experts suggest investing in specialty combs or oils, we’ve found that the combo of a simple suede-cleaning brush and eraser does the trick just fine. Both of these items can be purchased on Amazon for as little as $7 and go a long way in keeping your sweet suede kicks looking fresh.

Stuff with Newspaper

Now that you’re armed with the necessary tools, make sure to stuff each shoe with some newspaper. This will help them retain their shape while you work around the suede’s nooks and crannies.

Towel Off

To start off the cleaning, run a clean, dry towel all over the surface. This will remove any superficial dirt and give you a smooth surface to begin your more intense scrubbing process. Use your brush and eraser to get rid of any smudges the towel may have left behind.


After running the towel over your shoes, you should use a special home elixir to get the suede looking even more spotless. Mix one cup of water with one cup of white vinegar and dip a small hand towel into the mixture. Rub the towel over the surface of each shoe.


Once you’re done cleaning your shoes, spray them with a protective adhesive. There are many different kinds of suede protectors on the market, most of which do a great job of repelling dirt and water stains. Check out cost-effective spray options from Kiwi and Moneysworth.

Dry Completely

Before putting your freshly cleaned shoes away for the winter, make sure to let them air dry for a few hours so the vinegar and adhesive can really soak into the fabric. Packing them away while the shoes are still wet will lead to a miserable surprise come spring.

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