Suede shoes are a popular choice for both men and women because of their stylish look and versatile nature. But what happens when they get dirty? Can you put suede shoes in the washing machine, or do you have to take them to the dry cleaner? In this epic guide, we will answer all of your questions about suede shoes and tell you everything you need to know about how to clean them!
What is Suede Leather?
Suede leather is a type of leather with a napped finish, making it appear fuzzy. It’s made from the innermost layer of the hide, which is why it’s so soft. When you look at a cross-section of suede leather, you’ll notice that it’s much thinner than other types of leather.
The texture of suede is the reason why it’s so popular in many garments and shoes. It’s often used in high-end fashion items like jackets, skirts, pants, and dresses because it has a luxurious look and feels. Suede is also popular in footwear, especially in winter boots and dress shoes. And you can find suede bags as well.
Despite its popularity, suede leather can be difficult to care for. It’s not as durable as other types of leather and it’s susceptible to staining. Water, in particular, can damage suede leather. That’s why you need to be careful when wearing suede shoes in the rain or snow. 
Can You Put Suede Shoes in the Washing Machine?
This brings us to a question that many people have: can you put suede shoes in the washing machine?
The answer is no, you shouldn’t put your suede shoes in the washing machine. The agitation from the spin cycle can damage the delicate leather and ruin the shape of your shoes. Water can also cause the colors to bleed and fade. Still, if you’re in a pinch, you can try it.  
Risks of Machine-Washing Suede Shoes
It’s best to be aware of the risks before you machine washes your suede shoes. After all, suede leather products are not cheap and you don’t want to ruin them.
Your shoes can shrink
Shrinking is one of the primary risks when machine-washing suede shoes. Suede is made from the skin of an animal. The individual fibers that make up the skin are called “hairs.” These hairs are what give suede its unique fuzzy texture.
The problem is that when these hairs get wet, they shrink. This can cause your shoes to become smaller and tighter, making them uncomfortable to wear. In extreme cases, your shoes may even become misshapen.
The suede material can distort
Another risk of machine washing suede shoes is that the material can distort them. This is because water can cause the fibers to swell up and change shape. When this happens, your shoes may no longer fit properly or look the way you want them to.
The color can change
Another risk of machine-washing suede shoes is that the color can change. This is because suede is dyed before it’s made into a shoe. When your machine washes your shoes, the dye can bleed out, causing the color to change.
In some cases, the color may become lighter. In others, it may become darker. Either way, it’s likely that your shoes will look different after you’ve machine-washed them.
And even if the footwear isn’t dyed, the water can leave stains that are difficult to remove.
The shoes can become stiff
Another common problem with machine-washing suede shoes is that they can become stiff. This is because the water can cause the suede to dry out and become brittle. As a result, your shoes may not be as flexible and comfortable as they were before you washed them.
How to Wash Suede Shoes in the Washing Machine?
So you’ve got a nasty stain on your suede shoes and you’re wondering if you can just throw them in the washing machine. We don’t recommend it, but it is possible to wash suede shoes in the washing machine. If you understand the risks and are willing to take them, then read on for our complete guide.
Use a detergent designed specifically for cleaning leather and suede
If you’re going to wash your suede shoes in the washing machine, you need to use a detergent that’s designed specifically for leather and suede. Regular laundry detergent will damage the delicate fibers of your suede shoes. Avoid other fabric softeners and conditioners as they can also damage your suede shoes.
Set the washer to the gentle cycle only
The key to washing your suede shoes in the washing machine is to set the washer to the gentle cycle only. This will help protect your shoes from damage. Do not wash suede with other items of clothing as this can also damage the shoes.
Wash suede shoes in a mesh bag
Another important tip for washing your suede shoes in the washing machine is to put them in a mesh bag. This will help protect your shoes from getting tangled up with other items in the washer.
Run a full cycle
When you’ve finished putting your suede shoes in the washing machine, make sure to run a full cycle. This will help ensure that all the dirt and grime are removed from your shoes.
Remove the suede shoes
Once the cycle is complete, carefully remove your suede shoes from the washing machine. After being washed, your shoes might have lost some shape. Gently pull them back into shape and allow them to dry.
