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Can You Put Suede Shoes In The Washer: To Wash or Not to Wash in the Machine?

Suede shoes have been a staple in the fashion world for decades. Unlike other materials that are commonly used to manufacture shoes, suede has a unique texture and appearance. It is made from the underside of animal skin, usually cowhide, and this creates a velvety feel that is adored by many.

Suede shoes are popular among both men and women as they come in various styles and colors that can complement any wardrobe. Despite their beauty, suede shoes require special attention when it comes to cleaning and maintenance.

The delicate nature of suede makes it prone to stains, scratches, and damage from water or moisture. Even small amounts of dirt can be detrimental to the material’s quality, making it crucial for wearers to invest time in their upkeep.

Can You Put Suede Shoes in the Washer?

Whether or not one can put suede shoes in the washer is common among shoe owners who want a quick fix for their dirty kicks. Unfortunately, there is no straightforward answer to this question since washing suede shoes requires careful consideration of several factors.

Firstly, one must consider the type of stain or dirt on the shoe. Not all stains are made equal – some may require specialized cleaning products or professional services instead of machine washing.

Additionally, age and condition play a critical role as older pairs may have lost their structural integrity due to wear and tear from previous use. Another important factor is manufacturer care instructions.

Most shoe brands provide specific guidelines on cleaning their products, which should be followed closely before attempting DIY methods like using a washer. While machine washing might seem like an easy solution for cleaning your beloved suede shoes; you should always assess the situation before taking such drastic measures as doing so could result in irreversible damage being done.

The Basics of Suede Shoes

What is Suede?

Suede is a type of leather that is created when the inner layer of an animal hide is sanded, resulting in a soft, velvety texture. This material has become popular for use in shoes, jackets, and other fashion items due to its unique appearance and tactile feel. However, because it comes from animal hides, it can be sensitive to moisture and require special care.

How Suede Differs from Other Materials

One important difference between suede and other materials like leather or synthetic alternatives lies in its delicate nature. Unlike smooth leather or synthetic fabrics that can withstand exposure to water without staining or damage, suede tends to soak up liquids like a sponge.

This makes it more prone to marks or stains from spills or even rainwater. Another distinguishing feature of suede as compared to other materials is its texture.

While smooth leather can have a polished shine and synthetics may look glossy, suede offers a softer look and feel with its velvety nap surface. Depending on the color of the suede used in shoes or clothing items, this texture can give off different impressions ranging from sophisticated elegance to casual comfort.

The Pros and Cons of Owning Suede Shoes

While there are certainly many benefits to owning suede shoes—including their fashionable appearance and soft feel—there are also some drawbacks that come with this material choice. On the positive side, wearing suede footwear can add an extra level of style and sophistication to an outfit that might not be achieved with other types of shoes.

However, one major downside is that they require more maintenance than typical shoe materials like leather or synthetic options. Stains are often unavoidable when wearing suede shoes outdoors on wet days or around accidental spills indoors.

Additionally, suede shoes may need more frequent trips to the cobbler or professional cleaner since they cannot be cleaned as easily as other materials due to their moisture sensitivity. Despite these challenges, many people still find suede shoes to be worth the extra effort for their unique look and luxurious feel.

Factors to Consider Before Washing Suede Shoes

The Type of Stain or Dirt on the Shoe

Before deciding to wash your suede shoes, it’s important to assess the type and severity of the stain or dirt. Surface-level dirt can often be removed with a suede brush or eraser, while more stubborn stains may require spot treatment before washing. It’s important to avoid using water on oil-based stains such as grease or makeup, as this can permanently damage the suede material.

The Age and Condition of the Shoe

The age and overall condition of your suede shoes should also be taken into consideration before washing. Older shoes may be more fragile than new ones and could fall apart during washing. Additionally, if your shoes are already showing signs of wear and tear such as discoloration or fraying, it may be best to avoid washing them altogether in order to prolong their lifespan.

The Manufacturer’s Care Instructions

It’s crucial to review the manufacturer’s care instructions for your particular pair of suede shoes before proceeding with any cleaning process. Some manufacturers may explicitly advise against machine-washing suede shoes due to their delicate nature, while others may provide specific instructions for doing so safely.

Following these instructions will help ensure that you do not cause unnecessary damage to your beloved footwear by inadvertently using harsh chemicals or incorrect cleaning methods. Ultimately, when deciding whether or not you can put suede shoes in the washer, it’s important to consider all factors involved to make an informed decision.

While some people have successfully washed their suede footwear in a machine without any issues, others have experienced permanent damage as a result. By assessing factors such as stain type, shoe age and condition, and manufacturer’s care instructions beforehand, you can increase the likelihood that your cleaning efforts will yield positive results while minimizing potential risks.

Steps to Wash Suede Shoes in a Washing Machine

Pre-Treatment: Brushing, Spot Cleaning, and Protecting Hardware

Before tossing your suede shoes in the washing machine, it’s important to pre-treat them properly. Start by brushing off any loose dirt or debris with a soft-bristled brush.

