Suede is a type of leather that is created from the underside of the hide. The fibers are buffed and raised to give it a velvety touch. Protection and careful cleaning are the keys to keeping suede items looking good.
Caring for Suede Items
- Begin by protecting your suede items by applying a good protective spray.
- To keep your suede looking its best, brush away loose dirt and debris with a soft bristle brush.
- A dry towel also works to scrub away dirt and stains.
- Spot cleaning can be done at home using a cleaner designed especially for suede rather than a general leather cleaner.
- Suede erasers or brown art gum erasers (not the pink kind) can be rubbed on the suede to loosen ground in dirt and remove some stains.
- For tough stains, try using small amount of vinegar on a towel to clean stains out of suede, but be sure to spot-test it first. Just use a small amount and be careful not to soak the suede. Let the item air out to remove the smell.
- For an oil stain, cover the stain with a dry powder that is a similar color to your suede item, such as wheat germ for dark brown suede, cornstarch for beige suede, or baking soda for white suede. Leave the powder on the stain for several hours or overnight, then brush it off in the morning. Repeat the process as many times as needed.
- After removing stains from a suede item, rub it with a suede brush or dry towel to bring up the nap.
- To keep the suede soft, apply Neat’s foot oil to the backside of the garment.
Additional Tips and Advice
- Use a waterproofing agent designed for suede to provide additional protection (especially for suede shoes). These waterproofers can be found at most clothing stores that sell suede and leather.
- Avoid ironing suede garments; ironing may cause damage to the fabric. Instead, let any wrinkles fall out naturally by hanging your suede garment from a padded hanger. If you must iron, use a cool iron, placing a heavy brown paper bag between the iron and the fabric, and iron very quickly.
- NEVER use petroleum jelly (i.e. Vaseline) as a waterproofing agent on suede—it will stain the fabric!
- Do not store suede in a plastic bag, or other non-breathable storage bag as the suede may dry out and crack.
- Suede is a type of leather. Generally, for a thorough cleaning, it is best to have suede garments professionally cleaned.
- If your suede has lost its pizzazz, try steaming it. Either use a steamer or hold it carefully over a steaming pan of water (at least 6 inches above). Hold it just long enough to make the suede hot, not to get it wet. Then brush with a suede brush to lift the fibers again and restore the nap.