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Cleaning Suede Shoes

Category Leather
Just like smooth leather shoes you will need to routinely clean your suede shoes. This is a page about cleaning suede shoes.


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Spruce up your "buck"/suede Timberland boots you've been stomping around in this past winter by cleaning them with hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) and a stiff brush. This will not strip the color from the suede, but clean them and make them look rather "new!" Try it and be pleasantly surprised! Just dip the stiff brush into the bowl, briskly brush the boots, then let them dry.

By Joyce from Bloomfield, CT

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

I tried a Thrifty tip on how to clean suede shoes in a jiff using hydrogen peroxide. I tried it, but nothing happened. Am I missing something? Should I try something else?

By Margot Radcliffe from Claremont, CA


May 10, 20100 found this helpful
Best Answer

If I use a good stiff brush on mine it gets rid of any dried on dirt, etc. If you slightly dampen the whole shoe with water (I just used an old slightly damp rag) then brush it and let it dry it should pull up any nap that has flattened out and/or gotten shiny.


It will change the color of your shoes slightly, a bit darker, but if you do the whole shoe it won't make much difference. I have several pairs of suede dress shoes and this is how I take care of mine.

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April 13, 2012

What is the best way to clean suede shoes?

By Linda


April 14, 20120 found this helpful
Best Answer

Well I have a wide variety of suede shoes and found the best way to clean them is use a kinda of rough kind of soft material and dust them. ^.^

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January 17, 2017

I want to know how can I remove cooking oil from my grey Adidas flux? It's looking bad!


January 17, 20170 found this helpful


Remove oil from suede by sprinkling cornstarch, talcum powder, foot powder or artificial sweetener into the stain to absorb the oil. When the powder looks oily, brush it away using a soft brush, and repeat the process until the oil no longer changes texture.

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January 18, 20170 found this helpful

Personally, I have used straight-up hydrogen peroxide to get every kind of stain out of everything, from wine to oil, on clothes, carpets, etc. You do a colourfast testing to make sure it doesnt fade anything (it rarely does) and then you just pour it on full-strength and watch the stain dissappear.


If that is not enough, here is a great tutorial from wikihow:

They mainly use baking soda, dish soap, a toothbrush, and some sort of blotter like paper or cardboard.

Another option uses aloe vera: "Use some aloe vera, dish soap, or shampoo as a pre-wash stain remover. Blot any excess oil using a clean cloth or a paper towel. Then, squirt some aloe vera, dish soap, or shampoo onto the stain. Use an old toothbrush or a manicure brush to rub the stain into the fabric."

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February 3, 2009

I have a lovely pair of purple suede shoes and have dropped chicken fat on them. How can I get rid of the stain? Thanks.

Nita from UK


By jean (Guest Post)
February 3, 20090 found this helpful

You can try the baby powder treatment. Sprinkle baby(talcum) powder on the stain, covering well with a heavy layer. Let sit over night. Brush all powder off with a suede brush. Repeat if needed. This worked for me when I got movie popcorn butter from the dispenser on the sleeve of my suede jacket.


It also worked to remove a salad dressing stain from a suede skirt. If all the powder does not brush off, tumble the item in the dryer with an old towel on the air cycle. This will remove all traces of powder. This worked for me. Hope it helps.

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October 20, 2011

I dropped a cupcake on my suede shoe. How do I remove the stain?

By tanisha

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August 8, 2016

This is a page about cleaning rain stains on suede shoes. Because suede is very absorbent shoes made of suede can become spotted if you get caught in the rain. By following a few simple steps you can remove the water spots from your shoes.

Single black women's suede boot

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August 8, 2016

This is a page about cleaning dust from suede shoes. The nap on suede shoes can make them a bit harder to clean then smooth leather.

Tall women's black suede boot

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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

May 8, 2010

How do I clean suede shoes? They have light blue suede on the toe and heel. The stains are plain old dirt.

