How to Wash Suede Tennis Shoes

by Ezmeralda Lee

Suede is the type of leather with a rough, fuzzy texture. The napped finish of suede makes it soft to touch and hard to care for. Because suede is leather taken from soft areas on an animals body, it is pliable and has large pores that absorb liquid quickly. Unfortunately when water comes directly in contact with many suede types it can potentially ruin the item with large stains. Keeping suede items clean is a trying task, as stains need to be avoided at all costs and cleaning done often.

Items you will need

  • Dry wash cloth
  • Damp wash cloth
  • Suede cleaning brush or stiff bristled brush
  • Small soft bristled fingernail brush
  • Pencil eraser
  • Sponge
  • Old newspaper or strips of cardboard
  • Small knife
  • Suede protector spray
Step 1

Wipe dirt and other particles from your dry suede tennis shoes using the dry wash cloth. Switch to the suede cleaning brush to remove dirt spots. Scrub in all directions to lift the dirt from the surface of the tennis shoe. It is better to allow mud to dry before attempting to clean your suede shoes.

Step 2

Use the small knife to get dirt from seam creases and to remove stubborn scuffed areas that the suede cleaning brush does not phase. Some stubborn areas will disappear when rubbed over with a pencil eraser. When you're finished with this step, wipe the tennis shoe over again with the dry wash cloth.

Step 3

Dampen the entire outside surface of the shoe with the damp washcloth and use the sponge to soak up any excess moisture off of the shoe’s surface. Rub the shoe with the soft bristled fingernail cleaning brush then allow the shoes to dry over night.

Step 4

Place crumpled balls of newspaper or rolled up pieces of cardboard inside the shoes to prevent them from drying into an odd shape. This step should assist you in removing watermarks.

Step 5

Remove more stubborn stains by dampening the sponge with white vinegar and blotting it onto the stained spots. Allow the white vinegar to sit for a few minutes and penetrate the stain, then scrub the spot with the suede cleaning brush again. You may need to repeat these steps a second time to get the stains and water spots completely out of the suede fabric of the shoes.

Step 6

Spray the newly cleaned and dry suede tennis shoes with suede protector spray. This spray prevents many stains from forming and keeps your suede tennis shoes clean a while longer.

Tips

  • Bear in mind that if you use the white vinegar for stubborn stains it may take a few days for the scent of the vinegar to lift from the shoes, so you may wish to leave those shoes at home so you don’t walk around smelling like a pickle!

    If stains do not lift after two cleaning attempts, they may be taken to a cleaning professional that specializes in cleaning suede items.