Suede is a fabric created from leather, which is made from the skin of animals such as cows, pigs, deer and goats. The fabric is then treated to create a soft texture known as suede, which is used for upholstery, clothing, accessories and shoes. Suede is a porous fabric, which makes it prone to staining after exposure to water but also makes it relatively easy to dye different colors. Use caution when dyeing suede shoes to avoid staining other fabrics, surfaces or skin.
Clean the shoes before dyeing them. Use a suede cleaner, which can be purchased at most grocery stores, drugstores or hardware stores. Alternatively, dip a clean soft cloth into a small bowl filled with warm water and 1 tsp. dish detergent. Wipe the cloth in gentle circular motions on the shoes until all the fabric has been cleaned. Allow them to dry thoroughly.
Purchase suede dye at a grocery store, drugstore or hardware store. Some shoe repair stores or dry cleaning stores may have it as well. Pack the insides of the shoes with clean, dry newspaper to prevent the inside of the shoes from staining.
Pour a small amount of the dye on a clean, soft cloth that you do not mind staining. You may wish to first pour the dye into a small container that you do not mind staining. Gently rub the cloth in circular motions on the shoes. Do not saturate the shoes; use only as much dye as needed to thoroughly cover the suede.
Allow the shoes to dry thoroughly in a dry, well-ventilated area. If drying shoes outside, place them where they cannot get wet or dirty.
Check the results. If you wish for a darker hue, repeat steps 2 to 4 until the desired color is achieved. If you wish a lighter hue, repeat step 1, which may result in a lighter color when dry.
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Meredith Jameson writes early childhood parenting and family health articles for various online publications. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in history from San Francisco State University.
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