How to Clean Mold Off Suede Shoes

Suede is a soft and delicate type of leather with a napped finish, and it is particularly susceptible to mold growth when exposed to certain conditions.

In this article, you’ll gain insights on how to clean mold off suede shoes, ensuring they stay in top-notch condition.

How to Clean Mold Off Suede Shoes

Mold on suede shoes refers to the growth of mold, a type of fungus, on the surface of shoes made from suede. 

Mold on shoes can manifest in various colors, and its appearance may include shades of green, black, brown, or even orange.

1. Using Vinegar to Remove mold from suede shoes

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to remove mold from suede shoes

Required Materials:

  • Soft brush (a toothbrush or suede brush)
  • White vinegar
  • Clean cloth 
  • Water

Step 1: Remove Excess Mold

Gently brush off any loose mold or debris from the suede surface. Use a soft brush, such as a toothbrush or a suede brush. Be gentle to avoid damaging the suede.

Step 2: Create a Vinegar Solution

Mix equal parts white vinegar and water in a bowl or container. For example, add one cup of white vinegar to one cup of water. Vinegar has natural antifungal properties and helps kill mold.

Step 3: Dampen the Cloth 

Dip a clean cloth or sponge into the vinegar solution. Make sure it is damp, not soaking wet.

Step 4: Gently Clean the Moldy Areas

Wipe the moldy areas of the suede shoes with a damp cloth or sponge. Be gentle and avoid excessive rubbing to prevent damage. Focus on the moldy spots, but you can clean the entire shoe if needed.

Step 5: Allow the Shoes to Dry

Allow the shoes to air-dry completely. Keep them away from direct heat sources, as heat can damage the suede. You can also place the shoes under a fan for drying. 

Stuff the shoes with newspaper or paper towels to help them maintain their shape as they dry.

How to Clean Mold Off Suede Shoes

2. How to Clean Mold Off Suede Shoes with Baking Soda

Baking soda is considered effective for cleaning suede as it can absorb dirt, grease, and mold. It’s a gentle option that is less likely to damage the suede compared to harsher cleaning methods.

1. Sprinkle baking soda:

Begin by sprinkling a layer of baking soda onto the areas of your suede shoes that are affected by mold. 

2. Rub with a soft brush:

Using a soft brush, such as a suede brush or an old toothbrush, gently rub the baking soda into the suede. 

3. Let It sit and brush away:

Allow the baking soda to sit on the shoes for approximately 15 minutes. During this time, the baking soda will work to absorb moisture and mold. 

After the waiting period, use the suede brush to carefully brush away the baking soda. This step helps remove both the baking soda and any mold it has absorbed.

3. Using Dish Soap Mixture 

Here are the steps to clean mold off suede shoes using a dish soap solution:

1. Make the solution:

Begin by mixing 1 teaspoon of dish soap with 1 cup of water to create a cleaning solution. Ensure that the dish soap is mild and does not contain harsh chemicals that could potentially damage the suede.

2. Apply the mixture:

Dip a clean cloth into the dish soap solution, and use it to blot the mold stain on the suede shoes repeatedly. Gently work the solution into the affected area without scrubbing excessively to avoid damaging the delicate suede.

3. Rinse the Spot:

Once the mold stain is lifted, use a clean piece of cloth dipped in clean water to rinse the spot. To prevent over-saturation, wring out the excess water from the cloth before gently wiping the affected area.

Allow the suede shoes to air dry completely before wearing or storing them.

Related Article: How Do You Clean Suede Shoes at Home?

MethodEffectivenessEase of UseCost
Vinegar SolutionHighModerateLow
Baking SodaModerateEasyLow
Dish Soap SolutionModerateModerateLow


  • Vinegar Solution: Highly effective against mold due to its acidic properties.
  • Baking Soda: Moderately effective at absorbing mold and moisture, but may require additional cleaning for stubborn mold.
  • Dish Soap Solution: Moderately effective at removing mold and dirt, but may not be suitable for all types of stains.

Ease of Use:

  • Vinegar Solution: Requires mixing the solution and may have a strong odor.
  • Baking Soda: Simply sprinkle and brush, making it the easiest method.
  • Dish Soap Solution: Similar to vinegar solution, requires mixing and may be slightly more difficult to rinse.


  • All methods are relatively inexpensive, with readily available household ingredients.

How to Clean Mold Off Suede Shoes

CommonCauses of Mold on Suede Shoes

Some of the common causes of mold on suede shoes include:

1. Moisture:

One of the primary causes of mold on suede shoes is moisture. When shoes get wet or if you sweat while wearing them, moisture can become trapped inside. 

In particular, the insoles of the shoes are prone to absorbing liquid and remaining damp. This creates an ideal environment for mold to grow, as mold thrives in moist conditions.

Related Article: How to Protect Suede Shoes from Rain

2. Improper Storage:

Storing damp shoes in inadequate conditions can contribute to mold growth. 

If you place damp shoes in a dark, humid closet or store them in sealed containers that trap humidity, it creates an environment conducive to mold development. 

3. Mold in the Environment:

Mold present in the surrounding environment, such as in the closet or the storage area where the shoes are kept, can also lead to mold growth on suede shoes. 

If the environment is already contaminated with mold spores, they can settle on the shoes and find a suitable surface to grow. 

How to Prevent Mold from Growing on Suede Shoes

You can take the following actions to stop mold from growing on suede shoes:

1. Proper Storage:

Store your suede shoes in a cool, dry place with adequate air circulation. 

Avoid storing them in sealed containers or in damp areas, as moisture can create conditions favorable for mold growth. 

Proper ventilation is essential to ensure that the shoes can dry thoroughly between wears.

2. Use Silica Gel Packets:

Place silica gel packets in the storage area or shoe boxes. Silica gel is a desiccant that helps absorb excess moisture, reducing the humidity level and inhibiting mold growth. 

This is especially beneficial in environments where humidity is a concern.

3. Regular Cleaning and Maintenance:

Keep your suede shoes clean and dry before storing them. Use a suede brush to gently remove any dirt, dust, or moisture from the surface. 

Regular cleaning helps prevent the accumulation of substances that could support mold growth. 

INAAMAG SNEAKERS KO! (+How to Clean Mold on Your Sneakers)

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Is vinegar effective for cleaning suede shoes?

A: Yes, white vinegar or rubbing alcohol can penetrate suede, removing dirt, grime, salt, and water stains. Dilute 1 cup of white vinegar with 2 cups of water.

Apply the solution to stains, let it dry, wipe off residue, and gently brush the suede. Test the solution in a hidden area first.

For stubborn stains and odors, use plain white vinegar; its acid kills mold and eliminates unwanted smells.

Q: Can you clean mold off suede shoes?

A: Yes, you can. Gently brush off loose mold, then clean with a mixture of equal parts white vinegar and water. Prevent mold by storing shoes in cool, dry places.

Q: Why are my suede shoes going moldy?

A: Moisture, improper storage, and environmental mold spores are common causes of mold on suede shoes. Prevent it by keeping shoes dry, storing them in well-ventilated areas, and practicing regular cleaning.


This comprehensive guide on how to clean mold off suede shoes empowers you to preserve your footwear and enjoy them in the best condition.

Whether using vinegar, baking soda, or a dish soap solution, the provided step-by-step guides equip readers with practical solutions. 

Remember, prevention is key—store suede shoes appropriately, maintain proper ventilation, and conduct regular cleaning to ensure they stay mold-free. 

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