How to Clean Suede Work Boots

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How to Clean Suede Work Boots

There are a variety of ways to clean suede work boots from scratches and stains by using erasers, brushes, and other supplies.

Suede is top-tier leather cut from an animal’s underbelly.

As a result, it requires detailed care and maintenance.

Don’t let unverifiable internet sources per-suede you to try cleaning tricks that will damage your work boots in the end.

Instead, read our tips on how best to nurture your fine suede work boots.

Through this article, you’ll discover:

    Our competent editorial team at MyBestWorkBoots goes all out to bring you the hottest market trends.

    With your professionalism at the forefront of our attention, we compiled this thorough manual on how to clean your suede work boots.

    Here’s what we’ve found.

    What’s Suede?

    Suede is a type of leather derived from the underside of an animal’s hide.

    The surface is made up of small, elevated fibres that are sanded to form a fuzzy and velvety surface that is smooth and comfortable to the touch, distinguishing it from other types of leather.

    What Are Suede Work Boots?

    Suede1 work boots are boots made from the undersides of hides from animals such as lambs, pigs, cows, deer, goats, and others.

    While leather is derived from the skin’s outer layer, suede is a softer, more porous material derived from the skin’s deeper layers found within an animal’s body.

    Leather2 has a glossy appearance and is smooth and tough. 

    On the other hand

    Suede has a more fuzzy or nappy quality that allows the material to retain warmth. 

    While both fabrics are strong, suede is more fragile and prone to absorbing liquids and stains.

    Moisture that would normally slide off a leather shoe will most likely sink into suede.

    In toughness, suede falls between leather and softer textiles such as cotton.

    It’s strong and can endure more wear and tear than a lightweight boot composed of woven fibers, but that strength comes at the expense of additional rigidity.

    While woven sneakers are prone to expand and contract with your foot as you move, suede boots are heavier and do not stretch.

    For instance

    Suede is less flexible than an athletic shoe, but isn’t that what you want from your work boots or a beautiful bootie that can effortlessly transition from work to happy hour?

    You expect it to be firm yet comfy when you slip into a suede shoe.

    You need warm feet to get through a busy day in cold weather.

    The disadvantage of suede work boots is their susceptibility to moisture.

    Suede does not fare well in the rain or snow.

    Lightly stepping over a large puddle may leave apparent wet traces on lighter-coloured suede. 

    If you save suede boots for dry weather, you’ll save a lot of time washing them.

    Can You Clean Suede Work Boots?

    Yes, you can clean suede work boots; it requires special methods due to suedes’ sensitivity3.

    With such a delicate material, you must exercise caution to avoid damaging your boots. 

    If you have real suede boots, only clean them by hand and do not put them in a washing machine or dryer. 

    Also, before cleaning your boots, check any tags or cleaning directions and follow these strictly.

    Common Reasons You May Need to Clean Your Suede Work Boots

    Common reasons you may need to clean your suede work boots are:

    • Scratches
    • Water stains
    • Liquid spills
    • Accumulation of dirt
    • Mud or other solid stains

    Thinking your suede work boots are waterproof is a common misconception, especially when treated as more water-resistant, but this isn’t a guarantee that your suede boots will never get a watermark. 

    When wearing suede boots, it’s still a good idea to avoid leaping in puddles or strolling through a thunderstorm.

    You may be wondering

    The same holds for stain proofing.

    Suede is occasionally treated as stain-resistant, but that doesn’t mean you’ll never see a stain on your boots.

    Taking vitamin C during cold and flu season is analogous4.

    While improving your immune system may make you less susceptible to colds and flu, it is not a guarantee that you will never become sick.


    While you don’t have to treat your suede shoes like fragile flowers incapable of withstanding your active lifestyle, you need to know how to keep them clean. 

    Let’s look at how to clean your suede shoes when they appear less than flawless.

    What You Need to Clean Your Suede Work Boots

    What you will need to clean your suede work boots are supplies and tools.


