How to Clean Suede Cloth Upholstery


Lynn asked: I have a sofa that is, I believe, “suede-cloth” (as opposed to actual suede). The label has no cleaning information. My kids have gotten stains all over this thing including ice cream sandwich, washable marker, etc. I would like to learn how to spot-clean the fabric. My mom tried washing one area with water, which permanently roughened the fabric in that spot. Help! Thank you!

Suede cloth is a versatile fabric that offers the look of suede with easier care. The surface of suede cloth is brushed to give it a nap similar to real suede. When suede cloth becomes stained, it must be cleaned up promptly and the fabric brushed so that the nap can return to normal. Here are some cleaning guidelines to keep your suede cloth stain free and looking great.

You Will Need:

  • Plastic Spoon
  • Club soda
  • Soft white cloths
  • Mild detergent such as Woolite
  • Water
  • Bucket
  • New sponge
  • Suede brush (optional)

Steps to Clean:

*Different types of suede-cloth will react differently to each type of cleaner. Test a small, hidden area first to ensure that there are no adverse affects to the color or fibers of the fabric.

  1. Begin by scraping away as much of the stain as possible with a plastic spoon.
  2. Blot the area with a cloth that has been moistened with water. Avoid rubbing as this will push the stain further into the fabric.
  3. As you blot, the food/stain will start to lift and transfer to the cloth. Use a clean part of the cloth each time to avoid reapplying the stain.
  4. When the stain is moistened and the water has lifted as much as possible, mix a small amount of mild detergent and water in a bucket.
  5. Blot the stain with the sudsy water as before to remove.
  6. Blot with clean water to rinse the area.
  7. Blotting the area with club soda instead of water will give some extra cleaning power without applying chemicals to the fabric. Be sure to rinse well with plain water afterward.
  8. Take care to only use a small amount of moisture on the cloth as you do not want to drench the area, just moisten it.
  9. If too much water is used a ring will remain after the fabric dries. If this happens, it can be blended in by blotting with a SLIGHTLY moist sponge. Start by blotting the ring and gradually working your way out to blend it in. Allow it to dry completely.
  10. If the nap of the fabric has been affected by the cleaning, it can be restored by brushing it with a sponge or very lightly with a suede brush.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • While suede cloth can tolerate most cleaners and mild solvents, avoid any cleaners that contain the toxic chemical carbon tetrachloride.
  • If the surface of the fabric becomes hard after cleaning, rub it with a soft brush or toothbrush to restore the fibers and texture.
  • Facial soaps such as Neutrogena Gentle Face Cleanser are also gentle enough for suede-cloth. Mix a small amount with water and blot to remove any spots and stains.
  • Avoid using regular soaps or any cleaner with a high pH as it will damage the cloth and/or leave a ring.


  1. Andy says:

    The arms of my recliner are starting to shine from body oil. What is best way to clean this type of grime?

  2. Joy says:

    I have a vest that has a few suede patches sewn on. These are not food stains – they just look like some dirt. How would I gently remove them? Thank you.

  3. JoAnne says:

    I have a red nail polish spot on my taupe color suede material couch. What do I use to get this out? Thank you. Appreciate any help with this.

    Check it out! We’ve answered your question! Yay!

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