How to Clean Faux-Suede Shoes

Faux suede looks and feels a lot like real suede but usually is easier to clean. It's made of synthetic materials and is, therefore, preferred by vegans and some vegetarians over real suede, which is created from cowhide. Despite the difference in material, cleaning shoes made of faux suede is similar to cleaning real suede shoes.

Things You'll Need

  • Suede brush

  • Cloth

  • Mild soap or synthetic shoe cleaner

  • Waterproofing spray

Step 1

Brush the shoe with a suede brush. You can buy these brushes at most places that sell shoe-cleaning supplies. Brushing faux suede loosens dirt and stains from the nap (the soft fibers). Many times, this brush may be all you require to sufficiently clean faux-suede shoes. Whether they appear dirty or not, as a rule you should brush them once a week to raise the nap (if you wear the shoes daily) and keep dirt from settling it.

Step 2

Use a slightly dampened cloth (lint-free) and a synthetic shoe cleaner or a mild soap (hand soap, for example; or if the stain is oil-based, a degreasing dish soap) to clean heavily soiled areas. Test the cleaner near the heel, or in another less-noticeable spot first to make sure the dyes don't fade. Rub the stain gently with the soapy cloth.

Step 3

Blot the stain with a dry, clean cloth. Keep dabbing at it with the wet, soapy cloth, and then blotting with the dry cloth, until the stain is removed.

Step 4

Allow the shoe to air-dry. When it has dried, brush it with the suede brush again to raise the nap.

Step 5

Prevent future stains by using a stain- and water-repellent spray on the shoe. Spray from at least a foot away so that the chemical is evenly distributed over the shoe. Otherwise, the spray may concentrate in some areas, causing dark spots.


Your faux-suede shoes may require special treatment other than spot cleaning. Always check the manufacturer’s instructions before cleaning your shoes with products other than a suede brush.