Maid2Match Logo

How To Clean Suede

by | Jul 2, 2021 | Cleaning Tips

Few things are classier than something in suede. A jacket, a pair of boots, even a couch — suede is just versatile and comfortable. But as chic as suede can be, it’s also highly impractical. Suede can’t get wet, and gets dirty pretty easily. And cleaning suede clothing or suede shoes is very different from cleaning leather.

While suede is a delicate material, you shouldn’t be dis-suede-ded from cleaning it! It’s a fairly straightforward procedure depending on what suede item you have. Cleaning suede often involves the use of a vacuum or a suede brush. If there are stains, vinegar or bicarb soda will work (but not both!).

Have we per-suede-ded you to clean yet? Here’s how to clean suede in all forms!



Types of Suede

real brown suede texture

There are two kinds of suede available on the market, although both have similar cleaning requirements. The first is natural suede, which is a brushed animal leather with a napped finish. It comes in dyed or undyed finishes, and is not uniform in grain.

Alternatively, there’s microfibre suede, which is created from polyester and nylon fibres. The two are woven together tightly to mimic the supple feel of natural suede. This is more resistant to dust and stains, but isn’t quite as posh as the real thing.

Before cleaning, check what your suede item is made of, and if it has any specific care instructions. Some suede fabrics can be cleaned using water-based products, while others require water-free products. Certain products will even discourage any home cleaning agent.



How To Clean Suede Shoes

It’s important to keep suede clean, but especially suede shoes. Since we wear them outdoors, they come into contact with all sorts of surfaces. And with that comes dust or stains — plenty of things that’ll dirty up a good pair of suede boots. (Or blue suede shoes!)

The first tip to cleaning suede shoes is not to get them wet. You can’t wash suede shoes, otherwise you’ll ruin the leather. Instead, clean them with one of the following implements:

  • Suede brush
  • Suede eraser
  • White vinegar or rubbing alcohol



cleaning shoes with suede brush


For loose dirt or grit, use a suede brush to remove it from the surface. If you don’t have a suede brush, then a clean toothbrush will work just fine. Use light strokes to brush the surface — and remember to brush with the grain. For more pronounced marks, gently rub the brush back and forth.

If scuff marks are stubborn or won’t come off with a brush, use a suede eraser. (A regular pencil eraser will work, too — just clean it off!) Use a back-and-forth motion to gently rub at the mark and dislodge any loose particles. If the stain won’t budge, don’t force it.

Light stains can be removed with white vinegar, or even rubbing alcohol. Dip the corner of a clean cloth (microfibre or other soft cloth works) into a small amount of white vinegar. Dab it onto the stain in a light, back-and-forth motion. You only want to dampen the suede, not soak it. Repeat these steps as often as needed to remove the stain — it’ll take patience! And don’t worry; the white vinegar or alcohol will evaporate on its own.

Soak up wet stains with bicarb soda or cornflour. Leave the cleaning product to sit overnight and absorb any wetness, then brush it off in the morning. If there are any marks leftover, use one of the methods above.

Of course, prevention is better than cure, so always remember to treat your shoes with a suede protector at least once a week. This means you’ll have to clean suede shoes less often (but you can’t avoid cleaning them at all!).


woman hands spraying suede leather shoe with suede protector



How To Clean A Suede Couch

Check your sofa’s care manual first before getting any cleaning equipment. Depending on the material, it may be better to let a professional home cleaning service clean suede sofas instead. But if you’re willing to go DIY, or if the cleaning job isn’t too intensive, here’s how to clean suede couches by material.

To clean a suede couch, you’ll need:

  • Vacuum with upholstery attachment
  • Suede brush
  • Cornflour or bicarb soda (for wet stains)
  • Suede protector for furniture



Cleaning a natural suede couch

Once a week, vacuum your suede couch with the upholstery attachment to remove dust and other dirt that can damage the fabric.

To remove stains from suede, treat immediately with bicarb soda or cornflour. Blot any stain — blot, don’t rub! — first, then sprinkle the bicarb soda on to absorb any further dampness. Let dry completely, then brush the powder off.

Gently brush the couch with a suede brush everyday to maintain its appearance and neatness. It’ll look good and prevent dirt from building up in the fabric!

If possible, spray your couch with suede protectant spray.



Cleaning a microfibre suede couch

Check whether your microfibre suede couch can be cleaned using water- or solvent-based cleaning products. It’s important to know what you can use — you don’t want to accidentally ruin your couch!

As with natural suede, vacuum once a week with the upholstery attachment to remove loose dirt and dust.

  1. Mix four cups of water with one fourth cup detergent (such as dish soap) and mix well until sudsy. Fill a second container with clean water.
  2. Dip the scrub brush in the suds (not the water!). Use it to gently scrub one area at a time. Work left to right and top to bottom so nothing drips onto already-clean areas.
  3. Rinse your brush frequently to make sure it’s clean, then wipe it dry before dipping it back into the suds!
  4. As you clean each area, dampen a soft cloth with plain water and wipe away the suds.
  5. When you’re finished, let the entire couch air dry completely, then vacuum to fluff it back up!



How To Clean Suede Garments

Whether it’s a suede hat or a jacket, regular light cleaning is necessary to make sure your suede items are in top condition. Use a suede brush to regularly brush out your suede items. Remember to move in the direction of the grain!

For removing stains from suede garments, use the same methods as above. Wet stains should be blotted with a paper towel to absorb the moisture. Then once the fabric is dry, gently rub with a suede or pencil eraser, or lightly sponge the area with a 1:1 mix of water and vinegar.

For water stains, simply mist the area lightly with water and blot with more paper towels. Just remember to brush your suede item after to buff it up!

Do not put suede items in the wash. This will remove natural oils and will likely cause shrinkage. Send it out to a specialist cleaner instead if necessary.

Don’t forget to use a suede protectant spray on your garments to help repel dirt and grease during regular use! Regular brushing will also help your garments remain clean. The process for how to clean suede might be simple, but the less frequently you need to buff your suede items, the better.


About Author

Sophie Franklin

Sophie is the subject matter expert within Maid2Match. Most importantly though she is our biggest fan girl and generous in sharing what she knows.


About Author

Sophie Franklin

Sophie is the subject matter expert within Maid2Match. Most importantly though she is our biggest fan girl and generous in sharing what she knows.