Suede is a luxurious, soft material cherished in the fashion and design world for its unique texture and appearance. In fact, suede boots are a fashion staple, adding a touch of elegance and sophistication to any outfit. But as many suede lovers know, these stylish companions are also magnets for dirt, stains, and watermarks.
Suede is a type of leather that is known for its napped finish. The term itself originates from the French "gants de Suède", which translates to "gloves from Sweden," though suede can be and is made worldwide.
Suede is made from the underside of the animal hide, unlike standard leather which is made from the exterior side. This makes suede softer and more pliable than standard leather. The inside of the hide is buffed and sanded to create its signature fuzzy finish. Being thinner and more pliable than standard leather, suede is often used for delicate items like gloves or softer clothing pieces.
Suede is more susceptible to damage from water and stains compared to standard leather. Thus, it requires special care, including regular brushing to maintain its nap and specialized products for cleaning and protection.
How to clean and maintain your suede treasures.
1. Gather Your Supplies
Before you start, make sure you have the following on hand:
- A soft-bristle brush (suede brush recommended)
- Clean cloth or towel
- White vinegar or suede cleaner
- Pencil eraser or suede eraser
- Rubber sponges or crepe rubber
- Optional: waterproof spray for suede
2. Put paper inside the shoes
Before cleaning them, put crumpled paper inside the boots. You will be moving them around and exerting some force, so adding the paper inside will help to maintain their natural shape while you are cleaning the,
3. Dry Brushing
Begin by using a suede brush or even a toothbrush to gently brush away surface dirt. Use light, even strokes to clear loose debris and dust. Ensure that you're always brushing in the direction of the suede's natural grain.
For deeper, more stubborn stains, exert more force with your brush, moving it back and forth. This technique helps lift and rejuvenate compressed fibers, aiding in the cleaning process.
If you're dealing with a fresh, wet stain, first blot away as much moisture as you can. Allow the area to dry before attempting to brush. Cleaning a damp stain can push the dirt deeper into the suede texture, complicating its removal once it sets.
4. Addressing Stains
For Light Stains:
- Use the eraser (pencil or suede) to gently rub away any marks or minor blemishes. It's surprisingly effective at lifting many dry stains.
For Wet Stains:
- If your boots get wet, soak up as much water as possible with a clean towel immediately. Then, fill the boots with newspaper to maintain their shape and let them air dry away from direct heat and sunlight.
For Tough Stains (like ink or wine):
- Dab a little white vinegar or suede cleaner onto a clean cloth. Gently rub the stain using the cloth, moving in the direction of the suede's grain. Allow the boots to dry naturally.
5. Removing Scuff Marks
Rub scuffs away gently using a rubber sponge or crepe rubber. The natural properties of rubber help lift away and erase scuffs from the suede.
5. Water Protection
Once your boots are clean and dry, consider using a waterproof spray designed specifically for suede. This will protect them from future water damage and staining. Make sure to test any product on a small, inconspicuous area of the boot first.
6. Regular Maintenance
The key to long-lasting suede boots is regular care. Every few wears, give your boots a quick brush to remove dirt and maintain their texture. Periodically check for stains or marks and address them promptly.
When not in use, store your suede boots away from direct sunlight in a cool, dry place. If possible, keep them in a dust bag or box. This will prevent unnecessary wear and fading. Read more in our blog post about how to storage our suede boots.
To sum up, suede boots require a bit more TLC than other types, but the results are worth it. With regular cleaning and maintenance, your suede boots will remain a timeless and elegant addition to your wardrobe for years to come. Remember: a little care goes a long way in preserving the beauty of suede. Happy striding! 🥾✨