How To Clean Suede Work Boots? 7 Simple Steps

Suede work boots are not only sturdy and comfortable but also a fashion statement in the workplace. But when it comes to keeping them at their best, it can be a challenge, especially when you’re faced with dirt, stains, and watermarks. 

But you don’t need to worry because, in this guide, we’ll talk about how to clean suede work boots and also provide you with the essential know-how to maintain their elegance and durability. 

Whether you’re a seasoned suede enthusiast or a newcomer, these work boots cleaning tips will ensure that your boots continue to make a strong impression while standing up to the rigors of your workday. So, let’s step into the world of suede boot care and discover how to keep your trusted footwear in top-notch condition.

Why Cleaning Suede Work Boots is Important?

Suede, being a delicate and porous material, is prone to accumulating dirt, dust, stains, and water spots. Failure to clean your suede work boots regularly can result in permanent damage, loss of color, and a decrease in overall performance. Here’s why cleaning is so important:

Preserving Appearance:

Suede work boots have a distinct appeal, showcasing their natural color and texture. The key to keeping your suede boots in top condition is to clean it regularly. By removing accumulated dirt and dust, you prevent the suede from appearing worn out or discolored. This simple step goes a long way in preserving the aesthetic appeal of your boots.

Maintaining Water Resistance:

One of the remarkable features of suede is its natural resistance to water. However, this water-repellent quality can diminish over time, especially with exposure to various elements. To keep your boots ready to tackle unexpected rain or spills, regular cleaning and conditioning are essential. This process not only restores the water-resistant properties but also enhances them, ensuring your feet stay dry and comfortable.

Preventing Stains:

Suede’s porous nature makes it susceptible to stains and spills. In order to prevent these incidents from permanently causing damage to suede, it is essential that these incidents are addressed as quickly as possible. Whether it’s mud from a worksite or a coffee spill during a break, immediate action can make a significant difference. The right cleaning techniques, like using white vinegar and water solution, can effectively lift stains without causing further damage to the suede.

Extending Lifespan:

Suede work boots are an investment, and like any investment, proper care can significantly extend their lifespan. Regular cleaning prevents premature wear and tear by removing dirt and debris. This means your boots can withstand the demands of your work environment for a more extended period. 

Regular cleaning, combined with proper storage and maintenance, ensures that your suede work boots will be with you through countless projects, providing the support and protection you need. Here you can learn how long should work boots last.

How To Clean Suede Work Boots?

How to clean suede work boots? To clean suede work boots, start by brushing off any loose dirt with a suede brush. For stubborn stains, use a white eraser or vinegar on a cloth, gently rubbing in a circular motion. Avoid water, as it can stain suede. Let the boots air-dry, and finish by brushing them again to restore the suede’s texture.

So, let’s take a look at the first step…

List of Required Materials

“Preparedness is the key to success in any task, and a well-assembled list of required materials is your roadmap to achieving your cleaning goals.”

  • Suede Brush
  • Suede Eraser
  • Suede Cleaner
  • White Vinegar
  • Clean, Soft Cloths
  • Lukewarm Water
  • Boot Trees or Newspaper
  • Suede Protector Spray
  • Steam Cleaner (optional)
  • Lint Roller
  • Soft Bristle Toothbrush (optional)

Now that you’ve armed yourself with all the essential tools, it’s time to dive into the exciting world of step two!

Prepare Your Suede Work Boots For Cleaning

prepare the work boots for cleaning

In the guide about how to clean suede work boots, here is your 2nd step. Your suede work boots need to be prepared before you begin the cleaning process. In order for the restoration to be successful, this stage must be completed. Here’s how to do it:

A. Removing Laces and Insoles:

  1. Find a clean and flat surface to work on.
  2. Carefully unlace your boots, starting from the top and working your way down. Keep the laces in a safe place to avoid tangling or misplacement.
  3. Gently remove the insoles from your boots and set them aside. This allows you to access all areas of the suede.

B. Brushing off Loose Dirt and Debris:

  1. Begin by using your suede brush, starting from the toe and moving upwards.
  2. Brush in one direction to sweep away loose dirt, dust, and surface debris.
  3. Pay special attention to seams, crevices, and any areas with visible dirt buildup.
  4. As you brush, you’ll notice an improvement in the overall appearance of the suede as the nap (texture) is restored.

C. Identifying Stains and Problem Areas:

  1. Examine your boots closely to identify any stains or problem areas. Common stains include water spots, oil, grease, and scuffs.
  2. Note the location and type of stains you find, as this will guide your cleaning approach in the following steps.
  3. Don’t worry if you discover stains; many of them can be effectively treated during the cleaning process.

