How to clean scuff marks off of suede boots

Updated February 16, 2017

Suede is leather brushed and reversed to a velvety napped finish. While sophisticated suede boots are the ultimate winter footwear companions for cashmere scarves and your favourite wool outerwear, the fragile fabric attracts dirt and grime easily. If your suede boots have unsightly black marks, you can use an effective cleaning remedy to remove scuffs quickly and protect the nap from discolouration and damage.

Brush off loose dirt. Use a vacuum cleaner attachment to remove surface dust and dirt. Using the attachment, skim your suede boots to remove dirt and loosen the grime attached to the black scuffs.

Remove trapped dirt with a suede brush. Before removing the deep scuff marks, gently scrub the soiled area with the short bristles of a suede brush. Loosen dirt around the scuffed areas by gently rubbing the brush against the grain of the suede.

Clean black scuff marks with an emery board or suede eraser. Rub the soiled area gently to remove the black marks from your suede boots. Brush the shoes in one direction to revive the suede.

Raise the nap. Brush your suede boots with a stiff clothing brush or terry cloth towel to lift the nap. To raise flattened suede nap, steam the footwear by holding them over a tea kettle.

Use a silicone spray to protect shoes. After every second or third wearing, spray your suede boots with a fabric protectant. The silicone protects the colour of the boots from fading while resisting stains and water spots. Spray the silicone spray lightly—for two to three seconds—to coat your suede boots.


If your suede shoes are wet, first blot them dry using an old T-shirt or old rag.


While suede stones and sandpaper will remove scuff marks from your suede boots, these products are not as effective as a small-bristled suede brush. Perform a suede patch test. Before removing the scuff marks, test the suede to prevent permanent damage and discolouration.

Things You'll Need

  • Vacuum cleaner attachment
  • Suede brush
  • Terrycloth towel
  • Tea kettle
  • Emery board
  • Suede eraser
  • Silicone suede protectant
  • Small white cloth
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About the Author

Mimi Abney is a lifestyle writer specializing in online content for women. Her work has appeared in and "Keepsake Magazine," among other publications. With over 15 years of writing and editing experience for the web and print, Abney is also a contributor to online health, beauty and fashion publications. She holds a Bachelor of Science in biology from Spelman College.