Shoes are a big part of our lives. From wondering if you can put them in the washing machine to looking for a way to stop them from smelling! Some shoes though are a little more elegant! Suede is a popular material for both women’s and men’s footwear since it is both robust and long-lasting, as well as breathable and comfortable to the touch. It also retains heat like leather, which is why so many suede boots and heels have been used for the autumn and winter seasons.
Suede, though, isn’t as durable as leather and is more prone to dirt and stains from everyday use. Do you already know how to clean suede boots ? Take a minute to also find out how to clean suede heels without affecting the colour or integrity of the material before heading out on your next journey.
Table of Contents
Materials you will need
Have you ever cleaned suede leather furniture? Some of the following tools are the same, and depending on the type of stain or imperfection on your suede heels, will get the job done quickly:
- Suede brush
- Soft cloth towel
- Pencil eraser
- Suede rubber
- Leather degreaser made for suede
- Paper towels
- Fingernail file
- White vinegar
How to clean suede heels step-by-step
If you’ve gathered all the materials and tools that you’re going to need it’s time to see what you need to do!
Step 1: Make sure your shoes are dry and use a suede brush to clean them
Suede heels have a type of grain that requires a particular brush, which can be bought as part of a suede cleaning kit. Because suede is water-sensitive, it’s preferable to clean simple dirt and scuffs when the shoes are dry.
Suede brushes can be found at your local department shop. The handle is commonly blue, red, or black. Such brushes have brass bristles on one side and thin rubber strands on the other.
Step 2: Brush gently to eliminate the dirt
Brush away any dust or grime that has accumulated on the heels of your shoes using the suede cleaning brush.
Brush consistently in the same direction, rather than back and forth. Your shoes will immediately appear newer once you remove this coating of dirt. First, try brushing with the rubber side of the brush. Then, switch to the brass bristles if necessary.
Step 3: Brush vigorously to get rid of any scuff marks
The grain of the suede can be pressed down in one way when you scuff your shoes. Brush scuffed areas vigorously back and forth to lift the grain off the heels. Remember to only use a suede brush here.
Scrape the area with a knife to lift the nap if the scuffs or dry stains are too matted down to respond to the brush.
Step 4: Use an eraser for obstinate marks
Scuffs and marks that won’t come out with a brush can usually be removed with a pencil eraser or a piece of crepe rubber (the crinkled rubber that many shoe soles are made from).
You can also buy a suede eraser specifically made for this purpose. Apply modest pressure at first, then increase as the marks get more difficult.
Step 5: Make sure your suede heels are well protected
Add a coat of suede protective spray on your heels after they’re clean. This will help to keep stains and spots at bay. Always follow the instructions on the care label. Brushing and weatherproofing your suede heels can significantly extend their life.
How to treat different kinds of stains
What happens when you have to deal with a certain type of stain? Let’s have a look!
Coffee, juice and tea stains
- Lightly dampen a clean cloth using white vinegar.
- The material should be damp but not drenched. To remove any discolouration, gently dab the stain on your suede heels.
- You may need more specialised cleaning products, such as suede shampoo, to remove set-in stains.
- Dilute the shampoo in water according to the package guidelines, then use a brush to work it into the soiled area.
- Allow your suede heels to dry completely.
Grease or oil stains
- Blot away any extra oil with a cloth, then sprinkle baking soda on the affected area.
- Allow it to dry for a few hours or overnight before removing it with a suede brush or a clean towel.
- Alternatively, you can soak up oil spots using cornstarch. Simply sprinkle cornstarch on the stain, wait at least for an hour, and then clean it away with a cloth or brush.
Unfortunately, bloodstains on suede heels can be extremely difficult to remove. Here is how to do it:
- Start removing the stain while the blood is still fresh if possible.
- Blot the stain with a clean, dry cloth after dabbing the area with a wet cloth.
- Continue doing so until you’ve absorbed as much blood as possible. To remove the stain, moisten another clean cloth with hydrogen peroxide and dab it on the stain.
