How to Clean Suede Boots At Home – 7 Steps

Suede work boots have become increasingly common over the last decade or two. Their use in the military eventually led to their being used in different workplace settings. If you own such a pair, you should know how to clean suede boots at home. It is not too hard. Keeping your workplace safety shoes clean is an indication of your level of professionalism. Knowing how to clean suede shoes at home also enhances the lifespan of the shoes.

Previously, we looked at how to clean leather work boots. Here, we will see how to clean suede shoes at home to keep them top-notch condition.

But before that, let us explore a few benefits of using suede boots. First …

What is suede?

Suede is a type of leather, but it has a fuzzy finish as opposed to regular leather that has a smoother and more polished finish. However, this fuzziness has many benefits. It may not be as strong as nubuck and cowhide types of leather boots, but it can still serve you very well for a long time.

Why buy suede work boots?

While leather remains the king in workplace, suede shoes and boots have their unique benefits. They offer the same protection as you would get from the leather work boots. For example, some are even designed with steel toes.

1. Good ankle support

They have ankle support. This is a very important factor when buying a pair of boots for use in the garage, on the factory floor, in the field or in your workshop. If you engage in strenuous activities, or maybe you have weak ankles, you need a pair of boots with ankle support.

2. More affordable

They are more affordable than their leather compatriots. On the flip side though, they do not last as long, but then they have never claimed to last as long as leather boots. With good care such as we are going to teach you here, you can prolong their useful life. Just learn how to clean suede boots.

3. Suede boots are easy to maintain

Suede boots are easy to clean and maintain. Thus, you can make cleaning them an every weekend thing. It will not take as much time or resources as cleaning leather boots. Leather work boots need to be polished and conditioned with a leather conditioner.

4. Breathability

Compared to the full grain/top grain and nubuck leather, suede is more breathable. It was because of this factor that the military adopted their use for desert boots. These boots will allow more air circulation. This prevents your feet from being grilled if you work in an environment with high temperatures. You can spend long working hours in suede boots without suffering too much.

How to clean suede boots at home

Items that you need:

  • Suede brush or clean toothbrush
  • Clean pieces of cloth
  • Water
  • Paper towels
  • Soap
  • White vinegar or rubbing alcohol
  • A shaving razor
  • Old newspapers or rags

Important Tip: Before you start cleaning suede boots, stuff them with old newspapers and rags. This prevents it from losing shape. Suede is more susceptible to losing shape than leather.

1. Let mud dry up completely

If your suede work boots have been contact with mud, it is best to let them dry off completely. Dry mud is easier to remove from the shoes than wet mud. You can just beat the boots against each other until the dry mud falls off. After that, fluff the boots with your suede brush to get rid of all the mud stain.

When brushing off the remaining mud, be firm so that the brush can reach deep into the fabric. You can then assess the work you have done to see whether you need to clean it further. Sometimes, how to clean suede boots is simple as that, but if there are sticky stains, you will have to clean deeper with agents such as rubbing alcohol or white vinegar.

2. Use a suede brush

This is the first cleaning tool that you must have if you wish to clean your suede shoes at home. You can buy a suede brush on However, even if you do not have one, you can still clean your shoes. You may even use a clean toothbrush, but please note that a suede brush makes the job easier.

What can you use the suede brush for? Many things, including stubborn stains. However, it is best for cleaning out dry mud. Since suede absorbs water, it is recommended that you try hard to clean it without water whenever possible.

When using the suede brush on a stain, brush repeatedly in one direction. Because of the fuzzy nature of this material, ruffling it too much is not advisable. However, when there is a sticky stain on the shoes and the grains seem to stick to one direction, you can brush back and forth with a suede brush. That should loosen the skin some.

3. How to clean suede shoes with water

It is recommended that you do not clean your suede boots or shoes with water. Water discolors the suede and it can make it lose its form. One of the good qualities of suede is the velvety feel and texture. If you soak the shoes in water, they lose this velvety touch.

You should try to clean them using other methods such as the suede brush that we have discussed above. It is perfectly possible to clean grime and dirt from your pair of suede boots without wetting them with water.

Please note that we said water is not recommended. However, you can still use it to clean the suede. You can use warm water and soap to clean off stubborn stains. If these are water stains, they are best removed with water.

Before you can start cleaning the shoes with water, stuff them with old newspapers or rags, so that they do not lose shape during the cleaning process.

For how to clean suede shoes with water, you should have a spray bottle. Warm some water, pour it in the spray bottle and spray ever so lightly. You should not soak the entire shoe in water.

Blot the excess water with paper towels. That way, the water will not get the time to soak through the shoes. Using a towel, rub the stains away gently and then air-dry the shoes for about 30 minutes.

4. How to clean suede boots with vinegar

Knowing how to clean suede shoes with vinegar is quite beneficial. White vinegar is readily available in your cleaning items at home. It is also very effective at removing stains on suede boots.

It is recommended that you use white vinegar or rubbing alcohol when the boots have sustained oil, grease and other stubborn stains. For food, drinks and other common stains, warm soapy water is going to be effective.

If you have food stains that have been on the shoes for some days or you have road salt stains on the suede, you can use vinegar to clean them out.  To use vinegar, soak a piece of white cloth in it and then rub gently but firmly on the stain until it is gone.

If you do not have white vinegar, you can just use rubbing alcohol. It is still as effective. After using the cloth dampened in white vinegar, let the spot that you cleaned dry completely. Then fluff the suede back to normal with a suede brush.

5. How to clean suede boots – Use suede or pencil eraser

This is where cleaning suede boots at home becomes a lot of fun. You can use an eraser, which you can buy online, for the job. It works the same way that a pencil eraser works. Just keep rubbing at the stains until they are gone completely. It works! If you do not have a suede eraser, you can use a pencil eraser. Grab junior’s eraser when he is out playing, and return it when done.

You can try rubbing the stain in the direction of the grain. If the stain is too stubborn, you may have to apply more strength without worrying about the direction of the rub.

Image of how to clean suede shoes at home

6. Restore the velvety touch of the suede fabric with a razor

Just as our title suggests, this article is about how to clean suede boots at home. Thus, we have included all the things that you can find at home. In this instance, you will use a shaving razor to return the suede material to its gentle velvety texture.

Just check your suede shoes and shave any loose strings that you will see. By the time you are done, there should not be any loose ends on the fabric. After passing your razor over the fabric several times, fluff the shoes up with the suede brush to return them to their velvety texture.

7. Spray with a suede protector

We may not use any weatherproofing materials on suede as we would on leather work boots. However, there are special suede protector materials in the market. You can buy one and spray it lightly but thoroughly on your suede boots before wearing them for work.

In conclusion

You have seen the seven important steps for how to clean suede boots at home. If you want your work boots to last as long as possible, you should take good care of them. It is not too hard. It is easier than cleaning leather work boots. Just make sure that you do not immerse the suede boots in water because it can cause irreparable damage.