How to clean suede shoes step by step – Care & Storage Tips

How to clean suede shoes - faverie

Suede shoes are so comfortable to wear, and they look sharp with so many different outfits. Yet, many people are hesitant to buy them because they have heard horror stories about trying to keep them clean.

I will dispel the myths surrounding how to clean suede shoes so that you can separate fact from fiction. I will tell you about easy ways to keep your suede shoes clean using items usually found in every home.

Additionally, I will give you a brief overview of storing your suede shoes properly. After all, you do not want moisture and heat to destroy your investment.

Without any further introduction, let’s get started.

Suede shoes

Prehistoric people likely created the first suede shoes. They probably wore grain animal hide on the inside of their shoes and suede on the outside so that the shoes would stay supple.

Soon, they discovered a way to separate the leather from the suede. Like these prehistoric people, you need a way to clean your suede shoes, but first, let’s develop a working definition of suede shoes and talk about the different types of suede.

Generally, manufacturers use at least nine types of suede when making footwear. The younger the animal, the more supple the suede. Many manufacturers separate the bottom layer of the animal’s hide from the top layer and use it as suede. Some manufacturers, however, use the whole animal skin and turn it so that the soft side is on the outside of the footwear.

What are suede shoes?

Suede shoes are usually separated from the top part of animal skins, but they can be the whole skin turned so that the rough part is on the inside and the softer part is on the outside. These skins can come from a variety of animals.

Commonly, manufacturers use the hide of lambs to make suede shoes as it has a fine grain that is exceptionally supple. They also often use cowhide in footwear that needs to be extremely durable. They may also use pigskin, but it tends to be a little stiff. The most expensive suede type comes from deer because the tanning process is unusually complex.

There are also many ways that suede can be treated. For instance, nubuck uses the top layer of the animal skin, which is then sanded and polished to create a velvety texture. You can expect to pay a premium for nubuck shoes, and the resulting fabric is more robust and thicker than suede.

People can also create suede from polyester fiber. This type of shoe material is usually called microsuede. It is one of the best choices because it resists most stains and can be easily dyed. Manufacturers often choose it because of its lightweight, and it is easier to clean than suede.

Close up nike suede shoes
Source: Klim Musalimov on Unsplash

Regardless of the type, there are many reasons that you may want to add a pair of suede shoes to your wardrobe. They are incredibly durable. Shoes made from suede are very soft, so they feel great on your feet. Many types are naturally water-resistant, making them an ideal choice on a wet day.

Can suede shoes be washed?

Most shoe manufacturers do not recommend washing your suede shoes in a washing machine. If your suede shoes accidentally end up in the washer, you may notice that they change colors. Secondly, you may see that your shoes look streaked every time you try to wear them and brush up against something.

Even though suede and leather are both made from animal skins, suede and leather are two separate things. Leather is the outside of the skin, and it is designed to get wet as it is where the rain hits if the animal stands in a rainstorm. Meanwhile, suede is made from the inside of the skin, and it is not designed to get wet.

If you look at your suede shoes under a microscope, you will see very tiny hairs. These hairs get brittle if your suede shoes get wet. Then, they break. Even if they do not break off, the unique appearance of your suede shoes will be ruined.

Therefore, you need to use special procedures and products to keep your suede shoes looking their best. While some manufacturers suggest that you take your shoes to a specialized cleaner when they get dirty, you can clean them at home if you are careful.

You can easily clean your suede shoes at home using products you probably already have on hand, like rubbing alcohol and vinegar. You can even use a tad bit of water and dishwashing soap, and I will discuss how to clean suede shoes in a little bit. Therefore, you will want to keep reading to find out how you should clean your shoes to keep them looking great.

What will ruin suede shoes?

If your suede shoes get wet for an extended period, they are likely ruined. Therefore, it is best to choose another option to wear on a rainy or snowy day, but there is no need to fret if you get caught in light precipitation.

In addition to getting your shoes wet, excessive heat can ruin suede shoes. If suede gets too hot, it warps and cracks. Therefore, you will want to keep your suede shoes out of the sunlight and away from heat sources when you are not wearing them. 

Do not be afraid, however, to wear your suede shoes in the summertime. The limited amount of heat you encounter on most days will not harm them. Additionally, suede is very breathable, so they make a great choice when your feet are likely to sweat.

