How to Remove Dye from Suede Shoes

Suede shoes are very cool looking. Unfortunately, though, they stain easily. Removing stains, like dye, from suede shoes can be difficult. You not only risk making the stain worse, but you can damage the material. Thankfully, there are several ways you can remove dye from suede shoes safely. By taking steps to remove minor stains, or by using vinegar, alcohol, or abrasive materials, you might be able to remove dye stains from your suede shoes.


EditTackling Minor Stains

  1. Fill the shoes with newspaper or a similar material. Crumple up newspaper, printer paper, or something similar. Then, insert it into your shoes. This will make sure your shoes hold their shape as you clean then. Otherwise, you could damage their shape.[1]
    Remove Dye from Suede Shoes Step 1.jpg
  2. Apply pressure and brush the stain. Use a bristled brush to brush the suede in one direction. While you want to make sure you’re pushing down, don’t push too hard. It is important that you apply only as much pressure as needed to remove the stain. In the end, brushing may have the effect of removing stained fibers from your shoes.[2]
    Remove Dye from Suede Shoes Step 2.jpg
  3. Brush harder. If your initial brushing doesn’t remove the stained fibers, you need to go back and brush harder. This time, apply a lot more pressure with the bristled brush. Brush your shoes in a back-and-forth motion. Rub until you’ve reduced the stain substantially or it is gone entirely.[3]
    Remove Dye from Suede Shoes Step 3.jpg

EditUsing White Vinegar

  1. Blot the spot with vinegar. Take a clean white cloth and dampen it with white vinegar. Gently blot the dye spot with the cloth. Do this several times. If some of the stain comes off on the cloth, use another part of the cloth and continue blotting.[4]
    Remove Dye from Suede Shoes Step 4.jpg
    • Only use pure white vinegar. Any other vinegar could stain your shoes.
  2. Rub the dye stain with vinegar. Rub the shoe in one direction with a dampened white cloth. Feel free to apply a moderate amount of pressure on your shoe. If any of the dye comes off, rotate your cloth, use another part of it, and continue rubbing the shoe.[5]
    Remove Dye from Suede Shoes Step 5.jpg
  3. Blot the dye stain dry. Using a clean white cloth, gently blot the shoe until it is dry. Make sure to get as much of the vinegar out as possible. When you’re done, your shoe should only be slightly damp.[6]
    Remove Dye from Suede Shoes Step 6.jpg

EditUsing Rubbing Alcohol

  1. Dab the dye stain with a cotton ball dampened with alcohol. Dampen a cotton ball with rubbing alcohol. Then, dab the dye stain with the cotton ball. Discard the cotton ball if any dye rubs off on it. Afterward, use another damp cotton ball to remove any dye that remains.[7]
    Remove Dye from Suede Shoes Step 7.jpg
  2. Dampen a cloth and wipe the dye stain. If dabbing the stain doesn’t work, dampen a clean cloth with alcohol and wipe it back and forth on the dye stain. As the dye comes off onto the cloth, use a new piece of cloth to wipe your shoe with.[8]
    Remove Dye from Suede Shoes Step 8.jpg
  3. Pat your shoe with a clean cloth. After you’ve removed as much of the stain as you can, start to pat your shoe dry. Pat your shoe until it is almost dry. This is important, as some dye may continue to come off as you dry your shoe. [9]
    Remove Dye from Suede Shoes Step 9.jpg

EditBuffing the Spot with Abrasive Tools

  1. Rub the shoes with an eraser or rubber cleaning stone. Find a soft/clean pencil eraser or purchase a rubber cleaning stone. Then, softly rub the dye spot with your eraser or cleaning stone. This may remove some or all the stain. You may need to rub/buff the stained spot several times to remove all the dye.
    Remove Dye from Suede Shoes Step 10.jpg
    • If the dye comes off on the eraser or cleaning stone, you may need to rub it against something else to remove the dye from it. Then, you can use it on the shoes again.[10]
  2. Sand the stain with a fine grit piece of sandpaper. If the dye stain is somewhat new, you can try to remove it by rubbing it with fine sandpaper. In this case, use as small of a piece of sandpaper as you need to clean the dye spot. Then, gently rub the spot with your sandpaper. The sandpaper will remove any fibers that are stained.[11]
    Remove Dye from Suede Shoes Step 11.jpg
    • Be gentle. If you are too rough, you could damage the suede.
  3. Brush your shoes with a suede brush. After you use any sort of abrasive tool on your suede shoes, you’ll need to work the “nap” of the suede (the fuzzy part) back up. Do this by using a suede brush and brushing back-and-forth on the shoe in a gentle fashion. Continue to brush the shoe for several minutes.[12]
    Remove Dye from Suede Shoes Step 12.jpg
    • When you’re done, the fuzz of the shoe should point upward or slightly upward.


  • Avoid using water. This could stain your shoes.
  • Don’t use any cleaning products not intended for suede.

EditSources and Citations

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