Everyone who’s ever owned a pair of suede shoes knows how easily and quickly they can get stained and soiled. Thankfully, the Good Housekeeping Institute Cleaning Lab has some tips and tricks for you to keep those kicks looking new!
How to protect suede shoes
Don’t wait until you have a stain to take action! Prevention is key. Before wearing your shoes for the first time, spray suede (real or faux) with a product like Kiwi Suede Protector, to help shield them from dirt and water stains.
Make sure to read the instructions before application and test a small, hidden area first to ensure it doesn’t leave any unwanted marks. After wearing, give suede shoes a light brushing with a suede brush to remove any loose dust before putting them away.
How to clean water-damaged suede shoes
If you see it’s raining out, choose a different pair of shoes. If you do happen to get caught in a downpour wearing suede shoes, take them off immediately and ALWAYS allow them to dry naturally. Never pull out the blow dryer or set them by the radiator when they’re wet. Heat can cause suede to shrink, fade or warp.
Instead, blot excess water with a clean towel. Insert shoe trees, if you have them, or stuff your shoes with white paper towels and set them in a dry, well-ventilated place to dry overnight. Once dry, give them a light brushing to restore the nap.
How to remove stains from suede shoes
Blot fresh stains with a paper towel as soon as they happen. Sprinkle a little baking soda on the spot and allow it to dry overnight. The next day, buff away the powder and any remaining stain with an emery board or try a product like Kiwi Suede Cleaner.
If you’re dealing with a dried stain, first try brushing or gently scraping the stain off. You can use a toothbrush if you’re in a pinch or opt for a special suede brush. If the suede is matted, lightly steam the area for a few seconds, then raise the nap with the emery board or brush. You can also try dabbing a kneadable eraser on the stain to remove it.
Most importantly, be gentle: Brush only in the direction of the fibers — not back and forth — or you risk further damaging the suede.
If all else fails, take your suede shoes to the shoe repair shop and ask if they can be cleaned and restored. We know it’s a hassle sometimes but if you love your shoes, give them the TLC they are in desperate need of. It’ll be worth it (and it’s sustainable!).