How to Clean Suede and Faux Suede Shoes

Updated on April 18, 2019
GALAXY 59 profile image

Galaxy is a mother of three with thirty years of experience in making money go further.

Try cleaning your own suede goods!
Try cleaning your own suede goods!

Save Money by Cleaning Your Own Suede

Suede is one of those materials you either love or hate. It's soft and warm to the touch, but it can be a devil to clean once it gets grubby. If you have suede boots or shoes, you know they can get dirty quite often.

A professional dry cleaner may be your best bet at getting out dirt and stains, but if that's not an option for whatever reason, you can have a go at cleaning it yourself. It's not as scary as it sounds as long as you know the right way to go about it. You need to act quickly because dirt and stains are far easier to remove before they settle in.

If the suede you want to clean is a piece of furniture, remove the cover first if it's possible. I know a lot of furniture manufactured today comes with removable covers, which I think is a great idea. If you don't have those and have to clean the item without moving it, then put down a dust sheet or tarp to protect your floor. Cleaning suede can be a messy business.

What You'll Need

  • Eraser: The one at the top of a pencil is fine.
  • Paper Towels
  • White Vinegar
  • Small Soft Brush
  • Small Fluffy Hand Towel
  • Small Sponge


  1. If the mark you want to clean is already dry, first brush the suede with a soft brush to bring up the pile and expose the dirt.
  2. Rub an eraser over the stain. Don’t rub too hard, as this can destroy the nap of the fabric and ruin the look of the suede forever.
  3. Take an almost-dry sponge and rub the affected area to remove even more surface dirt. Then, leave it to dry. If the stain is still wet, blot as much of the dirt away with paper towels, sponge a little water over the stain, leave it to dry, and then try the eraser method.
  4. Finally, give the item a good brush.
  5. As a last resort, use a very small amount of white vinegar on a small fluffy towel and rub the stain in a circular motion. Only do this for a short time, and keep checking the material as you are cleaning. If it starts to discolor, stop using the vinegar.
  6. If the item you cleaned is a pair of shoes and they are in any way damp, stuff them with something to help keep their shape as they dry. Never leave a suede item in direct sunlight, as suede is very prone to fading. If you leave it out as it dries, you will find uneven patches appear that will never go away.

Have You Ever Considered Faux Suede?

Sometimes, the suede or leather items you have really need to be cleaned by a professional. This can be very expensive. There are many faux suede and leather goods on the market which look and feel just like the real thing. They clean well and very cheaply, and you can use ordinary tap water and a little mild detergent to do so. Perhaps you can consider switching to items made from this material: It could save you money while saving the animals' hides.

If you could find a faux suede or leather alternative to the item you want would you buy that instead?

See results

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.

Questions & Answers

  • Can water and soap clean faux suede?

    Yes, water and soap work every time.

© 2010 Galaxy Harvey


Submit a Comment
  • GALAXY 59 profile imageAUTHOR

    Galaxy Harvey 

    9 years ago from United Kingdom

    Do give it a try Fay Paxton, let me know what you think of it.

  • profile image

    Fay Paxton 

    9 years ago

    Thank you so much for this hub. You have no idea how timely it is. I've never tried faux suede, but I'll have to pay more bad could it be?

  • GALAXY 59 profile imageAUTHOR

    Galaxy Harvey 

    10 years ago from United Kingdom

    Thank you for the kind words. It can cost an arm and a leg to get suede/leather cleaned can't it. The faux type looks really good and it cleans up a lot easier and cheaper too.

  • JerseyGirl profile image


    10 years ago from Jersey Shore

    I really liked this hub - thanks for publishing. I have had suede jackets and boots in the past - just to find out that having them cleaned by a pro would cost me more than the actual item! I've tried to clean suede on my own; but unfortunately, my results were very less than acceptable. I'm now thinking that faux may be the way to go! It's been hot these past few seasons - I may just give it a try!


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