How to Remove Oil Stains from Suede


Ann asked: How can I clean greasy butter stains out of my suede jacket? I dropped some melted butter on my suede jacket while eating. I also had some red sangria wine. However, I believe the stain is grease from the butter. Please give me some suggestions on how to get the stain out.

Suede needs quick treatment when it comes to removing stains. Because the fabric does not have a protective coating, it absorbs the stains more easily. If left too long, they may not be removable as they will have discolored the suede permanently. Treat grease stains as soon as possible with the method below for the best results.

You Will Need:

  • Corn starch
  • Vinegar
  • Soft cloths
  • Suede brush or buff

Steps to Remove the Stain:

  1. If the stain is still fresh on the surface, use a cloth or napkin to soak up as much as possible. If a spill happens while you’re out, this is a good start. The rest of the stain can be removed once you return home.
  2. Cover the stain with corn starch. Be liberal with the application.
  3. Allow the corn starch to set on the stain for 10 minutes. The powder will absorb the oil and pull it out of the suede.
  4. Brush it off of the surface. One application may remove the stain completely.
  5. If a large amount of oil remains, repeat the corn starch.
  6. If there is still a small amount of residue on the surface, moisten a cloth with vinegar.
  7. Gently brush the surface with the cloth. Brush lightly and avoid allowing the suede to become soaked with vinegar.
  8. Once the stain is removed, allow the suede to dry.
  9. Brush the surface with a suede brush to restore the nap as needed.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • Some light stains can be removed with an art gum eraser. Ensure the eraser is white as the pink ones will cause additional staining.
  • If the stain is old or set in, it will require professional cleaning.
  • There are special suede cleaning products and stain removers available at leather stores. These are also effective in removing stains. They are a better choice when attempting to remove old grease or oil stains.


  1. I tried this and it worked–not with 10 minutes of cornstarch, but six days. It got the butter stain right out of my new suede boots. You just need to keep rubbing it in.

  2. Sarah F. says:

    This worked on my suede boots too! Just cornstarch – I left it for about an hour and my stain was fresh – it’s gone!

  3. I had just dropped mayonnaise on my pink skirt. Soaked up excess and googled and found this amazing tip. Thank you! It worked beautifully.

  4. I took my favorite EMU suede boots out of storage this winter and noticed that I had lingering peanut oil stains from last year’s turkey fry. I dabbed a little white vinegar on the stains and covered them in corn starch. It was amazing to watch the vinegar and cornstarch gravitate to the spots. I waited an hour for the solution to dry, brushed it off with a toothbrush and the stains were gone!

  5. Sorry to be a numpty, but I guess this might be American… is corn starch the same as “cornflour”? Thank you. Managed to spill oil from a tin of sardines on the husband’s new “Moshulu” slippers… he is NOT impressed!

  6. Gill,
    Yes, corn starch and corn flour are the same thing. Another term for them is “maize starch.”
    Source: Wikipedia – Corn starch

  7. I tried this when I spilt bacon fat all over one of my new cream suede boots; it does work, but what I did was dab the stain with vinegar, put cornflour on top and work it in with a back of a teaspoon, then brush it off with a suede brush when dry, and repeated quite a few times, and eventually it worked. I persevered because they were my favourite boots and I was determined not to lose them. Then, I sprayed suede protector over them both. Good luck.

  8. I have been searching for a way to save my Bearpaw suede boots from some cooking oil stains. Came across these tips on removal and am praying this works out. Thanks for all the good tips, including everyone’s tips in the comments.

  9. How long is too long for oil stains? I spilled lotion on my LL Bean slippers almost 24 hours ago; I tried dabbing it with a damp cloth and now there are slight water stains too. Do you think I can still clean them myself?

  10. Kelly,
    It is always best to clean a stain as soon as possible, but stains can often still be removed long after they happen. Hopefully the water stains can be removed with a thorough brushing (to bring up the nap) after you remove the oil stain. If not, there are more cleaning tactics for suede in the article How to Clean Suede.

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