Let your shoes air dry
Once you’ve washed your suede shoes, don’t put them in the dryer. The heat from the dryer can damage the delicate fibers of your shoes. Instead, let them air dry. You can speed up the process by using a fan or placing them in front of an open window.
It’s also a good idea to place a towel under your shoes while they’re drying. This will help absorb any water that drips from your shoes.
Use a suede brush
Once your shoes are dry, you’ll need to brush them with a suede brush. This will help restore the nap of the suede and remove any dirt or grime that’s left behind. Start by brushing in one direction and then switch to brushing in the opposite direction. 
A Recommended Way to Wash Suede Shoes
Now that you know how to wash suede shoes in the washing machine, we’re going to share an alternative way to wash your shoes. Hand washing is always the best way to clean any type of shoe. This method is much gentler on your shoes and will help extend their lifespan. Plus, it’s less likely that you’ll damage your shoes when hand washing them.
This method is much gentler on your shoes and will help them last longer.
Stuff them with a newspaper
Most people stuff their shoes with a newspaper to help them keep their shape while they’re drying or prior to cleaning. But if you’re stuffing your suede shoes with a newspaper, there’s another reason to do it: the paper will help absorb any moisture that’s still in the shoes.
If you don’t stuff your suede shoes with a newspaper, the weight of the wet shoes can cause them to lose shape. So if you want your suede shoes to keep their shape, it’s best to stuff them with a newspaper before you put them in the dryer.
Let the shoes dry if they’re wet
If your suede shoes are wet, you’ll need to let them dry before you clean them. The best way to dry wet suede shoes is to stuff them with a newspaper and let them air dry.
As we mentioned, you shouldn’t put wet suede shoes in the dryer, as this can damage the leather. If you need to speed up the drying process, you can place your shoes on a towel as we mentioned above.
Remove excess dirt and debris
Once your shoes are dry, you’ll need to remove any excess dirt or debris before you start cleaning them. The best way to do this is to use a suede brush. Suede brushes are specifically designed to remove dirt and debris from suede without damaging the leather. You can find suede brushes at most shoe stores or online.
Rub away surface marks
Sadly things are rarely that simple when it comes to cleaning suede shoes. If your shoes are covered in surface marks, you’ll need to rub them away with a suede eraser. Suede erasers are specifically designed to remove surface marks from suede without damaging the leather. You can find suede erasers at most shoe stores or online.
To use a suede eraser, rub it over the surface mark until it disappears. Do not apply too much pressure, as this can damage the suede. Once you’ve removed the surface mark, brush the area with a suede brush to restore the nap.
Deal with stubborn stains
Sometimes a suede eraser just isn’t enough to remove a stain. If you’re dealing with a stubborn stain, you’ll need to use a suede cleaner. Suede cleaners are specifically designed to remove stains from suede without damaging the leather. You can find suede cleaners at most shoe stores or online.
To use a suede cleaner, apply a small amount of the cleaner to the stain and rub it in with a clean cloth. Be sure to follow the instructions on the bottle, as some cleaners require you to let them soak into the stain for a few minutes before wiping them away. Once you’ve removed the stain, brush the area with a suede brush to restore the nap.
White vinegar method
Or, alternatively, you could use white vinegar to remove the water spots from your shoes. But you need to take a few precautions. First, make sure you test the vinegar on a small area of the shoe before using it on the entire surface. This will help you avoid any potential damage to the suede. Second, do not completely submerge the cotton balls in vinegar. Instead, just dampen them so they’re wet but not dripping. And finally, don’t leave the cotton balls on your shoes for more than a few minutes. If you do, the vinegar could damage the suede.
Once you’ve taken these precautions, rub the cotton balls over the water spots until they disappear. Then brush the area with a suede brush to restore the nap. Let the shoes dry and restore the fibers
Rubbing alcohol method
Rubbing alcohol is another great way to clean your suede shoes and get rid of any dirt or grime that may have built up on them over time. All you need to do is pour some rubbing alcohol onto a common ball and then rub it over the surface of your shoes. Once you’re done, simply let the shoes air dry and they’ll be good as new!
How to Deal With Oil Stains on Suede Shoes?
