How to Protect Suede Shoes?

At first look, suede shoes seem to be so delicate. Treating your suede shoes like a baby may come into your mind. But in reality, you do not need to be paranoid about the quality of your suede shoes. With proper care and regular maintenance, you’ll expect a supreme long-lasting quality suede shoe.

Taking care of your suede shoes starts even before you purchase your suede shoes. Thus, we present to you handy tips when buying suede shoes, before using suede shoes, and after using suede shoes every time you use it. It is time to unlock your meticulous personality!

How to Protect Suede Shoes

Tips when buying suede shoes

These tips come handy when you are about to purchase your suede shoes. It will be your milestone to optimally protect and prolong the lifespan of your suede shoes. Like buying other items, buying suede shoes needs a proper decision on your part.

  • Choose high-quality suede shoes

In case you are planning to buy new suede shoes, you must be meticulous for quality. High-quality suede shoes may be costly, but at least it brings out the best of the suedes.

We may have different preferences about high-quality suede shoes. What matters most is to ensure long-lasting suede shoes for your needs.

  • Purchase a suede care kit

As suede shoes user, you must be totally careful from storing, using, and cleaning the suede shoes. As you buy your suede shoes, you must also buy a good suede sealant, a cleaning block, and a suede brush. While cleaning blocks and suede brush have alternatives, you must ensure a separate purchase of a suede sealant. There’s no good alternative for suede sealants yet.

Preventive tips after purchase

Commonly, people use footwear immediately after purchase without doing preventive care or other protective applications. Though it can be tolerated on other types of footwear, suede shoes need strict and careful usage. As suede shoes user, you must put these following tips in mind.

  • Apply protective sprays

As soon as you get home, protect your suede shoes with protective sprays – suede sealant in more precise terms. Suede sealants act as a protective layer to block penetration of stains, dirt, and liquid onto the suede layer of your shoes. This little investment is the best way to have a longer life span for your suede shoes.

When applying suede sealants, you might want to evenly spray the surface of the suedes. Even a thin application of suede sealants ensures protection for at least a month.

It is also better to use suede brush before and after applying suede sealants.

  • Suede shoes is not suitable in every weather

Sadly, suede shoes are not designed to ensure your walk on a heavy rain or on an extreme snow. One of the purpose suede sealants is for rain and snow protection. However, suede sealants still leave open pores to ensure breathability on your suede shoes.

After all, suede is naturally a water and stain lover in a bad way. It is best to avoid using suede shoes on the said weather conditions. Enjoy your suede shoes on a sunny day, on a cloudy day, on a light rain day, and on a light snow day. This still means a lot of days within the year though.

  • Allow air exposure when storing suede shoes

Most types of shoes are safe to store in a plastic bag or in any containers with minimal exposure to air. Storing suede shoes is a different case. Air must be constantly circulated around it to retain the fabric’s quality. Thus, it is advisable to store suede shoes in a cotton pillowcase. Cotton allows breathability but prevents accumulation of dust.

  • Store suede shoes in a cool dry place

Like most footwear, it is advisable to keep the suede shoes away from sunlight. When storing suede shoes, leave it in a cool dry place. Your cabinet is a nice place, even in a closet or on a dedicated shoe rack. Prolonged exposure to sunlight causes fades throughout the suede fabric. Also, prolonged exposure to humid environment promotes a formation of mildew on the surface of the suede fabric. It is best to keep the suede shoes away from your bathroom, garage, or basement.

Cleaning maintenance tips

Careful treatment of suedes means severe maintenance on your part. You must establish a cleaning maintenance schedule for your suede shoes. You may do it daily if you are not in a hurry, or you may do it on a weekly basis. Monthly cleanup seems to be so long where the degrading quality shoes is noticeable.

While you have a cleaning maintenance schedule, you might need to do an on-the-spot cleanup or immediate cleanup after using the shoes. This depends on the type of stains your shoes receive throughout the day. Thus, here are some tips for your suede shoes to look as fresh as possible.

  • Clean stains as soon as possible

If you’re really eyeing for clean shoes meticulously all the time, you might want to bring tissues wherever you go. As soon as a stain or dirt reaches the surface of your suede shoes, wipe it immediately. In this way, you prevent the stain and dirt from penetrating deeper in the suedes.

If your day requires you to go on a dirty and stain-prone environment, this tip might give you a hassle though.

  • Use talcum powder or cornmeal on liquid spills

It’s hard to think about water as a tool to clean water spills. Removing water with the use of water is somewhat ambiguous.

To solve your liquid spill problems, you must use talcum powder or cornmeal. It seems surprising. But these home products are actually a remedy for those accidental liquid spills.

First, use a clean cloth to gently touch the wet part of your suedes. Next, apply talcum powder or cornmeal to the wet part. Leave your shoes in a dry place overnight. Then, use a suede brush to remove the talcum powder or cornmeal.