    There are a number of supplies you require to clean your suede work boots, namely:

    • Suede cleaner
    • Suede conditioner
    • Dishwashing liquid
    • A suede eraser or art gum eraser
    • Cornstarch, foot powder, or baby powder
    • Saddle soap5
    • Baking soda
    • Anti-fungal spray (optional)


    There are various tools you need to clean your suede work boots, these are:

    • Shoe tree (or newspaper)
    • Soft-bristled brush
    • Old toothbrush
    • Soft, clean cloth

    Steps to Clean Suede Work Boots

    The step to clean suede work boots include: 

    1. Use a shoe tree
    2. Brushing away soil
    3. Rub the surface with a clean towel
    4. Gently brush your boot with a suede-cleaning brush
    5. Removing stains
    6. Removing scuff marks
    7. Washing your bootlaces
    8. Cleaning the interior
    9. Protecting your boot suede with a spray

    Let’s begin!

    Use a Shoe Tree 

    Using a shoe tree ensures that your boot retains its shape throughout the cleaning procedure.

    If you don’t have a shoe tree, you can stuff your boots with newspaper.

    This will make your boots easier to clean, and they will dry faster once you’re finished.

    Brush Away Soil 

    Brush away soil, dust, and grime with a soft brush or a soft cloth. 

    You can even use an old toothbrush in a pinch for this process. 

    Even with a full-size brush, the toothbrush comes in helpful for cleaning soil out of the small places around the eyelets and sole tread.

    Rub the Surface With a Clean Towel 

    Rub the surface of your boot with a clean towel.

    Take your time, and gently rub the affected area with a soft, clean towel.

    This procedure is straightforward, but you must use caution.

    You should avoid rubbing too hard because suede is sensitive.

    You should also rub just in the direction of the suedes’ grain or nap. 

    This will result in a more precise “rub, move your cloth, rub” motion; nevertheless, keep in mind that these are beautiful boots.

    They necessitate skill and precision.

    Gently Brush Your Boot With a Suede-Cleaning Brush 

    Gently brush your boot with a suede-cleaning brush.

    When restoring your boots, a sturdy, tough suede brush will be your right hand. 

    Most of the time, the discolorations and shiny patches on your suede will be on the surface.

    Brushing your shoes down regularly will quickly revive them.

    Remove Scuff Marks

    To remove scuff marks from your suede work boots, you can buy suede erasers or suede stones. 

    When removing the scuff, use a soft touch and rub back and forth a few times.

    If you scrape too hard, the texture of your boot will be lost and cannot be restored. 

    Scuffs and extremely rough patches on suede can be removed with an art gum eraser.

    Wash Your Bootlaces

    To wash your bootlaces, you can use a washing machine, although cleaning them by hand is faster and less likely to result in loss.

    Simply combine hot water and a small dishwashing liquid or laundry detergent.

    Soak the laces for at least 15 minutes.

    Squeeze soapy water through them before rinsing with clean water.

    Allow to air dry.

    Clean the Interior

    Cleaning the interior of your work boots is also critical to keeping your suede boots clean, mostly for your comfort and foot health. 

    First, take the insoles out of the boots and let them air dry.

    If you need to wash the insoles, always hand wash them with gentle soap, such as saddle soap.

    Never put them in the washing machine since the turbulence from the spin cycle may damage their shape.

    Lastly, wipe off the interior of the boots with a soft cloth and the dishwashing soap/water mixture.

    Allow the boots to air dry after wiping them down with plain water. 

    If athlete’s foot6 is a problem you’re currently suffering from, use an anti-fungal spray on the inside of the boot after allowing them to dry.

    Protect Your Boot Suede With a Spray 

    Finally, protect your boot suede with a spray.

    A finishing spray should be used as the final step in your cleaning procedure. 

    Consider it similar to hair spray: it will safeguard your hard work, no matter what the days ahead may hold.

    How to Clean Different Stains Off Suede Work Boots

    Let’s look at how to clean mud, oil, water, resistant stains, gum, salt, and blood stains off your suede work boots.

    How to Clean Mud & Dirt off Suede Work Boots

    To clean mud or dirt off suede work boots, allow any mud to dry entirely before attempting to remove it.

    After it has dried, use a brush to remove as much mud as possible. 