CONGRATULATIONS, you have successfully completed your 2nd step. Your boots are now lace-free, debris-free, and problem areas identified, and you’re ready to move on to the next steps about how to clean suede work boots.

Clean the suede work boots like a professional

Now that your suede work boots are prepared, it’s time to delve into the cleaning process. This stage is crucial for restoring the appearance of your boots and addressing any stains or scuffs. Here’s a detailed breakdown:

A. Using a Suede Brush or Eraser:

using a brush or eraser

Suede Brush Cleaning – Step by Step:

  1. Begin with a clean, flat surface and your suede brush in hand.
  2. In one hand, hold the boot securely, while in the other, use the brush.
  3. Begin by brushing the suede from the toe and work your way up using gentle, even strokes.
  4. The nap of the suede should be brushed in the same direction as the brushing direction.
  5. Continue brushing until you’ve effectively removed loose dirt and debris.
  6. You’ll notice the suede looking refreshed and the nap restored.

B. Dealing with Stains and Scuffs:

dealing with stain and scuff

Suede is prone to different types of stains and scuffs. Here’s how to address them:

1. Oil and Grease Stains:

  • To remove stains, sprinkle a small amount of cornstarch or talcum powder on them.
  • Allow it to sit for a few hours to absorb the oil or grease.
  • Gently brush away the powder using your suede brush.

2. Water and Salt Stains:

  • Dampen a clean, soft cloth with lukewarm water.
  • Gently blot the stained area, avoiding vigorous rubbing to prevent water spots.
  • Allow the boots to air dry naturally.

3. Ink and Dye Stains:

  • Apply a small amount of white vinegar to a clean cloth.
  • Carefully dab the stained area, being cautious not to saturate the suede.
  • Allow it to air dry and assess the stain. Repeat if necessary.

C. Steam Cleaning (if applicable):

  • If you have access to a steam cleaner specifically designed for suede, follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Use caution when applying steam, as excessive heat and moisture can damage the suede.

D. Using a Suede Cleaner:

using a suede cleaner

Guidelines for Selecting the Right Cleaner:

  1. Choose a suede cleaner that matches the type of suede you’re working with and the severity of the stains.
  2. Read and follow the product instructions to ensure it’s suitable for your boots.

Application Process:

  1. Apply the suede cleaner sparingly to a clean cloth or sponge.
  2. Gently rub the cleaner onto the suede using a circular motion.
  3. Pay extra attention to the stained areas, gently working the cleaner into them.
  4. Allow the boots to air dry thoroughly.

By following these detailed steps, you’ll effectively clean your work boots, removing dirt, stains, and scuffs while revitalizing the suede’s natural texture. Next, proceed to the drying and restoration steps to complete the rejuvenation process.

Clean Smelly Suede Work Boots

When it comes to freshening up smelly suede work boots, it would be best to sprinkle baking soda inside them and let them sit overnight to absorb odors. The next day, use a suede brush to remove the baking soda gently. For stubborn smells, consider placing activated charcoal or cedar shoe inserts inside the boots to absorb moisture and eliminate odors. Additionally, ensure your feet and socks are clean to prevent further unpleasant smells. Regularly airing out the boots and storing them in a dry place can also help keep them smelling fresh.

Drying Suede Boots

drying the suede work boots


Once you’ve successfully cleaned your suede work boots, it’s crucial to ensure they dry properly to maintain their shape and texture. Here’s how to handle this important phase:

A. Air Drying vs. Heat Drying:

  • Air Drying: This is the preferred method for drying suede boots. The best place to place your boots is in a well-ventilated area away from direct sunlight. The natural airflow helps to gradually and evenly dry the suede without causing damage or deformation.
  • Heat Drying: The suede can shrink, become brittle, or crack when exposed directly to direct heat, such as hair dryers or heaters. While it may seem quicker, it’s a risk not worth taking with your suede work boots.

B. Inserting Boot Trees or Newspaper to Maintain Shape:

  • Use boot trees or stuff your boots with newspaper to prevent their shape from deteriorating when they dry.
  • Boot trees are ideal for maintaining the boot’s form and can also absorb excess moisture. Insert them gently, ensuring they don’t stretch or damage the suede.
  • If you choose to use newspaper, loosely crumple it and stuff it into the boots. Replace the newspaper if it becomes damp. This helps retain the boot’s shape and wicks away moisture.

