How To Clean Suede Vans

Date Published: August 1, 2021
Author: Kylee Smith

Vans are popular shoes among skateboarders, so you know they are built to last. Suede, however, is a soft and delicate material, and it must be cleaned and maintained properly. Suede Vans are stylish, and you can clean your pair up in no time using this four-step cleaning process.

Cleaning Supplies for Suede Vans

Suede Vans may be designed for skateparks, but they still get dingy and dirty over time. Cleaning your Vans regularly not only keeps them looking good but helps them last much longer. You will need the following supplies to clean your suede Vans.

Soft Suede Brush

A soft suede brush is used to remove surface dirt and grime.

a amvontz Suede Shoe Brush Cleaning: Soft Buffing Bristle Swayed Small Complete Wooden Natural Large Refreshed Way Jacket Hair Horse Leather Shine Nubuck Sneakers Polish Horsehair
  • 【Full Material Support】: Our shoe brushes can help you return all types of fabrics to their new state. Including all kinds of sneakers, casual shoes, boots, leather shoes, jackets, sweaters, leather coats, wallets, satchels, and other clothing accessories. It is suitable for cleaning and scrubbing of frosted leather, suede, leather, cowhide, nylon, canvas, rubber, and other fabrics. It can also help you wash the walls, floors, sinks, etc. This is an ideal tool to help you clean!
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  • 【Wood Handle, Groove Ergonomic Design】: 2.6 oz weight, light, and portable, easy to clean, save your energy, and have a pleasant mood after cleaning. The handle is made of Wood, which is 100% safe and non-toxic to protect your health. Our shoe brush can be mastered with one hand. There are grip grooves on both sides of the handle, which increases the grip and is not easy to slip. Ergonomically designed. Keep hands and nails clean when cleaning.
  • 【Small and Light, Without Detergent】: Our shoe brush has a size of 5.4"x1.7"x1.4". There is no need to worry about it taking up too much storage space. At the same time, you can carry it with you, easily put it in your wallet or backpack, and enjoy the happiness of cleaning during travel, work and life. Our shoe brushes do not contain detergent, no special detergent is needed. For best results, scrub with circular motions until the dirt and stains are removed.
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Suede Cleaner

A specialized suede cleaner is used to deep clean the suede material, removing tough stains.

Bickmore Suede & Nubuck Cleaner - Remove Water Dirt Oil Stains From Shoes Boots Purses Handbags & More,8 fl oz
  • REMOVES OIL & WATER STAINS FROM COLORFAST SUEDE, NUBUCK, ROUGHOUT LEATHER & FABRIC: Regular use of Bickmore Suede & Nubuck Cleaner will keep your shoes and accessories looking like the day you bought them.
  • CONDITIONS AND SOFTENS: In addition to removing oil and water stains, Bickmore Suede & Nubuck Cleaner will condition and soften, ensuring a longer life for all your suede and nubuck items.
  • EFFECTIVE RESIDUE FREE FORMULA: Bickmore Suede & Nubuck Cleaner will not leave any chemical residue after use, keeping your shoes, boots, and accessories looking their very best.
  • USE WITH BICKMORE GARD-MORE WATER & STAIN REPELLENT: To provide your shoes, boots, and accessories with the highest level of protection, apply Bickmore Gard-More after cleaning with the Suede & Nubuck Cleaner.
  • MADE IN THE USA: Bickmore is proud to make all Bickmore Suede & Nubuck Cleaner in the United States of America.

Small Cleaning Brush

A small cleaning brush is used to clean the rubber strip and bottoms of your suede Vans.

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Dish Soap

Dish soap is necessary for cleaning the rubber strip and bottoms of your suede Vans.

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  • Dawn Ultra Dishwashing Liquid Dish Soap, Original Scent
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Small Bucket

A small bucket is used to hold the sudsy water used for cleaning the rubber strip of your suede Vans.

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  • Perfect for house, camper, apartment, condo, beach tote and keep in the trunk of your car. Also great for camping, hiking, picnics and boating.
  • Compact size with handle for easy carry and storage

Cleaning Suede Vans

Suede is soft and delicate, so the cleaning process for this type of shoe is more about the method than anything else. Suede also damages easily if it is not well-maintained. You can clean your Vans, restore the suede’s soft texture, and reduce matting with our easy-to-follow, four-step cleaning process.

Step One: Use Soft Suede Brush to Eliminate Surface Dirt

Use the soft suede brush to gently remove surface dirt and grime from your Vans. Brush the tops, sides, and even the bottoms of your Vans. The brush is designed to help restore the suede’s soft texture and discourage matting.

