How To Clean Suede

Suede is an expensive and lavish material, but it is delicate and prone to wear. The soft, worked leather is fantastic for boots, coats, couches and saddles, but it needs to be properly cared for to look good or last. It is important to know how to clean suede to keep it looking lovely in the times to come.

Suede, while soft and beautiful, is very delicate and difficult to clean. It is always best to have suede garments professionally dry cleaned. Suede is very sensitive to chemicals of any kind and is easily damaged. There are various treatments put on suede and leather during production, and these treatments are negatively affected by regular laundry cleaners or stain removers. For spots or spills on suede shoes or upholstery, there are steps that can be taken to prevent staining.

Dry Stains

  • Rub a bath towel, or other textured cloth, briskly back and forth across the suede to restore its nap.
  • Using a regular pencil with a non-colored eraser, erase the stain. This works particularly well for suede with a very close nap. Usually, this will break away any food or dirt clinging to the individual threads.
  • Brush gently with a suede brush.

Wet Stains

  • Lay a plain white paper towel directly on the stain. It’s important that the paper towels used do not have decorations of any kind. These dyes can be transferred onto the garment.
  • Gently push down on the paper towel to absorb the moisture. Repeat until the paper towel is completely dry.
  • Brush gently with a suede brush.

As a last resort for either wet or dry stains, pour some white vinegar onto a soft cloth, and gently scrub the stain. Be sure not to use unnecessary force, and do not press into the material. Simply move back and forth. Always allow the suede to air dry when using this technique. It’s important that no stain removers or other chemical cleaners be used on suede. If these methods fail, it’s always safest to contact a professional cleaner who specializes in suede and leather.

There are preventative measures that can be taken to protect suede. It’s a good idea to purchase a waterproofing solution made specifically for suede, as even plain water can stain suede. This will go a long way toward keeping garments, shoes, accessories, and upholstery looking crisp and clean for years to come.
Only apply these protective coverings for suede with your client’s approval.

If the suede does happen to get soaked, blot away as much liquid as possible, and allow it to air dry. Do not attempt to speed the drying process by placing a suede garment or item into a dryer, or applying heat. This will shrink and permanently wrinkle the material. When dry, brush with a suede brush to raise the nap.

Last Resorts
Some people also use bread to clean off stains from the suede. You might want to try that for yourself. White vinegar works better but as said, that is the last resort. Another option is using Windex. That is right; it is used to clean windows but has a reputation of working fine with suede.

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How To Clean Suede