If you wear shoes made out of suede, you might have noticed the inevitable “bald spots” on them. This is caused by wearing away the suede’s upper layer because it is slightly porous and absorbs dye substances quickly. While this perfectly natural phenomenon can be avoided to some extent with specific preventive measures, there are several simple ways to remove bald spots from suede shoes.
Reasons For Bald Spots on Suede Shoes
The most common reason for bald spots on suede shoes is friction between the shoe and the surface you are walking on, such as concrete or tiles. This happens because these surfaces cause static electricity that attracts loose dye particles from the suede. Also, regular wear and tear over some time can cause balding of areas on your shoes where they tend to rub against each other. Everyday wear and tear are inevitable, but you can prolong the life of your shoes by applying a suede-protecting spray before using them.
Suede’s porous nature makes it absorb dye substances easily. Repeated wearing of your shoes causes these dye particles to come out, resulting in bald spots on their surface.
In addition to friction and wear and tear, the balding of suede shoes can also be caused by harsh weather conditions. Exposure to sunlight or rain might cause the dye on your shoes to fade away faster than usual, resulting in bald spots. This is why it’s advisable to use shoe protectors before stepping out in the sun or rain, as they provide a protective barrier between the shoes and the harsh weather conditions.
Preventive Measures To Reduce Bald Spots on Suede Shoes
When it comes to avoiding bald spots on your suede shoes, there are several measures you can take:
● Keep them away from any chemicals, such as gasoline or cleaning products. Suede’s porous nature makes it absorb dye substances easily. So, if you use these chemicals on suede surfaces, the dye from them will come out and cause bald spots.
● Keep your shoes away from heat as much as possible. Exposing your shoes to heat causes the glue in them to melt and peel off, causing the upper layer to break apart and resulting in bald spots. The same goes for direct heat, such as burning cigarettes or standing too close to heating vents. Exposing your shoes to these conditions might cause the suede surface to harden and crack, which will result in balding.
● If possible, use shoe protectors before wearing your shoes out in the sun or rain. They provide a protective barrier between the shoes and the harsh weather conditions, which reduces balding significantly.
● If you do not have shoe protectors, coat suede surfaces with petroleum jelly before wearing them out in the sun or rain. This will provide some protection from these harsh weather conditions, but it is advisable to use shoe protectors, which are widely available.
● Keep your suede shoes away from chemicals that might result in balding. This includes gasoline or cleaning products, among others. If these substances contact suede surfaces, they will damage them and cause dye particles to come out, resulting in bald spots.
● Store your suede shoes in a cool and dry place, away from direct sunlight. This is because prolonged exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays causes dye particles to fade away faster than usual, which results in the balding of suede surfaces. Also, storing them under hot or damp conditions might weaken the glue holding the upper layer of the shoes together, which will cause it to detach and result in balding.
● Use suede protecting sprays on your shoes before wearing them out in the sun or rain. These sprays coat the shoe surfaces with a protective barrier that reduces dye loss from exposure to harmful conditions such as water and sunlight, prolonging the life of your shoes. Suede protecting sprays are available in shoe stores everywhere, and they come in several forms – scented sprays, waterproof sprays, or regular ones that improve grip on leather surfaces. You can use any form you like; however, make sure to read the label before you buy one.
How to Fix Bald Spots on Suede Shoes
Using an Iron
One of the most common ways to fix bald spots on suede shoes is by using an iron. Here’s how:
● First, place a thin cloth or towel over the affected area. This will protect the rest of your shoe from getting burned.
Use a hot iron with steam holes and press it on the cloth for around 5 minutes. You can also use the hottest setting on your iron if you have a steam hole option.
Remove the cloth and check to see if there’s any improvement in the balding area. If it looks like there are some improvements, then congratulations; you’ve just fixed your shoe!
Use Sand Paper
Another way to fix bald spots on suede shoes is by using sandpaper. Here’s how:
● First, color the exposed area to match your shoe color by applying a matching shoe polish over it. This will prevent you from making the repair spot more visible than it already is.
Then, use fine sandpaper to sand off the affected area. Apply some pressure on the sandpaper but do not rub it too roughly, as this might cause further damage to your shoe.
Next, use the same method and apply a matching color of shoe polish over your shoes to conceal any bald patches you’ve created.
Using Nail Polish
Using nail polish is another way to fix bald spots on suede shoes. Here are the steps you need to follow:
First, color the exposed area with matching shoe polish. This will prevent you from making your repair spot more visible than it already is.