  • Use kneaded eraser or emery board for quick removal of dry stains

Cleaning stains as soon as it reaches your suedes might be a little inconvenient especially when you are on a hectic day. As you go home, you might see dry stains on your shoes. As a quick removal of dry stains, kneaded erasers or emery boards might be a handy tool for you. You only need to rub the kneaded eraser or emery board against the dry stain. You might even consider bringing these tools as a substitute to tissues from tip number 1.

  • Use white vinegar on dry heavy stains

Dry stains may sometimes be a bigger challenge. You might notice heavy staining as soon as you go home. To treat such dry heavy stains, you only need to use white vinegar. Again, this is another valiant home product.

Pour a little amount of white vinegar on a clean towel. Then, rub the towel against the stained part. Repeat these steps until the dry stain disappears.

White vinegar treatment is not only used for dry heavy stains but is also applicable for water and salt stains. Still, we highly recommend talcum powder and corn meal for water stains. 

  • Use rubber cleaning block on stubborn stains

Stubborn stains are far worse than dry heavy stains. These stains seem to be permanent. You might encounter a stain which cannot be removed by regular brushing and other cleaning maintenance tools mentioned. This time, you must use a rubber cleaning block. Rubber cleaning block is known for removing rusts, grimes, mildews, and dirt. Like other tools, simply rub it against the stubborn stains.

When using the rubber cleaning block, rub it against the suedes in one direction only. Brush first the stained area, then brush the residue away from the surface.

  • Revive your suede shoes with suede brushes

As days pass by, you might notice a difference on the overall look of your suedes. Though it is normal for shoes to degrade over time, you can still revive your suede shoes with suede brushes!

Suede brushes are designed with soft and metal bristles. Those metal bristles are located on the inner part of the brush, while those soft bristles are located around the metal bristles. It is a 2-in-1 tool to revive the surface of the suedes while quickly removing the surface stains.

Before using your suede brush, you have to assess its stiffness first. If the bristles seem to be harder than normal brushes, you must brush it on your suede shoes gently.

Like the rubber cleaning block, rub the suede brush against the suedes in one direction only. Also, rub it against the suedes in short strokes only.

  • Use these alternative tools to revive your suede shoes

In case you do not have suede brushes, you can use a clean toothbrush or a clean cotton towel. Use these tools like how you use your suede brushes.

In case a suede brush, a clean toothbrush, or a clean cotton towel won’t work, this means that your suede shoes are in real trouble. Don’t worry. You can still revive this one! First, produce steam by boiling water. You might even want to use a tea kettle to make this easier. As soon as steam is emitted from the mouth of the kettle, hold your suede shoes above the steam. After a minute, brush your suede shoes with a suede brush or clean toothbrush. 

  • Apply protective sprays again

Protective sprays won’t last forever. Its effect will wear off in time.

Since suede sealants optimally protect your shoes for a month, it is best to apply protective sprays again. You must set a monthly schedule for this one.

Before applying protective sprays again, clean first your suede shoes using the previous cleaning maintenance tips. Also, use suede brush before and after applying protective sprays.

Risky methods for protecting suede ​shoes

There are cleaning methods which deemed to be efficient for other users of suede shoes. However, it also poses quality risks on some unlucky users. While this tips may come in handy, you must think twice when using it. Thus, try to avoid these methods on your suede shoes if possible.

Note: We do not highly recommend to use these methods. The quality of your suede shoes might be at risk!

  • Cleaning suede with water

Some users suggest cleaning liquid spills by putting water throughout the surface of the suedes shoes. However, this method will affect the color and the texture of your suede shoes.

If you really insist on using water treatment against water spills, try doing the following steps at your own risk.

First, spray water evenly on the surface of your suede shoes. A thin layer of water is enough. Scrub a clean toothbrush against the area with liquid spills. Scrub from the edge towards the center of the stain. With a clean damp cloth, gently rub it against the surface. Air dry your shoes in a cool dry place. Do not use dryers or any heat sources as this will end up with unevenly dried shoes.

  • Applying silicone-based sprays

It is highly recommended to purchase protective sprays as there are no alternatives at the moment. While you have the freedom to use your preferred spray, you must prevent using silicone-based sprays. This type of spray often causes the suedes to become darker. Unless you can tolerate a darker suede, it is best to prevent silicone-based sprays.


While there are preventive care methods applied to your suede shoes before using it, you have the freedom to set a schedule for generally cleaning your suede shoes.

When you are equipped with the right tools, cleaning your suede shoes will never be a hassle! Just keep those tools we mentioned in mind. There’s always a proper tool for every type of stain you obtain.

You really need to be careful when protecting your suede shoes. But you do not to be paranoid about it! Just enjoy wearing your suede shoes on a lovely weather and on a lovely occasion.

Pamela Couch

I am a designer, shoe-obsessed lifestyle expert, and founder of, a shoe boutique located in Downtown Atlanta. I love shoes and I love being able to share my passion for them with others.