Your Complete Guide to Cleaning Suede Shoes

how to clean suede shoes
Courtesy @jasonmarkk
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* Normal cleaning products can damage suede shoes
* Using a brush and eraser is the best way to lift stains from suede
*Waterproof/treat suede shoes BEFORE you wear them

Suede shoes, nubuck boots and sneakers with suede inlays are extremely fashionable but also incredibly difficult to maintain. Suede looks impeccable on your feet, but it also easily picks up dirt, salt and grease stains. But don’t worry, there are numerous hacks and methods for keeping your suede shoes clean and stain-free so you can rock them without fear of ruining them.

One of the first things you should do when you purchase a pair of suede shoes? Treat them with a waterproof and stain-resistant solution so they’re already geared up and ready to take on the world. The worst thing you can do is wait until after a stain has graced the fabric to try to use a treatment — set your shoes up for success and be proactive.

But what if you already a stain, what then?

There are ways to remedy the situation — just listen carefully. Suede is sensitive to water, which makes it a bit more difficult to clean. The worst thing you can do is go at your suede shoes with a wet cloth.

To clean your suede shoes, you’ll need to invest in the proper tools. Having a suede brush is probably the most important thing, but you may also need a suede eraser and special suede cleaning spray, depending on the type of stains you’re trying to remove. Erasers work to remove tough stains by scratching off a thin layer of suede material, but you’ll naturally want to do this sparingly. On the other hand, brushes are good for an all-over general clean as they work to replace the material’s nap.

So if you’re stuck with dirty or stained suede shoes, get one of these cleaning kits. They will help your shoes look as good as new with minimal effort.


1. Bickmore Water & Stain Repellant

This waterproof treatment from Bickmore adds a protective layer to your suede shoes before you wear them, so any splashes or stains have less of a chance of inflicting long-term damage. This formula works on leather, suede, nubuck and other fabrics so you can use it on all your shoes. The layer of protection is invisible so your shoes will still look just as good, and the breathable formula keeps the materials flexible and looking their best. Give your shoes a treatment with this before you start wearing them and save yourself some stain-related grief later on.

Bickmore Stain Repellant Courtesy of Amazon


2. Cadillac Select Premium Water Repellant

This water-repellent and stain-proofing spray from Cadillac creates an invisible, silicone-free layer of protection around your soles so your shoes stay dry, thus giving your kicks a longer lifespan. This protective coating is designed to protect against dirt, oil, water and other stains. The silicone-free formula keeps your shoes’ material from suffocating and helps them last longer without any unsightly stains.

Cadillac Water Repellant Courtesy of Amazon


3. Jason Markk Unisex Repel Shoe Spray and Suede Kit

When it comes to shoe care, it’s safe to trust Jason Markk. They’re a brand we love for taking care of our shoes, and this kit is designed to proactively protect suede and other fabrics from stains. The Repel spray creates a durable barrier around your shoes’ fabric that’s breathable and also keeps stains and liquid out. It’s water-based so it’s safe to use on all materials and the continuous-spray bottle will coat your shoes evenly easily in all directions.

As an added bonus, the bottle is refillable and propellant free so it’s less harmful to the environment than other aerosol sprays.

Jason Markk Repel Spray Courtesy of Amazon


4. Kiwi Suede & Nubuck Stain Eraser

The Kiwi Suede and Nubuck Stain Eraser works to get rid of stains by rubbing them off the sensitive material. It won’t work on any stains that have absorbed into the fabric, but it will get rid of the annoying black marks that seem to appear out of nowhere on suede shoes. With 170 five-star reviews on Amazon, this stain eraser has helped many get more life out of their suede and nubuck.

how to clean suede shoes kiwi Courtesy of Amazon


5. Blanco Shoe Cleaner Kit

The Blanco Shoe Cleaner Kit can clean gum, dirt build up and more from your suede and leather shoes. To use the cleaning kit, simply wet the brush and apply a small amount of the cleaner to it. Scrub your shoes using the foaming action of the cleaner, then wipe your shoes clean with a towel and allow them to air dry.  

how to clean suede shoes blanco Courtesy of Amazon


6. Gear Aid Revivex Suede And Fabric Boot Care Kit

Your boots are probably the most important piece of your winter or hiking kit. Keep them in tip top shape with the Gear Aid Revivex Suede And Fabric Boot Care Kit. The included suede eraser lifts stains and replaces the nap, while the cleaner and brush will take care of the rest of the boots’ exterior. But the water-repellent spray is probably the most important piece of the kit as it restores any waterproof coating to your boots after cleaning.

how to clean suede shoes gear aid Courtesy of Amazon


7. Jason Markk Premium Shoe Cleaner

Marketed as the premium sneaker solution, the Jason Markk Shoe Cleaner Kit comes with everything you need to make your shoes look new again. The kit is 98.3% natural and completely biodegradable. It includes a cleaning solution, two different brushes and a suede eraser. Altogether, these tools can remove stains from all the materials on your high-end sneakers.

how to clean suede shoes jason markk Courtesy of Amazon


8. Jason Markk Premium Shoe Cleaning Brush

If all you’re in the market for is a solid cleaning brush, this is a great option. It’s made of hog bristle that’s a little softer than other brands so it’s perfect for softer materials. It works well on suede, premium leather or cotton mesh — fabrics you don’t want to mess with. It’s got a walnut wood handle that’s handcrafted and easy to hold.

Shoe Cleaning Brush Courtesy of Amazon


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