Learn How to Clean Suede Shoes

How to Clean Suede Shoes

Learn how to clean, condition, and protect your finest suede shoes using Saphir Medaille d'Or!

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If you are anything like me, you enjoy wearing suede shoes year round. Suede is an incredibly robust material that does not scuff or show wear as easily as calfskin, thus lending itself to slightly more abuse. And that’s a good thing, because most shoeshine stands are unable to adequately clean and care for suede and so the man who enjoys suede shoes is pretty much left to his own devices.

Suede shoes are actually easier to clean and maintain than calf -- if you have the proper tools. Saphir Medaille d'Or (MDO) shoe polishes are the best in the world, so it should come as no surprise that they also have the best suede cleaner. Saphir Omni'Nettoyant Suede Cleaner is an excellent suede cleaner and stain remover. Combined with Saphir Gommadin Suede Eraser and Renovateur Suede Spray, it has never been so easy to renew your suede or nubuck shoes.

Step 1 of 7 Remove dry stains using Saphir Gommadin Suede Eraser

The Omni'Nettoyant that you'll be using in the second step of the process is going to clean the majority of the embedded dirt from suede. However, first work any particularly difficult, dry stains with the Saphir Gommadin Suede Eraser. Hold the Gommadin firmly in one hand and use it to "rub" the tough spots out of the suede. It is normal for the Gommadin to crumble during use (just brush the shavings off with your suede brush).

Step 2 of 7 Shampoo suede with Saphir Omni'Nettoyant Suede Cleaner

Dilute the Saphir Omni'Nettoyant Suede Shampoo in room-temperature water (one part Omni to one part water). Next, work the Omni'Nettoyant into the suede, producing a nice lather. Spend extra time working the areas of the shoes that are particularly soiled. It is best to work quickly all over the shoe in order to prevent any water staining (i.e., keep the whole shoe evenly wet).

NOTE: A small dauber is included with the Omni’Nettoyant. However, any large dauber will work better and allow you to work faster.

Step 3 of 7 Rinse shoes with clean water and allow to dry

After you have worked up a rich lather using the Omni’Nettoyant and brush, empty the solution, rinse your brush, and refill your bowl with warm water. Then, using this warm water, work the shoes over again, removing any residual Omni'Nettoyant from the suede. Here you are also "washing" additional dirt from the shoe.

Of course, you can also opt out of using a bowl of water and do as I did, making use of the sink and the sprayer attachment. Regardless of your particular approach, though, once you notice that your brush is no longer producing much of a lather, you know that you have removed all of the residual Omni'Nettoyant. Pat the suede with a dry towel to remove excess water, stuff the shoes tightly with newspaper, and then lay on their side, so as not to unnecessarily saturate the soles. Allow to dry overnight.

Step 4 of 7 Brush suede with a suede brush to re-fluff pile

After the shoes have dried, firmly brush them with a hard-bristle suede brush in order to straighten or re-fluff the pile. In addition to re-fluffing the pile, which makes the suede look nicer, it will prepare the shoe to receive the Saphir Renovateur Suede Spray. If you were to just spray the shoe without first brushing, many of the fibers would be pressed down and, therefore, not receive an even spray.

For best results, use a natural-bristle suede brush.

Step 5 of 7 Condition and recolor with Saphir Renovateur Spray

Saphir's Medaille d'Or Renovateur Suede & Nubuck Spray conditions and re-colors suede while its Almond Oil renews the beautiful silky shine. Though this product is available in in black, neutral, dark brown, and medium brown, if a color is not available that closely matches the finish of your suede, just use the neutral. The spray uses a very light pigment, so it will not completely change the color of your shoes. It only “fills in” the background and resaturates the finish. A perfect match is not necessary as long as you are close (exception: the dark brown will darken suede and change the color if the match is not close. Always first test on a hidden piece of the shoe).

The fumes from the aerosol are quite strong, so do this outside. Simply hold the spray 10 to 15 cm away from the shoe and apply an even coat. As long as you do not fully saturate the suede, you shouldn't have to worry about applying too much. Just don't get carried away.

After completion, allow the shoes to dry for another day. Again, I recommend leaving them someplace that has good ventilation, as the fumes can be quite strong.

Step 6 of 7 Re-Brush suede with a suede brush to re-fluff pile

After the aerosols have dried, again brush the pile with a hard-bristle suede brush. This will restore the original texture of the suede. After this, your renewed shoes are ready to either be waterproofed using the Saphir Super Invulner or once again take their place in your shoe rotation!

Step 7 of 7 Protect and waterproof with Saphir Super Invulner

The Saphir Super Invulner is a silicone-free aerosol that will protect your suede shoes against water stains. It is safe to use on any material - suede, nubuck, calfskin, cordovan, and exotics - and is 100% silicone free. Used once or twice a month, this universal water and stain protector spray will protect from rain, snow, and the penetration of dirt, grease and liquid stains.

Again, because this is an aerosol, we recommend spraying it in a well-ventilated area or outside. Spray an even coat over your shoes at a distance of 6 to 12 inches. Allow 30 minutes to dry. Reapply when water no longer beads when dropped on the shoe.

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