How to Steam Clean Suede Shoes

Are you looking to restore the elegant appearance of your suede shoes without compromising their delicate material? Look no further! In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore how to steam clean suede shoes effectively, ensuring that you can rejuvenate your suede footwear and step out in style.

Suede shoes are undoubtedly a fashion statement, but their maintenance can be quite challenging. So we will guide you through a step-by-step process of steam cleaning your suede shoes at home while also highlighting the essential do’s and don’ts to ensure your footwear remains fresh and pristine.

So let’s start

Can You Steam Clean Suede Shoes?

How to Steam Clean Suede Shoes

Yes, you can clean suede shoes with steam. Steam cleaning suede shoes is an effective and safe method to refresh and restore the appearance of your suede footwear.

It is a process that utilizes high-temperature steam to clean and disinfect the material, removing dirt, stains, and odors.

When you use a steam cleaner for suede shoes, the hot steam helps to break down and loosen the dirt, stains, and grime embedded in the suede. It’s an effective way to lift away contaminants and leave your shoes looking fresh and clean. 

Furthermore, the high temperature of the steam can also help kill bacteria and fungi, providing thorough sanitization.

So let’s see how this process works

How to Steam Clean Suede Shoes at Home

Essential Supplies

To get started, gather the following items:

  • A handheld steam cleaner
  • A suede brush
  • A clean cloth
  • A Suede Protector Spray
  • A shoe tree or newspaper 

Now that you have your materials ready, let’s dive into the steps to steam clean your suede shoes.

Step-by-Step Guide: 

Step 1: Brush Away Loose Dirt

Before you start steaming, gently brush your shoes with a suede brush to remove any loose dirt and dust. This step prevents abrasive particles from scratching the suede during cleaning.

Step 2: Steam Clean Your Suede Shoes

1. Fill your handheld steam cleaner with water and ensure it’s properly heated and pressurized according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

2. Hold the steam cleaner a few inches away from the suede shoe.

3. Turn on the steam cleaner and move it gently in a back-and-forth motion over the suede surface. This will release a controlled burst of steam.

4. To ensure thorough cleaning and avoid over-wetting, focus on one small section of the shoe at a time. Gradually move on to the next section after you’ve effectively treated the current one.

The steam will help lift away dirt and stains from the suede. As you progress, gently remove the dirt and stains with the help of the cloth that have been loosened.

It’s a gentle and effective way to clean the material without causing damage.

Step 3: Drying Your Suede Shoes

After steam cleaning, allow your suede shoes to air dry naturally in a cool, dry place. Avoid direct heat or sunlight, as it can harm the suede. 

Stuff your shoes with a shoe tree or balled-up newspaper to help them maintain their shape while they dry.

Step 4: Restoring the Nap

After your shoes are dry, gently brush them with a suede brush in the direction of the nap. This step helps restore the suede’s soft texture.

Step 5: Protecting Your Suede Shoes

To prevent future stains, apply a suede protector spray. Follow the instructions on the product label for best results.

How to Steam Clean Suede Trainers

Can you steam clean trainers?

Yes, you can use steam clean trainers made of fabric, suede, or nubuck. Use a moderate temperature to avoid damaging the glue.

Don’t use steam to remove creases. Steam cleaning is good for removing dirt, odor, and bacteria without using chemicals. Test in a small area first and check the manufacturer’s care instructions.

Here’s the process of steam cleaning suede trainers:

1. Lay your trainers on a clean, dry surface, and use the suede brush to remove loose dirt and debris.

2. Test the steam cleaner on a hidden section to ensure it won’t damage or discolor the suede.

3. Follow the steam cleaning process as described in the previous section, as it works the same.

4. Use a microfiber cloth to wipe away dirt and stains.

5. To ensure effective drying, let your trainers air out in a cool, well-ventilated space. You can also place them under a fan to speed up the process.

