Wednesday, 17 December 2014

How to clean suede shoes

Elvis's comment "don't step on my blue suede shoes" takes on a literal meaning that you'll relate with when owning a pair of suede footwear.

Suede is a fibrous, softer and more sensitive form of leather that marks and stains easily.  Using traditional leather cleaning methods can actually damage the suede further, so learning to clean suede shoes with the correct methods is crucial to ensure the longevity of your footwear.

Here are some pointers on how to clean suede shoes:

  1. Always allow mud to dry before attempting to remove.  Trying to remove wet mud will result in further deeper penetration of the fibers making full removal much harder.
  2. Use a suede cleaning brush. These brushes have a soft grain that will not damage the vulnerable material.
  3. Brush in the direction of the nap.  Where possible, always go with the nap (grain) of the suede, try a gentle approach at first and only increase vigour if needed.  You wan to avoid being overly vigorous as this can damage the suede.
  4. For scuffs and stains try a rubber.  For marks that will not be removed by brushing you can purchase a suede rubber, else a pencil rubber will do.  Gently rub the affected area whilst trying to avoid unnecessary rubbing of unaffected areas.
  5.  Using water.  Water can cause watermarks on suede and should be avoided when possible.  To clean with water, or to remove existing watermarks, firstly stuff shoe with paper (not newspaper as the ink may stain) to keep its shape.  Then, lightly wet the entire shoe with water using the suede brush.  Work the stain with the suede brush. Dab away excess water and place shoe to dry in a warm place with indirect heat. (It may seem contradictory to wet an entire shoe to remove a watermark however this is the best method to ensure even colour change should any change occur.)
  6. Salt-line strains from road-gritting.  Use vinegar on a clean cloth and wipe the affected area.  The vinegar aroma may linger but should go in a day tor two.
  7. Oil and sweat stains.  Sprinkle with cornflour to soak up the oil.  Leave over night to take affect, next day you should be able to brush away the flour and work the stain with your suede brush.

Protection is best! Apply a suede protector to your shoes after purchase and again after cleaning.   This will help to reduce water and stain damage.

Art of Clean are specialists in: 

Working for domestic or commercial clients throughout Cambridgeshire, Essex, Suffolk and Hertfordshire.

For more information about our services please contact our friendly team on 01223 863632 or visit