C. Proper Drying Time:

  • During cleaning, suede boots become wet and suffer from drying time differences depending on humidity, air circulation, and how wet they became.
  • On average, allow your boots to air dry for at least 24 hours or until they are completely dry to the touch.
  • Avoid rushing this step, as suede is sensitive to moisture, and a longer drying time ensures that the boots dry evenly and without damage.

In order to keep your suede boots looking and functioning properly, they must be properly dried. Avoid any shortcuts that involve heat, and exercise patience during the drying process to ensure your boots look and feel their best.

Restoring the Suede

restoring the suede work boots

After cleaning and drying your suede work boots, it’s time to bring back their luster and protect them for the future. Here’s how to restore and maintain your suede boots:

A. Brushing the Boots Once More:

  • Using your suede brush, gently stroke the entire surface of the boots in the direction of the nap (natural texture).
  • This step helps fluff up the nap, giving your boots that soft and plush appearance.
  • Regular brushing not only enhances the suede’s texture but also removes any residual dirt or lint.

B. Rejuvenating the Color:

  • Suede boots can lose their color vibrancy over time. To restore or enhance their color, consider using a suede dye or spray designed for your specific boot color.
  • Follow the product’s instructions carefully, ensuring an even application.
  • Allow the dye or spray to dry completely before proceeding to the next step.

C. Applying a Suede Protector:

  • To safeguard your newly cleaned and rejuvenated suede work boots, apply a suede protector spray.
  • It is important to ensure that the boots are clean and dry before applying the protector.
  • Make sure you spray an even coating on the boots while holding the spray can about 6-8 inches away. Ensure that all surfaces are covered.
  • Once you have applied the protector to the boots, let them dry naturally. By covering the surface with a protector, moisture, dirt, and stains will be prevented from penetrating the surface.
  • Reapply the suede protector periodically to maintain protection, especially if you wear your boots frequently.

By following these steps, you not only restore the appearance of your suede work boots but also ensure they stay in great condition for an extended period. Regular maintenance and protection help keep your boots looking their best and extend their lifespan.

Reassembling the Boots

reassembling the suede work boots

After cleaning, drying, and restoring your suede work boots, it’s time to prepare them for wear. Follow these steps to reassemble your boots:

A. Lacing Up the Boots:

  • Begin by threading the laces through the eyelets from the bottom to the top, ensuring they are evenly distributed on both sides.
  • To ensure comfortable wear, pull the laces through until they are taut but not too tight.
  • Tie your preferred knot style (e.g., standard bow or double knot) and adjust the tightness to your liking.

B. Reinserting Insoles:

  • Take the insoles that you removed earlier and place them back inside the boots, aligning them correctly.
  • Make sure the insoles are flat and sit snugly within the boot to provide comfort and support.
  • If you’ve added any odor-fighting inserts, ensure they are also properly positioned.

C. Final Inspection:

  • Before wearing your boots, please give them a final once-over to ensure everything is in order.
  • If any threads or lacing are loose or uneven, or if any spots need extra attention, check them out.
  • Run your suede brush over the boots one last time to ensure the nap is even and looks its best.

With your boots fully reassembled, and given a final inspection, you’re now ready to enjoy the comfort, style, and protection that well-maintained suede work boots provide. Regular cleaning and care will help keep them in top condition.

How To Clean Suede Boots Without Suede Cleaner?

how to clean suede boots without suede cleaner


Suede boots are stylish, but keeping them clean doesn’t always require a special cleaner. With some household items, you can effortlessly restore your boots and keep them looking excellent. Here’s a detailed step-by-step guide about how to clean suede boots without suede cleaners:

Materials Needed:

  • A soft brush or old toothbrush
  • White vinegar
  • Water
  • Clean cloth or sponge
  • Cornstarch or talcum powder
  • Suede brush

Now let’s start the step by step guide:

Remove Excess Dirt:

To start, grab a soft brush or an old toothbrush for the initial cleanup. With gentle strokes, remove any loose dirt or debris from your suede boots. Ensure you brush in the direction of the fibers, minimizing the risk of causing damage to the delicate suede material.

Prepare Vinegar Solution:

Mixing a cleaning solution is the next step. Mix similar parts of white vinegar and water to make an useful yet gentle mixture. Once ready, dampen a clean cloth or sponge with this solution. This vinegar blend serves as a powerful ally in breaking down and lifting stains without harming the suede.

Address Stains:

Gently attack those stubborn stains with a soaked cloth or sponge. Exercise caution to avoid oversaturating the suede, which could lead to water stains. The vinegar solution proves invaluable here, actively working to break down and lift away stains from your suede boots.

