How to: Clean Suede

Suede is an undeniably luxurious fabric. Commonly used for jackets, shoes and gloves, this timeless classic boasts a silky feel and expensive appearance.

However, it’s also pricey and time-consuming to care for, leaving many people to assume it’s not worth the effort.

But with the proper approach and some handy tips, you can wear suede from head to toe.

Enjoy our ‘How to’ guide on caring for suede, and let us know if you have any secret tips to share!

1. Heat + suede = destruction


Suede is a variety of leather, but instead of a smooth and shiny texture, it has a fuzzy, ‘napped’ finish.

And since it’s made of a natural material, heat from a dryer or heater will cause irreparable damage – warping and shrinking it beyond repair.

If you need to dry suede of any kind, it’s best to let it completely air dry. Though it may take more time, you’ll keep your suede nicer for longer.

2. Invest in a suede brush

We all know the situation: You’re at the counter of a shoe store, patiently waiting as the attendant rings up your purchase.

But before you can swipe your card to pay, they pull out some special brush or spray and promise that you need it. The vibe is ‘buy this super special item or you’re an irresponsible shoe owner.’

Now, this can be irritating, but chances are they’re right. With delicate materials like suede, specific tools have been created solely for its proper care.

In this case, it’s a suede brush. This handy tool will rid your suede of dirt and dust accumulated throughout its use.

If one isn’t offered up upon your check-out, simply buy one online.

Best practice: employ your brush once a month or after heavy use. To utilise the brush, always stroke in the same direction to maintain a uniform appearance.

Remember not to brush too hard, as you don’t want to damage the suede with heavy-handed strokes. Instead, use light to medium force, holding the item so as to ensure you’re not brushing too vigorously.

3. Erase your stains


Stains and smudges happen, but it doesn’t mean the demise of your suede! With a special suede eraser or that of a regular pencil, you can actually rub out the stain.

Don’t be scared to employ more pressure with the eraser than you would with the brush, as you’ll need to press harder to remove the stain.

4. Try paper towels for water spots

Maybe you were caught at the beginning of a rain shower or accidentally dribbled some water down your jacket. The best and easiest fix is to use a paper towel.

Simply apply pressure to the water spot with one or two paper towels and hold it down until you believe you’ve removed most of the water.

Then, simply leave it to air dry overnight. It’s that easy!

5. Use cornstarch for tougher stains


If you’ve spilt something a bit more difficult to remove than water on your suede, you’ll need to grab some cornstarch.

First, pat the spill with a paper towel, then add a layer of cornstarch and let it sit overnight. The cornstarch will work to soak up the liquid, effectively removing it from the fabric.

The following morning, use your suede brush to sweep away the excess cornstarch. Next, you’ll want to use another suede item to rub over the spot to restore its pre-stain condition.

You can finish up by grabbing your suede (or normal) eraser to restore the fabric’s napped finish.

These are just a few of the many tips for proper suede care, so let us know your favourite tip below!

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