While suede does absorb oil, you can generally get it out. Yet, your shoes become harder to clean if they get too oily. Therefore, you will want to try to avoid oil when practical. As with other substances, it is easier to clean your suede shoes when the problem is minor instead of waiting until they are filthy.

If you wear your shoes in the wintertime, you may discover that road and sidewalk salt leaves stains on your shoes. Like oil, you can generally get these stains out, but it is best to avoid the problem when possible. Walk around snow and water puddles instead of through them when practical. Walking on the inside of sidewalks usually means you will encounter less road grime than when walking on the section closest to the road.

Sticky tape, like price stickers, can ruin suede if you do not clean it properly. Never use a stain remover designed to remove sticky substances on your suede shoes. The chemicals in these compounds will ruin the material as they are too strong for them. Additionally, you may cause spots to occur, similar to water spots.

Cleaning your suede shoes takes time. Therefore, it is best to keep them as clean as possible by watching where you walk. At the same time, you can get most things off the suede without harming the material. That is excellent news when you want to wear your suede shoes and are unsure what conditions you may encounter.

What are the most common stains on suede shoes?

The most common stains on suede shoes are wine and coffee stains. These appear when people are clumsy and spill their drinks. You may also find road grime on your suede shoes, and these stains maybe oil, road salt, or water.

If you are like many people, you naturally spill things. Unfortunately, your suede shoes may take a hit from those spills. Therefore, the most common suede shoe stains are coffee and wine. If you wear your shoes to a party or breakfast, you may also be bumped into by others resulting in stains on your shoes.

While I will go into more detail later, you can remove coffee and wine stains from your suede shoes. Dab out any that will easily come out as quickly as possible. Be sure that you do not rub the area as it might spread the stain. Then, use mild dish soap to remove any remainder. Be careful that you do not get your shoes any wetter than necessary.

The other way most stains end up on suede shoes is that you walk in something, and it splashes up on your shoes. Again, I will cover more details later, but you can use a gum eraser to remove most dirt from your suede shoes. Start by dabbing as much as possible of the shoe. Then, rub the area with the eraser while being careful not to spread the stain.

What can you do to get rid of hard stains on suede?

Rubbing alcohol or vinegar will remove most stains from suede. In the case of mud and dirt, you should make sure that the shoes are completely dry before you start cleaning them. An old toothbrush can help you clean your suede shoes.

Before you start cleaning, notice the way that suede lays. In order to get stains out, you need to brush them in the direction of the grain. You can often tell which direction the grain is going by looking, but if you are in doubt, then feel the grain. 

It should feel smooth in one direction and rough in the other. Always brush in a smooth direction, and do not apply too much pressure. If you brush them in the wrong direction, you will mess up the suede’s nap, and it will become fuzzy.

If you have gotten blood on your suede shoes, you can usually remove it with peroxide. Dip a cotton ball in the peroxide and dab the stain until you have removed it. You must use quick up and down motions instead of rubbing the cotton ball against your shoes as with other substances. This helps to prevent accidentally spreading the stain instead of removing it. Then, let the shoes dry naturally.

Alternatively, if you have gotten gum or another sticky substance on your shoes, put them in the freezer overnight. After the substance hardens, peel as much of it off as you can before using a soft brush to remove the rest.

If you were a clutz at breakfast and spilled juice or tea on your shoes, try dabbing up as much as possible. Use a cotton swab dabbed in vinegar to remove the rest. Then, let your shoes dry naturally.

What equipment do you need to clean your suede shoes at home?

You can often clean your suede shoes using things you already have at home. You may want to consider investing in a suede shoe cleaning brush as it makes removing dirt much easier. On the other hand, a toothbrush often does a great job cleaning suede shoes as long as you choose one with soft bristles.

You can use many different things to clean your suede shoes. I have already discussed how to use vinegar, rubbing alcohol, and dishwashing soap to remove some stains. One of the best tools for removing stains is a gum eraser. I will give detailed instructions in the next chapter, so keep reading.

Suede shoes brushes products bottle wood

Before you use anything on your shoes, see how much you can get off with your hands. If the substance is wet, try using a white microfiber cloth. The cloth must be white because it might fade onto your shoes otherwise. Always blot up and down to remove liquid as going back and forth may spread the stain.