- Rinse the area gently with clean, cool water using a towel or sponge. When using hydrogen peroxide on coloured suede, be careful not to bleach or damage it.
- It is better to first test the hydrogen peroxide in a hidden spot.
- If all else fails, dyeing the suede is a good way to hide the stain. Other stains that hydrogen peroxide can help with include urine, mildew, wine, and juice.
- Choose fine-grit sandpaper and try it first in an inconspicuous spot to ensure the suede is not damaged.
- Buff the stain with a soft toothbrush dipped in white vinegar until most of the ink appears to be gone.
- Repeat the process until the stain is gone.
- Finally, restore the suede texture by brushing the area with a dry brush.
- You may also rub away ink stains with an emery board.
Large and stubborn stains
- Use a suede cleaner or shampoo made specifically for suede and leather shoes and make sure you’re using the product correctly by following the directions on the bottle.
- Dilute the shampoo in water, then work the mixture into the suede using a brush.
- Once you’re finished, rinse the shampoo out thoroughly with clean water, either by running water over the suede or wiping it with a clean, moist cloth.
- Allow the suede to dry naturally. Concentrate on the stained area, but also go over the rest of the suede item’s surface.
- When the suede completely dries, this will prevent it from creating an uneven appearance.
- When cleaning suede shoes, fill them with paper towels before drying them. This will absorb extra moisture and keep the shoes in shape.
General care and prevention tips
Here are some smart tips that will keep your heels at their finest!
1. Brush your suede heels every day to eliminate scuffs
Suede brushes typically have a wire-bristled side for removing debris and a rubber-bristled side for buffing up the suede’s nap. Brush the heels lightly every day or after each wear, first with the soft side, then with the wire-bristled side.
To avoid tearing or harming the suede, brush in the direction of the grain. Use a white cloth towel if you don’t have a suede brush. Remove any debris or dust that has accumulated on your shoes. Brushing too aggressively with the wire-bristled side is not recommended.
2. Apply a water-resistant spray to your suede heels
Suede protectant sprays can be found in leather stores, shoe stores, and other places where suede is sold. They shield the suede from water, oils, and other substances that could harm or taint it.
Spray the shoes all over, while making sure not to saturate any spot and then give it some time to dry.
To preserve the suede in good shape, use the suede protector at least once a year. Apply the spray to your new shoes before wearing or using them for the first time.
3. To avoid stains, blot water away as soon as possible
Blot the liquid with a clean white cloth. Applying too much pressure will cause the water to seep further into the item. Rough up the spot with a soft suede brush or toothbrush for 1-2 minutes. After blotting the area, let the water dry. If possible, use a blow dryer to dry the suede’s surface while brushing it.
If the dried water stain is a different colour than the rest of the item, consider spraying a light mist of water over the entire surface of the shoe and then let it dry.
If your shoes have become wet, pack them with paper or a shoehorn before allowing them to dry to avoid them becoming distorted.
4. Protect suede heels from dust by covering them
Place your suede shoes in a box or ventilated bag when storing them to keep the heels clean and protected. It should be kept cool and dark, away from heat, humidity, and sunlight.
Shoes you don’t use often should be wrapped in sheets or pillow covers, or stored between sheets of white paper.
5. Use flocking powder to fix bald spots
If the nap has entirely worn away in certain areas, carefully sand the area to level it out and eliminate dirt.
Apply fabric glue to the bald patch using a paintbrush, then dust the area with flocking powder in a colour that complements the suede. Allow 12-24 hours for the adhesive to dry before wearing or using the item again.
6. Restore faded colours with a renovating spray
Look for suede or nubuck restoring spray in a matching hue if your dyed suede heels are starting to fade. Brush the suede clean before you begin.
To make sure that you have an even colour across the entire surface of the shoe, spray the suede heels from a distance of 18 to 20 cm.
You can keep your suede heels looking new and solid for years if you follow the instructions provided in this article. Now, all you have to do is put on those suede shoes and discover what life has in store for you. Enjoy!