How to Clean Suede

Suede has such a soft and elegant look and feel. Wearing it is like wearing warm butter and if you have a sofa chair made out of it, you just sink right into it. Suede looks great but it is also a problem to clean. Unlike other types of leather that have smooth finishes, the nap that makes suede distinctive also makes it harder to maintain. You can’t use just any type of cleaner on it or you risk ruining the nap.

Some suede items are imitation, created from synthetic products. These are actually easier to clean that the real thing. Always check your item’s label to see what materials it is made from. This article outlines instructions and tips for cleaning suede furniture & clothing. Understanding the proper way to clean suede furniture and clothing can save you frustration when stains occur and it can also save you money by prolonging the life of your suede products.

What Is Suede Made From

Suede is different from full-grain leather. While most leather is made from cow hide, suede is made from calves, lambs, goats, or even deer. It is softer and much more subtle than full-grain leather. What gives suede its nappy texture is due to the part of the hide that suede comes from as well as the finish that the manufacturer puts on the leather.

Tools For Cleaning Suede

Suede is very delicate so cleaning it requires a little extra care from other types of leather. Like every job, you have to have the right kind of tools to do it properly.

Steps To Cleaning Suede

How to Clean Suede

How to Clean Suede

If the suede has any dirt or mud on it, you need to let it dry completely before trying to remove it. Wiping damp mud from suede just smears it around and makes it harder to clean off later.

When the mud has dried, use a toothbrush or the suede brush to remove it. Do not scrub at the suede with a knife, file, or anything stiff and harsh. You’ll end up ruining the texture of the nap.

After the clumps of dried mud have been removed, there might still be dirty spots and marks on the nap. On larger areas, you can use the suede eraser. Gently rub it in one direction to remove the grime. Don’t rub it back and forth or you might rub the dirt deeper into the nap. After that if there are still marks, you can try using a pencil eraser in the same way. After the marks have been removed, used a towel or cloth to gently work the nap back up.

If the suede has gotten wet and has water stains on it, let the suede dry completely first. A good way to do that is to take a few towels and wrap or press the item between the towels. They will absorb much of the water. Afterwards, let the item air dry completely.

Once the suede is dry, try brushing out the stains. If they won’t come out, a good method to use to remove them is to take a spray bottle and wet the entire suede. When it dries, the stain will blend in with the rest of the leather. You can then use a suede brush to restore the leather’s nap.

If your suede has stains on it from body oils, food, ink, or other accidental spills, carefully use a towel or napkin to clean up any excess and let dry before you proceed further. If the stain is old, you can try using a suede brush or suede eraser on the stain. If the stain proves stubborn, you may have to go out and buy a suede de-greaser to get it out.

Sometimes stains can be extremely tough on suede. A popular home remedy you can try is white vinegar. Take a cloth or piece of cotton, dab some white vinegar on it, and gently rub at the spot. Afterwards, let it dry completely and check to see if the stain has come out.

Tossing your suede item in the freezer (if it will fit) is a great way to remove chewing gum and wax from suede. Once the sticky particles freeze, they can be pulled right out. Afterwards, use your suede brush or suede eraser to work the nap back into shape.

Ink can be a real problem getting out of anything. With suede, something that you can try is Windex. The chemicals in Windex act as a degreaser with ink and can be effective in some cases.

Once you get your suede item clean (or as clean as its going to get) you need to protect it. You can find several spray products that act as weather-proofing and stain-blocking for your suede. Most of these products work well but you have to reapply them regularly every six months or so. Always check the label of any product to find out how to properly apply it.

The sad fact that anyone who owns suede knows is that sometimes you can’t remove a stain without professional help. Taking suede to the dry cleaners may end up being your only option but be warned. Even them, there is no guarantee that even a professional can get rid of the stains. It is just the nature of suede.

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