How to Remove Mildew from Suede


Cori asked: How do I clean mildew off of my suede handbags? I have a lot of designer suede handbags that have mildew all over them. What can I do to remove the mildew without damaging my purses?

When suede items are stored with moisture, mildew is almost certain to grow. Removing mildew from suede pieces is no easy task and may require professional cleaning. Here are two products that can be used to try and remove the mildew at home.

You Will Need:

  • Petroleum jelly
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Water
  • Soft cloths
  • Suede brush

Steps to Remove the Mildew:

Petroleum jelly can be used to rub the mildew off of the surface.

  1. Simply apply a thin layer of jelly to the mildew stained areas.
  2. Rub it gently until it is removed.
  3. If the stain remains, mix one part rubbing alcohol with one part water.
  4. Test a small area first for colorfastness. If the test area goes well, move onto the stained area.
  5. Moisten the soft cloth and gently wipe the mildew stains.
  6. Repeat until the stains are removed.
  7. Allow the piece to dry completely.
  8. If needed, brush the surface with a suede brush to restore the nap.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • If the above methods do not work, try a suede cleaner.
  • If ┬ápossible, contact the manufacturer for their recommended cleaning products. Some designer companies will clean the purse for you.
  • Sunshine is a natural mildew killer. Hang or place the mildew stains in direct sunlight.
  • Some have had luck using Orange TKO in a diluted form to remove the mildew. Mix one part TKO with two parts water. Sponge the mixture onto the suede and blot off with a clean cloth. Allow the piece to dry completely. This method has not been tested, so be sure to test a small area first to check for any adverse effects to the suede.


  1. The petroleum jelly left permanent “wet” stains on my suede boots.

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