One of the hardest things to clean from suede shoes is oil. Indeed, oil stains are some of the most stubborn and difficult to remove. The reason oil stains are so difficult to remove is that they are made up of tiny molecules that can penetrate deep into fabric fibers. Once these molecules are embedded in the fabric, they are very difficult to remove.
Thankfully, there is a way you can remove oil stains from your suede shoes. A cornflour!
If the cornflour method doesn’t work, you can try using talcum powder or baby powder. These powders work in the same way as cornflour and will help to absorb the oil and lift the stain away from the fabric. 
How to Deal With Gum or Wax Stains on Suede Shoes?
Another disastrous thing that can happen to your suede shoes is gum or wax stains. If you have ever stepped in gum or wax, you know how difficult it can be to remove. The same is true for suede shoes. Gum and wax can be very difficult to remove from suede because they stick to the fibers. And you can’t just peel it off because that will damage the material.
The easiest and safest way to get rid of these is by freezing your footwear. Put your shoes in a plastic bag and place them in the freezer for about two hours. Once the gum or wax is frozen, you can use your fingers or a butter knife to gently scrape it off. Be very careful not to damage the suede while you are doing this.
If there is still some residue left after scraping, you can try using a suede brush or nubuck eraser. This will help get rid of any stubborn stains. 
How to Deal With Blood Stains on Suede Shoes?
Accidents happen and sometimes you might get a bloody nose or cut yourself while wearing your suede shoes. Blood stains can be tricky to remove, but it is possible.
To start, blot the cotton ball into a small amount of hydrogen peroxide. Dab the cotton ball onto the blood stain. Next, take a dry cloth and blot the area to remove any excess moisture. Finally, use a suede brush to help lift the stain.
If the blood stain is still visible, you can try using white vinegar. And keep in mind that you may need to repeat either method more than once. 
Can You Put Suede Shoes in the Washer: Comparative Table
Washing suede shoes can be risky, but in some cases, it’s possible with the right precautions. Here’s a guide on whether you can put suede shoes in the washer and what to consider.
|Can You Put Suede Shoes in the Washer?
|Under certain conditions and with proper precautions
|Generally not recommended
|1. Use a mild detergent.
2. Place the shoes in a pillowcase or laundry bag.
3. Use cold water and a gentle cycle.
4. Air dry; avoid direct heat sources.
5. Brush and protect suede after washing.
|Washing may damage the suede’s texture and color.
|1. Spot clean with a suede brush and cleaner.
2. Use suede erasers for stains.
3. Consider professional cleaning for stubborn stains.
|Choose alternative cleaning methods to preserve suede.
Explanation of the Table:
- Aspect: Lists key aspects related to washing suede shoes in the washer.
- Yes: Describes situations where washing suede shoes in the washer may be possible with precautions.
- No: Advises against washing suede shoes in the washer in most cases.
While washing suede shoes in the washer is generally not recommended due to the risk of damage, it can be done with the right precautions. Using mild detergent, placing the shoes in a protective bag, and choosing a gentle cycle can help minimize the risk. However, for many suede shoes, alternative cleaning methods like spot cleaning and professional cleaning are safer options.
Remember to consider the material and condition of your suede shoes before deciding on a cleaning method to ensure they maintain their texture and appearance.
How can you clean suede shoes?
The best way to clean suede shoes is to brush them with a soft bristled brush. You can also use a toothbrush to get into hard-to-reach areas. If your shoes are particularly dirty, you can use a suede eraser to remove stubborn stains.
To clean the soles of your shoes, you can either wipe them down with a damp cloth or use a stiff bristled brush. If your shoes are very dirty, you can also try using a toothbrush or an old toothbrush to scrub the dirt and grime off the soles. And for stains, a suede eraser is very effective in removing them.
Is a suede machine washable?
The short answer is no, you cannot put suede shoes in the washer. Suede is a delicate material made from the soft underside of animal skin, usually sheepskin. It’s different from nubuck, which is made from the top side of the hide and has a slightly coarser texture.
Washing machines will not only expose your shoes to water and detergent but also subject them to the agitation of the washing cycle, which can cause irreparable damage.
Do suede shoes get ruined when wet?