Air Dry Naturally:

After the cleaning process, let your boots breathe. Allow them to air dry naturally. Crucially, keep them away from direct heat sources to prevent any potential stiffness or undesirable discoloration of the suede material. Patience in the drying phase ensures optimal results.

Restore Fuzz with Brush:

Once your boots are fully dry, it’s time to bring back the fuzzy texture that makes suede so appealing. Utilize a suede brush or an old toothbrush for this task. Gently brush in the direction of the fibers, maintaining the natural appearance and softness of the suede material.

Combat Grease with Powder:

For those pesky, oily stains, introduce a bit of powder power. Spread cornstarch or talcum powder onto the impacted areas and leave it overnight. This simple technique allows the powder to absorb the oil effectively, helping lift those persistent grease stains from your suede boots.

Repeat if Necessary:

Persistence may be key when dealing with stubborn stains. Don’t be discouraged if stains linger after the first attempt. You may need to repeat this cleaning process if necessary to completely remove the stains. Your diligence will pay off in restoring the pristine look of your suede boots.

Mindful Water Use:

While water is a crucial part of the cleaning process, moderation is key. Avoid soaking the suede, as excessive water exposure can lead to water stains and potential damage to the delicate texture of your boots. Striking the right balance ensures a successful cleaning without compromising the integrity of your suede footwear.

Maintenance Tips

maintenance tips of suede work boots

To keep your suede work boots looking great and lasting a long time, consider these essential maintenance tips:

A. Frequency of Cleaning:

  • Clean your suede boots regularly, ideally after every few wears, to prevent dirt and stains from setting in.
  • Brush them off after each use to maintain the nap and minimize the need for deep cleaning.
  • If your boots encounter severe conditions or stains, address them promptly to prevent long-term damage.

B. Avoiding Common Mistakes:

  • Avoid water and direct heat: Keep suede away from excessive moisture, and never use heat sources like hair dryers or heaters to dry them.
  • Don’t oversaturate: When applying cleaners or solutions, use them sparingly to prevent oversaturation, which can lead to water spots.
  • Test on a small area: When using suede cleaners or sprays for the first time, test on a small, inconspicuous area of your boots to ensure they don’t react negatively.
  • Use proper brushes: Stick to soft-bristle suede brushes or erasers and avoid abrasive or hard brushes that can damage the suede.

C. Storing Suede Work Boots:

  • For protection against fading and damage, keep your boots in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.
  • Insert boot trees or loosely crumpled newspaper to help maintain their shape.
  • Dust and light are easily attracted to boots, so it’s important to use breathable boot bags to protect them.

By following these maintenance tips, you’ll not only preserve the appearance of your suede work boots but also extend their lifespan, ensuring you can continue to rely on them for work or any outdoor activity.

Conclusion

In the grand scheme of things, understanding how to clean suede work boots may seem like a small detail, but it’s an investment that pays off handsomely. Your suede boots, be they for work or play, deserve the royal treatment. The steps we’ve covered in this guide will keep your boots looking sharp and comfortable

With regular cleaning, gentle drying, color revitalization, and protective measures, your suede boots will stand by your side through various seasons and activities, making every step a confident and stylish one. Remember these tips, and your suede work boots will reward you with longevity and elegance.

FAQs

Can I clean suede with dish soap?

It’s not recommended to use dish soap to clean suede. Dish soap can be too harsh for suede and may cause damage or discoloration. Opt for a specialized suede cleaner, which is designed to clean suede while preserving its texture and color effectively.

What is the best cleaner for suede shoes?

The best cleaner for suede shoes is a product specifically formulated for suede cleaning. These cleaners are gentle on the delicate suede surface, effectively removing dirt and stains while maintaining the suede’s natural texture and color. Look for reputable brands that offer suede cleaning products for optimal results.

Can toothpaste clean suede?

Toothpaste is not suitable for cleaning suede. It is abrasive and can harm the delicate suede fibers, potentially causing irreparable damage. Stick to appropriate suede cleaning methods and products to ensure the longevity and appearance of your suede items.

How do you shampoo suede boots?

Suede should not be shampooed like regular fabric or leather. Instead, follow the recommended suede cleaning process, which typically involves using a suede brush or eraser to remove dirt and stains and applying a suede cleaner. These methods are designed to clean suede while maintaining its quality safely.

Can you use shoe polish on suede?

Traditional shoe polish is not intended for suede shoes. Suede is a unique material with a nap (texture), and applying shoe polish can ruin this texture and change its appearance. To care for suede shoes, use a specialized suede protector or conditioner to maintain their quality and protect them from stains and moisture.