How To Clean Suede Desert Boots

How To Clean Suede Desert Boots

Since our launch in January this year, we've put nearly a couple of hundred pairs of limited edition Hutton Type 01 Desert Boots out into the world.

With so many pairs walking around, it's inevitable that bad weather, accidents and in the case of one of our customers, Mark, waitresses with trays of hot oily food ready to dump on your nice new limited edition desert boots, are going to take their toll.

This is a problem that can face all of us, and seems to happen to our favourite items only when they're irreplaceable.

However, there are some tips that can help if something bad happens to your suede boots and so with Mark's permission we wanted to share some of the conversation in the hope that it may help you if your desert boots get inadvertently splashed with copious amounts of Pad Thai or Chicken Madras.

How Can I Clean Garlic, Chili, & Oil Spills on My Suede Boots?

Mark emailed us to see if we had any advice on how to clean suede desert boots.

Here's Mark's original message:

Hi Hutton,

Unfortunately a very clumsy waitress spilt food (garlic, chili, oil combination) onto my right boot. I was wondering if you had any good advice on how I may be able to revoke some of the damage? They don't look good at the moment I'm afraid. Will the acorn sand boots be available again in the future? If not, is Clarks the nearest alternative? Hopefully there may be a way I can salvage this pair to wear again in the future.

All the Best,


Here's our response:

Some Solutions Worth Trying to Clean Suede Desert Boots Before Consigning Them to History

There are four things you could try to clean suede desert boots; in order of desperation:

Solution 1: Bicarbonate Soda

Before trying to clean it off, first of all buy a big pack of bicarbonate of soda. Put the boot on newspaper and sprinkle the bicarb on the affected areas until completely covered. Leave for several days then dust off/hoover the powder off. Repeat as needed. Afterwards brush with a rubber/crepe suede brish (not metal). This is great for all oil stains.

Solution 2: Use the Sun

Using the sun is not easy in the UK, but if you have a window with full sun put the boots on a windowsill in direct sunlight and leave for days. It's the UV rays that will remove stains.

Make sure you put both boots in the sun as the colour may fade a little and you should move them around a bit to avoid streak marks. I've used this to get oily tomato spaghetti sauce from a shirt when even Oxi Vanish didn't work. It was like magic.

Solution 3: Commercial Suede/Leather Shampoo

Try a commercial suede/leather shampoo - this may work and is worth a try.

Solution 4: Use Your Washing Machine

Note: You may be able to try this out with our Type 01 Desert Boots, but please don't try this with the Hutton Playtime! Playtime Chukkas should absolutely not be washed in a washing machine under any circumstance.

If all else fails try this, but only if you think the alternative is to throw them away!

Because our Type 01 Desert Boots are very well made and entirely natural and don't have those infamous cardboard bits inside, they could be washed.

It's not advisable to try this unless you have no alternative, but rather than junk them try putting them in the washing machine on a very gentle cycle (or hand wash in a basin) with natural soap - no bio soap as that will destroy the leather. Something like a liquid for hand washing wool and cashmere.

If hand washing, rub the soap well into the oil and stains and rinse well. You could hand wash and then spin them to get rid of excess water in the washing machine. Remove the laces and try putting them in an old pillow case before spinning.

Afterwards, when still wet, stuff them with newspaper and leave them to dry naturally well away from heat. It may take several days and you should change the newspaper daily.

They may dry a little stiff, but over time with wearing that should soften up. I wore my prototype pair in a flood at calf depth and thought that would be the end of them, but you'd never know they'd even been wet.

So, we don't recommend it because it's untested, but in the 1960s Clarks advertised their desert boots as machine washable so it's not without precedent!

But please, all these at your own risk.

Spray Suede Boots When They're New!

In the past, suede had a reputation as being ruined by wet weather.

However, these days not only can you buy silicone spray protector such as Scotchguard but the actual leather will have been protected at the tannery when being processed.

This helps give the suede nap a protective coating which can help when you need to remove spills or marks from your boots.

Rubber Suede Brushes and Suede Erasers Help

Always use one of those rubber and crepe type brushes - the old fashioned brass wire ones will rip your suede to shreds if you're not careful.

For really stubborn marks you can use a suede rubber block - these are like school erasers with sand in that you can gently rub on the mark. They last for years.

Despite having had over 150 pairs of suede shoes in the last three decades I still have one that I bought in the 80s, so it's well worth picking one up.

Limited Edition 'Type 01' Desert Boots Are Selling Out Fast...

Meanwhile, if you still haven't picked up one of the few remaining pairs of our Ltd Edition 'Type 01' Desert Boots you can find them here.

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