Cleaning Suede

Written by April Reinhardt (last updated August 28, 2017)

Suede is a leather without the hard, exterior surface. Its napped finish makes it less durable than leather, but also much softer. Suede is exceptionally difficult to clean because of its textured nature. The open pores in suede absorb liquid quickly, trapping stains and dirt. Because it is soft and supple, suede is used to make clothing, purses, shoes and boots, and even furniture. Today we have faux-suede materials such as Ultrasuede and Microsuede that are much easier to clean, but less durable than genuine suede. Modern tanning techniques make it possible to waterproof suede and make it somewhat stain-proof, but such applications also increase the price of already-costly suede leather.

Since suede is so expensive, it is wise to clean it properly. You could cause irreparable damage to your suede leather if you decide to do it yourself. If in doubt, take your garments to a dry cleaner to have them professionally cleaned. If you decide to do it yourself, try these tips at home:

  • To bring up the nap of the suede, rub the surface with a clean bath towel. If you have suede shoes, try rubbing them with a low grit sandpaper to bring up the nap.
  • Dry stains might be removed with a pencil eraser. Rub the surface gently and then increase the pressure until you see the stain disappear.
  • Wet stains should be blotted and dried immediately with a bath towel or paper towels. Avoid rubbing paper towels on wet suede, as the paper may disintegrate and leave behind bits of paper in the leather. Allow the suede to dry completely before attempting a chemical stain remover.
  • If you have muddy suede boots or shoes, scrub the dirt away with a nail file or sandpaper.
  • Purchase a leather cleaner from a leather shop to remove body oils and stains from suede furniture.

Protecting your suede leather against stains is advisable. Wear a scarf to protect the collar of your favorite suede jacket or shirt against makeup and sweat stains. Store suede shoes in cotton pillowcases instead of plastic bags, since cotton promotes air circulation. Protect suede furniture from light, since leather fades. If you have a suede couch, move it to the other side of the room every few months to avoid patches of sunlight fading. Always spray your newly purchased suede with waterproof and stain proof chemicals to protect them from damage.

Author Bio

April Reinhardt

An admin­istrator for a mutual fund man­age­ment firm, April deals with the writ­ten word daily. She loves to write and plans to author a memoir in the near future. April attend­ed More­head State Uni­ver­sity to pursue a BA degree in Ele­men­tary Edu­ca­tion. ...


Treating Third-degree Burns

You can offer first aid to a victim of third-degree burns while you are waiting for help to arrive. Third-degree burns ...

Discover More

Safely Removing Killer Bees

In 1995, while a man cleared brush with a chainsaw on his property in Texas, he was attacked by thousands of Killer Bees. ...

Discover More

Gardening on a Slope

One of the most important factors to know when gardening on a slope is that of temperatures. Temperatures can differ ...

Discover More

Tough Tools for Tough Cleaning Jobs O-Cel-O sponges and Scotch Brite scrubbers are truly a fashion-meets-function success story. The highly absorbent and durable sponges in this handy six-pack make quick work of tough cleaning problems in any kitchen, bathroom, or garage. Check out Scotch-Brite Heavy Duty Scrub Sponges today!

More Cleaning Tips

Cleaning Leather Clothes

Leather is a beautiful addition to your wardrobe. Keeping it clean will help keep it looking great and free of avoidable ...

Discover More

Cleaning Suede Leather

Suede is a very special type of leather, and needs special care when getting cleaned. There are some things that you can ...

Discover More

Maintaining Leather Furniture

Leather furniture can add a wonderful hint of masculine elegance to most decorating choices. However, maintaining leather ...

Discover More

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in Cleaning Tips from Tips.Net. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.


If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is seven minus 4?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)

Newest Tips

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in Cleaning Tips from Tips.Net. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.