How to care for suede

Most people have a reasonable understanding of how important it is to look after leather shoes and it’s relatively easy to find information about the various creams, waxes and polishes that are available and how to use them.

Although it’s just as important to look after suede shoes, they are a little more delicate and there seems to be less information available.

So here are a few hints:

Brush your shoes with a suede brush after every use. This will revive the nap and remove any excess surface dirt that may have accumulated. Suede Brushes are often made of brass wire and are used for raising the ‘nap’ of the suede, but it’s also possible to buy multi-headed brushes which can have a gentler effect if you’re worried about scuffing the surface. Always brush the nap in the same direction, this will keep the shoes looking clean and stop you just brushing dirt around the shoe.


Spray all over with a suede protector. This can be used to protect your suede shoes against marks, stains, spillages, etc. Some modern suede leathers have protectors already tanned into them, but you won’t always know this until it’s too late, so it’s a good idea to spray them anyway. Take the manufacturer’s advice and test it on a small area first, as this will prevent you from ruining the colour. Do this regularly to keep the level of protection constant.


If you need to remove mild stains, you can rub with a suede cleaning block. It can sometimes be effective to rub the stained area with the suede of the other shoe, but try not to use anything too abrasive or you’ll risk damaging the material. When you’ve removed the stain, brush and spray again.


Finally, here are a few more Do’s and Don’ts:

• Don’t leave your shoes in the sun, this will fade the colour. Keep them cool, dry and well aired

• Do use shoe trees, these will absorb the extra moisture from your feet and help to maintain the shape.

• If your shoes get wet, do try to absorb as much moisture as possible before leaving them to dry naturally. You can then deal with water marks once they are fully dried.

• If you get mud on your shoes, do let the mud dry before brushing off (otherwise you may just brush it into the suede).

4 Comments on “How to care for suede

  1. Nice post, but I can’t comment in detail as I don’t have any suede Loakes! Used to own Hush Puppy Chelsea boots and blue suede clumpies, but no suede for years.

  2. All good advice but what are your thoughts on cleaning suede with steam from a kettle?

  3. Pingback: How to care for suede shoes | Bradshaw and Lloyd Fine Shoe Blog

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