How to Clean Suede Insoles

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The insides of suede shoes should be cleaned just as often as the outsides.
The insides of suede shoes should be cleaned just as often as the outsides. (Image: Andriy Bandurenko/iStock/Getty Images)

Suede insoles create a level of comfort beyond any leather or canvas-covered pair waiting in your closet. While suede maintains its softness on socked and bare feet alike, these insoles also have their pitfalls. Suede is highly absorbent and loses its texture when washed, so you must approach odor and stain removal by hand for the suede surface to remain intact. Cleaning the insoles regularly helps preserve the comfort of your suede shoes.

Things You'll Need

  • Newspaper
  • Paper towel
  • Cornstarch
  • Suede brush
  • Sandpaper

Step 1

Place the shoes, or insoles alone if they are removable, on a sheet of newspaper.

Step 2

Gently pat the insole with a paper towel to remove any water or oil stuck on the surface. Do not rub suede, because this will only embed debris into the fibers.

Step 3

Cover the insoles with a thin layer of cornstarch, and allow them to sit for two hours. Cornstarch will remove odors while lifting stains and residue.

Step 4

Position a suede brush at the toe of one insole. Pull it back over the suede until you reach the heel, removing the cornstarch in the process. Repeat until you have brushed the entire surface thoroughly, moving in the direction of the suede fibers. If you don't have a suede brush, a clean toothbrush will work. Repeat on the other insole.

Step 5

Use a piece of sandpaper on stubborn stains, wiping the suede in the direction of the heel. Repeat until the stain has been removed. This will remove the top layer of fabric along with the stains, so be gentle.

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