The Caveman-Easy Cleaning Trick Every Suede Lover Must Know

Wanna restore your suede to former glory? Try this.

By The Editors
October 3, 2016 9:00 am

You got your new suede shoes. You boarded a plane. You may or may not be early ’90s pop rocker Marc Cohn.

Regardless, you’re looking good.

Now: Can you keep it that way? Suede is handsome but delicate, and maintaining it takes some work.

Start by staying faithful to everything the internet tells you about cleaning suede: Be proactive, not reactive. Brush out stains immediately. Avoid rainy days. Apply a water and stain-repellent spray liberally and often.

Fast forward a couple years, and, despite your best efforts, your kicks begin to appear … dull. That once-marvelous fuzzy nap looks drab, and no matter what you’ve done to protect them, you can’t seem to restore ‘em to former glory.

You probably haven’t tried steam.

The best at-home solution to reviving the soft nap of suede is steam. All you have to do is A) grab an iron or kettle, B) heat that sucker up, and C) hold your kicks over the steam issuing out. After a few minutes, brush the shoe as you would during a normal clean (soft, short strokes, in one direction). The steam will dilate the leather like it does your skin, not only making it easier to remove embedded grime, but also restoring the shoe’s softness.

Then let dry and relax. You just saved yourself a trip to the cobbler.

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