Be sure to brush in the direction of the suede grain, as going against it could damage the material. Next, spot clean any stains or spots with a specialized suede cleaner or a mixture of water and white vinegar.

Use a soft cloth to apply the cleaner or solution and gently rub the affected area. Avoid using too much water as this can damage the suede.

Protect any hardware on your shoes (like buckles or zippers) by wrapping them in tinfoil or masking tape. This will prevent them from getting scratched during the wash cycle.

Choosing the Right Detergent and Setting for Your Machine

When it comes to washing suede shoes in a machine, choosing the right detergent and setting is crucial. Avoid harsh detergents containing bleach or enzymes, as they can damage the delicate suede material.

Instead, opt for a gentle detergent specifically designed for delicates or wool. Use only half of what you would normally use for regular laundry loads to avoid over-soaping and damaging your shoes.

Set your washing machine on its gentlest cycle with cold water temperature. Don’t add any other clothes into your load as they could rub against your suede shoes, causing damage.

Drying Methods: Air-Drying vs. Using A Dryer

After completing their wash cycle, it’s time to dry your suede shoes properly. Never use direct heat sources such as radiators because this can cause shrinkage and permanent damage. Instead, stuff each shoe with paper towels (replace every hour) until they’re nearly dry.

Then let them air-dry naturally in a well-ventilated, shady area away from direct sunlight. Avoid using a hairdryer or tumble dryer as the heat can cause the suede to shrink and become misshapen.

By following these steps, you can successfully wash your suede shoes in a washing machine without causing any damage. Just remember to be gentle and take your time, ensuring you’re properly cleaning and caring for your beloved footwear!

Alternative methods for cleaning suede shoes

The Eraser Method: A Simple Solution to Stains

If you’re hesitant about washing your suede shoes in the washer, try using an eraser! Suede erasers are specially designed to rub away dirt and minor stains on suede shoes. Simply rub the eraser gently over the affected area, and voila!

Your shoe will look brand new. However, be careful not to overuse this technique as it can damage the surface of the shoe.

Spray Away Stains with Suede Protector

Another alternative method is using a suede protector spray. This product creates a protective barrier that repels water, oil, and other stains from ruining your beautiful suede shoes.

First, ensure your shoe is clean and dry before applying the spray evenly over the entire material surface. Allow it to dry completely before wearing them.

When in Doubt, Seek Professional Help

If your suede shoes have extensive stains that you cannot remove or if they require deep cleaning due to heavy use or poor maintenance, it’s best to take them to a professional cleaner who specializes in handling delicate materials like suede. This may cost more than DIY methods but will ensure that your beloved shoes are properly cleaned without further damaging them. Overall, there are various alternatives for cleaning your suede shoes other than washing them in a machine.

Depending on how bad they are stained or dirty will determine which method is best for you. Remember keeping up with routine maintenance by brushing off any dirt or debris from daily wear can help avoid needing deep cleaning services down the road!

Tips for Maintaining Your Suede Shoes After Washing/Cleaning

Applying Protective Sprays or Creams to Prevent Future Stains or Damage

One of the best ways to maintain your freshly cleaned suede shoes is by applying a protective spray or cream to them. These sprays and creams work by creating a barrier on the surface of the shoes that repels liquids and stains, preventing them from soaking into the suede material.

A variety of products are available on the market, ranging from basic water-resistant sprays to more heavy-duty options that offer protection against oil-based stains. When applying these products, following the manufacturer’s instructions carefully is important.

Typically, you’ll want to apply the spray or cream in light, even coats while holding the bottle about 6-8 inches away from your shoes. Be sure not to oversaturate any one area of your shoes, as this can lead to discoloration and staining.

Proper Storage Techniques to Maintain Their Shape and Quality

Another key factor in maintaining your suede shoes after washing or cleaning them is proper storage techniques. To begin with, it’s essential that you allow them plenty of time to dry completely before putting them away.

You don’t want any moisture trapped inside your shoes, as this can lead to mold growth and unpleasant odors. Once completely dry, consider stuffing each shoe with tissue paper or a clean towel to help maintain their shape over time.

You may also want to invest in shoe trees made specifically for suede footwear – these will help prevent creases and wrinkles from forming over time. When it comes time for storing your shoes away, be sure they’re kept in a cool, dry place where they won’t be exposed to direct sunlight or humidity.

Avoid stacking them on top of one another if possible – this can cause pressure points and damage to the suede material. Instead, try storing them in individual boxes or on a shoe rack with plenty of space between each shoe.


Taking care of your suede shoes may require a bit more effort than other types of footwear, but the results are well worth it. Keep your suede shoes looking and feeling great for years to come with these easy maintenance tips. Regularly clean them, apply protective sprays or creams, and store them properly to make them last through the seasons. Rock your stylish kicks with confidence knowing you have the tools to keep them in top shape.

About Author

Marsha Washmore is a passionate writer with a keen interest in all things appliances. When she’s not discussing the latest kitchen gadgets or home appliances, Marsha enjoys exploring the great outdoors and spending time with her family. Marsha is dedicated to helping readers make informed decisions about their household appliances.