How to clean suede shoes with household products
Any guy who has worked on an engine, cleaned dust out of a computer or sharpened chef's knives know the value of upkeep and maintenance. The extra work those things require is worth it, because those things offer an incredible experience that goes beyond typical throwaway versions.
That's why we'll always have suede shoes, from sandals and sneakers to dress shoes.
For more than 20 years, we've watched shoe fashions go in and out like the California tide. But suede shoes and boots stick around like the pier, because suede is not your average leather: The napped finish comes from the underside of the animal skin, which is softer and more pliable. In shoes, that means it grips your foot securely and comfortably without breaking-in pains.
But that napped finish comes with a cost: it can stain more easily. And in today's world, there is plenty to stain your shoes, from coffee spills to dirt on the sidewalk. Even the moisture from spring rains or summer storms can cause problems, and the salt from icy sidewalks and parking lots can cause near-permanent damage.
The good news: suede can be cleaned. Even better news: you probably already have everything you need in your home, so get ready to learn how to clean suede shoes.
Household Products You Need to Clean Suede Shoes:
- Newspaper or loose paper: Before you start, fill the inside of your shoes with paper. The idea is to fill them so they keep their natural shape while you work. In the long-term, this helps toughen up that soft leather a bit so that future cleaning is easy.
- A soft-bristled brush, like an old toothbrush: Eventually you might want to invest in a suede-cleaning brush - you should be able to find a good one for less than $10. When brushing: Make sure the boots and brush are dry, and brush only in the direction of the grain. Don't go back and forth like you would on your teeth.
- A pencil eraser: If a brush isn't getting tough stains out, one of these can give you a bit of extra cleaning power. Just make sure the eraser is still somewhat soft. If it leaves all kinds of horrible skidmarks on paper, don't use it.
- White vinegar: Salt, food or wine stains may need a bit of extra help, and some distilled white vinegar can make a difference. Apply it to the stained area then let it dry, then rub it out with your soft-bristled brush.
- A bath towel: Think of this as the buff at the end. Again, go in the direction of the suede's grain.
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