Suede boots are a staple for many of us for the winter months. They can last a long time, but they should receive regular maintenance to stay looking nice. However, the regular maintenance part seems to rarely happen, and most of us are now pulling ours’ out from the dark corners of our closet and realizing they need a good cleaning!
The first thing you need to do before cleaning the entire boot is to treat the stains. There are different procedures for treating different types of stains. For oil and grease stains, take a piece of white chalk and gently move it over the entire stain. If you don’t have chalk, you can take cornstarch and sprinkle it over the top of the stain and gently pat it down. Let it sit over night. This powder is absorbent and can suck up oil and grease. In the morning, gently dust it off. One important note, heat sets oil and grease stains, so be very careful not to get boots too hot if you have a stain you want to get rid of.
To get rid of dirt and salt stains, brush the boot from top to bottom with a suede brush to remove any surface dirt and grime. You can get a suede brush at most shoe stores or shoe repair shops. If you have a matted or shiny stain, you can use a pencil eraser to gently rub it out. Some suede brushes come with a little rubber piece on the brush for this purpose. Wet the isolated stain with a little water. Let the water soak in for a few moments. Now use a suede cleaner on the spot and follow the directions. Rinse the stained area off with clean water and a clean sponge. Too much water can deform the shape of the boot, so be careful.
For water spots, gently rub the spot stained area against another part of the suede. This will usually get the water stain right out!
Okay, now that you have the stains out, it’s time to clean the whole boot. Start by brushing the entire boot from top to bottom with a suede brush. Moisten the exterior of the boot with clean, cool water. You can use a clean soft sponge or cotton cloth to do this. Now you want to rinse your sponge and wring it out. Dampen your sponge just a little and squeeze some suede cleaner onto it. Gently work the product into the boot, starting at the top and working your way down. As the sponge becomes dirty, rinse, wring and dampen it again. Next, gently wipe the cleaner off with a clean, damp sponge. You will probably need to clean your sponge several times, so that you are continuing to use a clean sponge throughout this process. Now stuff the boots with paper towel, tissue paper, plastic dry cleaning bags or newspaper. Let them dry for 24 to 48 hours. Do not leave the boots in the sun, or close to any heat source. The heat will misshape the boots. After your boots are dry, remove the stuffing and brush with a suede brush to even out the nap. Now spray the boots with a protective suede spray and let that dry. Your boots may feel a little snug, but after you wear them for awhile, they will reform to your feet and feel as cozy as ever!