Even if you try so hard to keep your shoes clean and not get any dirt or stains on them—it’s mission impossible. Unfortunately, accidents happen, whether it’s a spilled drop of red wine that somehow found your shoe during a nice dinner party or a storm caught you on your way home, turning the sidewalk into a stream of filth and muck.
Either way, it’s never easy to say goodbye to a pair of shoes that you love so much—and you don’t have to.
Check out our guide below on how to clean faux suede shoes.
What’s Faux Suede?
Faux suede has a similar appearance to real suede and feels exactly the same, but it’s made out of plastic materials and is much more durable than natural suede. It’s also perfect for animal lovers or vegans as it’s not made from anything animal-based.
Faux suede shoes are made from polyester microfibers woven into thin, fine and very tough plastic fabric. Shoes made from faux suede are also less expensive compared to shoes made out of natural suede.
Unfortunately, being similar to natural suede means that faux suede material is also susceptible to stains. So cleaning shoes immediately after you notice a stain is best for extending the life of your shoes.
5 Easy Tricks for Cleaning Faux Suede Shoes
You can clean faux suede shoes in the same way as natural suede materials. So if you’ve owned and cleaned a pair of suede shoes before, like suede Timberlands, then this will require a similar approach.
Check out our guide: How To Clean Timberland Boots.
1. Suede Brush
If you own a couple of suede or faux suede shoes or other items, then it might be a good idea to invest in a suede brush—although a soft toothbrush will also do the job, a suede brush won’t damage the fibers, like other kinds of brushes might.
A suede brush should always be your first pick when you’re trying to clean any stains or dirt. It makes it very easy to remove any debris and dried mud and minimize any marks with it.
First, check if your shoes are dry. If not, wait until they dry completely before using the suede brush; this way, you’ll avoid smearing dirt everywhere. Brush the shoes from the bottom, slowly working your way up to the top of the shoe.
Using a suede brush for aged, dry, and deep stains won’t do the job, but it can still minimize the stain before you take another step to get it completely cleaned out.
Unfortunately, you can’t turn back time and fix errors you’ve made in life, but you might be able to repair a mistake or two regarding your faux suede shoes with a clean eraser.
You simply rub the eraser gently over the stain and keep going until the mark or scuff is gone. After you’re done using the eraser, use the suede brush to raise the fibers again.
Ensure that the eraser is clean; otherwise, you might spread more dirt over the shoes and make an even bigger mess.
3. Suede Cleaner
The most logical way, and probably the easiest method to clean faux suede shoes, is to use a cleaner designed specifically for suede.
Suede cleaner is specially designed to clean and nourish the material simultaneously, making it soft and gentle to the touch.
First, using a brush, comb the faux suede material in the opposite direction of the fibers. The next thing you’ll need is a sponge; dampen in cold water and squeeze well before applying a small amount of the cleaner onto the sponge. Then gently rub the cleaner all over the shoes, from the top down.
Let your shoes air dry; this could take up to 24 hours. To finish, comb the suede back into place with a suede brush or a clean toothbrush.
4. Makeup Remover Wipes
Having a suede cleaner at home when you own a few pairs of suede or faux suede shoes is a good idea, but you can also try removing stains with makeup remover wipes that most women will have in their cosmetic bag.
Simply rub the makeup remover wipes all over the shoes from the top down. Remember to wipe gently in the opposite direction of the fibers. Once you’re done, let them dry, and then brush them back with a suede brush.
If you don’t have makeup remover wipes, you can also use liquid makeup remover or micellar water. Dip a cotton swab into the micellar water or liquid makeup remover, and then gently rub it over the stains. Let the shoes air dry and brush them back with a suede brush.
5. Homemade Cleaner
If you don’t have any suede cleaner or makeup remover at home, you can use gentle dish soap and cold water to prepare your own homemade mix for cleaning faux suede shoes.
Pour some cold water into a bowl and add a few drops of dish soap. It should be just enough to create foam but not discolor the water.
Use a toothbrush to mix the water and soap well, then apply the mixture with the toothbrush to the stains, using small circular motions.
After you’re done, use a clean cloth to wipe away any excess foam and let your shoes air dry. When the shoes are completely dry, use a suede brush to raise the fibers.
Protecting Faux Suede Shoes
Once you’ve cleaned your faux suede shoes and got rid of those nasty stains and marks, it’s advisable to treat your shoes with a protective shoe spray to prevent any future stains.
The best choice would be a waterproof suede-protector spray that will act as a barrier, keeping water, dirt, or any other substances from soaking into the material.
To ensure that the spray will not alter the color of your shoes, do a small test first by spraying a small amount of the protective spray onto an inconspicuous area.
After you’ve completed the test and you’re sure the spray won’t change the color of your shoes, hold the can six to eight inches away and spray the shoes evenly.
Dry the shoes but make sure that they’re away from direct sunlight or heat. Giving them two coats of spray will provide more protection, but let the shoes dry in-between applications.
Frequently Asked Questions
What if You Can’t Get Rid of the Stains at Home?
Most regular household cleaners will do more damage than good to faux suede. So if the above-mentioned home cleaning techniques didn’t work, don’t try and use any other more aggressive types of cleaner.
In this situation, it’s best to take your shoes to a repair shop, where a professional can try to clean them. Depending on how attached you are to your shoes or how much you paid for them, you should weigh up if this extra expense is worth it.
Can You Wash Faux Suede Shoes in the Washing Machine?
Like natural suede, faux suede is very sensitive material, and putting the shoes into a washing machine can damage the raised fibers and the material itself. So the short answer would be no, better stick to the methods mentioned above.
Is Faux Suede Waterproof?
Although it’s made out of plastic fabric, it’s not a waterproof material. It’s best to use a waterproof suede-protector spray to prevent stains and repel water. Apply it to your faux suede shoes regularly, about every 3 to 4 weeks.
Can You Wear Faux Suede Shoes in the Rain?
Faux suede shoes can get wet and still be wearable, but if you don’t want to end up with a ruined pair of faux suede shoes, you’ll need to act quickly. If you know that it’s going to rain or snow, it’s best to avoid wearing faux suede shoes entirely on that day.
Ensure you treat your suede shoes with a suitable suede protector in case you do get caught in the rain. Faux suede material is made of tiny fibers that become stiff and brittle when they dry after being wet.
If you manage to get them wet and haven’t used protection, soak up as much water as you can using a microfiber towel. Then brush with the nap while applying light heat with a hairdryer. After the shoes are completely dry, brush them again with a suede brush.
It might be easier to just toss your shoes into a washing machine; it’s unfortunately not possible when you have a pair of dirty faux suede shoes, as it might damage the material beyond repair.
Although it’s made out of plastic materials and durable, faux suede is very similar to natural suede and can stain and mark just as easily.
How to clean faux suede shoes? Using our five easy tricks should make your pair of shoes look new in no time. Also, don’t forget to protect them with a waterproof suede-protector spray after cleaning them to keep them looking as fresh as the day you bought them.