How do you clean suede/leather sneakers?
By Farmerkevin from West Covina, CA
I have always washed leather, and suede accented tennis shoes/athletic shoes in the washer on cold with a few dirty towels, then air dried by placing on their sides in front of the refrigerator.
I have worked in these types of shoes for 15 years, and have rarely had a problem. I also live in a rural area, where the major "dirt" is red clay, and this always comes out as well.
For a very long time in the 60's when Elvis' "Blue Suede Shoes" caused a rush on suede shoe purchases and maintenance, we learned they cleaned fairly well with an old fashioned "red art" eraser, unless the suede is white, as was Pat Boon's shoes during that time. That took an "art gum" eraser and white talcum powder afterward.
Depending upon the dirt source, if not greasy or colored, it should brush off first with a nail brush, then use the erasers. Be careful, however, that you do not over do it, nor keep getting the same area dirty, because you can cause them to "shine" and that's the end of the suede unless you can buy a light weight metal bristle "suede brush" at a shoe repair shop and "rough" up the shiny area again. I would never wash them, regardless, unless only a small part on tennis shoes.
Good luck, and God bless and help you.
You can use a suede brush to get the loose dirt off, and then use a suede cleaner. Then use a brush or cloth to rub the remainder of the cleaner off. You can also buy suede protector to prevent this happening again. shoestringuk.com sell loads of suede cleaning products. (06/17/2009)
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