Related Article: How to Restore Worn Suede Shoes

Common Mistakes to Avoid

How to Steam Clean Suede Shoes

When steam cleaning suede shoes, it’s important to avoid common mistakes that can potentially damage the delicate material or lead to unsatisfactory results. Here are some common mistakes to avoid:

1. Using Excessive Steam: Too much steam or holding the steam cleaner too close to the suede can saturate the material, potentially causing damage such as watermarks or discoloration.

2. Skipping the Patch Test: Neglecting to perform a patch test on an inconspicuous area of the shoe to ensure the steam cleaner won’t cause any harm or color alteration to the suede

3. Neglecting Drying Time: Failing to allow the suede shoes to dry thoroughly after cleaning Direct heat or sunlight can harm the material, so it’s important to air-dry them in a well-ventilated area.

4. Overusing Steam Cleaning: Cleaning suede shoes too frequently with steam can weaken the material over time. It’s best to use steam cleaning as needed and not as a routine cleaning method.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q 1: Is it safe to steam clean colored suede shoes?

Yes, it’s generally safe to steam clean colored suede shoes. However, you should always perform a patch test in an inconspicuous area before proceeding with the cleaning process to ensure that the colors won’t bleed or fade. 

Q 2: Can I remove salt stains from suede with steam cleaning?

Yes, steam cleaning can be effective in removing salt stains from suede. Use the steam cleaner with care and follow the recommended technique. After the steam cleaning process, let the shoes air dry naturally. Once dry, brush the suede to restore the nap.

Q 3: Can you use a steamer on suede?

Yes, you can use a steamer on suede, but be cautious. Place a towel between the steamer and suede; avoid prolonged bursts of steam to prevent damage.

Adding baking soda to the steamer’s water can safely clean the suede. Use gentle pressure and low-vapor mode to avoid harming the material. While steam cleaning can clean suede effectively, be careful to preserve its integrity.

Q 4: How often should I steam clean my suede shoes?

As a general guideline, it’s best not to steam clean them too frequently to avoid weakening the material. Consider steam cleaning only when necessary, such as when stains or dirt build-up. Regular brushing and maintenance can help extend the time between cleanings.

Q 5: Can steam cleaning cause discoloration in suede shoes?

While steam cleaning is generally safe for suede, there is a slight risk of discoloration, particularly with improper use of the steam cleaner. To minimize this risk, perform a patch test before cleaning to ensure there is no adverse reaction. 

Use a steam cleaner with low to medium pressure, and do not saturate the suede. Additionally, ensure the suede is thoroughly dry after cleaning to prevent discoloration.

Q 6: Is steam good for suede?

Steam can be a good tool for cleaning suede when used correctly and with the appropriate equipment. It’s effective at lifting dirt, stains, and odors without the need for harsh chemicals.

However, it’s crucial to follow the recommended techniques and precautions to ensure that steam cleaning does not harm the suede material.

Q 7: What happens when you steam suede?

When you steam suede, the high-temperature steam works to break down and loosen dirt, stains, and grime that may be embedded in the suede material. As the steam is applied, it effectively lifts away contaminants, leaving the suede looking refreshed and cleaner.

Additionally, the high temperature of the steam can help kill bacteria and fungi, providing thorough sanitization.

Q 8: Does steam soften suede?

Steam can indeed have a softening effect on suede, but this effect is typically temporary. When you apply steam to suede, the heat and moisture from the steam can relax the suede fibers, making the material more pliable and supple.

This can be particularly helpful when you need to reshape or stretch suede shoes or other suede items. However, it’s important to note that the softening effect is not long-lasting. Once the suede cools and dries, it will return to its original state.


Taking care of suede shoes doesn’t have to be intimidating. With the right tools and a clear understanding of how to steam clean suede shoes, you can easily maintain the elegance and longevity of your favorite footwear. 

By following the step-by-step process outlined in this guide and avoiding common mistakes, you can confidently restore your suede shoes, whether they’re timeless black heels or vibrant sneakers. 

Remember to handle them with care, be patient, and thoroughly clean them, and your suede shoes will continue to make a statement season after season.

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