How To Clean Suede Shoes

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boots, clarks, side, in grass, photos, before and after

If you read my post about finding Clarks Originals Men's Desert Boot in Sand Suede at a thrift shop, I mentioned that I planned on cleaning them so here’s a small tutorial for those of you who have suede shoes that you want to clean.

People have suggested different techniques from metal brushes, suede cleaning kits, and even sandpaper. Luckily, I had an unused steel brush lying around for whatever reason.

The boots initially had a few dirt and water (at least I hope that’s what it was) marks, so it wasn’t too much to clean. Stains might be a bit tougher if they’re left on for a long time so I suggest getting a cleaning kit like this one.

How to clean suede shoes:

  1. Take off the shoelaces. (Yes, yes, I know they're on in my photo but these are all After shots.)
  2. Go outside or somewhere that will be easy to clean up afterwards because particles will start flying off of your shoes once you start brushing it.
  3. Rub the steel brush against the surface of the stain in varying pressure towards one direction. Begin by brushing lightly and increase the pressure to test out the area.
  4. If the stain is still visible, try brushing the opposite direction until stains are removed.
  5. Widen eyes and gasp at the magical clean suede shoes.
It’s pretty simple and may take a few minutes depending on how soiled the shoes are. I highly recommend brushing the entire shoe since spot cleaning can often cause one area to be lighter than the rest of the shoe.

I do want to note that my lack of hesitation with using a steel brush instead of buying a suede cleaning kit is mostly due to the fact that I didn’t pay full price for the shoes. Of course I wanted to clean it correctly without damaging it by using proper tools, but I like to live dangerously.

I don't always buy second-hand items so I have this thing where I want it to be as new as possible so that I can break them in myself. This is the reason I even attempted to clean it, I wanted all the stains and whatnot to be my fault. To see how they looked before, check out this post.

Hopefully this helps and If you have any tips, please leave them in the comments!


  1. Great post! If I ever have to clean suede, I'll come back to this post! :P
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