How to take care of Suede Leather

Method 1- Cleaning Dirt and Scuff Marks

1) Get a suede brush and make sure your shoes are dry

This is a must-be routine for taking care of suede shoes. Suede has a soft grain that is best cleaned with a special brush, which you can purchase with a suede cleaning kit. Suede is also very sensitive to water, so basic dirt and scuffs are best dealt with when the shoes are dry.

2) Brush gently to remove dirt

Use the suede cleaning brush to lightly brush away dust or dirt that has accumulated on your shoes. Don't go back and forth: brush repeatedly towards the same direction. Once you get off this layer of grime, your shoes will already look newer.

3) Brush vigorously to remove scuff marks

When you scuff your shoes, the suede's grain can get pressed down in one direction. Lift the grain by brushing scuffed areas vigorously back and forth. Again this is best done with a suede brush.

  • For scuffs that are too matted down to respond to the brush, try scraping the area with a knife to lift the nap.

4) Use an eraser for stubborn marks

 Scuffs and marks that won't brush out can often be removed by rubbing with a pencil eraser or a piece of crepe rubber (the crinkled rubber that many shoe soles are made from). Apply a moderate amount of pressure and increase as tougher marks require.

5) Protect your suede

Once they are clean (or when you first get them), spray a coat of suede protector spray on your shoes. This will help prevent further stains and marks.

Method 2- Removing Water Stains

1) Wet the entire outside of the shoe

 Apply a light coat of water with your brush. Water can discolor suede, but properly applied water can also remove those stains

2) Use a sponge or dry cloth to soak up excess water

Dab gently until the leather is evenly wet without visible water stains.

3) Stick paper and shoe trees in your shoes

Especially if you used a large amount of water, put dry paper in the shoes to help blot out excess water on the inside. Shoe trees (or just wads of paper) will help the shoes retain their original shape. Do not use newspaper because excess ink can soak into your shoes.

4) Let the shoes dry at least overnight

Put them in a dry, well ventilated spot and let the water evaporate.

5) Once dry, go over the shoes lightly with a suede brush

This will help shake out the grain back to its original look.


Method 3- Removing Special Stains

1) Get out oil or "unknown" stains with a nail brush

Use a suede brush to scrub the stain as you would for a scuff. Then use a nail brush to scrub stubborn stains with warm water. Grease stains can be particularly difficult to remove from suede, and badly stained shoes may never look good again.

  • Some recommend cornstarch for oil stains if the oil is still wet. Sprinkle it over the stain and then leave it overnight. The next day brush away the starch and mist the stain with an iron.
2) Let mud dry before cleaning

Wipe away the excess mud without pushing too hard against the suede, then leave your shoes to dry in a sunny spot. Once the mud has hardened, you should be able to break off the larger chunks with your hands. Then use a suede brush to break off the remaining dirt particles

3) Put shoes in the freezer for wax and chewing gum stains

If you get gum stuck to your shoes, put them in freezer for a few hours. The gum will eventually become hard enough that you can chip it away in large chunks. Finish off with a suede brush

4) Lift blood stains with cotton balls and peroxide

Dab at the stain with a peroxide-soaked cotton ball slowly until the blood comes out

5) Get at ink before it sets - then use sandpaper

If you spill ink on your kicks, grab a towel and try to blot it up quickly. If it sets, scrape the stain off with sandpaper. A cotton ball with rubbing alcohol can also help in these dire circumstances.

Method 4 - Other Home Treatments

1) Apply white vinegar to recalcitrant stains

If a stain is giving you trouble with normal methods, apply a modest amount of vinegar with a soft rag or towel. Let it dry and then agitate with a suede brush. This can also be a good method for getting rid of salt lines.

2) Use steel wool on dry stains

Brush steel wool vigorously against dry stains. However, be aware that this may require roughing up the rest of the shoe for an even look once the stain is removed.

3) Try an emery board and steamer

If you don't have a suede brush, agitate the suede with the emery board nail file, then steam it with a kettle or iron. The heat should help open up the pores of the suede and make cleaning easier.