How to Clean Suede Upholstery


Brandy asked: Thank you for your time, I have 3 suede couches that are badly stained. Most of the stains are soda, food and water. I haven’t done anything yet about it because I’m scared I will ruin them. Is there any way I can get these stains out?

Suede offers a natural beauty that is hard to match. Taking care of suede can be a bit tricky because the cleaners need to be gentle and non-abrasive. Remember, you are working with natural hide and it can easily be damaged with harsh chemicals. A general cleaning can be used to remove most day-to-day stains. For easiest removal, be sure to remove the stain as quickly as possible. The longer it sets on the suede, the more difficult it will be to remove. For more difficult stains, it will be necessary to contact a professional and/or have them professionally cleaned and removed.

You Will Need:

  • Plastic Spoon
  • Mild detergent (no soap)
  • Suede cleaner (optional)
  • Soft white cloths

Steps to Clean:

Different types of suede-cloth will react differently to cleaners. Test a small, hidden area first to ensure that there are no adverse affects to the color or texture of the suede.

  1. Begin by scraping away as much of the stain as possible with a plastic spoon.
  2. Mix a small amount of mild detergent with water in a bucket.
  3. Agitate the water to produce a good amount of suds.
  4. Use the soft cloth to gently apply some of the suds (suds only – no water) to the stained area.
  5. Blot to lift the stain. As you are blotting, you will see some of the stain transferring to the cloth.
  6. Use a clean portion of the cloth and continue to blot the stain adding more suds as needed.
  7. When the stain is completely gone, blot with a dry cloth to dry.
  8. If the nap of the suede has been affected by the cleaning, it can be restored by brushing it with a suede brush.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • Smaller dry stains can be moved by erasing them. Use a brown eraser to gently rub the stain away. If a pencil eraser does not work, fine sandpaper can also be used to carefully rub the stain away. For more information on removing dried stains, see How to Remove Stains from Suede Fabrics.
  • Avoid harsh chemicals and only use solvents that are specifically designed for suede.
  • If the above methods do not remove the stains, you may need to contact a professional.


  1. I have tan suede furniture. I am wondering what solution use; I have an upholstery and floor cleaner, but I don’t know what to use. Please help. I don’t believe that I would use the same cleaner as I do on my carpet.

  2. Hi, I am looking for a way to clean the stains on my beige suede lounge suite. Please help.

  3. Maureen,
    Try gently rubbing the stains with a soft cloth or pencil eraser. For tougher stains, file the stain off with an emery board or sandpaper and smooth the area with a suede brush. If the stain is oil-based, try covering or dusting the area with cornstarch to absorb the oil and wipe or vacuum the powder away.

    Source: – How to Remove Stains from Suede Fabrics
    Source: – How to Remove Oil Stains from Suede

  4. Thank you!!

  5. Have a white suede sofa, a little piece of ash from the fireplace landed on it, I brushed it away and of course it left a black smear, so I got a wet towel and brushed it away, which worked to remove the ash stain, but when the water dried it left a yellow water ring stain. How can I get rid of that from my WHITE sofa?

  6. I have sweat stains on the arms of my suede upholstered lounge chairs, also stains on the back where heads rest, presumably hair grease. How can I remove the stains without leaving other stains, ie. water marks?

  7. Diane,
    Hair grease is, well, greasy, and the sweat stains on the arm rests may also contain oil. Try using the methods in this article: How to Remove Oil Stains from Suede. As mentioned in the tips section of that article, there are specialty products made for removing stains from suede that may be more effective for older stains.
    Source: Wikipedia – Sweat Gland

  8. Thanks Melanie. I’ll give it a try!

  9. How can I remove baby urine marks on my lime suede couch? I tried cleaning with a damp cloth, but when it dried out, there was a ring around it.

  10. Ayanda,
    This is the article that you need: How to Remove Stains from Suede Fabrics.

  11. How do I get applesauce out of my brown suede couch?!?
    My son spilt applesauce and my couch is brand new :-(

  12. Carrie,
    The steps in the article should work to remove the applesauce. If the applesauce has dried, use the information in the Removing Dried Stains section of the article How to Remove Stains from Suede Fabrics.

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