Another helpful technique, if you are removing a lot of mud, is to use a debit card. Use the edge of the card and rub it in the direction of the nap several times. Then, you can use your hands to finish rubbing the area. While I have not done it, my friend reports that softly using a fingernail file does the same job.

While you can use some shoe cleaners on suede, ensure that you read the instructions first. Yes, you really do need to read the directions in this case before using the product. 

Hands hold heel shoe product

Some shoe cleaners will ruin suede shoes, so find products that will work on suede. The water content in many is too high, and it will leave your shoes watermarked.

Now that you have some general knowledge of how to clean suede shoes, we will dive into the topic further in the next chapter. Therefore, be sure to keep reading. 

You need to know this information before your suede shoes become dirty because sometimes the best thing you can do is dab the substance that has gotten on your shoes quickly.

 If you have a friend who wears suede shoes, then you may want to share this post with them because it is always fun to learn new information together.

How to clean suede shoes step by step

In the last chapter, I covered some general ideas on cleaning suede shoes. In this chapter, I will give you more specifics. One general tip to keep in mind is that water will ruin your suede shoes. While there may be times when you need to use them in an emergency, never expose your suede shoes to large amounts of water.

A second general tip to remember is that heat ruins suede shoes. Therefore, you should never get in a hurry to get your suede shoes dry by putting them in direct heat or setting them on top of a furnace vent. 

You should also not use a hairdryer or other device to dry your suede shoes. When you are not wearing them, keep them out of the sunlight. This includes sunlight that might come streaming through your bedroom window.

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With those concepts in mind, let’s take a deeper look into the steps you should carry out to clean suede shoes.

Dab the stain as soon as possible

If you notice that something has gotten on your suede shoes, then try dabbing it off as soon as possible. While your choices may be limited depending on your location, using a towel that will not leave lint behind is best. 

You should dab the spot up and down and not rub it. While dabbing helps to pull out the stain and moisture, rubbing it can spread the stain, making it even harder to remove. 

It often helps to dab quickly in small up and down motions with as much pressure as possible. Depending on your location, you can complete this step with your shoe on or take it off.

Remove as much dirt as possible with your hands

Especially if the dirt is caked on your shoes, the next step is to get as much dirt off as possible with your hands. Feel the surface of the shoe. It should feel smoother going in one direction than in the other one. 

Rub the shoe in a smooth direction using your bare hand. Ensure that your hands are dry to avoid water damage to your shoes. This may be a slow process, so take your time and get as much off as possible. 

If you have trouble getting some areas to come clean, use a straight edge. In a pinch, the edge of your debit card is a great option. Working over a towel may help because you can wash the towel instead of creating another mess to clean up.

Use a soft brush and go in one direction

After getting as much dirt off as possible, use a soft brush to remove even more. You can opt for a brush made specifically for this purpose. A soft-bristled toothbrush is an excellent choice because it is small enough to get into areas that are harder to access with a bigger brush. 

Always brush in the direction of the nap. Brushing in the wrong direction will make the microscopic hairs stand up. Then, your suede shoes will not look as nice or feel as soft. Once you break the hairs, it is impossible to repair them.

Use a rubber eraser to remove large areas of dirt

Dig in your child’s school supplies to find their rubber eraser. It needs to be a clean one. You can also invest in a suede eraser, and you use them both in the same way. 

Hand eraser suede shoe

As you did with your hands, be sure to rub the eraser across the shoes smoothly, as going in the wrong direction can mess up your shoes. You can take out your frustrations by rubbing the eraser as hard as possible. 

You should only rub the areas that look dirty and leave the other areas alone. After using the eraser, rub your hands back across the shoes to remove any loose dirt.

Spot treat with vinegar, peroxide, or rubbing alcohol as needed

You can spot-treat your suede shoes with various things you probably already have at home. Peroxide often works to take blood out of your suede shoes. White vinegar is ideal for removing salt lines. Rubbing alcohol will remove many tea and coffee stains. 

Regardless of which you decide to use, grab a microfiber cloth and wet the corner with the solution. You can also use a cotton ball if you do not have a cloth. Then, dab the area. Again, you should not rub as it may spread the stain. 

