How to Restore Faded Suede


Angie asked: How do I clean black, faux suede boots? I used my dad’s suede shoe cleaner from footlocker to clean my black faux suede boots and scrubbed them with the brush it came with. I think it was chemical foam. Now, my boots are faded and look kind of gray instead of black. Should I wash them with water? It looks like the foam just stained them and never came off. Please help!

If your faux suede has faded, the good news is that a simple fade is relatively easy to repair. Suede color is typically just on the surface, so fading is most likely the result of a cleaning process that took the color right off of it. All you need is a dye that will work on the type of faux suede you have and the proper application tools. However, before you dye the suede, it’s a good idea to clean it if it’s dirty. Here are the steps you should take.

You Will Need:

  • Mild detergent
  • Soft toothbrush or sponge
  • Water
  • Bucket
  • Clean towel
  • Dye for suede (make sure it is indicated for the type of fabric you want to use it on)
  • Application device for dye (check the label for directions)
  • Silicon spray

Steps to Restore Suede Dye:

  1. Create a solution of water and mild detergent. You don’t want to have a bubbly, soapy bucket, because you will end up with soap stuck to your suede. Add just enough detergent to cut through any dirt or grease on your suede. A couple of drops may be plenty.
  2. Use the toothbrush or sponge to dip in the water and detergent solution. Lightly scrub the material, taking care not to damage the nap.
  3. Blot the item to remove as much water as possible, then allow it to air dry completely before proceeding.
  4. Next, follow the directions on the dye for the suede dye application and drying time to revive the color of your faux suede.
  5. Finally, after the dye has set, apply the silicon spray to help protect your faux suede from water or dirt in the future.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • Suede can be dyed to a darker color, but not a lighter one. For the best results at home, don’t try to change the color of your suede.
  • While faded suede is relatively easy to revive, any other damage could pose a problem. If your suede has damage beyond just the color, you may need it professionally repaired.
  • Ultrasuede (100% polyester) cannot be dyed with regular suede fabric dye. Polyester requires something called a disperse dye and needs to be professionally applied. However, if the surface just has a dull finish due to residue, it can tolerate washing without the fear of damage that regular suede may incur.
  • Instead of cleaning with mild detergent and water, you can buy a suede degreaser/cleaner.
  • Always test a small, inconspicuous area first to ensure there are no adverse effects to the item.


  1. How to restore the color of faded shoes? The shoes, by the way, are made of fabric. Please help. Thanks.

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