5 easy ways to clean suede shoes


If you are like me you don’t properly treat your suede shoes before they hit the streets. It’s just my luck that a mystery spot always appears on my shoes when the day is done. I wore a pair of sexy, strappy, burnt orange heels when I went out to celebrate, the next morning I woke up to burnt orange heels that actually looked burnt. My once beautiful shoes were riddled with black spots all over them. I obviously had a good night, but my shoes didn’t fare so well from the previous night’s shenanigans. Because I’m never prepared with the proper suede cleaning tools, I use household products I have lying around for a quick fix. Here are five ways to clean you suede shoes with items you can find in your home.

1. Rubbing alcohol

For ink and dirt stains, rubbing alcohol will bring your blemished shoes back to life. This is the strategy I used for my New Year’s debacle. The next day I took a cotton ball and soaked it with rubbing alcohol. I lightly rubbed the stain until it disappeared.  The rubbing alcohol evaporates quickly, so it won’t leave water marks on the suede.

2. A pencil eraser, then maybea nail file

You can remove to stains from your suede using a pencil eraser! Yes, we’re going back to grade school and whipping out the No. 2 Pencil. Use the eraser to gently erase the stain away. If your eraser doesn’t seem to be getting the job done, you can use a nail file as back up. When filing the stain, make sure you use light pressure. I know from experience that everything can go left if you use this method incorrectly. I filed away the stain, but the suede also disappeared. My suede shoes had a bald spot and just so you know that wasn’t the look I was going for.

3. White vinegar

White vinegar isn’t just for cooking anymore. Similar to rubbing alcohol, white vinegar will not stain your suede. Use a plain white wash cloth dipped into the white vinegar. Gently rub the stain and wait for it to dry.  Once the material is dry, use a clean toothbrush to gently rub off the remnants of the stain in one direction. 

4.Corn Starch

The rule of thumb for treating grease stains is the sooner the better. The longer it sits the more difficult it will be to remove it. Place a white cloth over the stain to soak up excess oil. Next apply a liberal amount of corn starch and let it sit for at least 30 minutes. Wipe away cornstarch with a damp rag. If the stain is still visible repeat once or twice more.

5. Dish sponge and a lint brush

Most people who have worn suede shoes have been caught in the rain at least once. Unfortunately, all it takes is one time in the rain to ruin a pair of suede shoes. The good news is you don’t have to throw away a perfectly good pair of shoes. The damage can be reversed. You might feel the urge to break out the blow dryer to speed up the drying process. Don’t do it! I repeat, don’t use a hair dryer to dry wet suede shoes; this could set the stain and make the damage irreversible. Be patient and let the stain dry at room temperature for at least 24 hours. Once the material is dry say hello to your like new suede shoes.

I hope these five suede revival strategies help you when you’re in a bind and need a convenient and inexpensive way to bring you suede shoes back to life. Keep in mind these techniques work on all suede items whether they are real or faux. Thanks for reading!

Tish YvetteComment