You can also color over the patch before applying nail polish to make it match your shoe’s color more accurately.
Then, use fine-grit sandpaper to rough up the surface of the affected area. This will create an uneven texture that helps in sticking on the nail polish patch even better.
How to Clean Suede Shoes
There are several ways to clean suede shoes. While most of them can be done at home, there are some which you might want to let the professionals handle. Here’s a quick overview:
● Brush your shoes regularly with a suede brush or toothbrush, and use a dry toothbrush for dried stains that need to be removed.
● Use a suede eraser on stubborn stains if the dry toothbrush method doesn’t work for you. Just make sure to brush off any excess dust or dirt particles from your shoes before using them.
● If there are stubborn scuff marks on your boots, use a leather eraser to remove them. Just make sure to brush off any excess dust or dirt particles from your suede boots before using them, as it might damage the fabric if you don’t.
● You can also use suede cleaning sprays or liquids to clean your shoes. They’re easy to apply, and they remove tough stains without causing any damage to your shoes. Suede protecting sprays are available in shoe stores everywhere, and they come in several forms – scented sprays, non-scented sprays, and creams.
Types of Stains on Suede Shoes and Their Cleaning Procedures
There are several types of stains that you need to know about if you want to have a deeper understanding of how to clean suede shoes. Here’s a quick overview:
1. Oil-Based Stains – These happen when oil from food or drinks gets spilled on your shoes. You can either blot the stain with a paper towel or wipe it off with a dry, clean cloth. If you can’t do either, then try to use a pencil eraser on the stain as it’s more effective than paper towels and clean cloths.
2. Water-Based Stains – This is one of the most common stains that suede shoes suffer from. If the stains are new, you can either use a pencil eraser or wipe it off with a clean cloth.
3. Dirt Stains – This type of stain is difficult to remove because dirt particles make the suede fabric rough, which leads to more stains sticking on your shoes. If this happens, be sure to clean your shoes as much as possible before you try to remove the dirt stains.
4. Grass Stains – You can either use a pencil eraser or rub your suede shoes with a damp cloth to get rid of grass stains, but make sure that the sole of your shoe is clean and dry after doing this. If you want to go the extra mile, you can also use a thin coat of baby oil on the stain to get rid of it quickly.
5. Mud Stains – Clean your shoes using a damp cloth and a toothbrush, and then let them air dry so that they won’t smell or attract bacteria. You should repeat this process until all mud stains are gone, and you should also use a suede protective spray on your shoes before wearing them again.
FAQs About How to Fix Bald Spots on Suede Shoes
How can I fix a suede shoe that has bald spots? There are several ways to do this, but the easiest is to use a thin coat of all-purpose glue on the affected area and wait until it completely dries. Then you need to apply some fabric glue on the spots and press the fabric on them for about 30 seconds. After that, you can use another thin coat of all-purpose glue to the fabric to keep it in place.
Can I avoid bald spots when wearing suede shoes?
Yes, but only if you use suede shoes with rubber soles instead of leather soles. Rubber soles won’t allow you to wear out the suede fabric as quickly, and they’ll make your shoes last longer.
How do I prevent my suede shoes from smelling bad?
You can either buy unique insole cushions for your shoes or put some baking soda in them before wearing them to draw out moisture that causes funky smells.
How long will it take for my suede shoes to dry?
It depends on the weather and how much water your shoes absorbed before you started the cleaning process, but in most cases, they’ll dry within an hour or two.
If I use a hairdryer to speed up the drying process, won’t it damage the suede fabric?
Yes, but you can also use a fan instead of a hairdryer to speed up drying if you want. Just remember that whatever method you choose, don’t hold them too close to your shoes, or they might get damaged.
How do I prevent my suede shoes from getting dirty?
The best way to do this is to use special suede shoes whenever you can, but if you don’t have those, then buy a suede spray and apply it to your shoes before wearing them. It’ll help repel stains so that the fabric doesn’t absorb them.
How do I maintain suede shoes after I’ve applied a spray on them?
It would help if you used a lint roller to remove dust and anything else that’s stuck to the surface of your shoes. The only downside is that this will make the fabric look duller, but it’ll repel dirt better than if you hadn’t sprayed these with the fabric protector.
This article has shown you several ways on how to remove different stains from suede shoes. There are other ways to do this, but these are the most effective ones that work. It would be best if you also remembered that suede shoes are different from regular shoes because they absorb everything around them, so you need to take good care of them and use suede sprays to keep them in shape.