How to Clean Suede

I brought out my summer sandals and found that the suede insoles were very soiled looking. See below.
I remembered my mother saying that you could clean suede with sandpaper. I thought, 'Wow, that's weird' but it stuck in my head. So I tried it!
Guess what? It WORKS!!
Has anyone ever tried this?
I think it will work on any brushed leather (suede)... but be careful when trying this... try an inconspicuous place first. In my case, it didn't matter because I was ready to throw these sandals out. So whether I ruined them, it didn't matter. But it worked!!! YAY!
Thanks for viewing. Linda
Sandpapering the insole. The top layer of the suede comes off but that's okay. It's hard to believe.
Not perfect. Not new. But not embarrassing anymore.
Pretty darn clean.

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Linda B

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

2 questions
  • Willecia
    on May 9, 2018

    What about the sweat smell

    • Brayjo12
      on Feb 1, 2019

      Mist rubbing alcohol every night on your shoes and by killing the germs it kills the smells. I was able to wear leather sandals again that I hadn’t been able to wear for years.

  • Pam
    on Dec 18, 2018

    What git sandpaper did you use?

    • Tracy
      on Feb 1, 2019

      I was wondering that as well. From the pic, I would guess 220. But hopefully that will get confirmed!

Join the conversation

2 of 31 comments
  • Gmf21616446
    on Mar 8, 2017

    That's amazing! But if you are working on a nice suede coat with dirt stains around the cuff and collar using sandpaper can raise too much grain. I rub baking soda on the soiled areas, let it sit for a few hours (absorbing any oils) and then gently rub with a clean cloth. For light, non-greasy stains, there are 'stain erasers' for cowboy hats - a small block (~1.5" x 2" x 1.5") of dense, sponge like material which you use like an eraser on felt hats but I've found it works on light stains on suede too.
  • Brayjo12
    on Feb 1, 2019

    I’ve read that Magic Erasers work well too and will be trying it on my UGGs that I walked into water that had oil in it. Wish me luck!

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