Quick up and down movements are best. Keep going until you think you have the stain removed. Then, let the suede shoes dry naturally. You may need to brush off the dried pieces when your shoes have dried.

Let your suede shoes air dry

While it can be tempting to want to wear your suede shoes while they are still damp, you should let them air dry before wearing them. The place that you dry your shoes should not be humid, and it should be well ventilated. 

If you are in a hurry, place them in front of a fan. The increased air movement will help them dry faster. Stuffing your shoes with old newspaper or another absorbent type of paper can encourage them to dry faster. Do not put your shoes in your clothes dryer or in direct sunlight.

Spot treat again if needed

Once you have let your shoes dry, examine them again to ensure you have all the dirt off. If you do, it’s time to protect them from future stains. I will have more to say about that in just a moment. If you still see dirt, it is time to spot treat your shoes again. 

Always use a white cloth not to accidentally dye the shoes. After you have spot treated them, you will need to let them dry again. Do not become discouraged because removing some stains often takes two or three times.

Apply a suede protector spray

After getting your suede shoes clean, you should spray them with a suede protector spray. This helps to keep stains from setting in on your suede shoes. Your shoes should be clean and dry first. 

If you are afraid that your shoes are not dry, stuff them with an absorbent material and let them sit overnight. You should spray a small area first that is mainly hidden. Right along the shoe’s seam or a hidden part of the shoe’s tongue are great choices. 

Wait a few minutes to see if you note any color changes. If everything appears normal, spray the entire shoe working from top to bottom.

Decide where you will keep your suede shoes

An essential part of keeping your suede shoes clean is deciding where you will keep them when you are not wearing them. Wrap your suede shoes up in an old cotton t-shirt, as it will help protect them and keep moisture away. 

Then, put them in a box so that you can store them inside your dark closet. You will want to keep them there until you are ready to wear them. If your wardrobe gets damp, make sure that the box stays in a dry area away from light.

Be careful where you walk

While most shoe protectant sprays provide excellent protection, watching where you walk is still a good idea. Avoid walking in puddles or other wet areas if possible. If you are in a parking area, try to look at the layout and park in places that will stay well-drained. 

Detail shoes dirt soil
Source: Bechir Kaddech on Unsplash

If you are going to be spending extended amounts of time in muddy or grassy areas, you may want to bring another pair of shoes along and change your footwear before entering these areas.

Not surprisingly, it’s of utmost importance that you know how to wash your shoes. Suede shoes are somehow delicate. Thus, you need to know how to clean them. Still, if truth be told, all types of shoes must be properly cleaned and stored so that they last for a long time. Whether your shoes are made from a synthetic material, leather, or suede, you should know how to wash your shoes.

When unsure, do not panic! You can always ask a friend, a nearby shoe store, or check online. If you want to dress to impress, make sure your shoes are polished and clean. Otherwise, you might give the wrong impression. Learn how to wash your shoes, and they’ll look as good as new for ages.

You now know how to clean your suede shoes and a brief glimpse at how to store them after you have gotten them clean. In the next chapter, I will discuss the do’s & don’ts on suede shoes cleaning. Keep reading so as to find out more.

Do’s & don’ts on suede shoes cleaning

Let’s take a short break before we get to storing your suede shoes and go over some fundamental principles again. These ideas are so important that I do not feel that I can stress them enough.

If you were to ask me what the most essential part of this post was, I would immediately answer this chapter. Suede shoes look fantastic on runway models and store shelves, but it becomes your responsibility to keep them looking that way once you get them home.

It is natural as you wear your suede shoes that they will get a little bit dirty. Therefore, you need to follow the steps outlined above to keep your suede shoes clean. Even if you cannot remember every detail, remembering the ones in this chapter will ensure that you do not ruin your shoes. 

There is a learning curve to taking care of suede shoes, so I am so thankful to share this information with you. Following the information will keep your suede shoes looking great for a long time.

Don’t use water

Water is very harmful to suede shoes. While you can dab a little on them to take dirt off if you are away from home and have nothing else to use, you should avoid water. You should never try to clean your shoes by letting them soak in a bucket of water, and you should look for ways to avoid water when wearing your suede shoes. 

It is also essential that you store your shoes where they cannot get wet and use a shoe protectant spray to make them water-resistant, but I will have more to say about that again shortly.

