Key Takeaways:

  • Routine Maintenance is Crucial: Regular brushing with a suede brush and timely spot cleaning prolong the life and appearance of suede boots.
  • Specific Tools and Techniques: Utilizing tools like suede brushes and erasers, along with suede-specific cleaners, ensures effective cleaning without damage.
  • Preventive Measures Enhance Durability: Protective sprays are crucial for safeguarding suede boots against water and stains, but for added care and to enhance the appearance, consider Lincoln Stain Wax Shoe Polish. This polish not only protects but also enriches the look of your boots, ensuring they remain in excellent condition. 

Maintaining the quality of suede boots is essential for anyone looking to preserve their footwear's appearance and longevity. Suede, a type of leather with a napped surface, is popular for its soft texture and aesthetic appeal but requires careful handling to keep it looking its best. This guide offers clear and concise advice on cleaning suede boots effectively, ensuring they remain a durable and stylish choice for both work and pleasure. By understanding the proper techniques and precautions, you can ensure your suede footwear withstands the test of time.

To further enhance the care and longevity of your suede boots, incorporating high-quality boot care products is key. Our Boot Care collection is specifically designed to support the meticulous maintenance of suede boots required. From conditioners that revive softness to protective sprays that shield against the elements, find everything you need to keep your suede looking pristine. 

Understanding Suede

The Nature Of Suede

Suede is a type of leather with a unique softness and texture, created by sanding the inner layers of animal hide. This process results in a plush, velvety surface that sets it apart from the smoother finish of traditional leather.

Vulnerabilities Of Suede

Due to its napped finish, suede is more susceptible to absorbing liquids and oils, making it more challenging to maintain than other types of leather. This sensitivity highlights the need for specialized care and preventative measures to avoid damage.

Importance Of Proper Suede Care

Proper care for suede not only extends its lifespan but also maintains its aesthetic appeal. Understanding its unique characteristics is essential for effective maintenance and cleaning practices, ensuring your suede boots remain in prime condition.

Essential Tools For Suede Cleaning

Suede Brush

The suede brush is essential for routine maintenance, designed to delicately remove dirt and revive the nap of the suede. Regular use helps maintain the material's appearance, preventing dirt from becoming ingrained.

Suede Eraser

For persistent spots, the suede eraser acts like a pencil eraser but is formulated to safely interact with suede, removing stains without the need for liquid cleaners. It's especially useful for dry stains and scuffs.

Cleaning Solution

A specialized cleaning solution formulated for suede helps tackle stubborn stains and deeply embedded dirt. It's crucial to use a solution intended for suede to prevent damaging its delicate texture. This cleaner is typically applied with a soft cloth or brush in gentle circular motions.

Protective Spray

Applying a protective spray forms an invisible shield over the suede, significantly reducing the risk of stains and water damage. This preventative measure is an invaluable step in extending the life and beauty of suede boots.

Step-By-Step Guide To Cleaning Suede Boots

Prepare Your Boots

Start the cleaning process by briskly brushing off any loose dirt or debris to avoid embedding it further into the suede. A dry, soft-bristled brush is ideal for this initial step, as it effectively removes dirt without adding moisture, which can complicate the cleaning process.

Spot Cleaning

When tackling specific spots or stains, a suede eraser is your best tool. Gently rub the eraser over the affected area in a back-and-forth motion. This technique requires a light touch to avoid damaging the suede while focusing on lifting the stain out of the fibers.

Spot CleaningSpot Cleaning

Deep Cleaning

For a more thorough cleaning, lightly apply a suede cleaner over the surface of the boots. It's vital to use a small amount and spread it gently using circular motions to clean the suede evenly. This ensures that no part of the boot becomes oversaturated, which can lead to damage.


After cleaning, it's important to let the boots air dry away from direct heat sources. Artificial heat can cause the suede to shrink or become misshapen. Stuffing the boots with paper helps maintain their shape and absorbs moisture from the inside.

Re-Fluffing The Nap

Once the boots are dry, use a suede brush to gently re-fluff the nap of the suede. Light brushing in one direction helps to elevate the fibers, restoring the suede to its soft, velvety texture. This step is key to bringing back the boots' lush appearance.


The final step in caring for your suede boots is to apply a suede protective spray. This spray acts as a barrier against water and stains, significantly extending the wearability and appearance of your boots. Ensure the boots are completely dry before applying the spray, and follow the product's instructions for the best results.

Common Stains And How To Remove Them

Water Stains

When dealing with water stains, the key is to dampen the entire suede surface lightly and uniformly to prevent the formation of water rings. By ensuring an even distribution of moisture, the suede can dry uniformly, thereby reducing the chance of discoloration and ring formation that often accompanies localized drying.

Oil Or Grease

For oil or grease stains, sprinkle a generous amount of talcum powder or cornstarch onto the affected area and leave it overnight. The powder acts as a magnet, drawing the oil out of the suede. The next day, gently brush off the powder, which should carry much of the grease with it, significantly reducing the visibility of the stain.

