I don’t know about you, but I love suede…especially suede leather shoes! Suede is such a great material, but many people avoid it because it gets dirty quite easily and because they are afraid of cleaning suede for fear of ruining it’s wonderful texture.
Well, I am here today, along with my daughter-in-law Kaitlyn, to tell you to FEAR NO MORE! You can return your scuffed, stained and dirty suede shoes to their previous glory and KEEP them that way just by following this simple cleaning procedure. Take it away Kaitlyn…….
I have had these cute suede shoes sitting in my closet unworn for months now. I bought them at Target a couple of years ago specifically to wear with a pair of bootcut jeans that were too long. They turned out to be insanely comfortable and quickly became one of my favorite pair of shoes.
But unfortunately, that cute pair of bootcut jeans were a REALLY dark wash and they stained the back of my shoes. You couldn’t see the stains when I wore them with those jeans, but who wants a pair of shoes they can only wear with one thing? So I was determined to find a way to get them clean. And then months went by and I never got around to it. Until yesterday! I finally sat down, did some research and cleaned those shoes. And I am pleased as punch with the results.
Suede is tricky to clean because water will stain it. So you’ve got to be careful about what you use.
I bought this suede cleaning kit at Walmart for under $4. It came with a brush designed for use on suede and a rubber eraser. If you have a nail brush or even just a standard scrub brush for cleaning you can use that as well. You can also use a regular eraser – but I would make sure to use a white one. You don’t want to stain your item further with a colored eraser.
Now that you’ve got your tools it’s time to get started!
If you’re using the brush from a suede cleaning kit you’ll want to use the side with the bristles. The other side is meant for use on nubuck.
Lightly brush the stained areas to remove dirt on the surface of your item. Make sure to brush in one direction.
Now go back over the stains with the brush and rub a little harder. This time you can brush back and forth – you’re trying to get to the really ground-in dirt.
If your stain isn’t too bad you may be able to stop at this step. But my stains were BAD. And they had been there for months. So I had to move on to the eraser. Don’t be afraid to apply some pressure! I really worked at removing my stains and it didn’t hurt my shoes at all.
This part may take a while. Keep rubbing until the stain is gone.
Word of caution: this part will be messy. You are basically rubbing the stained fibers off your item. I had my shoes sitting on my lap and this is what my yoga pants looked like after scrubbing for a while.
(Milo seemed a bit concerned with the mess at this point, but I assured him all was well.)
If your stain still isn’t going away, grab some plain white vinegar or rubbing alcohol. Pour a bit onto a white washcloth and rub onto the stain. Unlike water, vinegar and rubbing alcohol won’t stain your item.
Let your item dry and then use the brush and the eraser again.
I also noticed some strings sticking up on various parts of my shoes – you can sort of see them in this picture.
To remove these I grabbed my trusty Venus razor. I needed to put a new blade on anyway so I didn’t mind using the old one on my shoes. I don’t have a picture because my razor is old and has hard water stains and I was embarrassed to show it to all of you, haha. So you’ll just have to trust me on this one. ;)
Lightly shave over the stringy parts. That might sound crazy but it totally worked! Use your brush again to get rid of the strings you just shaved off.
Rub some more vinegar or rubbing alcohol all over your item. My shoes looked a bit dull after all the scrubbing and this seemed to restore the brightness of the suede.
Let your item dry and then lightly brush the entire thing to loosen and fluff up the fibers a bit.
And that’s it! My shoes don’t look totally NEW but PRETTY DARN CLOSE!
I’m planning to spray them with this suede protector so that they don’t end up that dirty again.
A few notes on other kinds of stains…
Water Stains: This is a case of fighting fire with fire. Use a damp brush to lightly wet the stain. Soak up excess water with a paper towel. Let the item dry over night. Do not try to quick dry the item. Avoid drying the item in direct sunlight because it may fade the color. If you’re cleaning shoes use a shoe tree or stuff the shoes with paper towels to help them keep their shape.
Oil or Grease: Sprinkle the stain with cornstarch to try and soak up the liquid. Leave it on over night and then brush away in the morning. Use the steam function on your iron to lightly wet the stain. Then use your brush again to remove the stain.
Mud: Let mud dry before cleaning your item. Once it dries you should be able to break it off in chunks. Use your brush to get rid of smaller pieces of dirt.
Wax or Gum: Put your item in the freezer to harden the wax or gum. Then break it off in chunks and brush away smaller particles.
Blood: Pour a bit of hydrogen peroxide on a paper towel or cotton ball and lightly dab at the stain until it comes out.
Ink: Try to get to ink before it dries and dab it up with a paper towel. Once it sets, you can use rubbing alcohol to try and lift the stain. You may also need to scrub it with an erase, nail file or sand paper.