On the list of "things every woman needs," a killer pair of suede boots falls somewhere between "more sleep" and "a steady-handed waxer." Which is to say, they're precious. Unfortunately, suede boots are also prone to scuffing and staining. That damage is reversible, thanks to a handy little product that's cheap and widely available.

Retro styled portrait. Teacher woman in old fashioned classic outfit wearing burgundy suede boots on heels at the entrance.

Banishing Scuffs With Suede Erasers

Suede is notoriously hard to clean, so this is one job that is best handled by products specifically made for this purpose. Enter a suede eraser. These little objects are available in shoe repair stores, big-box stores, pharmacies and even in some grocery stores, often for less than $10. Suede erasers sometimes come in the form of sandpaper-like sheets, and other times as small blocks.

Before using a suede eraser, pack the boots full of crumpled paper to help them keep their shape during the cleaning process. Then it's as simple as rubbing the eraser over any scuffs, starting with very light pressure and increasing the pressure if scuffs remain.

Cleaning Water or Grease Marks

Treat grease marks using plain old cornstarch. Again, stuff the boots with crumpled paper. Position boots so the grease stains are facing up; for this removal method to work, the powder has to sit on top of the stains for awhile. Treating allover grease stains may require repeating the process several times, propping the boots in different positions each time.

Completely cover each grease stain with cornstarch and let it sit overnight. The next day, tap off the cornstarch and use a stiff brush to gently rub at the grease mark. The cornstarch should have soaked up a fair amount of the stain.

Removing water marks is harder and may not be entirely possible if the water has dried. When spots are still wet, blot at them with a soft cloth and use a hair dryer or hand dryer to dry them quickly. Use a suede eraser to minimize any visible spots. If the water has dried, pick up a suede cleaning kit containing suede cleaner spray. It's generally the best bet for treating older water marks, although a shoe repair shop may also be able to work some magic.

Preventing Future Scuffs

It only takes one battle with scuffs to realize that you never want to deal with them again. Protect suede boots by applying a thin coat of a suede sealant over the entire exterior surface. Repeat the process every few months, or more often if the boots get a lot of use. Make sure to buff away any marks or scuffs using the suede eraser before applying sealant.

Another way to protect those precious boots is to keep a close eye on the forecast. Keep them safe at home when any precipitation is predicted, or if the ground is still wet or muddy from recent weather. When it comes to suede and water, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.