Do use your hands

One of the best ways to get the dirt off your suede shoes is with your hands. Before you start, look carefully at the suede. It will look smoother in one direction than the other. Then, rub your shoes with your hands in the smooth direction, and ensure that you do not rub in the other direction. 

If you have trouble getting all the mud off with your hands, try using a rigid straight edge. The chances are that you have several options around your home, including a debit card, nail file, or table knife.

Do invest in the right equipment

There are three types of equipment that you may consider purchasing. The first is a soft bristle brush designed primarily to clean suede shoes. This brush will make it easier to get down in tight spaces and get your shoes clean. The second is a good storage box to keep your shoes in after they are clean. 

Look for options that will keep your shoes in the dark and have a way to let air filter through them while keeping moisture out. You should also invest in a good shoe protectant spray as you want your suede shoes to stay clean.

Don’t let grime sit

Regardless of what ends up on your suede shoes, the best time to start taking care of the issue is immediately. Carry some type of absorbent material with you and immediately blot the stain. This will help take the moisture out before the stain penetrates deeper. 

Never rub the stain. Instead, dab it so that you do not spread the stain. Then, when you get home, finish cleaning your suede shoes. That way, they are ready for the next time you want to wear them. After you clean them, make sure to store them away from moisture and heat.

Do soak up moisture

Moisture is close to the number one enemy of suede shoes. Therefore, you must keep your shoes dry. If something wet, like coffee, wine, or tea, gets spilled on your shoes, you should immediately soak up the moisture. 

A microfiber towel is the best choice, but paper towels or newspapers will work if you do not have one handy. After you have finished cleaning them, put some silica packets inside the shoes to absorb moisture.

Don’t use your washing machine

One of the fastest ways to ruin suede shoes is to wash them in the washing machine. Therefore, you should keep them put up when you are not wearing them. That way, they do not get tangled up in your laundry and end up there by mistake. Instead of using your washing machine, use your hands to get off as much dirt as possible. 

Then, spot-treat any stains. In most cases, vinegar, rubbing alcohol, or dishwashing soap will remove any stains you get on your shoes. Always blot when cleaning your shoes as opposed to rubbing them.

Do watch where you walk

While it is impossible to keep all dirt off your suede shoes, watching where you walk can help. First, avoid standing too close to someone eating food that might stain your shoes. 

Zenit detail male feet shoes
Source: Bechir Kaddech on Unsplash

Likewise, avoid bumping into someone who might spill a drink on them. When you walk, try to avoid as much water as possible. Planning can often be a great way to avoid wet areas. 

If your shoes become dirty, clean them as quickly as possible. Especially if they become damp because water leaves little circles on your shoes that are a different color than the rest of the shoe.

Don’t rub them in the wrong direction

When cleaning your shoes, it is better to dab off a stain than rub it off. Rubbing spreads the stain without removing it. If you find a stain that you need to rub, then pay special attention to the direction that you rub. You want to rub with the grain and not against it. 

If you go in the wrong direction, then the surface of your shoe will begin to look rough. This damage is likely permanent because you are destroying the suede’s fibers. Therefore, you must identify which direction you should rub before you start.

Do use a shoe protectant spray

After cleaning your shoes, use a shoe protectant spray to keep them looking nice. It helps them stay stain-free and helps protect against water damage. When choosing a spray, look for one that is safe to use on suede shoes. Some sprays will harm suede’s texture or cause them to fade. 

You should still test a small spot before spraying the whole shoe to see if it will cause any damage. Once you are safe, then spray from top to bottom. Pay special attention to make sure that you get where the suede meets the shoe’s sole because that is where most water damage and dirt buildup occurs.

Do use supplies you already own

You can use many things that you already own to clean your suede shoes. As I have already stated, rubbing alcohol, vinegar, and dishwashing soap can all be used to get spots off. They all require the same basic procedure. 

Use a microfiber cloth or a cotton swab to get the solution on the spot. Then, dab it on the spot. Do not rub as the stain may spread. If it is a large stain, start working on the outside and move towards the middle. Always let your shoes air dry and repeat the process if needed.

