Suede - How to Clean and Care For It - Easy Instructions and Tips


Caring For Suede

As we go shopping for wearing apparel, we have more choices than ever in fabrics. With so much available to us, most individuals agree that nothing can compare with the look and feel of suede.

But there is a downside to this great looking fabric. It is susceptible to stains and spotting. Knowing how to maintain the softness and keep your suede clean and looking new will assure you longer enjoyment of your product.

Protect suede shoes with shoe protector.
Protect suede shoes with shoe protector. | Source

What About Imitation Suede?

Real leather suede is usually made from the underside of an animal, and the material is buffed to a high sheen. It's supple, warm and less expensive than leather, but also less durable. Washable suede, especially the synthetic kind, is a longer-lasting fabric that can be an excellent choice for an elegant, but not overly-expensive look. It is frequently used to make women's and men's jackets, gloves and other fall, winter and spring wear.

Imitation suede can be comfortable, beautiful, easy to wear, and impervious to water. That said, it is important to only launder washable suede, as real, non-washable suede does not mix well with water. To know whether your suede garment is washable, be sure to check the label, or get the advice of an expert.

Although the cleaning instructions may vary depending on the manufacturer, faux suede can typically be placed in a washing machine along with other laundry at a cold water setting. Even heavily stained articles will generally come out clean using the same stain-removing techniques as on any other garment.

This article is directed to real leather (suede).

How to clean suede

A clean white towel for cleaning suede
A clean white towel for cleaning suede
White vinegar and a suede brush for lifting stubborn stains
White vinegar and a suede brush for lifting stubborn stains

What You Will Need For Cleaning Suede

Always read the cleaning label and instructions that come with the product. Depending on the particular stain or what the reason is for cleaning or caring for your item, you will need the following:

  • A brush for suede
  • A white towel
  • A Suede eraser or pencil eraser
  • Newspaper or just paper crumpled

Warning: If you choose to use a chemical suede cleaner, protect your lungs by wearing a mask. Always provide ventilation in the area you are working in.

Keep all cleaning products away from children and pets. Store in a high place.

Cleaning Suede Safely

Tips for suede maintenance

  • A suede eraser is wonderful for removing stains and marks. When the fabric gets that "shine", and you want that nap restored, just use the eraser or a towel. Always use a gentle touch.
  • Note: A clean towel should be rubbed against the suede until the nap has all been "fluffed" up. Bringing up the nap exposes more of the surface and loosens any dirt particles embedded in the nap. Next, use a pencil eraser or suede eraser to rub out any visible stains.
  • If the suede is recently wet, let it dry and then try using the suede brush or bath towel. If suede shoes get wet, insert crumpled paper into the shoe to maintain the shape as they dry.
  • Do not apply heat to speed the drying.
  • Stain removers should never be used when cleaning suede, but if stains remain after the eraser attempt, a slightly damp towel can be used to rub against the stain. White vinegar can also be mixed with the water used to dampen the towel, but be very careful not to soak the towel. Just a bit of water and vinegar should be applied. When this is done, wait for the suede to dry.
  • Colors in suede fade quickly, and it’s best to store them in the dark. Make sure it’s not damp, because the moisture will attract mildew, and mildew is very difficultto remove from suede or any other kind of leather. Never store or transport suede in plastic as the suede may dry out and crack..
  • Use a waterproofing agent designed for suede to provide additional protection which can be purchased at most shoe and leather shops. This is a must. Prevention is the key when cleaning suede.
  • If you should get wax on your garment, put it in the freezer until you can break off the wax and then use the suede brush (or toothbrush) to gently lift up the nap.
  • Using a little windex for ink stains has been proven successful for many.

Keep in mind that we are talking about real leather, not nubuff or imitation. Different directions apply for those types.

If all else fails, you may want to take your suede items to a professional cleaners. But one thing is for sure - the feel of Suede next to your skin will leave you singing for joy.

Great video for cleaning suede shoes

Cleaning Suede

Which clothing items do you prefer when made of suede?

See results without voting

© 2010 Audrey Hunt

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Comments 17 comments

Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

I love suede and thank you for all your good tips.

vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 6 years ago from Nashville Tn. Author

I appreciate your taking the time to stop by and to comment. Have a very nice day.

prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 6 years ago from malang-indonesia

Nice hub and good information. Thanks for share with us. I really enjoy your tips. Good job. Thumbs up for you!

vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 6 years ago from Nashville Tn. Author

Prasetio - Thank you very much for commenting on my hub.

Have a wonderful day!

yellowstar2000 profile image

yellowstar2000 6 years ago from WestCoast Florida

I've never heard of a suede eraser before! thanks for the great tips!!!

vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 6 years ago from Nashville Tn. Author

yellowstar2000 - If you dont have a suede eraser, just use the eraser tip on a pencil. Works great! Thanks for stopping by.

habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia

Great tips for cleaning suede!

vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 6 years ago from Nashville Tn. Author

Thanks. Appreciate your commenting. Love your hubs!

nenaargent profile image

nenaargent 6 years ago

Thanks for the idea about using a suede eraser for getting rid of shine...and just as I was going to ask where they are sold, I read the the follow up comment that a pencil eraser will work. So simple and so effective. Also, thanks for your comments on my hub!!! Aside from jewelry, I also write about shoes (which is why the suede tip was helpful) and will be posting more articles shortly. It's very encouraging to write more when there's feedback. TY

vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 6 years ago from Nashville Tn. Author

I'm looking forward to another of your articles, especially on shoes. My feet can only "live in" shoes such as Birkenstock which features a nice padded arch, or Alegra (sp) brand. I wonder if Birks make boots. How fantastic that would be. The "prelude" to your nominated hub about pearls is an example to writers who are weak with "introductions" (including me). Thank you for taking time to leave a comment. I appreciate it.

katiem2 profile image

katiem2 6 years ago from I'm outta here

I've never really had much success at cleaning suede and now I know why, I was doing it wrong. Thanks for the guidance on who to clean and care for suede.

mike 4 years ago

when u brush suede with your hand and you go back and fourth what suede gives you the best pattern change when suede goes from dark to light .

Thank you


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 3 years ago from Nashville Tn. Author

mike - It's really a matter of preference I usually like the lighter hues. Mixing the dark and light works too. Thanks..

rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 2 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

Great Hub! I've always loved suede, and I have a leather sofa that needs some seats too.Thanks!

ChitrangadaSharan profile image

ChitrangadaSharan 2 years ago from New Delhi, India

This is really very informative and helpful hub for Suede lovers!

My family loves Suede coats and shoes. Maintaining them whether coats, pants, jackets or shoes is slightly tricky.

Thanks for sharing the useful tips! Voted up!

AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 2 years ago from California

Very helpful! Now off to clean those blue suede shoes!

vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 2 years ago from Nashville Tn. Author


Thanks Rebecca. You really are a leather lover. :)

Great to see you and appreciate your taking the time to read and comment on my hub. It was starving for some attention.


It's so nice to hear that my tips on how to care for suede are useful. Suede is beautiful and always classy. And as you have pointed out, maintaining suede is slightly tricky.

Thank you for sharing my hub and for the vote up. Blessings - Audrey


I know I'm in for a great feeling when you come a-calling. Thank you fabulous lady! Audrey Too

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