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How to Clean Suede and Sheepskin Slippers

My husband and I both have our own pair of suede slippers and have used these methods successfully for years.

Slippers are essential in the cold months.

Slippers are essential in the cold months.

Cleaning Sheepskin Slippers

For Christmas one year, I bought my husband a pair of suede and sheepskin slippers in a dark chocolate color. Then, he went on a trip for a week. While he was gone, I tried his slippers on and discovered how wonderful they were. After a few days, I started to worry that when he came home, I would no longer be able to wear these slippers that I had fallen in love with.

I had no choice but to go out and buy myself a pair. What a great decision!

Why Do I Love Them?

  1. They are very warm.

    Sheepskin lining, suede uppers, and a full sole keep my feet's natural heat from escaping out onto a cold floor. Each year, I have freezing hands and feet from November to April, so extra-insulating slippers are a necessity for me.

  2. These house shoes are so comfortable.

    My shearing slippers have a wide fit that allows my feet to move freely, even when wearing my thick wool socks.

  3. They are durable.

    I wear them almost all day, every day, from November to April—and they are durable. With minimal care, I am sure I can get ten years of wear out of these slippers.

Washing anything suede in the washing machine is a sure way to ruin them.

Washing anything suede in the washing machine is a sure way to ruin them.

Suede Slippers Need Hand Washing

When your slippers need some attention, don't be tempted to toss them into the washing machine. Doing so can cause the suede to dry out. Not only will your shoes become stiff and uncomfortable, but they might also crack right open!

Caring for Your Suede & Sheepskin Slippers

Oddly enough, an eraser works very well for cleaning suede.

Oddly enough, an eraser works very well for cleaning suede.

  1. The Eraser Method

    • As odd as it seems, an eraser works well to clean spots off of suede. Almost any eraser will work—from the one on the end of a pencil to a square eraser that's a bit larger.
    • Choose plain, quality erasers. Don't use those cheap novelty erasers that have lots of dyes because some of that color may transfer onto your suede.
  2. The Vinegar Method

    • Apply a small amount of vinegar to a clean cloth or rag and rub the stains or spots lightly. Do not soak the slippers in vinegar.
    • Don't destroy the nap of the suede, but do rub vigorously enough to remove the stain.
    • Of course, your slippers may have a slight vinegar smell for a few days, but it does wear off eventually.
White vinegar is another way to naturally clean your suede shoes.

White vinegar is another way to naturally clean your suede shoes.

Regular Cleaning and Preventing Stains

If you clean your slippers in this way every year before you store them in the spring, you can keep them looking good for many, many years.

If you wear your slippers in the kitchen like me, you may find that some stains will not come out at all. For example, oil stains are almost impossible to remove.

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Read More From Dengarden

Of course, preventing stains in the first place is easier than cleaning your shoes. So spray your new or newly cleaned suede and sheepskin house shoes with a coating of waterproofing protectant.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2011 Jimmie Quick


Walther on February 17, 2014:

Hi, I have a pair of slippers almost exactly like yours in the photo. Mine just have a leather shoe lace to keep them tighter to your foot. My question is, can I hand wash them with some mild washing liquid? They have really need 'freshening up' if you get my drift. I don't have smelly feet but I have made the mistake of getting my excellent slippers wet a few times when getting out of the shower. I desperately want to have them clean again. As it is, I cannot wear them due to the odour! So what do you think? Will luke warm water and some washing liquid/powder and a soak in the sink fix or ruin them? Thanks

Jimmie Quick (author) from Memphis, TN USA on January 20, 2012:

Well, I have chronically cold feed in the winter, so I can't say that my feet have EVER sweated in my suede and sheepskin slippers. If my feet get too hot, I simply remove the slippers until they cool down. But of course, wearing socks helps to absorb any possible sweat that may occur. Don't wear your slippers barefoot. I always have wool socks on in the winter. Sorry I can't be of help.

Anonymous on January 20, 2012:

Great ideas for cleaning the outside, but what about the inside? Naturally your feet sweat and wearing them every single day for months make them stink. Since I can't throw them in the washer, how do I clean them?

Christine Mulberry on August 08, 2011:

Very useful info. I think I've used the eraser method before, but my husband's slippers need more. I may have to go the vinegar route!

Jill Spencer from United States on February 14, 2011:

I'm going to try your suggestions! Thanks for the info.

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