Suede generally looks sleek, fine, and classy. The material can be used wholly or partially on all different kinds of shoes.
However, when wearing suede shoes, the one drawback is that we always have to be conscious about not getting them wet and dirty. Here is why and what you can do if you end up getting them wet.
What Happens When Suede Shoes Get Wet
When suede shoes get wet, the material becomes brittle and stiff.
The small leather “hairs” that make up the suede nap stiffen and break when they get wet and then dry. These brittle hairs are more prone to break off and fall out; if they do, the suede will be irreparably damaged.
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How to Care for & Fix Wet Suede Shoes
If your suede shoes get wet, it is not the end of the world. They can be safely dried and fixed.
The sooner you treat the wet material, the better chance you have of preventing any lasting damage.
The concept is to dry the material and brush the fibers smoothly back into place without damaging the shoe.
Here is what to do:
1- Soak up as much moisture as you can
First, softly blot the suede with a clean towel or cloth while attempting to absorb as much moisture as you can. Avoid rubbing the nap; the idea is to dry out the suede without damaging it.
2- Brush the nap
Use a suede brush or a soft-bristled toothbrush to gently brush the fibers back and forth. This will help remove even more moisture and separate the fibers so that they do not dry and stick together.
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3- Blow dry while brushing
While you are brushing the nap, to speed up the drying process, you can use a blow dryer to dry the material. Set the blow dryer on the warm setting and hold it a small distance away from the shoe. Let the warm air get on the shoe while you are brushing.
You need to brush the shoe while it is drying to make sure that the fibers dry separately and do not clump together. Doing this while letting the shoe air dry would take too long. So a blow dryer is a great tool to use.
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4- Treat stains
If you still see stains when your shoes have dried, use a suede eraser or a pencil eraser to buff out those stains. Then use your brush to get rid of the excess eraser dust and reset the fibers.
A great recommendation is the ECCO Nubuck and Suede Eraser. It has a smooth side for easy stains and a rough side for tougher stains.
5- Protect your shoes
If you wear suede shoes and you know that they will inevitably get wet, you can use a suede shoe protector. This will help to make your shoes water-resistant and will prevent them from becoming too water-damaged in the future.
A great recommendation is the Crep Protect Spray. This is said to provide ultimate protection from rain and stains.
Tips To Follow When Drying Suede Shoes
- Do not leave your suede shoes in the sun. This will be too harsh on the material and make it brittle.
- Use a blow dryer but not on the hottest setting. The warm setting will be good enough to dry your shoes fast.
- Stuff the shoes with paper to help keep the shape and prevent the material from shrinking.
- Do not skip the brushing. Brushing helps to reset the fibers and prevent them from clumping stiffy together.
- Do not rub your shoes when blotting up moisture. This will make the fibers clump.
- Do not soak your whole shoe if the whole thing isn’t wet. Just dry and treat the wet parts.
- Do not add soap or detergent unless necessary. If you do not have a suede cleaner, click here to read more about the 9 Best Ways to Clean Suede Shoes Without a Suede Cleaner.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Do suede shoes get damaged when wet?
Yes, suede shoes can get damaged when wet.
Water damage occurs when the fibers get clumpy, brittle and stiff as they dry. If the water was dirty, muddy or had other material in them, this can further contribute to damaging the material of the suede.
Additionally, the longer you wait to clean it, and not cleaning it properly will only worsen the damage and/or make it permanent.
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How long does it take suede shoes to dry?
How long suede shoes will take to dry will vary greatly it can take a few hours to a few days, depending on:
- How wet the material is (how saturated)
- The thickness of the nap
- Your drying method
- The humidity of the environment
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Can suede shoes be dried in the dryer?
You cannot dry your suede shoes in the dryer. A dryer will be too harsh on the shoe and the material. Doing this can damage the material or warp the shoe.