How to Clean Faux-Suede Shoes

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Clean your faux-suede shoes in a similar manner as your real suede shoes.

It looks just as polished and stylish as the real thing, though faux suede is cheaper and is vegan-friendly. Just like real suede, faux suede tends to show its scuffs and marks in a really noticeable way. Keeping faux-suede shoes clean isn't a super-difficult or time-consuming task, and if you already know how to clean real suede shoes, you can handle this. Returning those shoes to their just-out-of-the-box appearance is all about using the right tools for the job.

Cleaning Suede Shoes at Home

Different cleaning methods are appropriate for different kinds of shoe materials. Faux suede isn't really in a category of its own; it's grouped with real suede. Despite being man-made, faux suede generally responds to the same care and cleaning methods that are used for cleaning suede shoes at home. Unfortunately, their similarities also mean that faux suede is really susceptible to stains, so cleaning shoes when they're first soiled is ideal for extending the life of your shoes.

When you're faced with a pair of dinged or dirty faux-suede shoes, first use a suede brush to loosen and remove any debris, such as dried mud. (It's worth investing in a suede brush if you own any suede or faux-suede items, as this kind of brush won't damage the fibers the way other kinds of stiff brushes might.) The suede brush may also remove or minimize some marks, so this is always the first step for cleaning suede at home. You may also have some success using a clean eraser, like those used with pencils, to literally erase scuffs from faux suede.

If any stains or marks remain, one possible next step is to use suede cleaner and follow package directions. But if you don't have any cleaner on hand, try adding a few drops of dishwashing soap to a bowl of cold water. Dip a clean toothbrush in the lightly soapy water and work it over any dirty areas, following with a clean cloth. Some people also swear by using cotton swabs soaked in micellar water, commonly used as makeup remover, to erase marks on suede.

Protecting Faux Suede

A lot of household cleaners will cause permanent damage to faux suede. A little white vinegar may help remove marks and stains, but don't experiment with any other DIY cleaning attempts. If stains or marks remain even after you're tried your own cleaning techniques, you might try taking the shoes to a repair shop so a professional can try to clean them. Depending on how much you paid for the shoes and how attached you are to them, you may deem this expense worthwhile.

Once you've done everything possible to clean your faux-suede shoes, it's advisable to treat the material with a protectant to prevent future stains. A waterproof suede-protector spray will act like a sealant, keeping water and other substances from soaking into the material. Spray a small patch of the faux suede first and let it dry to make sure it doesn't cause any noticeable damage before spraying the rest of the shoes.

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