    Mud and dirt are the most typical things that can stain and mark suede boots.

    As a result, knowing how to remove mud and filth from your shoes in a gentle yet efficient manner is essential. 

    If the marks persist, carefully dampen your shoes with steam before blotting them dry.

    Brush once more and use an eraser to remove any remaining dirt.

    How to Clean Oil or Grease Stains off Suede Work Boots

    To remove oil or grease stains off suede work boots:

    1. Apply cornstarch to the affected area and leave it to absorb the extra grease for a few hours. 
    2. Using a brush, gently scrape away the cornstarch. 
    3. Repeat this step as necessary until the stain is gone. 
    4. For dried-on grease stains, use a small amount of dish soap to clean the area.
    5. Allow the soap to stay on the stain for about 10 minutes, then wipe with a moist cloth to remove the soapy residue. 
    6. Avoid soaking suede shoes in water directly.

    How to Clean Water Stains off Suede Work Boots

    To clean water stains off suede work boots:

    1. Although it may seem contradictory, applying water can aid in the removal of water stains from suede shoes. 
    2. Spray water softly across the boot surface with a spray bottle. 
    3. Brush the surface gently with a suede brush or toothbrush. 
    4. Blot any excess water with a clean cloth or paper towel before allowing it to dry thoroughly. 
    5. To avoid further wet marks, use a suede waterproofing spray.

    How to Clean Resistant Stains off Suede Work Boots

    To clean resistant stains off suede work boots, you could take them to a dry cleaner, but there are certain things you may try before giving up and calling in the pros. 

    If you want to do it yourself, try the techniques below for cleaning your suede boots.

    Mix two parts of water with one part of white vinegar to make your own cleaning solution.

    Apply this cleaning solution directly to the stain without soaking the shoe. 

    Allow the cleaning solution to dry on the stain before brushing it away with a suede brush or a toothbrush. 

    If necessary, repeat the process.


    To get the stains off your suede using steel wool, use a strong back and forth motion, but don’t be too forceful. 

    Although some pressure is required, you do not want to damage the suede.


    Gently remove the stain from the suede with a nail file before using a steamer on the affected area.

    Allow the boot to dry thoroughly from the steam before determining whether or not to repeat this step.

    You could also

    Scrub your suede with a little damp magic cleaner to remove persistent stains.

    This cleaning product can be purchased online or at most cleaning supply stores.

    It’s said to work like magic on a variety of surfaces, and as long as you don’t scrape too hard, it’s okay for suede.


    Use a suede shoe cleaner to remove tough stains from your suede work boots.

    This may not work if none of the other tactics in this guide has worked, but it’s worth a try if you don’t want to take the shoes to a dry cleaner.

    How to Clean Gum or Wax off Suede Work Boots

    You clean gum or wax off suede work boots by scraping away extra gum, removing residue with a gum eraser, and scratching away any remainder with sandpaper.

    We’ve all experienced the sinking sensation of stepping on a sticky pile of gum, but what happens when the gum gets on your suede?

    Wax and gum stains are among the more difficult to remove off suede shoes, but it’s not impossible.

    To clean gum or wax off your suede work boots, use the following 3 steps:

    1. Using your preferred tool, scrape away extra gum or wax from the shoe. Remove any substances that are laying on top of the shoe, leaving only a flat patch of wax or gum.
    2. Using an art gum eraser, remove any leftover residue.
    3. These erasers are widely available online and at art stores.
    4. Big box stores with an art section may also have one.
    5. These erasers are soft rubber blocks that peel away when used. Artists use them to remove graphite, but they’ve also been known to pick up and flake off gum and wax particles.
    6. As a final option, try scratching the wax or gum off with extra-fine sandpaper. Apply enough pressure to remove stubborn particles of gum or wax without digging too deeply.

    How to Clean Salt Stains off Suede Work Boots

    To clean salt stains off suede work boots:

    1. Begin by brushing away as much salt as possible from suede shoes. 
    2. Dip a clean cloth in a mixture of cold water and a little bit of dish soap. 
    3. Blot the stain gently; do not rub. 
    4. Repeat as necessary until the stain is removed. 
    5. Allow your suede boots to dry completely.

