How to Clean Suede Shoes With Oil

by Mimi Abney ; Updated September 28, 2017

Clean oil-stained suede shoes at home.

suede female shoes image by terex from

If your suede shoes are stained with oil, you’ll need a simple home remedy to clean the fabric and protect the delicate leather. To clean the smooth suede nap, use common household products and a steady hand to remove the soiled area from your shoes. While stubborn oil stains require a professional’s care to remove, you can clean suede shoes with oil inexpensively.

Blot the oil with a white cloth baby diaper. For a fresh and damp stain, press the cloth or old T-shirt firmly.

Apply talcum powder or cornstarch to the oil. According to Good Housekeeping expert Heloise Evans, use the cornstarch and powder to absorb the oil. Let the powdery substance stay on the stain overnight.

Use a vacuum cleaner attachment to lift the powder from your suede shoes. Place the vacuum on the lowest setting to remove all traces of the cornstarch or talcum powder from the shoe surface.

Scrub the stain with a new emery board or a suede brush. Use the tough bristles of a suede brush and the rough surface of the board to remove the remaining oil from the napped leather.

Use ultra-fine sandpaper to remove any small traces of oil. If grease or oil stains remain, rub the sandpaper using a circular motion. The sandpaper is gentle enough to remove any oil residue without damaging the suede fabric.

Apply steam to lift flattened nap. Using a tea kettle filled with water, place the steam two to three inches from your suede shoes.

Air-dry your suede shoes in a well-ventilated area, away from the heat.

Spray a silicone fabric protectant on your suede shoes. Apply the spray lightly to prevent future oil stains.


  • If the cornstarch does not absorb the oil stain, apply a combination suede cleaner and degreaser to remove grease from the surface of your shoes.

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About the Author

Mimi Abney is a lifestyle writer specializing in online content for women. Her work has appeared in and "Keepsake Magazine," among other publications. With over 15 years of writing and editing experience for the web and print, Abney is also a contributor to online health, beauty and fashion publications. She holds a Bachelor of Science in biology from Spelman College.