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Most people don’t realize that suede is actually leather and should essentially be cared for as such. As with most types of boots and leather, taking proper care of them will keep them looking brand new over the years. Taking the time to protect the suede as a preventative measure will allow you to get a great deal more wear from them.

STORING BOOTS:

Let the suede breathe. Unlike some types of footwear that can be stored easily in plastic containers, suede requires exposure to air. When storing the boots in a closet, slip them into cotton pillowcases. The cotton will promote air circulation while also protecting the boots from the accumulation of dust.

Store the boots in a cool dry place. Don’t leave suede boots exposed to direct sunlight when they are not in use. Excessive exposure to the light will cause fading, while long periods of exposure to humidity will trigger dampness that could eventually become mildew. Store them in a clothes or linen closet, where they will remain cool and dry.  Avoid storing your boots somewhere that could become warm and/or humid, such as a bathroom, garage or basement.

Before you store the boots you might consider having them professionally dry cleaned.

CARING FOR THE BOOTS:

Purchase a suede protective spray. Experts recommend a water and stain protector formulated specifically for suede. Water can be damaging to suede and eventually change the color and texture, but a protective spray will prevent this from happening. This can be purchased online through Amazon or from a big box store like WalMart.

Ensure the boot is clean. Before using the spray, ensure that the boot is clean. An optimal time to do this is right after purchasing or receiving the boots, before even wearing them once. This way, you will be prepared for the elements and do not have to worry about cleaning them beforehand.

Seal the suede. Hold the spray bottle about six to eight inches away from the surface of the boot. It should come out of the bottle as a mist. Spray the boot all over with the protective spray, ensuring that you cover the entire surface of the boot. You only need to lightly spray the boot; too much could affect the boot’s texture or color.

Avoid wearing the boots in wet weather. The protective spray should prevent the boots from becoming ruined by water or snow. However, on days when it is especially rainy, it is best to avoid wearing the boots altogether. If they do get wet, let them dry naturally, away from any sources of heat. When they are dry, brush them well with a suede brush.

Maintain the nap. Purchase a special suede brush to use to brush out the nap, otherwise known as the surface of the suede. This will buff out any minor scuffs and help the shoes retain their soft, pleasant texture. Suede brushes are relatively inexpensive so it may be in your best interest to purchase one in order to keep your shoes looking their best.

  • Suede brushes are available at stores like Target or department stores like Macy’s.
  • Before brushing the shoes, stuff them with crumpled newspapers. This will help the shoe retain its shape.
  • Gently brush the nap in the direction of the fibers. You can tell which direction the fibers are going in if you run your fingers or hands along the surface and see which way the fibers lay the flattest. Once this is established, brush in that direction.

TREATING STAINS:

Keep talcum powder or cornmeal handy. When you are wearing your boots, be sure to slip a small package of cornmeal or talcum in your bag. This could be a zip-lock bag or very small Tupperware container. In the event that any type of liquid is spilled on the boots, pat the area dry with a clean cloth, and immediately apply a layer of the meal or talcum powder. Allow the product to set overnight, and then use a suede brush to gently remove the dried powder.

  • If you are going to be away from home, bring an extra pair of shoes and a clean cloth and keep them in a bag or the trunk of your vehicle. This way, if you spill something on your shoes, you will be able to clean the stain and not have to walk around with dirty boots.
Treat stains. If you are unable to treat a stain right away and the stain has dried, use a suede brush to scrub away the stain but avoid using too much pressure. For stubborn stains, use a small amount of white vinegar and a clean cotton towel. Moisten the towel with the vinegar, and blot the stain without applying a lot of pressure to the area, to avoid spreading the mess. Repeat as necessary with clean sections of the towel until the stain is loosened and removed from the surface of the suede.Avoid cleaning the boots with water. Water can change the texture and even the color of the suede. If the boots are stained so deeply that talcum powder or cornmeal does not soak up the stain before it sets, take the boots to a professional cleaner. You can do this by taking them to a local dry cleaning service or shoe repair shop.

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