Things that don’t appear to exist in my city: the Suede brush

Posted on 07.03.2012


I went out the other night with a friend, and a guy spilled beer on my damn shoes. I normally wouldn’t mind that so much, except they were my new green suede booties. Suede. Green. NEW.

I knew what I needed. I needed the Suede brush that I used to have, or something like it. Having previously worked in a damn shoe store, I know that they exist. I just can’t recall ever seeing one in Germany.

So I went home and looked at all of our shoe care products. No dice. On Monday I went to the shops in between my classes and looked. Nothing. I finally worked up the nerve to ask a shoe salesperson at the second shop if there was ANYTHING I could use to clean my shoes (after explaining what had happened), and you’d think I would have asked if they could raise the dead.

I was met with ‘no not really’ and ‘you can try this’, and the person handed me a regular leather cleaner. I was like, ‘are you mental??’, I didn’t say it, but I know that regular leather cleaner is the fastest way to kill a pair of suede shoes. It’s why I generally DON’T buy suede, aside from the fact that it’s real leather and that’s another issue completely for me. One lady told me to try some soap and water.

Convinced that Germany really IS 10 years behind, I went home after class and just thought as I rode the bus.

What is the stuff that’s on that brush, really? I figured it must just be some kind of powdered, condensed soap product. I wondered if the KIND of soap mattered. Probably not, I told myself.

That’s when it hit me: we had Persil tabs at home!

Persil tabs are used here in the washers for clothes. Technically, my dishwashing detergent is ALSO in tab form, but I didn’t want to take my chances. Since Persil washes my clothes already, it has to be color safe.

I had a plan. We have plain old brushes (for nails) at home. I figured, they’re already almost ruined, I could try.

So I brought the booties in to the bathroom and put them in the sink, and got one of the Persil tabs from the kitchen. I grabbed a brush. I didn’t even think to try a small spot first, I just kind of dove in.

The tab started to break apart in my hands, so I was using the chunks that I could hold on to. I rubbed the tab gently along the bootie, over the stained parts — it crumbled as it went. I let the bootie sit for a moment or two, and then I used the brush and brushed the soap in and away. I just gently rubbed and rubbed until the soap was gone, and the stains just disappeared! I was kind of amazed, but also at the same time not very surprised. Of course it worked, that’s the stuff that’s on the suede brush! I cleaned the booties off gently and then put them away. The sink was a mess from the powdered soap, but with a little water it all just washed away. There was no saving it. Kind of like how eyeshadow that falls and breaks in the sink is wasted.

I’m writing this so I can maybe help some friends who might find themselves in need one day: use powdered soap to clean your suede, if you should find yourself without a suede brush as I did:)

Posted in: German Lessons, life