How to Clean Suede With Vinegar

Written by corey m. mackenzie
How to Clean Suede With Vinegar
Spots on suede shoes and other items may usually be cleaned with white vinegar. (Suede man's low shoes on a white background image by terex from

Suede leather should not be soaked for cleaning, as this can ruin it; however, spot cleaning suede leather is fine. Cleaning stains on suede is easier if you use a common household product---vinegar---as your cleaning agent. Vinegar should not harm the suede, although you should always do a spot test first just to make sure the suede's dyes will not run or fade.

Brush the suede with a suede brush. If you do not have one on hand, use a dry toothbrush to loosen stains.

Pour 1 cup of white vinegar into a bowl. Dip a cloth in the vinegar. Do a colour-fast test on the suede by rubbing one small, discreet area with the vinegar-soaked cloth. If dye transfers to the cloth, you should not use the vinegar and should consult a professional leather cleaner.

Rub the cloth over soiled areas of the suede. If the whole item is soiled, wet a sponge in the vinegar, squeeze out the excess and rub this over the suede, as advised by Reader's Digest.

Allow the suede to dry fully, then rub it again with a suede brush or, lightly, with a dry toothbrush. This raises the nap.


The suede item may smell like vinegar for a while after cleaning. This will fade.

Tips and warnings

  • The suede item may smell like vinegar for a while after cleaning. This will fade.

Things you need

  • Suede brush
  • Toothbrush
  • White vinegar
  • Bowl
  • Cloth
  • Sponge

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