The Easiest Way To Clean Your Suede Shoes

From classic Oxfords and loafers to stylish boots and clogs, the right pair of suede shoes can really enhance an outfit. Whether you're dressing for the office or wanting to spice up an everyday look, there are so many ways to style this classic piece of footwear (per F Mag).

If you're unfamiliar, MasterClass explains that suede is a softer type of leather. Made from the under skin of animal hide, it's known for its smooth texture and classy look. While actual suede can be made from cowhide, sheepskin, or pigskin, there are synthetic forms of imitation suede made of polyester materials for those that prefer vegan clothing items (per Home Questions Answered).

While suede is often considered a luxury material, Dapper Confidential mentions that it's also known for being easily compromised by water damage and dirt stains. Because of this, you may be hesitant to wear that perfect pair of suede shoes outside the house, even if they do look exactly like Megan Markle's most popular pair of pumps.

There's no need to fear, though, because there are simple and easy ways to clean your suede shoes from home.

You'll first need to gather cleaning supplies

Before breaking down the steps for cleaning your suede shoes, it's essential to mention the different tools and cleaners required. You can easily find suede cleaning kits that come with an assortment of helpful items online, namely suede-specific brushes, erasers, and cleaning solutions (per Phone Soap).

However, if you're in a hurry or don't want to spend the extra money, there are at-home alternatives that you probably already have, as mentioned by Cosmopolitan. In place of a suede brush, you can use a nail brush, toothbrush, or clean towel. Instead of a suede-specific eraser, you can use a clean, school-style eraser. Better Homes and Gardens also mentions that an Emery board nail file can be used in place of an eraser to remove stains.

Depending on how dirty your suede shoes are, a brush and eraser may be the only tools you need. If you're battling specific stains, you might also need to utilize a cleaning solution. If possible, check the cleaning instructions for your specific shoes, as manufacturers can often suggest specific products and processes.

Generally, white vinegar is highly recommended for cleaning suede, but you can also use rubbing alcohol. Baking soda is a great option if you're battling dirt, salt, or grease stains (per Phone Soap). While not required, you may want to finish your cleaning routine with a suede moisturizer or weather-protectant spray.

How to actually clean suede fabrics

Cleaning your suede shoes actually only takes a few simple steps using the mentioned cleaning supplies. Importantly, Nike notes that you should avoid cleaning suede shoes when they are wet, as this can result in more stains. Instead, allow your shoes to completely air dry.

The first step to cleaning suede shoes is to use either a suede-specific brush or the alternatives we mentioned, perĀ Cosmopolitan. Use a light amount of pressure to brush out the surface of the suede, moving with the grain and removing loose particles of grime.

You can use the brush to target specific stains and scuff marks, but an eraser tool will be more effective. Use gentle, but more insistent back-and-forth motions on these particular areas. If an eraser does not seem to be doing the job, then move on to using a cleaning solution to avoid damaging the suede (via Better Homes and Gardens).

If you're using a cleaning solution from a suede cleaning kit, then follow the product's specific directions for cleaning. Otherwise, you can pour a small amount of the white vinegar or rubbing alcohol on a clean cloth and massage the liquid into the suede. It will likely take some time to massage the stain away, and you might even want to allow the suede to dry to see if the stain is completely removed.

To finish off the process, you can follow product-specific directions on suede protectors or moisturizers.