How to Save Your Suede Shoes

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We’ve all been there, losing a precious and oftentimes as luck will have it, new accessory to a weather tragedy. Whether it’s the scarf that fell into a puddle or the brand new pair of suede boots you accidentally wore in the rain, you know it’s never easy to say goodbye. It’s no surprise then that simply knowing how to clean suede shoes can mean the difference between a salvaged pair and a sorry farewell. Suede just doesn’t respond well to any sort of debris, be it moisture or dirt. Small particles are easily lodged in the material and moisture is easily absorbed by that beautiful (and expensive) fabric we all love. The result is dirty shoes that only look worse over time, especially if you don’t take care to clean them regularly. Here’s how to save your suede.

Try a Suede Cleaner

Your first line of defense may be the easiest and perhaps all you need in order to know how to clean suede shoes: A cleaner formulated specifically for suede. These are typically designed to both cleanse and condition the material, resulting in suede that’s not only pristine, but also restored to a softer state. The key is to brush the suede down before using the cleanser. Spray it directly on select areas and wipe with a dry cloth. Finish with a suede brush or clean toothbrush to “fluff” the suede back into position.

Use a Suede Eraser

You can’t exactly turn back time, but you may be able to erase a mistake or two with a suede eraser. These bars effortlessly glide over spots and stains, making it easy to clean those suede shoes with just a couple smooth moves.

Freeze It

It turns out, the freezer is a pretty remarkable tool for cleaning suede shoes (and your jeans ICYMI). Certain debris, such as gum and other gooey, undefined substances, can be tough to remove manually without a little help. Place your suede shoes in the freezer for several hours — until they’re frozen, folks. Then gently scrape off the offending debris, which should be much easier to remove at that temperature.

Protect Them

Before trouble starts, arm yourself with the ultimate tool. A suede protector repels such foes as oil and water, helping to prevent damage, stains and scuffs that threaten to transform your cutest boots into your most hideous. Some suede protectors may even protect suede from sun damage.

Emergency Tip

According to Murphy’s Law, you will discover the massive stain on the heel of your most gorgeous shoes on the night you plan to wear them. With no suede cleansers or erasers at hand, what’s a woman to do? Grab a pencil and get rubbing. The eraser works in a pinch, making quick work of unsightly spots, although bear in mind that it probably won’t work on an old, stubborn stain.