  • Pro Tip: Despite the brush being made specifically for suede material, you still want to be extra careful when brushing your Vans. Suede is delicate and can easily be damaged if instructions are not followed.

Step Two: Tackle Stains Using Suede Cleaner and a Small Cleaning Brush

After eliminating surface dirt, it is time to focus on removing tough stains. Apply some suede cleaner to the small cleaning brush. An old toothbrush works just fine, too. Work the suede cleaner into any stubborn stains present. A suede cleaner is designed to condition and soften suede material as well as clean it.

  • Pro Tip: Not only does suede cleaner remove oil and water stains, but it also acts as a repellent, protecting your shoes in between cleanings.

Step Three: Clean the Rubber Strips and the Shoe Bottoms

Add a teaspoon of dish soap to the small bucket and fill it with hot water. Using the small cleaning brush or an old toothbrush, clean both the rubber strips and shoe bottoms of your suede Vans.

  • Pro Tip: If stubborn stains persist, you can use a magic eraser to go back over the rubber strips of your suede Vans.
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  • The Mr. Clean Magic Eraser provides a powerful clean with water alone.
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Step Four: Allow Suede Vans to Air Dry

Suede Vans require 24 hours to air dry. You never want to put suede shoes in any type of dryer.

  • Pro Tip: Place them in front of a fan indoors and take advantage of the sun outdoors during the daytime to help speed up the drying process.

Final Thoughts

Suede, while a delicate material, is cleaned up easily using the right tools and following the right steps. Your suede Vans can last years if you take care of them.

FAQ: Cleaning Suede Vans

It is not easy caring for such delicate material as suede. However, the sacrifice is worth it for its stylish look as owners of suede Vans will attest. The quality of these shoes ensures they last a long time when they are cared for properly.

Is it a good idea to wash the laces separately?

If the laces are extra dingy, you can wash them separately in the washing machine with a load of clothes. Never put shoestrings in the dryer, however, as the heat can ruin the small plastic caps on the laces.

Can you use bleach to clean the white rubber strip?
While bleach can be used to clean the white rubber strip on your suede Vans, it is not recommended. One little mistake, and you have suede with bleach spots. If this occurs, there is nothing you can do to remove those bleached spots.  

Can you purchase a soft suede brush and suede cleaner in a kit?

Yes, if you prefer to buy the soft suede brush and cleaner together in a kit, they are available online.

Suede and Nubuck Cleaner Kit - 5pc Shoe Cleaning Set - Water & Stain Protector, Brushes - Red Moose
  • 5 PC SUEDE AND NUBUCK CARE KIT - Take care of suede shoes the right way with our premium suede and nubuck care kit. This all-in-one shoe renewal set includes Suede Renew Spray, Cleaning Brush, Suede Brush, Suede Eraser and Water & Stain Repellent Spray.
  • UNIQUE ALL-IN-1 SUEDE BRUSH – Our unique contoured brush delivers fast and efficient modern cobbler care. Handle every angle with precision and confidence. Use it for gentle cleaning on rounded corners or heavy cleaning in seams, crevices and hard to reach places.
  • CLEANS AND CONDITIONS - Our suede renewal solution works to condition and prevent dryness, cracking and damage while preserving feel and breathability. Finely crafted and safe for the cleaning of suede & nubuck shoes, boots, handbags, jackets and accessories.
  • TOUGHEST WATER BARRIER - Our waterproofing spray creates a tough, impenetrable water barrier that not only prevents stains but keeps out the rain and wet weather. Keep your feet dry on dewy mornings and prevent puddles & splashes from soaking through to socks.
  • FOR THE LOVE OF SHOES - At Red Moose we believe that style should be genuine and effortless, not stilted or pretentious. You know a delightfully polished shoe when you see one, and we know every last detail of what it takes to pull off that look and make it shine.

Is it okay to clean the insides of your suede Vans?

You can clean the inside of your Vans using a paste of baking soda and mild detergent. Use a small cleaning brush to apply the paste, and then you would rinse as best you can with water. Most people avoid doing this, however, because it can compromise the inside soles of your shoes. And just remember, water is not your friend when dealing with suede.

What can you use as a homemade suede cleaner?

When working with a delicate material like suede, it is always best to use the recommended cleaning solution. White vinegar, however, is a known, stand-alone substitute for suede cleaner. Rubbing alcohol is another option. Neither rubbing alcohol nor white vinegar stain suede the way water does.


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