Guide: Cleaning, refreshing and protecting suede shoes

Suede shoes have an undeserved reputation of being more sensitive than regular leather shoes. This is wrong, as long as you take care of them properly. Here's a guide on how to clean, refresh and then protect your suede shoes and make them look like new again.


The shoes to the left is before the procedure below, the one to the right after.


1. Cleaning

In normal use, it is good to brush the suede shoes with a suede brush or shoe brush to remove dirt and dust. Over time, dirt usually settles a bit anyway, and the suede can start to look a bit dull. Then it is good to do a more thorough cleaning.

Saphir Medaille d'Or Omninettoyant is a gentle yet efficient cleanser. When washing suede, nubuck or textile you should use the accompanying brush. Fill a small cup with some of the product, and mix luke warm water and Omninettoyant and work up a good lather as you rub with the brush. Be extra thorough where the shoe is as most dirty.

For a normal cleaning it’s enough to let the shoes dry for about six hours, but if they are very dirty and you have to go over them several times with Omninettoyant, it’s better to rinse them of. Then you rinse the whole shoe under running water, make sure the whole shoe gets soaked to avoid water marks. Stuff it with paper and lay them on the side to let dry. Once they are almost dry, it's adviceable to insert shoe trees in wood to retain the shoes shape.


2. Refreshing
Once the shoes are completely dry you brush them with a good suede brush which lifts the fibres. Then you use Saphir Medaille d'Or Suede Renovateur spray which cleans, care and recolour your suede shoes and make them look like new again. Nothing can bring back life to a pair of worn suede shoes like this product. Choose a colour close to the shoe (some colours is only available with spray from Saphir’s regular range).



Spray Saphir Renovateur spray evenly over the entire shoe from about 20 cm distance. This is done outside. After 10-15 minutes you can go over the shoes gently with the suede brush, or use a regular shoe brush with horsehair.

One part many forget is the heel and sole edges. On better welted shoes these are of leather, which needs nourishing and looks a lot better if they get a round of shoe cream. Use Saphir Medaille d’Or Crème Pommadier in a colour close to the edges, and apply a thin layer. Be careful so you don’t get cream on the suede upper, uset a cotton cloth or the index finger, this gives increased precision (there’s protection gloves if you don't’ want to have to clean your hands). If you get cream on the suede, let it dry before you carefully remove it with a suede eraser gum. 





3. Protection
Saphir Renovateur Spray gives some protection, but for maximum protection you should use Saphir Medaille d’Or Super Invulner. This is considered the best impregnation spray available today, which gives excellent protection against water and dirt for your shoes in suede, nubuck or textile.

Spray evenly over the entire shoe from about 20 cm distance. Super Invulner is highly concentrated, so one layer around the shoe is enough. This is done outside. After 10-15 minutes you can go over the shoes gently with the suede brush, or use a regular shoe brush with horsehair. You now have a very good protection against water and dirt that goes deeper into the material. How often the shoes needs spraying depends on the conditions they are used in and how often they are worn, but around ones a month with normal use.



This type of thourough cleaning is usually only needed once per season or so, if the shoes are taken care of properly at other times.