How to Prevent Suede Upholstery from Shedding or Shredding


Mike asked: How do I prevent my suede upholstery from shedding or shredding? If we sit or stand against the suede, we get a chalky powder on our clothes. I have used water and stain protector on the advice of a furniture store to no avail. The furniture is about seven years old and was exposed to direct sunlight about three years ago. I have tried brushing the suede, but the brush is bringing more loose material to the surface.

When suede sheds, the problem is known as “crocking.” There are two primary causes for crocking: one is from the process where leather is sueded, while the second is an excess of dyes in the material. Both causes originate within the manufacturing process. This used to be a relatively common problem, but newer techniques and technology has erased it in quality furniture. If you’ve noticed crocking in your upholstery and it’s too late to demand the furniture store replace or repair your product, this following method offers your best shot for a fix.

You Will Need:

  • Suede brush
  • Vacuum cleaner with upholstery attachment

Steps to Prevent the Shedding:

  1. Use a suede brush in short, brisk strokes to lift as much of the loose material from the surface as possible.
  2. Periodically stop to use the vacuum attachment to suction away the debris.
  3. Work vigorously over the surface until the shedding stops. This could be a long, labor intensive process.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • It may seem like brushing the suede will just make a bigger mess, but a thorough brushing is the only way to get the shedding to stop.
  • Once most of the shedding has stopped, you can use a suede fabric protector on the upholstery. Use one recommended by the manufacturer or spot test first.
  • When all else fails, call in a pro. A professional, such a furniture restoration expert, may be able to fix the crocking.


  1. I bought a sofa with microfiber fabric. I noticed white flakes coming out of the fabric. The floor has sand on the floor. It appears that it is a shedding problem, of what I don’t know. How can I stop this process? I have used the sweeper and brushed and nothing works. It looks so bad to me, I don’t want guests coming by. The flakes now have clumped together; why? Could it be due to moisture? Help.

  2. My dark brown suede sofa (about 18 years old) looks beautiful, but the color comes off on clothes when we sit on it. Is there a solution?
    Please help.

  3. Anita,
    First, try cleaning the suede to remove the excess dye by brushing it gently with a dry towel or suede brush. (Plan on the towel being covered with dye or having to wipe the dye off of the suede brush.)
    Then, spraying the suede with a suede protectant or even hair spray could help to hold the remaining color in place. Treat one side of one cushion of the couch, then make sure that the process both works and also that it does not damage the suede at all before continuing with the remainder of the soda.
    Source: eHow – How to Stop Suede from Bleeding

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