How to Clean Minnetonka Moccasins

by Dan Ketchum ; Updated September 28, 2017

Minnetonka's moccasins range in style from knee-high boots to low-profile slip-ons; just as they range in cut, they also span the spectrum of natural hide materials, from sheepskin to moosehide. Despite hide differences, the majority of Minnetoka's mocs are sueded -- when it's time to clean, this velvety texture requires gentle brushing and rinsing. If your Minnetonkas feature a different material, you'll have to change your cleaning technique a bit.

Brush your suede moccasins free of loose dirt and debris with a suede brush, available at shoe stores and leather specialty shops. Make each brush stroke in the same direction to give your suede a neat, uniform look. In some cases, this is the only cleaning your suede needs.

Brush scuff marks with the head of a soft-bristled toothbrush or a pencil eraser. Use a gentle, back-and-forth motion until the scuffs fade.

Remove tough stains and dark marks by gently brushing back and forth with an emory board. Dampen a suede brush with water and scrub the surface of the moccasin, then use a soft-bristled toothbrush to rub in a small dab of suede cleaner or baby shampoo. Rinse the bristles thoroughly with clean water and brush the spot again to remove any excess residue. Stuff the shoes with white tissue paper and allow them to thoroughly air-dry overnight.

Dry-brush the moccasins with a suede brush, once again stroking in a uniform direction, to restore their natural, uniform texture -- the nap of the material -- after treating scuffs or stains.


  • To remove watermarks from Minnetonka moccasins, dampen your suede brush and brush the affected areas. Sop up excess moisture with a clean sponge, stuff the shoe with white tissue paper and allow it to dry overnight. Dry-brush the shoe in the morning to restore its nap.

    After cleaning your suede moccasins, apply a suede protector spray according to the manufacturer's instructions. Typically, you'll hold the can about 6 inches from the shoe, apply a light, even coat and allow the kicks to try for a few hours. Minnetonka recommends applying two coats on new moccasins and reapplying weekly or monthly to prevent water spots and oil stains.

    If your moccasins have woolly sheepskin lining or accents, spot-clean the sheepskin using a solution of cool water mixed with a bit of mild detergent or baby shampoo. Use a toothbrush or suede brush to work out dirt and debris, then blot out stains with a clean, dampened rag and allow the shoes to air-dry.

    If you have smooth leather Minnetonkas -- men's driving moccasins, for example -- rub them free of dirt with a cloth lightly dampened by water and a gentle moisturizing soap, then wipe away the soap with a clean cloth and buff the shoes with a soft, dry towel. Allow the shoes to fully dry and apply a leather conditioner, rubbing the conditioner into the leather in a circular motion. Buff out the excess conditioner with another soft, clean, lint-free cloth.

    If the fringe on your boot-style moccasins gets sloppy, lay the boot on an ironing board, flatten the fringe by hand and place a clean cotton towel over it. Switch your iron to a no-steam setting and apply firm pressure to the towel, ironing in downward strokes to straighten out the fringe.

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About the Author

With a diverse professional background and a decade of experience as a freelance writer, Dan has contributed lifestyle content -- from fashion to travel to fitness and more -- to publishers including Chron, Fortune, Sony, GlobalPost, ModernMom, Moviefone,, Techwalla and dozens of others.