The Suede Lover’s Guide to Suede

How to take care of your suede. Suede guru Jason Markk will tell you.


There is no trendier—or more delicate—fabric for Fall than suede. From top models to the runways to the pages of W, it’s everywhere. In anticipation of unpredictable weather and serious suede investments, Jason Markk, the man behind the eponymous cult-followed shoe-cleaning empire, offers insights on taking care, taking action, and taking it to professionals—should sartorial tragedy strike, that is.

What are your top tips for cleaning suede? Always begin by dry brushing the entire area repeatedly with a soft bristle suede brush. This alone may significantly improve the item’s appearance by removing any top layer of dirt or dust and by reviving the nap of the suede. It’s always best to attempt to dry clean suede first versus automatically jumping into any extensive deep cleaning involving water. Use our Eraser with light to medium pressure and follow with our soft bristle Suede Handle Brush. If deeper cleaning is needed, use our Premium Shoe Cleaner paired with our Premium Brush.

What is the most important thing to remember when cleaning suede? Cleaning suede takes time, and frankly a bit of practice, but it is not impossible! You can successfully clean suede at home with the proper tools and techniques.

You just launched a special Suede Cleaning Kit. How did this come about? I developed the kit with the help of my Sneaker Care Technicians at our Los Angeles flagship store. We clean so many suede sneakers day in, day out that I wanted to provide them additional tools, plus offer a quicker dry cleaning alternative to our more extensive deep cleaning.

Does it only work on shoes? It works on all types of suede. Of course, there are several various grades of suede, so take things slow.

What’s the biggest mistake someone can make while trying to clean suede? Cleaning it with ordinary soap and water and then leaving it to air-dry unattended. This will result in your buttery, soft suede flattening and hardening.

So it’s possible to clean suede at home, but how do you know when it’s time to take something to a professional? Cleaning suede can be a daunting task, but with a little practice and the proper tools, you’ll be able to tackle most situations. Deep inset stains are the most difficult to clean, especially if you do not have any prior experience. So if it’s an item that you really care about, you may want to seek professional help.