How To Clean Your Suede Work Boots

Suede is a material that never goes out of style, and suede work boots are a popular choice with all kinds of people. They are a classic addition to any winter or autumn wardrobe, and there are many different styles to choose from, there is one common problem which occurs with all types of suede boots - how to get them clean.

Knowing how to clean suede work boots is essential if you want your footwear to stay looking in perfect condition for any length of time. After all, it would be ridiculous to only ever wear your suede boots inside the house, especially if they are work boots, but as soon as you go outdoors they are subject to all kinds of potential hazards that can result in them becoming stained, marked and dirty. 

Not knowing how to clean suede work boots properly could end up causing damage that is irreparable, or which could result in your boots losing their good looks barely weeks or months after you bought them. As suede boots are a considerable investment, it's time to learn a few tips to make sure that you know how to care for them properly, preserving their lifespan exponentially.



Cleaning Suede - The Basics

There are a few basic pointers to bear in mind if you have suede work boots that need to be cleaned. Being aware of these basic points will ensure that you don't make a silly mistake that could end up ruining your investment. Here are the top tips to avoid damage:

1. Never try to spot clean any suede item using water

2. When cleaning suede boots, always make sure to clean the entire boot and not just small areas

3. If stains are especially tough use a special suede cleaner whenever possible

4. Always test any cleaning product on a small part of your boot first before using it on the entire item

5. Always use the directions on the product's label when using a commercial suede cleaning product

6. Always follow the care advice provided by your work boots' manufacturer

One of the main issues to bear in mind when cleaning suede is that it is a soft and vulnerable material when compared to standard leather. This means that not only does it stain more easily and quickly than leather it is also harder to clean. 

Cleaning leather is relatively simple and can often be achieved by using standard cleaning materials like soap and water, however any stain on your suede boots can actually be made much worse if you use these materials to clean them, therefore being aware of the most appropriate methods of cleaning will help to protect your work boot investment.


What Do I Need To Clean Suede?

There are a few key items that you should invest in when cleaning suede work boots.

1. A Suede Cleaning Brush

The first thing that you need to buy when you invest in a pair of suede work boots is a proper suede cleaning brush. Although it is possible to clean suede boots without one, it is definitely the best option and also a surprisingly affordable one. When you use one to clean your boots, always only brush in the same direction as the fibers and never move the suede brush backward and forwards over their surface.

2. Newspaper

This is another item which will cost you nothing but which will prove vital in the proper cleaning process. Simply crumple up some newspaper (or any other type of paper would do) and then, before you start to clean your boots, simply insert the crumpled paper into the boots so their natural shape is properly maintained as you work.

3. A Clean Towel

This is something else which you will certainly have in your home but which is also essential to the proper suede boot cleaning process. Once the excess dirt has been removed from the boots by the suede cleaning brush you should then use a clean bath towel to rub over the boots. Never use any water, just rub them with a soft and clean towel to remove any grime and dust from their surface.

4. A Suede Eraser

This is unlikely to be something that you have at home, but it is easy to buy online, or possibly even in a local store and they are relatively affordable. These are ideal for getting rid of any obvious stains on your suede boots and are perfect for rubbing away any grease, oil or water for a flawless look.

5. White Vinegar

Although water is a very bad idea when cleaning suede boots, you can use some white vinegar in the event that there is some very tough grime on your boots' surface. Food and salt are things which can be difficult to remove from your suede work boots, and if you find that you are struggling to remove any of these marks from your footwear, you can simply pour a small amount of white vinegar onto a clean and dry cloth and wipe the affected area gently to remove the dirt. Although this is known to be a very effective method of removing difficult to shift stains, it can also lead to your work boots smelling of vinegar for a while. Eventually, however, this odour will disappear and your boots will look as good as new.

Are There Any Other Items That Can Be Used To Clean Suede?

As suede is easily damaged, it is important to make sure that you don't use any harsh products or rough materials to clean your boots. Although some people believe that using baking soda rubbed onto the surface using an old toothbrush can remove tough stains, this is actually a very bad idea since, although this method works well on resilient materials like Nubuck and ordinary leather, it is far too harsh to use on delicate suede and will do more harm than good, damaging the nap of the suede.

