Source: Pierre Hardy

Stylish in Every Season: How to Brush Your Suede Shoes Clean

“You can do anything, but don’t you step on my blue suede shoes,” Elvis liked to keep his suede shoes clean. While the wardrobe staple works in every season, they’re not quite so comfortable in every environment. The key to keeping your suede shoes looking good is having them clean.

Of course, we would all rather avoid a splash of coffee, a drop of red wine or some muddy rain but unfortunately stains happen. Luckily, there are ways to ensure the pair of your finest suedes stay in tip-top condition. Here’s how to clean suede shoes to keep them stylish and soft, season after season.

While conventional leather is tougher, made from the skin’s outer layer, suede is a softer, more supple skin. While the leather’s soft texture provides its appeal, it’s also the reason cleaning can be more of a challenge than regular leather. The open-pored surface means it more easily absorbs liquids and leaves the material vulnerable to scuffing.

How to protect Suede shoes

A little bit of pre-care will go a long way with suede. The best way to protect your suede shoes is with spray on sealant. Applying a coat every few weeks or month, depending on how much you wear them, will repel dirt and save a lot of cleaning time.

What you’ll need

Depending on the type of stain, the following tools will get the job done and many can be found at home.

  1. Suede brush/nail brush
  2. White vinegar
  3. Cloth towel
  4. Eraser/rubber
  5. Suede protectant spray

General rules

For light stains, a once over with a suede cleaning brush should do the trick. Any clean spot stains can be taken care of with a suede eraser. For heavier stains, wet a rag with white vinegar or liquid shoe cleaner and run it over the stained area. Use a firm, circular motion then let the shoes dry. Once dry, brush them with a suede brush and re-fluff the area and remove any residual dirt.

Ensure the suede shoes are dry before beginning the cleaning process. Use a paper towel or cloth to slightly press on the shoes soaking up the moisture. Once you have removed the residual moisture, store the shoes in a cool dry place to dry completely.

Step 1:

Use the suede brush, or nail brush to remove loose particles and grit. Brush in the same direction of the suede.

Step 2:

Use a suede rubber or eraser to remove any obvious spots or scuffs. Lightly sub any stains in circular motions.

Step 3:

Scrub more difficult stains with white vinegar on a soft cloth. Dip the corner of the cloth into a small bowl of vinegar and rub back and forth on the stain. Do not soak the suede shoes, only dampen them. If the stain remains, repeat the process.

Step 4:

Once clean, dry and with all stains removed, brush the shoes with a suede brush one last time, going with the grain.

Step 5:

Finish with a suede protector, coating the suede shoes all over.

If you’ve got some gold jewellery that needs a bit of love, you might enojoy Longer Lasting Shine: How to Clean Gold Jewellery.

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