By Bella Swan from Forks, WA



Cleaning Suede Shoes

Start with using Scotch or packing tape [cellophane].
Press stick side down and lift. Repeat several times.
Once you get down to the last layers you may have to rub the tape with back of thumbnail. (10/05/2009)


Cleaning Suede Shoes

I had a pair of light colored suede shoes that were not worn out, but were very stained and grubby looking. I hammered the surface of them all around until they were shiny, then polished them with black shoe polish. They came up a treat and were the softest "leather" looking shoes I ever had. I kept them for years afterward, as they were so comfortable. When they were on their way out I then used them for gardening shoes for a while longer. (10/06/2009)

By Richard

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August 19, 2009

How do you clean suede/leather sneakers?

By Kevin from West Covina, CA


Cleaning Suede Shoes

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.

By Frances Adams

Cleaning Suede Shoes

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.

By lynda

Cleaning Suede Shoes

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. sell loads of suede cleaning products. (06/17/2009)

By charlie

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June 12, 2007

I just wanted to know how I can clean a pair of suede sneakers that look dirty and have some dirt on them. I got them as a gift and really love them but don't know what to do!



Cleaning Suede Sneakers

I used a foam spray carpet cleaner on mine one time. I don't remember the name but I know it was a big name brand. Just be sure to read the can and test a spot on the inside of the shoe first. Some cleaners will fade the suede or leave spots.

Or try shaving cream... I use it on my suede boots and it works. But also remember to test it first to make sure it doesnt fade the color or leave spots.

Walmart also carries a suede cleaner in the shoe department. It's about $7 a can. I never could find it years ago when I bought my first pair of suede shoes and learned these other tricks.
Hope this helps you. (01/07/2005)

By kattankerous

Cleaning Suede Sneakers

I have suede shoes that I wear constantly around the house. I've spilled coffee and other liquids on them. I bought a "kit" at Walmart that contained something that looked like an eraser....the kit was very inexpensive (about $2-3) and thus far has removed everything I've abused. (01/09/2005)

By Shelly

Cleaning Suede Sneakers

I myself had a similar problem. I have a pair of blue Timberland sneakers. After only a few weeks of wearing them I had the bright idea to "wash" them! (Don't ask me why I took that advice?) Needless to say I was crushed when I seen them after they came out the washing machine.
I TRIED EVERYTHING! It only made them look worse.

Determined to get them looking presentable, I searched and searched, and asked and asked. The SOLUTION? Someone told me to use "VERY FINE" sandpaper and rub them very lightly. You can imagine my skepticism, but I had nothing to lose at this point. (Except a practically new pair of "Tims")
I used the finest sand paper I could find and rub the sneaker evenly as possible. After I was done I took a horse hair brush and brushed them down. IT WORKED!

Now, I must say they definitely do NOT look new, but look 100% better! I would only use the suggestion as a last resort, when all else fails. As for me I have done this to all my boots and they are looking almost new.

Good Luck and I sure hope you have already solved your problem, but in case not... it's a suggestion. Take care! (03/31/2005)

By becky

Cleaning Suede Sneakers

I had the same problem and this is what info I found. Suede is a lovely material - warm, soft and cuddly. Too bad it's such a terrible beast to clean. In general, have suede garments professionally cleaned, but if you must clean your own, follow these guidelines.


  1. Rub suede with a bath towel to restore some of its nap.
  2. Remove dry stains and marks from suede by gently rubbing a pencil eraser on the affected area.
  3. Brush with a suede brush.
  4. Apply a small amount of white vinegar to a damp cloth as a last resort for cleaning suede shoes.
  5. Gently rub the surface of the shoe with the cloth, then allow it to air dry.
  6. Remember that stains on leather and suede should be professionally treated.


Pretreat suede with a leather protection spray before use.
Leather and suede garments should be professionally cleaned at least every two years.


Note that suede shoes treated with white vinegar may have a mild odor after cleaning. (05/02/2006)

By georgina

Cleaning Suede Sneakers

I used a pencil eraser on my little girl's smooth suede like strawberry shortcake sneakers. It's man-made, so it's not real suede, but it's the same. It worked. I was upset that she wore her new sneakers out to play and we have very dirty dirt. It's a fine powder dirt, that I can't stand, but thankfully it really made a difference on the sneaker. (01/18/2007)

By Holly

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