Effortlessly Remove Old Oil Stains from Suede Shoes

Are you tired of your favorite pair of suede shoes looking dingy and stained? Don’t fret, there are multiple ways to remove old oil stains from suede shoes that can bring them back to their former glory. In this article, we will explore some effective methods that will help you in removing those tough stains, leaving your suede shoes looking brand new.

Why is Suede So Hard to Clean?

Suede is a delicate leather material with a napped finish, which means it is made up of tiny fibers that can easily trap dirt, dust, and stains. Unlike smooth leather, suede’s porous texture makes it difficult to clean. Additionally, using water or traditional cleaning methods can lead to discoloration, hardening, and distortion of the material.

Tools needed for removing old oil stains from suede shoes

Before you begin, make sure you have the following tools at hand:

  • White vinegar
  • Cornstarch/Baby powder
  • A soft-bristled brush
  • Clean towel
  • Suede eraser
  • Suede protector spray

Method 1: Vinegar and Cornstarch

White vinegar and cornstarch/baby powder are excellent at removing fresh oil stains, but can also work on old oil stains if caught early on.

First, dab the stain with a clean towel to remove any excess oil. Next, apply a layer of cornstarch over the entire stain, ensuring the powder is evenly distributed. Allow the cornstarch to sit for a few hours, or ideally overnight. The cornstarch will help absorb the oil from the suede.

After the cornstarch has been left overnight, use a soft-bristled brush to remove the excess powder from the shoe. Then, take a small amount of white vinegar on a clean towel and gently dab it on the stain. Do not rub as this can damage the suede. Allow the vinegar to dry naturally. Once dry, use the brush to lift the nap and fluff up the suede material. Repeat the process until the stain disappears.

Method 2: Suede Eraser

If the vinegar and cornstarch method does not work or the stain is too old, a suede eraser is a perfect alternative. Suede erasers are specifically designed to remove tough stains from suede without damaging the material.

Start by brushing away any loose dirt on the shoe with a soft-bristled brush. Then, use the suede eraser to gently rub the stained area in a back and forth motion until the stain lifts off. Make sure to use light pressure and avoid excessive rubbing as this can damage the suede material. Once the stain is gone, use the brush to fluff up the suede nap.

Method 3: Suede Protector Spray

Prevention is always better than cure, so one way to prevent oil stains and keep your suede shoes looking their best is by using a suede protector spray. Suede protector sprays work by creating a protective layer around the suede material, which repels oils and liquids.

Start by holding the can of suede protector spray about 6-8 inches away from the shoe. Spray the shoe evenly, ensuring that every inch is covered. Allow the spray to dry naturally, and apply a second coat if necessary. Suede protectors can last up to four months, so reapply the spray after this time period to ensure continued protection.


Suede shoes are a chic and luxurious option, but they can be tough to maintain. The key to keeping suede shoes looking brand new is to catch stains early and use the right methods to remove them. Always remember to take preventative measures by using a suede protector spray to avoid the need for stain removal. By following the tips outlined in this article and taking proper care of your suede shoes, they will remain a long-lasting staple in your wardrobe.

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