Don’t dry your shoes

Heat is the enemy of suede shoes, so never put your shoes in the dryer. The dryer gets too hot for your shoes, even with a no-heat setting. Heat can cause your shoes to warp, and they are nearly impossible to walk in. Heat can also cause your shoes to pull apart. 

Therefore, they will not look beautiful. You should also never put your shoes in the direct sunlight. When you are not wearing them, keep them in a dark and dry place. A ventilated shoebox in your closet is an ideal solution.

Do store your shoes properly

As I have already covered a couple of times, you need to store your shoes in a dark and dry location. Ideally, you will keep them in a shoebox that allows little ventilation. A plastic one with some air holes is a great choice. 

Woman bathrobe shoes wardrobe home

You can wrap your shoes in an old cotton t-shirt if you want to help absorb any moisture. Always clean your shoes before storing them. You should never keep your shoes in an area that gets too hot as your shoes will warp, and the suede may pull apart.

Avoid most shoe cleaning compounds

Most shoe cleaning products will destroy suede shoes. Therefore, make sure that you read the directions before using them on your favorite pair. As I have already discussed, the water content is too high in many and will cause watermarks to appear on your shoes. In other cases, the chemicals in the cleaner are too strong for suede. 

Instead, use an eraser or the spot treatments I have already mentioned to keep your suede shoes clean. Remember that once you have your shoes clean, you need to store them in a dark and dry location so that they do not become dirty again.

Do use an eraser

A suede eraser is a great way to keep your shoes clean. These erasers are particularly good at getting dirt to come off shoes. They are also a great tool to use to remove scuff marks. In most cases, suede erasers are not good at removing stains, so you need to use a spot treatment for that. You can also use a pencil eraser. 

In that case, you need to choose one that is white because it may discolor your shoes otherwise. You can find these erasers, often called gum erasers, in many craft stores. It is best to only rub in the direction of the grain. After you have removed the stain, you may need to use a brush to remove the pieces of the eraser left behind.

I hope you will keep these tips in mind when cleaning your shoes. Before you start, please read the next chapter, where I detail how to store suede shoes. Keeping them looking sharp will encourage you to want to wear them more.

Suede shoes storage and care tips

While I have touched on the topic a little bit, you need to store your suede shoes properly once you get your suede shoes clean. This helps them last longer and look nicer when you are ready to wear them again.

Since cleaning your shoes can be a little time-consuming, make sure that you clean them before you put them away so that you can make a split-second decision to wear your suede shoes.

Female feet shoes laces

Guys will want to consider owning a pair of suede oxfords as they are perfect for wearing with your fitted jeans. You will also want to think about owning a pair of suede derby shoes as they are ideal for wearing with your chinos. Monk strap suede shoes are a great option when wearing a blazer.

Women can also find many types of suede shoes. From slippers to high-heel boots, there is an ideal choice for any occasion. Suede sandals are an excellent choice for the summer, while you can find beautiful winter boots made from suede.

In fact, you will want to own several pairs of suede shoes, so it is essential to store them properly. If you throw them on your closet floor, they are more likely to get dirty again, so storing them is crucial.

Keep suede shoes away from sunlight

Sunlight is extremely bad for suede shoes. Therefore, make sure that you keep them in the dark. First, sunlight may fade the shoes. Then, they will look blotchy and be an uneven color. Secondly, sunlight can be extremely hot. 

Your suede may warp if it gets too hot. Then, the toes of the shoes may stick up in the air, or the opposite may occur, and the heel no longer properly sits on the floor. Additionally, the suede may try to separate. If it does, then the durability of your shoes is ruined.

Store your shoes in a temperature-controlled climate

As I have said several times, heat is not good for suede, but neither is a constant roller coaster of temperatures. Suede will swell in warmer temperatures and shrink in cooler ones. Therefore, you should store your suede shoes inside your home or in a climate-controlled facility. 

Avoid putting out-of-season suede shoes in your garage unless it is climate controlled. Likewise, avoid taking them to a self-storage facility unless temperatures are controlled. Instead, keep your suede shoes at temperatures that you are comfortable experiencing, ensuring that your shoes stay looking great.

Avoid heat sources

I have already discussed a couple of times how you should not put your suede shoes in the dryer as the heat will ruin them. Likewise, you should avoid exposing your suede shoes to other heat sources. If you have floor vents in your home, never put your shoes by them as your shoes may get too hot. 