There are, however, a few items which you may have at home that could be used to clean your suede work boots without causing any damage to their nap. These include:

1. Baby wipes

2. Clean rags or cloths

3. A standard pencil eraser

4. A nail file

It is usually advised that you try each method one at a time until you are satisfied that the stains on your suede work boots have been thoroughly removed and any dirt or marks are gone.



Here is a quick guide to using these items to clean your suede work boots:

1. Use a clean rag or cloth and wipe the surface of your boots as much as possible so that maximum dirt and grime is removed.

2. Begin by using a nail file. Either a standard metal type or an emery board can be used for this. Use the file, rubbing it gently over the surface of the boot to lift the suede's grain. If you do this too frequently, you risk damaging your boots permanently, however, when done only infrequently it will remove any particles of dust and dirt which have become stuck in the pores of the suede.

3. If some scuff marks and stains remain on your boot that have not yet been removed, you can use a standard pencil eraser to rub over the surface to get rid of the marks.

4. If any marks still remain, you can then try to use baby wipes. These should work to dissolve any stains without causing damage to the suede material, however, you should avoid using them to clean off your whole boot as exposing the suede to excess humidity is not a good idea.


What If None Of These Tricks Work?

If you have tried all of the above methods and you have found that there are still stains on your suede boots that have not been removed, you can try using a newspaper and a wet sponge. While getting your suede work boots wet is generally a bad idea because of the damage that water stains can cause, there are a few types of stains which can only be fully removed by using water to dissolve them. You can use a damp sponge on the mark and then use the newspaper immediately to absorb up as much of the water as possible so that they dry more rapidly.



What Do You Need To Know About Using Household Items To Clean Stains On Suede Boots?

If you are thinking of using a household item to clean your stained suede boots you could find that their fabric becomes damaged because of the harshness of the item. Therefore, you should always test the product first on an unseen area of the boot to ensure that there will be no lasting ill-effects. One excellent spot to carry out this test is on the boot's tongue as this is an area that is not very noticeable and will let you know whether or not the item will damage your boot's appearance.

Ideally, you should never use any of the above-listed methods regularly to clean your suede work boots. Although they can work in an emergency if there are no alternatives available to you, you should really buy a proper suede boot cleaning kit to ensure that your work boots last to their full lifespan.


What Are The Pros And Cons Of Using Household Items To Clean Your Suede Boots

There are a number of advantages to using items from your home to clean your suede boots. They include:

1. They are affordable and can be very efficient.

2. You have the items lying around in your home already.

3. These methods can usually eradicate most marks and stains from your boots.

On the downside, the suede of your boots could end up being damaged if you do not take enough care or if you use household items to clean your boots too often. The best option is to use a suede cleaning brush as this is gentle and specially designed to use on this delicate and fragile material.



Protecting Suede Work Boots From Marks And Stains


The best way to clean your suede work boots is to ensure that they never get too dirty! However, this isn't always possible and if you are wearing them to work each day it is likely that there will inevitably be some marks and stains which you need help to remove. The good news, however, is that there are some ways to protect the suede of your boots from marks in the first place, so that any marks and stains are minimized and are easier to remove when they occur.

1. Use a suede protection product - these can be bought in the majority of shoe shops and also in large stores. These products form a barrier against stains produced by water and dirt. Always apply the protector as soon as you buy your suede work boots and then apply every time you clean them in the future. Remember, though, that while these products are able to help prevent severe staining and build up of dirt, they cannot prevent marks altogether.

2. Keep your boots dry - check what the weather is set to be before you head out the door, and if rain looks likely, wear a different pair of boots. Rain and suede are a bad combination, and therefore choosing a pair of waterproofed or leather boots is a better option in poor weather conditions.

3. Store your boots safely - when you are not wearing your suede work boots, store them properly. Never keep them in a damp place such as an attic or garage.

4. Transport your suede boots safely - if you are taking your boots away with you, never transport them in a plastic bag or in any kind of material that is non-breathable as the suede can sweat. Always use a bag made from natural materials such as a cotton bag. You could even pop them inside a standard cotton pillowcase as this will allow the air to circulate freely and the boots to breathe.

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