    If you wear suede shoes or boots outside in the winter, salt stains from snow and ice melt are a regular concern. 

    How to Clean Blood Stains off Suede Work Boots

    To clean blood stains off suede work boots:

    1. Begin with a somewhat wet or moist stain rather than a dry surface. 
    2. If the blood has dried, wet it with a damp paper towel or cloth. 
    3. Then, combine dishwashing detergent or a mild soap with lukewarm water. 
    4. Make a big pile of suds and then wipe only those suds onto the blood stain.
    5. To assist in loosening and removing the blood, gently scrub the area with a sponge or paper towel, pushing the suds into the suede. 
    6. Finally, use a clean, soft towel to wipe the area dry. 
    7. Make certain that the soap is thoroughly removed by wiping. 
    8. Allow your boot to dry before checking its effectiveness.

    Blood is a difficult stain to remove, and you don’t want to push the stain deeper into the fabric while cleaning your boot, clean it as soon as the blood hits the shoe or as soon as you notice the stain. 

    If mild soap suds don’t work, you should consult a dry cleaner for professional advice.

    How to Fix a Scratch on Your Suede Work Boots

    To fix a scratch on your suede work boots, the size and depth of the scratch will influence how you fix it.

    Scratches can appear rather readily on suede, but if you find one on your shoes, all is not lost. 

    Rub your finger over minor scratches to buff them out. 

    For somewhat deeper scratches, add suede conditioner to the scratch and surrounding area, then buff it out.

    If none of these methods work, take a suede brush and gently brush the suede fibers.

    This may modify the fibers enough to conceal the scratch and make it less noticeable.

    If the scratch is large or deep, you may need to use a leather filler kit7, or take your suede boots to a leather professional to get them repaired.

    DIY Methods to Clean Suede Work Boots

    The DIY methods to clean suede work boots include cleaning them with an eraser, dish soap, vinegar, a toothbrush, baking soda, a suede brush, a suede cleaner, and in the washing machine.

    Let’s get into each of these methods in more detail.

    How to Clean Suede Work Boots With an Eraser

    To clean suede work boots with an eraser, apply the eraser to the affected area using hard pressure, then move it back and forth. 

    This is frequently all that is required to remove minor markings or clumps of dry materials off the surface of your boots.

    Suede rubbers are the best choice here, although a clean pencil eraser would suffice. 

    How to Clean Suede Work Boots With Dish Soap

    To clean your suede work boots using dish soap, the procedure is simple:

    1. To begin, in a small bowl, combine a teaspoon or tablespoon of soap with some water.
    2. Then vigorously mix the soap and water to produce an abundance of suds. 
    3. Once you’ve obtained the suds, apply them only on the stain. 
    4. If you use water on the stain, it may create a watermark that you will have to wipe up afterward.
    5. Blot the suds with a clean cloth to remove the discoloration.

    How to Clean Suede Work Boots With Vinegar

    To clean your suede work boots with vinegar:

    1. Begin by brushing the stain with a clean brush to remove any loose material.
    2. Then, pour some vinegar into a dish and damp the fabric of a clean cloth in it. 
    3. Rub the damp cloth in the stained area of your work boot.
    4. After rubbing the stain, allow it to dry before brushing the area again. 
    5. If the stain is huge, squeeze away the excess vinegar using a sponge before applying it to the stain. 
    6. Allow your suede boot to dry before brushing.

    This is an excellent alternative to water for removing stubborn stains. 

    How to Clean Suede Work Boots With a Toothbrush

    Cleaning your suede boots with a toothbrush is an alternative to using suede brushes, which can be expensive.

    Simply ensure that the toothbrush is hard and not overly soft.

    Use the toothbrush to apply vinegar or rubbing alcohol to a variety of stains on your suede work boots. 

    Alternatively, it can be used as a simple brush to remove loose dirt or other substances. 

    Remember not to moisten it when using it to brush off dry stain residue.

    You want a dry brush to avoid damaging your suede work boots.

