Sustainable Haven Blog

Clean Suede Naturally

I recently wore my beloved suede clogs out with friends and almost immediately had revelers' spilled drinks sloshing between my toes. This is pretty standard in crowded NYC bars (or any bar, anywhere for that matter) but my heart completely sank when I found this mess waiting the next day.

What. A. Bummer.

Thankfully, no special, chemical-loaded cleaner is required since I found a natural alternative that's 100x easier and, best of all, emits no noxious fumes.

I set to work and grabbed:

  • Clean Towels
  • A Rubber Eraser
  • A Stiff Bristle Brush 

Make sure your rubber eraser is nice and gummy and remove any pencil lead from the surface by rubbing it vigorously over a clean piece of paper. 

Pretty much any natural bristle brush will get the job done, as you just want something that will brush up the nap of the suede and sweep away loose particles. I didn't have a shoe brush, so I improvised with this clean scrub brush and it worked great.

The first part of the process will immediately improve the look of your suede by removing any surface dirt and refreshing the nap of the leather. 

Brush the suede thoroughly with a clean, dry rag. Make sure you rub the suede in many different directions to ensure you're agitating the nap completely and getting all the dirt. Go over stubborn spots a little more vigorously with your cloth.

Step one just reduced my stress level significantly and got off the majority of the spots, leaving all the dirty evidence on my rag.

But there's still plenty of small, set water stains to tackle.

So, out comes the gum eraser.

Rub the eraser in a circular motion over each stain.

Use your bristle brush to remove the eraser rubber and loosened dirt. Repeat on all stains.

And that, friends, is one clean pair of shoes.

Suede, while durable and beautiful, is expensive. This impossibly easy, natural way to clean it will save many an item and many a dollar through the years.

I used HAVEN Polish to clean and condition the wooden soles and now these babies are ready to pound some more pavement.




    On October 21, 2014

  • Amber says...

    Thanks for the tips. I cleaned a few suede portions of a Coach bag the way you described—-with the pencil eraser. It looks so much better. P.S. I love your clogs. Those are adorable.

    On August 15, 2013

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