Ink Stains

Address ink stains promptly by blotting the excess with a clean, dry cloth, avoiding rubbing which can spread the ink. If the stain persists, a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol can be dabbed onto the ink. This method helps to break down the ink's pigments, making it easier to lift from the suede.

Mud Stains

Allow mud stains to dry completely before attempting to clean. This approach makes the mud easier to remove, as it crumbles away from the suede's surface when brushed. Using a suede brush, gently remove the dried mud, taking care not to apply too much pressure which might damage the material's delicate nap.

Salt Lines

Mix a solution of equal parts water and white vinegar to tackle salt lines. Apply this mixture sparingly to the stained areas using a soft cloth, just enough to dampen and dissolve the salt residue. After application, allow the suede to air dry naturally. This method helps to lift the white salt marks without saturating the suede, preserving its texture and appearance.

Preventive Measures For Suede Boots

Regular Cleaning

Regularly brushing suede boots with a specific suede brush is key to maintaining their appearance and longevity. This routine keeps the nap soft and prevents the buildup of dirt and grime. To further protect and care for your boots, consider using a Work Boot Care Kit, designed to keep your suede footwear in top condition.

Use Protective Sprays

Incorporating the use of suede protective sprays into your care routine acts as a preemptive shield for your boots. These sprays create an invisible barrier that repels water and stains, significantly reducing the risk of damage from spills or splashes.

Avoid Wet Conditions

Suede boots are best kept away from rain and wet conditions to preserve their texture and appearance. In instances where your boots might get wet, it's important to dry them properly using natural, ambient air away from direct heat sources to prevent warping and discoloration.

Avoid Wet ConditionsAvoid Wet Conditions

Proper Storage

Ensuring your suede boots are stored in a cool, dry environment is key to preventing moisture buildup that can lead to mold or mildew. Avoid exposure to direct sunlight when storing your boots, as UV rays can cause fading and weaken the suede fibers over time.

Seasonal Care

Adapting your suede boot care to the changing seasons by applying a new coat of protective spray can greatly enhance their resilience to the elements. Before entering a season known for precipitation or dryness, treating your boots can help guard against seasonal threats, ensuring they remain in prime condition throughout the year.

Final Thoughts

The guide on caring for suede boots goes beyond cleaning tips, elevating the practice into an art of preserving both the beauty and integrity of the material. It sheds light on the nuanced needs of suede, emphasizing the importance of preventive measures, the right tools, and specific techniques to combat vulnerabilities. This approach not only extends the lifespan of the boots but also deepens the wearer's appreciation for suede's unique characteristics. By instilling a proactive mindset towards maintenance, the guide ensures that suede boots remain a lasting and cherished part of one's wardrobe, blending elegance with practicality in every step.

To embrace this meticulous method of boot maintenance, explore the Ultimate Boot Care Kit - Nicks x Smith's, currently on backorder due to its high demand. This all-inclusive set is designed to cater to the specific requirements of suede and various other materials, providing you with all the preventative strategies, instruments, and methods needed to preserve the aesthetic and structure of your boots.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use regular soap to clean my suede boots?

No, regular soap is not recommended for cleaning suede boots. It can damage the suede's delicate texture. Instead, use a cleaning solution specifically designed for suede to safely remove stains and dirt.

How often should I apply a protective spray to my suede boots?

It's best to apply a protective spray to your suede boots every few months or more frequently if you wear them often or in wet conditions. This will help shield the suede from water and stains.

Is it safe to dry suede boots with a hairdryer?

No, drying suede boots with a hairdryer can cause them to shrink, warp, or become misshapen. Allow them to air dry naturally, away from direct heat sources.

Can I clean my suede boots with water?

While suede is sensitive to water, you can use a small amount of water mixed with a suede-specific cleaner for deep cleaning. Ensure even application and avoid soaking the suede.

What should I do if my suede boots get wet in the rain?

If your suede boots get wet, blot the excess moisture with a clean towel and let them dry naturally away from direct heat. Once dry, use a suede brush to restore the nap.

How do I store suede boots to prevent damage?

Store suede boots in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight to prevent fading and deterioration. Consider using a shoe tree or stuffing them with paper to maintain their shape.

Can I remove oil stains from my suede boots at home?

Yes, sprinkle talcum powder or cornstarch on oil stains and leave overnight. Brush off the powder the next day to lift the oil out of the suede.

What's the best way to maintain the nap of suede boots?

Regular brushing with a suede brush is key to maintaining the nap's soft, velvety texture. This prevents dirt from becoming ingrained and keeps the suede looking fresh.

Are there any special considerations for colored suede boots?

Yes, colored suede may require extra care to prevent fading. Test any cleaners or treatments on a small, inconspicuous area first to ensure colorfastness.

How can I revive flattened suede on my boots?

Use a suede brush to gently lift the nap. For tougher areas, you can lightly steam the area above boiling water and then brush, but be cautious to avoid direct contact with water.