    How to Clean Suede Work Boots With Baking Soda

    You can clean suede work boots with baking soda as it is an absorbent powder that can be used to remove various liquid stains. 

    The secret is to apply the proper amount of baking soda, which sometimes requires a 1/4 inch layer.

    Cornstarch, flour, baby powder, and other absorbent powders can also be used for this procedure.

    All of these powders are excellent substitutes for baking powder. 

    Allow the powder to stay on the stained area of your suede work boots overnight, or for at least 10 hours, before brushing it away.

    Repeat this step until you achieve the desired results.

    How to Clean Suede Work Boots With a Suede Brush

    Before cleaning your suede work boots with a suede brush, make sure your boots are completely dry.

    When attempting to remove scuff marks from your boots, brush the scuffed areas vigorously. 

    When removing stains, the suede can be brushed both ways, however, water stains should only be brushed in one direction. 

    A suede brush is one instrument that’s recommended for cleaning suede.

    It’s specifically engineered to work with this fabric. 

    How to Clean Suede Work Boots Without Suede Cleaner Spray

    When using suede cleaner spray to clean your work boots:

    1. The first step is to ensure that the stained area is completely dry. 
    2. Before you begin spraying, make sure you read the instructions on the can.
    3. After properly shaking the can of suede cleaning spray, hold it about 6 inches from the surface of your suede boots and begin spraying.
    4. When spraying, avoid saturating the stain. Too much liquid can destroy the spot.
    5. After spraying the area, allow the contents to dry on the stain before wiping it away with a clean cloth. 
    6. If the stain does not vanish after the initial treatment, repeat the process. 

    How to Wash Suede Work Boots in the Washing Machine

    It’s advised never to wash your suede work boots in the washing machine!

    Washing machine cycles should be avoided because they can warp the shoes, damage the fabric, and cause colors to run. 

    Powder detergent can get lodged in your boots, resistant to dissolving properly. 


    If you’re ever tempted to put your suede work boots in the washing machine, don’t!

    Spare yourself the misery and use one of the safe and effective methods we’ve provided you with instead.

    How to Clean Different Suede Work Boots

    Let’s look at how to clean black, white, and faux suede work boots.

    Cleaning Black Suede Work Boots

    When cleaning black suede work boots, after you’ve removed any dirt or stains, use black suede dye to patch up faded or scuffed spots. 

    Alternatively, rub black crayon onto the spot using your finger.

    Cleaning black suede shoes might be particularly difficult due to the risk of fading.

    Follow a regular cleaning routine to keep your black kicks looking excellent. 

    Cleaning White Suede Work Boots

    When cleaning white suede work boots, use a suede protector and clean up any marks as soon as they appear to keep your white boots looking their best. 

    Blot away extra moisture before tackling stains with an eraser. 

    Use a soft cloth and white vinegar to remove any remaining residue. Brush your boots dry to restore the nap.

    White suede shoes are a fashionable design statement, but they are notoriously difficult to keep clean. 

    Cleaning Faux Suede Work Boots

    When cleaning faux suede work boots, brush away excess dirt before wiping your faux suede boots down with a mixture of water and vinegar. 

    To restore their softness of texture, use a shoe tree or stuff them with paper and let them dry before brushing.

    One advantage of imitation suede is that it is more stain-resistant and long-lasting than genuine suede.

    As a result, it is easier to care for, but it still necessitates upkeep, regular washing, and mark removal. 

    How Often Should You Clean Suede Work Boots?

    You should clean your suede work boots whenever it is necessary, as soon as it comes to your attention that there is dirt or stains that require removal. 

    This doesn’t mean you can’t do it every week or two, but as long as you clean them as soon as you see they need it, you should be OK.

    You can clean suede every day if you like, but not with an abrasive brush, especially if the boot is made of supple suede.

    It’s not so much about how frequently you clean suede boots as it is about how you clean them.

    So here’s the thing

    If you wear a lighter-colored suede frequently, it is recommended that you clean it at least twice a season.

    Giving your suede work boots a thorough but gentle brush once a month can help minimize dirt and debris buildup without risk of ruining the suede.

    However, you should apply a waterproofing protection coating or chemical every 2 to 3 weeks to ensure that it does not fully wear off before applying more.

