How to Clean Suede Shoes Without Suede Cleaner

Suede shoes add a touch of elegance and sophistication to any outfit, but they can be quite delicate and challenging to clean, especially when you don’t have specialized suede cleaners at hand.

If you’re wondering how to clean suede shoes without suede cleaner, you’re in the right place.

We’ll guide you through a step-by-step process to effectively clean your suede shoes using readily available household items. Say goodbye to those pesky stains and hello to revitalized suede!

Suede shoes are a statement of style, but their delicate nature can make cleaning a daunting task. Fret not, as we unveil expert-approved methods to rejuvenate your suede footwear without the need for specialized cleaners.

Table of Contents

  1. Gathering Your Cleaning Arsenal
  2. Brush Away the Dust and Dirt
  3. Handling Water Stains
  4. Banishing Oil and Grease
  5. Dealing with Stubborn Stains
  6. Reviving the Suede Nap
  7. Letting Your Shoes Breathe
  8. Preventing Future Stains
  9. Dos and Don’ts of Suede Shoe Care
  10. Conclusion
  11. FAQs
How to Clean Suede Shoes Without Suede Cleaner

Gathering Your Cleaning Arsenal

Before you embark on your suede-cleaning journey, assemble your tools: a suede brush, white vinegar, clean cloth, soft towel, and cornstarch. These household items will prove to be your best allies.

Brush Away the Dust and Dirt

Start by using a suede brush with soft bristles to gently remove dirt and dust from the shoes. Brush in one direction to avoid damaging the suede fibers. This simple step prepares the shoes for deeper cleaning.

Handling Water Stains

Encountered a water stain? Don’t panic. Dampen the stained area lightly with water, ensuring not to soak the shoe. Blot the dampness with a clean cloth and let the shoe air dry naturally. Remember to stuff the shoes with paper towels to retain their shape.

Banishing Oil and Grease

Oil or grease blemish? Place a small amount of cornstarch on the stain and let it sit for a few hours. The cornstarch will absorb the oil. Gently brush away the residue, and your shoes will be on the path to recovery.

Dealing with Stubborn Stains

For tougher stains, create a mixture of equal parts white vinegar and water. Dab a clean cloth into the solution and gently blot the stain. Once done, wipe the area with a damp cloth to remove any vinegar traces.

Reviving the Suede Nap

Frequent wearing can flatten the suede’s texture, known as the nap. To revive it, hold the shoe over steam – be it from a boiling kettle – at a safe distance. Gently brush the steamed area to lift the nap. Voila, your shoes will look brand new!

Letting Your Shoes Breathe

After cleaning, ensure your suede shoes dry naturally and slowly. Avoid direct sunlight or heat sources, as they can damage the suede. Once dry, use the suede brush to fluff up the nap gently.

Preventing Future Stains

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Apply a protective suede spray to your shoes to repel water and stains. Remember to reapply it periodically, especially if you frequently wear your suede shoes.

Dos and Don’ts of Suede Shoe Care

  • Do: Regularly brush your suede shoes to prevent dirt buildup.
  • Do: Store your shoes in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.
  • Don’t: Use excessive water or immerse your shoes in water for cleaning.
  • Don’t: Use harsh chemicals or cleaners not meant for suede.
  • Don’t: Ignore stains – tackle them as soon as possible for better results.


Cleaning suede shoes without suede cleaner is an achievable feat with the right techniques. With a little patience and household items, you can keep your suede shoes looking impeccable and stylish for a long time to come.


Can I use a hairdryer to speed up the drying process?

It’s best to let your suede shoes air dry naturally to prevent damage. Using a hairdryer can cause the suede to become stiff or discolored.

Is there a specific brush I should use for suede cleaning?

Yes, a suede brush with soft bristles is ideal. It helps remove dirt and restore the nap without harming the suede fibers.

How often should I apply protective suede spray?

Apply the protective spray every few months, or more frequently if you frequently wear your suede shoes. It adds a layer of defense against stains and water damage.

Can I use soap and water for cleaning suede shoes?

It’s not recommended, as water can leave stains on suede. Stick to the methods outlined in this article for safe and effective cleaning.

How do I remove salt stains from suede shoes?

Create a solution of equal parts water and white vinegar. Gently blot the salt stains with the solution, then wipe with a damp cloth and let dry. Brush the suede to restore the nap.