How to Clean the Suede Insole of a Pair of Sandals

When I dragged out my sandals from last summer, they were so disgusting I wanted to throw them in the trash!  The outside of the sandals were fine but the insides were black with dirt. When the insoles of a pair of sandals are a suede (brushed leather) soft light gray color, they can get dirty really fast and they are almost impossible to keep clean.

These look horrible. I was ready to throw them away.

dirty sandal

And the insides... YUCK!


Then I remembered something my Mom said years ago. You can clean suede
shoes with sandpaper. It was so outlandish, it stuck in my head.

But, guess what? It works!!!

Here I am working on the insoles of the sandals with sandpaper. The sandpaper takes off the dirty layer of suede. I had to rub them for a few minutes to get out the dirt/mud/etc. It all just flaked away as I was scrubbing with the sandpaper. Amazing!

sandpapering shoe

Here they are – all clean! YAY!

clean insoles

all clean now

Is that incredible? I was so surprised and pleased with the results, I thought other people must have the same problem, too AND maybe someone else could benefit from this information, also.
Anyway, I decided it was important enough to do a blog post on it.

I hope this turns out to be a helpful hint for someone.

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My sister, Carol, and I have a super creative family (my nephew even makes cabin furniture) and I try to log it all
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  1. Who would have thought of sandpaper!? Great tip.


  2. Linda, this is seriously one super awesome, amazing tip! I was just shuddering yesterday at the horrendous state of some of my sandals. All I can say is WOW I can't wait to try this!! Thank you SO much!

  3. Holy wow! I know I am not a dirty person, but my shoes seem to send a different message! Can't wait to try this, thanks Linda!

  4. Such a great tip!! thanks for sharing it at Romance on a dime! I need to try this.

  5. That is amazing and I had not clue!! Visiting today from Thursday's Favorite Things. :)

  6. Wow! Sand paper? Really?! Now, that's a great tip! Thanks for sharing @ Submarine Sunday!!!

  7. Thank you so much. This REALLY works. I have been trying to figure out for years how to clean the insoles of my Bass sandals. I even tried baking soda and vinegar, which is amazing at cleaning rug spots (too clean sometimes). I called Bass and asked them what would get them clean. They told me the name of the cleaner they sell which I already tried and it didn't work.I am thrilled with the results. They look almost new. Thanks again. I am a HAPPY CAMPER. I have never commented on a blog about anything before, but I had to tell you about how great this works.

  8. I am so excited to try this. I have about five pairs that I have been contemplating throwing away and they are practically brand new. Thanks

  9. Wow just the tip I needed at the right time! Thank you!

  10. Oh, great tip! I have two pairs of sandals that really need this treatment!

  11. I am so happy to know about this!

  12. Thanks, Linda. I needed that! Wish I'd read this post long ago. Thanks for sharing it at the Share Your Style linky party, or I would have missed it.

  13. Wowza! That is amazing! I'm totally going to try this.

  14. Does anyone know what grit of sandpaper to use

  15. Wow! This really works! Who knew!? I used a brand new emery board and that worked too. Thank you! Here come my favorite sandals!


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I am the crafter extraordinaire (on this blog anyway.) I live with my husband, my son, David, in a cozy cape cod style house in Connecticut.

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