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How to Clean Suede Shoes With Household Products: 5 Steps

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how to clean suede shoes with household products

Washing and caring for leather items are often considered a hassle for many of us since there seem to be more don’ts than dos. We should have a good understanding of the leather fabric used for our shoes or gloves, then work out the maintenance from there.

Suede leather’s highly porous texture makes it a much more delicate fabric than genuine smooth leather. Therefore, we should avoid using potent cleaners, like saddle soap and excess heat on it.

Is there anything else to know? Read on and learn how to clean suede shoes with household products.

How Do You Clean Suede Shoes DIY?


Step 1: Daily cleaning with a toothbrush or make-up brush


Frequent cleaning is necessary if we want to maintain a nice look for our suede shoes. And the best way to do that is with a soft brush.

There are rather inexpensive suede brushes available, designed for this specific cleaning purpose. However, you can use a toothbrush with small and soft bristles or your make-up brush instead.

Just brush off the dirt and spot-treat the shoe stains with a toothbrush twice a week. But stubborn marks will require other cleaning products.

Step 2: Scratch and dirt removal with a pencil eraser


Another household item usable for a quick suede shoe cleaning is the pencil eraser. You can also use crepe rubber for this task if you have it. They are both amazing alternatives for a suede eraser.

It’s recommended to utilize both the eraser and your soft toothbrush, as the rubber is good at removing dry stains and marks, while the brush can smoothen suede leather afterward.

Step 3: Stain removal with vinegar


White vinegar is likely to have a place in our kitchen cupboard for cooking and cleaning. It makes the best DIY cleaner when we need one.

For suede shoes or any leather items, vinegar can remove stains caused by wine, soft drinks, food, salt, and other stubborn dried marks.

What we need to prepare:

  • A soft toothbrush
  • A pencil eraser
  • White vinegar
  • Clean cloth
  • Old newspaper

Here’s what you should do to remove stain from suede shoes completely with those household items.

  • You should ball several pieces of newspaper and stuff them inside your shoes to keep their forms for easier cleaning.
  • Now, use the soft toothbrush to remove the dust first.
  • You can use the pencil eraser to further remove scuff and scratch marks as well as light dirt.
  • To get stain out of suede shoes, it’s time to use white vinegar. You can rub the clean cloth soaked in vinegar on dirty areas.
  • After rubbing the shoes for a bit, you can let the vinegar work for several minutes.
  • Finally, use another piece of cloth to remove the dirt and finish cleaning.

Step 4: Baking soda to clean grease and oil stains


One of the best home remedies to clean suede shoes and other leather-made items is baking soda.

Like white vinegar, this ingredient is available in our kitchen and helpful when we need an effective yet safe cleaning agent. As it contains alkali, baking soda can clean suede sneakers with grease and oil stains.

Here’s what you need to prepare:

  • Baking soda
  • Paper towels
  • A clean towel

Let’s clean dirt off of suede shoes with baking soda:

  • You have to act fast before the oil, grease, or grimes set in. So, bring out the baking soda and sprinkle them to cover the stains.
  • Then, place the paper towels onto the powdered areas to cover the baking soda while it works its magic.
  • Wait for 3-4 hours for the oils and greases to be absorbed by the powder.
  • Then, when the marks are gone, use a towel to rub the areas clean.
  • Now, leave the shoes to dry.

Read more: Tips to clean timberland boots with baking soda.

Step 5: Suede shoes cleaning with rubbing alcohol


Without suede cleaner, rest assured that you can use rubbing alcohol to clean your shoes safely. It’s an amazing alternative that can eliminate stubborn stains when used in a moderate amount.

Furthermore, it’s also an affordable and effective remedy that leaves no residues after cleaning.

Here’re the items we need to clean our suede shoes:

  • Rubbing alcohol (70 – 90%)
  • A soft toothbrush (+ an eraser if you have one)
  • Pieces of microfiber cloth
  • Old newspaper

The steps are pretty easy, a tad similar to how you use white vinegar:

  • (optional) Rubbing alcohol is safe, but if you want to be careful, test several drops on a hidden area of your shoes. Wait for 10 minutes and check for any sign of discoloration.
  • Stick several pieces of crumpled newspaper inside your shoes to maintain their form while cleaning.
  • Use the soft toothbrush to remove the loose dirt first. If you have an eraser with you, brush the light stains off with it, too.
  • Dampen the cloth with rubbing alcohol and start rubbing it onto the dirty areas.
  • Use another piece of dry cloth to remove the excess moisture along with the dirt and let the shoe dry.
  • If the stains are not completely gone, you can repeat the rubbing and drying steps.

Will Dish Soap Clean Suede?


Many might assume that it’s okay to clean suede with water and dish soap. However, not every type of suede shoe can handle this cleaning agent.

Water might stiffen and damage the suede materials, while dish soap might be too strong for the suede’s porous fibers.

Some suede boots and shoes might allow washing with mild soap, but you should read the instructions attached with the products to be sure. Or, you can contact the seller for official information.

Still, using the home remedies mentioned above to clean suede shoes will always be better options than soap.

How to Care for Suede Shoes?

Since this article is about cleaning suede shoes with household products, there is no mention of a professional or commercial cleaner.

However, it’s recommended that you use mink oil or a suede conditioner to moisturize suede shoes and a suede protectant spray for waterproof properties. These additional care products will maintain your pairs’ look and quality for a long time.


Based on our experiences, the methods mentioned above are generally the best ones on how to clean suede shoes with household products. You can always keep a maintenance kit with a soft brush, an eraser, a bottle spray, and a cleaning agent available in your kitchen.

Actually, those cleaners, including vinegar, baking soda, or rubbing alcohol work great for other suede items, and not just shoes. So, the cleaning kit will be of great use for many occasions.

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