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How to Clean Suede Shoes Correctly So They Don’t Ruin

Suede shoes are a trusted part of every guy's style rotation: At least, we think they should be, and that's why it's so essential to know how to clean suede shoes. Suede shoes or boots can pick up dust and debris, and it's more important than ever to put your best foot forward with fresh footwear for a new season. Suede is a terrific material to wear in the spring and the fall, too -- it's got depth, it's got texture, and it looks great in various colors and styles.

From suede Chelsea boots to lace-up dress shoes you can wear with your best suit, it's never been easier to get one of the best pairs of suede shoes, and it's never been easier to learn how to clean suede shoes the very best way. In fact, you can do it at home with just a few simple tools and quick steps. Here are the tips we find most helpful to keep your shoes in tip-top shape.




15 minutes

What You Need

  • Suede brush, suede eraser, mixing bowl for cleaning solution, towel

A plastic suede brush and a pair of blue suede shoes on wooden floor.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

How to Clean Suede Shoes the Best Way Possible

Suede shoes tend to lean a bit dressier in terms of style and in terms of how you wear them, so hopefully, you're not finding yourself in too many off-road situations (or in wet weather -- remember, suede, like leather, doesn't do well in rain!). There's a wide world of options out there in terms of suede shoes to begin with (just as with your favorite Oxford or Derby shoes), including affordable Chelsea boots from a brand like New Republic . And because those boots are made to be worn with everything from jeans to a tailored suit, you'll want to keep them as clean as can be. Now that you've got a new pair of fresh kicks on your radar, here's how to clean and care for them day in and day out.

Step 1: First, get your suede shoes out of your closet -- brush them carefully with a towel to remove any dust or debris they might have picked up along the way. You can also do this process with a suede brush or eraser, or all three if they've been worn particularly hard. Next up: Crafting your own quick cleaning solution. Note that some brands sell essential cleaning kits with all the tools you need, but let's focus on a DIY solution first.

A pair of hands using a suede brush to clean a suede shoe on the floor.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Step 2: Next, mix one cup water and one cup white vinegar in a mixing bowl before dipping a small towel into the mixture. This homemade solution is going to remove stains and signs of wear easily as you run the towel from toe to heel.

Step 3: As a finishing touch, dab your shoes dry with a clean, dry towel. From here, you can increase their resistance to weather and stains of all sorts by using a handy suede spray. There are fairly priced options that can be used plenty of times on different shoes.

A close-up of blue suede shoes being worn by a model.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Step 4: Once you've treated your suede shoes, stuff them with newspaper to help retain their shape and speed along the treatment process as your suede protector dries out.

With just a few simple steps and some DIY know-how, you can clean your suede shoes like a pro in no time. Although there's a bit of extra time and elbow grease applied as you drum up your own cleaning solution and wait for the suede protector to dry, these are steps that are well worth it and will keep your shoes in fine form all year round.

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Beau Hayhoe
Beau Hayhoe is a freelance men's style writer, consultant and PR pro based in Brooklyn. Beau's menswear and gear writing has…
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