    Suede Work Boot Care


    Protection is the most effective way of caring for your suede work boots.

    Even if your suede boots are just sitting in your closet, they are gathering dust, dirt, and other particles that can degrade their appearance. 

    You want to keep suede in good condition so that your shoes may go from the closet to the work whenever needed.

    Check this out

    We’ve already mentioned the importance of using a suede brush in this article because it’s one of the best cleaning products you can use on your boots.

    It’s also one of the greatest instruments for regular maintenance and care. 

    Brushing the suede at the beginning of a new season and throughout a season of frequent use prevents a lot of dirt and dust from gathering on the surface.

    Pro tip

    If your suede boots get wet, push a soft cloth or paper towels inside them and let them dry at room temperature.

    You should avoid using a blow dryer or other strong heat sources since the heat may cause the suede matting to dry out and harden. 

    Blot as much moisture from the material as possible using a soft cloth before allowing it to dry naturally.

    You can also protect your suede boots by removing stains as soon as possible.

    It’s easier to remove fresh stains than it is to remove a stain that has been embedded in the fabric for days, weeks, or months.

    Suede Work Boot Storage Tips

    Suede work boot storage tips are to avoid direct heat, use shoe trees, and placing your boots in breathable shoe boxes. 

    Let’s unpack these.

    Avoid Direct Heat

    Avoid direct heat when storing your suede work boots because heat can cause the color of your suede to fade quickly.

    Avoid any direct heat, like storing your boots near heating vents or radiators to continual exposure to direct sunlight.

    Instead, choose a storage location that won’t endanger your work boots.

    Use Shoe Trees

    When suede work boots are stored for an extended period of time, using shoe trees assists to maintain their shape. 

    You can also use shoe trees to keep the shape of your boot when washing it, especially if you use water. 

    Shoe Trees are placed within the boot to keep it from collapsing even if it’s unused for weeks or months.

    Place Your Suede Work Boots in Breathable Shoe Boxes

    Placing your suede work boots in breathable shoe boxes prevents excessive dust gathering, which will require a more vigorous clean-up when you’re ready to wear your boots again.

    Why Buy Suede Work Boots?

    You should buy suede work boots for their ankle support, affordability, easy maintenance, and breathability. 

    Let’s take a look at each of these fantastic advantages.

    Ankle Support

    Suede work boots offer great ankle support.

    This is a critical consideration when purchasing a pair of boots for usage in the garage, factory, field, or workshop. 

    If you participate in rigorous activities or have weak ankles, you should wear ankle-supporting boots.


    Suede work boots are less expensive than their leather counterparts.

    However, they do not last as long as leather boots, but they have never promised to last as long as leather boots.

    With that in mind, you can extend their lifespan by taking care of them with the tips we have presented you with in this article.

    Great care and maintenance of your suede work boots will go a long way.

    Easy Maintenance

    Suede boots are easy to maintain and care for. As a result, you can make cleaning them a weekend ritual. 

    Cleaning leather boots takes much more time and effort; leather work boots made of leather should be polished and conditioned using a leather conditioner.


    Suede is more breathable than full-grain/top-grain and nubuck leather. The military embraced their use for desert boots for this reason. 

    These boots will allow for increased airflow. If you work in a hot setting, this will keep your feet from overheating.

    You can work long hours in suede boots without any discomfort.

    Common Questions

    Should You Wash Your Suede Work Boots?

    How Do You Clean Suede Work Boots Without a Suede Brush?

    What Household Item Cleans Suede Work Boots?

    In Conclusion

    Thank you for reading through this advice on how to clean your suede work boots. 

    Some people avoid suede because it is more difficult to clean than canvas or leather.

    While this material cannot be washed or dried in a washing machine or dryer, the cleaning methods are not as time-consuming as many people believe.

    You can keep your suede boots looking as good as new for years if you follow these step-by-step methods. 

    You can begin with common household items, but consider buying a suede brush and eraser.

    These tools enable you to swiftly clean your suede shoes at the end of each day, allowing you to go longer between more comprehensive cleanings.

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