Suede is a type of leather that is made from the inner splits of cowhide. It is soft, pliable, and has a napped finish, which gives it a velvety appearance. The suede is very absorbent and will darken when wet. Because of this, you need to be careful when wearing suede shoes in the rain or snow. If your shoes do get wet, make sure to dry them off as soon as possible to prevent water stains.
Moisture can also cause the suede material to distort, so it’s important that you don’t put your shoes in the washing machine or dryer. Instead, stuff them with paper towels to help absorb any wetness, and then let them air dry in a well-ventilated area. Once they’re completely dry, brush the nap with a suede brush to restore the velvety texture.
Can you put suede shoes in the dryer?
No, you should never put suede shoes in the dryer. The heat from the dryer can damage the suede and cause it to shrink, wrinkle, or change color. If your suede shoes are wet, let them air dry at room temperature.
For the same reason, you shouldn’t speed up the drying process by using a hair dryer, clothes steamer, or other heating devices. The intense heat can ruin the suede.
Is it safe to wash suede shoes in a washing machine?
No, it is not safe to wash suede shoes in a washing machine. Suede is a delicate material that can be easily damaged by the agitation and water exposure in a washing machine.
What is the recommended method for cleaning suede shoes?
The recommended method for cleaning suede shoes is to use a suede brush or eraser to gently remove dirt and stains. For deeper cleaning, you can use a suede cleaner specifically designed for suede footwear. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for best results.
Can you hand wash suede shoes instead of using a washing machine?
Hand washing suede shoes is not advisable either, as the excess moisture and rubbing can still damage the suede. Stick to dry cleaning methods like brushing, erasing, or using suede-specific cleaners.
Are there any exceptions where suede shoes can be machine-washed?
In general, suede shoes should not be machine-washed. However, some suede items like certain slippers may be labeled as machine-washable by the manufacturer. Always check the care label and follow the provided instructions if available.
What precautions should be taken when suede shoes get wet?
When suede shoes get wet, it’s essential to let them air dry naturally at room temperature. Avoid exposing them to direct heat sources like radiators or hairdryers, as this can cause the suede to become brittle or crack.
Can suede shoes be professionally cleaned if they are heavily soiled?
Yes, suede shoes can be professionally cleaned if they are heavily soiled or stained. Professional cleaners have the expertise and tools to clean and restore suede items effectively without causing further damage.
Can suede shoes be worn in wet conditions, such as rain or snow?
Suede shoes are not ideal for wet conditions, as moisture can damage the material and leave water stains. If you must wear suede in wet weather, consider using a suede protectant spray to help repel water and minimize damage.
What can I do to protect my suede shoes from getting dirty or stained?
To protect suede shoes from getting dirty or stained, you can apply a suede protector spray before wearing them. This creates a protective barrier that can repel dirt and prevent stains. Regularly brushing and maintaining your suede shoes also helps keep them clean.
Useful Video: Can you wash Suede/Nubuck work boots In The Washing Machine?
If you got a very dirty or muddy pair of suede shoes, you may start to wonder if it’s possible to machine-wash them. The truth is, you can put suede shoes in the washing machine, but there are a few things you should keep in mind before doing so.
Washing suede shoes in the washing machine is risky because water and detergent can damage the material. Suede is made from the soft inner flesh of an animal hide, and it’s very delicate. The nap (the short, fuzzy fibers on the surface of the suede) can be ruined by water and detergent, leaving your shoes looking flat and dull.
But if you’re willing to take a risk and save some time, there are a few things you can do to minimize the damage to your shoes. First, use a gentle cycle with cold water and a mild detergent made for leather. Avoid bleach, fabric softener, and any other harsh chemicals.
Second, put your shoes in a mesh laundry bag or pillowcase before putting them in the washer. This will help protect them from getting tangled up with other items in the wash and getting damaged.
Last, be sure to let your shoe air dry completely before wearing them again. Don’t put them in the dryer, as this can further damage the material. You may also want to stuff them with newspaper to help them keep their shape while they’re drying.
We don’t recommend machine-washing your suede shoes on a regular basis. It’s best to save this method for when they’re really dirty or muddy and you don’t have time to clean them by hand. In this article, we have covered both hand-washing and machine-washing methods, as well as some tips on how to protect your shoes while washing them. With a little care, you can keep your suede shoes looking good as new. Thanks for reading!