How to Clean Suede Boots

Suede comes in many forms, for instance, there is suede, the fabric and there is suede, the leather. Suede, the fabric is just a mere imitation of the latter. The surface is often rough almost the same as that of leather but the rest of the shoe is fabric.

Suede leather manufactures a variety of products such as work boots, handbags, jackets, gloves, and upholstery. It is also used to make shoes most notably; the Hush Puppies- a shoe made using pig hide. Suede shoes are also made from cowhide and doeskin. Suede shoes scratch easily due to their nappy surface. These abrasions prove to be quite a challenge when trying to clean them.

Therefore, it is best if you ensure that pets or people do not step on you. However, your suede shoes will eventually get dirty one way or another no matter how hard you try to keep them clean. This will require you to have some expertise on how to clean suede boots.

It is easier to take your suede shoes to a dry cleaner but on the other hand, it is still expensive. However, you can also clean your suede shoes at home using the procedure outlined below.

  • You can start by lightly brushing the shoes to remove dirt particles. When brushing, ensure that you maintain the direction of movement to just one specific direction. After you are through with this, repeat the procedures but this time apply more force and move the brush back and forth. This enables you to remove even the stubborn dirt particles and get clean suede boots.
  • If the stain wasn’t intense your cleaning can end here but if the stains have accumulated for quite some time we can proceed to the next step where you will use an eraser. Remove dry stains on your shoes by use of a pencil eraser and preferably use a clean eraser. Stains that are still wet can be removed by covering them with paper towels then adding some weight on top. Try not to involve the use of chemical stain removers whether the stains are dry or even wet. This procedure may take quite some time but don’t despair keep going until all the dry stains are gone.
  • If the stains aren’t going away even after vigorous rubbing you can try using rubbing alcohol or white vinegar. Pour some vinegar onto a white washcloth and then rub the cloth onto the stained area. Rubbing alcohol and vinegar are preferred to water since they do not stain your shoes. Allow your shoes to dry then resume the process of using an eraser and brush.

cleaning suede boots

  • If you have used your shoes for a while you may note that strings have started sticking up from various parts of your shoes. To remove these strings use a razor and carefully cut the strings. Then use a brush to brush off the shaved strings. Your shoes probably look dull after intense scrubbing which by using alcohol or vinegar you can restore its brightness to normal. After restoring the brightness allow your shoes some time to dry then use a brush to loosen up the fibers of your shoes. Your shoes may not look as good as new but it will be close. You can also spray your shoes using a suede protector to reduce dirt accumulation.

Other Kinds of Stains

  • Water stains: start by lightly wetting the stain then soak a paper towel in excess water to get clean suede boots. This ensures that shoes dry evenly without leaving stains. Allow your shoes to dry out, preferably overnight.  Don’t dry them in the sun as this cause your shoes to fade.
  • Oil or grease: sprinkle cornstarch on the stains as a way of sucking up the grease or oil. Leave your shoes overnight then brush off the corn the next morning. Use the steam function on your iron box to lightly wet the stains. Use a brush to remove the stains.
  • Mud: allow the mud to dry then break it off your boots. Use a brush to remove the smaller particles left on your boot.
  • Wax or gum: simply place your boots in a freezer for some time. This ensures that both the wax and gum hardens making it easy to break them off.
  • Ink: ink easily comes off before it dries. Therefore any time ink pours on your suede boot use a paper towel before it dries. Once you are through with that you can use alcohol or vinegar to remove the remaining stain.


No matter how hard you try, one way or another your suede boots will eventually get dirty. They will need cleaning which can either be done at home or at a dry cleaner. The procedures outlined in this article will ease you through your cleaning process and help you have clean suede boots.

Irene Sanders

I am an assistant store manager at the largest independent footwear retailer in North America. I have over 5 years experience in the footwear sector having worked previously as a store sales representative helping people find the best men's, ladies, and kids footwear.

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