Never use a hairdryer to dry your shoes as it can also make your shoes too hot. Additionally, you should avoid setting your shoes outside in the sun to dry as it may make them too hot. You will also want to consider objects that the heat may bounce off before reaching your shoes.

Control moisture

Your feet may naturally sweat when you wear your suede shoes, and you need to try to remove this moisture from them. If you live in a humid climate, your shoes may draw in moisture from the air. Therefore, you need to take steps to control the moisture when storing your shoes.

Close up silica gel desiccant bag

One way to do this is to put silica bags in your shoes to absorb the moisture. These bags may have come with your new shoes, but you can also find them for sale. Use one or two bags per shoe. They will last about one year, so be sure to replace them as needed.

Encourage air movement around shoes

When storing your suede shoes, you need to balance two different elements. The first is that air needs to move around your shoes. If air cannot get to your shoes, they will dry out completely, and the suede will become brittle. 

As I have already discussed, at the same time, you must protect them from moisture and dust. The answer is to use a storage container with a unique design that allows air to enter and leave the box. Your other shoes can also benefit from this, so think about getting boxes that will stack nicely in the space available in your closet.

Allow them to air dry

You should allow your shoes to air dry for at least 24 hours before putting them in a storage container. This gives all moisture in your shoes time to escape. When your feet sweat, then moisture escapes into your socks and shoes. After cleaning them, this moisture must have time to escape before you put your shoes away.

 Otherwise, your shoes may mold and have more odor issues. When letting your shoes air dry, choose a place away from dust and heat sources. It is far easier to prevent the problem than to solve it after it occurs, so be sure to leave plenty of time.

Keep dust away

Like other surfaces in your home, your shoes can become dusty. Therefore, you need to take steps to keep the dust away from them. You can choose between several different options. You can buy a drawstring dust-proof bag and put your shoes in them before putting them in the storage box. 

You can also wrap your shoes in an old cotton t-shirt. This can also help keep moisture away from your shoes as the t-shirt is naturally absorbent. You can also use an old cotton pillowcase. Using cotton ensures that air can reach your shoes while keeping dust away.

Have your suede shoes professionally cleaned

If you have particular suede shoes that you only wear in the winter or the summer, get them professionally cleaned before you store them. While you can spot clean your shoes, professionals have specialized equipment that allows them to do a better job. 

Additionally, they are equipped with knowledge based on experience. They also know how to remove those stubborn marks that you struggle with getting off. While you may not want to use their services every time, using them when the seasons change ensures that you put away clean shoes to wear when the seasons change again.

Use pool noodles to keep boots upright

If you have suede boots, then you need to store them in an upright position. If you do not, they are likely to slouch when you wear them. A great way to keep them upright is to put a pool noodle in where your leg goes. You may also want to stuff towels or other absorbent material in the footbed. 

Pool noodle

Then, place your boots in a bag or pillowcase upright. Finally, insert them into a plastic storage box. As with other shoes, it is crucial to choose a box that allows for airflow and to use a method to absorb any moisture that gets into your boots.

Control odors

When storing suede shoes, you need to take steps to control unexpected odors. A great way to do this is by putting cedar shavings in them when putting them in storage. An added advantage is that cedar shavings are great at absorbing moisture. 

There is no need to buy expensive ones, so head to the pet department and get ones used for small animals. Put a handful of shavings in a coffee filter and close it up with a neutral-colored rubber band. Then, insert it into each shoe. If you are not going to be wearing your suede shoes often, then change out the filter and shavings monthly.

I hope you have enjoyed learning about how to store suede shoes. In the next part, I will have some concluding thoughts. Therefore, ensure that you keep reading. I do not want you to miss a single idea that I share on cleaning and storing your shoes.


Now that you know how to use items in your home to clean your suede shoes and store them properly, hustle to add some more great options to your wardrobe.

If you have a friend or family member that is hesitant about buying suede shoes, please share this post with them. Suede shoes are a fashionable option that feels ultra-comfortable, so you do not want them missing out.

If you or they have questions, then feel free to post them. I will do my best to answer them with truthful information backed by years of personal experience.

You will also want to check out our other great articles. Each is loaded with practical advice on fashion topics.

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