This is an excellent video and article by videojug about the proper care, cleaning and revival of suede leather shoes. Peter Schweiger, the 5th generation owner of the British bespoke shoemakers James Taylor & Son, , demonstrates the techniques.
How To Clean Suede Shoes
Step 1: You will need:
- 1 suede protector spray
- 1 suede cleaning brush
- 1 small knife
- 1 nail brush
- 1 sponge
- 1 shoe tree/ white tissue paper
- 1 crepe rubber/ pencil eraser
Step 2: Introduction
Suede is a kind of leather with a soft raised surface called a ‘nap’. It can spoil more easily than leather so needs a special level of care. It makes sense to always spray new shoes with a protecting spray.
Step 3: Protection spray
These sprays can be bought from footwear shops, and will protect your shoes from the water damage and staining. Before applying the spray, lightly brush your shoes to remove any dust or dirt. Always brush in the same direction to lift the nap. Make sure you follow the manufactures instructions on the side of the aerosol can. Shake well, spray away from your face, and as with all aerosols, only use in a well ventilated area.
Step 4: Scuff marks
Even with a protection spray, shiny marks can still appear if you scuff suede shoes, flattening down their surface. Restore by brushing back and forth with a suede brush. If the shoes are very worn, scrape with a sharp knife to lift the nap.
If your suede has dirty marks, try removing them with one of the sides of a suede brush
Experts recommend using a little crêpe rubber, or even a pencil eraser to ‘lift’ the marks from you shoes. The dirt will transfer from the suede to the rubber
Step 5: Removing mud
If your shoes get muddy, wait till the mud dries, then use a stiff brush, such as a nail brush to remove the dirt. Move with a sweeping action, and keep all your strokes in the same direction. Work all the way around the shoe, including the edges of the sole. Pay special attention to any dirt stuck in detailing.
Step 6: Wet suede
If part of the shoe gets gets wet, the water can leave a tide mark and dry a different colour. So wet the shoes all over, sponge off any excess water and insert a shoe tree to keep the shoe in shape as it dries. If you don’t have a shoe tree, stuff the toes shoes with white tissue paper, or any white paper to hold them firm.
Don’t use newspaper if your shoes are very wet, as the print may leech into the shoes
Leave the shoes to dry overnight. Then gently brush to restore the texture.
Step 7: Stains
Stains like oil and grease are almost impossible to remove.
Work into the area with a suede brush to see if that lifts the stain, treating it as you would a scuff.
If not, remove the laces, and wash the shoes with a little water and a stiff brush.
If this doesn’t work, it may be time to say goodbye to your dirty shoes
Step 8: Storing suede
When you’re not wearing your shoe, wrap them in tissue paper and put in a shoe box, heel to toe. Don’t keep them in plastic bags or airtight boxes and avoid humidity, which can make them mouldy and avoid bright light, which can discolour suede. Keep them in a dark dry place.