Will Suede Ruin if It Gets Wet?

by | Cleaning

In this post, you will find out if suede will ruin if it gets wet. You will also find here an easy way to restore damaged suede or nubuck shoes.

Can Suede Get Wet?

Can suede get wet? Generally speaking, yes, suede will not ruin if it gets wet. But for this to be true, some conditions must be met. The same applies to nubuck, which is a similar type of leather. You don’t have to put back your suede shoes because it is raining or snowing outside. Keep reading to find out more.

If you want to learn how to clean suede (or nubuck), check out my other post, where I explain in detail how I have revived my 4 years old faded black shoes.

Before and after restored nubuck or suede shoes

Can You Damage Suede or Nubuck Shoes With Water?

As I said earlier, generally speaking, suede will not ruin if it gets wet. But some conditions have to be met for it to be true. Since suede is less water-repellent than other types of leather, you should treat it with a water-repellent spray. Here is an Amazon link for this type of spray with great reviews. Cobblers highly advise treating your shoes with such spray before first use and as needed throughout the year. Such spray will protect your shoes not only from moisture but also dirt, dust, oil, salt, etc.

Just remember that such spray is not bulletproof. Be mindful that if you soak suede or nubuck for an extended period of time (or without any protective spray), you will damage them. So don’t wear your suede shoes in heavy rain or for a long walk in deep snow. I am speaking here from my own experience. I was wearing my suede boots in deep snow for an extended period of time, and on top of that, I didn’t treat them with a protective spray. The shoes got soaking wet, which caused the suede dye to come off, and the suede fibers, as well as the whole shoe, lost their original shape. Below you can find images of what the shoe looked like, as well as tips on how to fix such damage.

1. Suede Dye Coming Off

The suede dye started to come off, which resulted in faded color. The good news is that you can recolor suede/nubuck to its original color. For the tutorial in my other blog post, click here. Here are two products that you can use for black shoes (you can select there also a different color option):

Before Restoration Photo of Water Damaged Suede Shoes

2. Suede Fibers Gone Crazy

The suede fibers lost their original shape. However, a simple suede brush can revive them. If you would like to purchase a suede brush, here is an Amazon link.

Damaged suede fibers

3. Out of Shape Suede

Worst of all, the shoe lost some of its original shape. My shoes started to look like an old pair of slippers. After I had followed an easy restoration process from my other blog post, the shoe stopped looking like this. Success 😁!

.

Suede shoes that lost shape

How to Fix Water Stains on Suede

If part of your suede shoe gets wet, you might end up with water stains or a tidemark on the suede after drying. The good news is that you can easily fix such water-damaged suede following five easy steps.

How to remove water stains from suede shoes in 4 easy steps

  1. Clean the shoes from loose dirt with a brush (with soft [Amazon link] or brass bristles [Amazon link] – I prefer the soft ones). Make sure that your shoes are dry. Here is the time to take out lases, if you have any.
  2. Dampen the whole shoe with water using a brush or a sponge. This evens out the color of the suede.
  3. Remove any excess water with a towel (I recommend using an old towel since wet suede might release some dye) or a sponge.
  4. Put some paper inside the shoe to keep its shape and let it air dry in a breezy spot in the shade. (If your shoes are very wet, a newspaper or other colored paper is not recommended since it might color your shoes.). You can also use a shoe tree; however, the paper does a better job since it absorbs the moisture accelerating the drying process.
  5. When dry, brush your shoes with a suede brush [Amazon link] to make the suede soft again.
  6. Spray your shoes with a special protective, water-repellent spray [Amazon link]. This step is optional but highly recommended.

Here is a short video of a shoemaker dealing with this issue.

YouTube video

BEFORE YOU START
If water stains are not the only concern, If you also want to clean other stains or fix faded suede color, you might want to check my other post, where I explained how I restored my suede and nubuck shoes.

Before and after restored nubuck or suede shoes

How to Restore Suede Shoes Damaged by Rain or Snow

As I mentioned earlier, after spending too much time in deep snow in my winter suede boots, they became pale, lost a bit of their original shape, and the suede structure got damaged. For a long time, I thought that that’s it, I won’t be able to wear them anymore. I was so wrong! It turns out that it is super easy to fix wet suede.

To restore my suede shoes, I used the step-by-step process from my other blog post, where I have explained how to restore an old pair of nubuck shoes. It turns out that the same process restores water-damaged suede as well. Click here for the post. Here you can see the before and after photo. I am so happy with the result! I hope you will try it and enjoy your revived shoes for a long time.

Before and After Restoration of Water Damaged Suede Shoes

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2 Comments

  1. Nèdeem

    Hello!

    My jacket has a big black spot caused by rain and stripe of back bag . I did not take care of the jacket after it got wet. Now it looks like a damaged area. How May I send a phot to get an idea.

    I will appreciate your opinion.

    Thank you!

    Nèdeem

    Reply
    • Patricia Czudek

      Hi Nèdeem,

      I am sorry to hear that. From what I understand, you might be dealing with a similar issue as I did with my handbag. Try to follow my other blog post, where I deal with a color transfer from my dark blue jeans. As I mentioned in the article, if it won’t work, the only other solution I found is to dye the jacket to another color that will cover any remaining stains.

      Hope you will be able to fix your jacket! Have a nice day :).

      Reply

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