Anyone who owns a pair of suede Birdies knows how stylish and comfortable they are. But even though they feel as great as sneakers, they’re not as easy as sneakers are to keep clean. Many of our flats and slides feature premium fabrics that can’t be put in the washing machine and instead require special care—especially suede. That’s why we’ve rounded up some tips and tricks about how to care for suede shoes so you can keep your Birdies feeling brand new for as long as possible.
How To Keep Suede Shoes Clean
We love the soft look of suede, but it’s not the easiest material to take care of. The keys to keeping suede shoes clean are pre-treating, which we’ll cover below, and regular brushing with a soft-bristled brush to clear away dirt and dust. We also recommend occasionally sprinkling the insides with baking soda. The baking soda will absorb and freshen your shoes up a bit, and you can dump out any excess baking soda that does not absorb.
Protecting Suede Shoes
The best way to protect suede shoes is to pre-treat them. Make it a habit of doing this every time you purchase a pair of suede shoes. Do it as soon as you get them—before you wear them anywhere! Megan, our resident material and Birdies shoe care expert, has experimented to test the best products for pre-treating suede shoes. Here’s what she recommends:
Megan recommends protecting suede shoes with a Scotchgard Protector. This acts as a barrier and will add an extra layer of protection for suede, plus materials including velvet, leather, and satin. NOTE: Do not use this method on our gorgeous calf-hair shoes—Scotchgard Protector will ruin the texture of the shoe.
You can also try Kiwi Rain and Stain Protector. Before applying, test on a less visible spot of the shoe first to check for color stability.
Most spray protectors will advise making sure your shoes are clean first. (You can use a soft brush to lightly remove any dirt or dust. Hard brushing will scuff the shoes.) Then you simply shake the can, hold about 8 inches away from your shoes, and spray with two, even layers. Let dry for at least 30 minutes before wearing.
Megan found that both of these spray protectors resisted stains with oil, water, red wine, and tomato.
Caring for Oil Stains on Suede
Oh, the dreaded oil stain. We’ve all been there. While it’s not a miracle solution, we suggest spooning cornstarch onto the oil stain as soon as possible and letting it stand for at least 24 hours. The cornstarch will hopefully absorb and lift the oil from the fabric. After 24 hours, brush off the cornstarch with a nail brush or suede brush. You may have to try multiple applications, and the results may not be perfect. The sooner the stain is treated, the better. And then you just cross your fingers. We strongly dissuade (see what we did there?) you from using soap or water to clean your suede shoes.
Keep Suede Away From Water
Unfortunately, suede shoes are not waterproof. Our resident expert, Megan, has given us tips on how to protect suede shoes, plus tricks for treating them in case of a stain emergency. But in general, we recommend keeping your beautiful suede shoes away from rain and moisture as best you can.
We hope you found this post helpful, and if we haven’t addressed your biggest suede-care questions, please reach out and we’ll get right on it to find the best possible solutions. Email us anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to share your suede shoe care tips and tricks with @birdies on Instagram.
Have a pair of our velvet shoes? Learn How To Care For Velvet Shoes