How to Clean Stains From Suede

Suede Cleaning

Suede is one of those natural materials that can be very appealing.

It’s warm and feels nice and soft and looks (and is) expensive. However, it’s not the easiest thing to clean – no matter whether you’re talking about suede shoes, a suede coat or suede upholstery.

That lovely nap is the result of not only how leather is finished but which part of the hide is used.

It’s softer than leather which makes it feel very luxurious. It also soaks up moisture and dirt easily. The best bet is really to have suede articles cleaned by a professional cleaner or to use a cleaning solution made specifically for suede.

If that’s outside of your budget or you want to try some DIY suede cleaning, here’s what you can try.

Remember to test any cleaning method in an inconspicuous spot before prior to a full cleaning.

Working with the Nap

Work the nap on the suede up using a bath towel, toothbrush or suede brush. If you’re working on shoes use the metal side of the suede brush or even fine sandpaper. Doing this once in a while even if there’s no stain or dirt will help the suede continue to look like new.

Cleaning Dry Stains

Use a rubber eraser (the kind you buy in an art store), a pencil eraser, or a suede eraser to remove dry stains and marks. You can also use an emery board or fine grade sandpaper.

Use light pressure and just keep working on the area until it has lifted. Use the suede brush or a bath towel to work the nap back up.

Removing Fresh Stains

Wipe up any fresh stains with a paper towel. Be careful to blot and not rub. You don’t want to work wet stains down into the nap. After the suede has dried, work on the stain with an eraser and then, once again, lift the nap with the bath towel or suede brush.

Cleaning with Cornmeal

Cornmeal can be rubbed into stains on suede – particularly greasy stains. Leave the cornmeal on the spot for a while to soak up grease or oil and then brush it off. Work the nap of the suede back up.

How’d That Gum Get There?

If by some chance you’ve managed to get gum on your suede, try freezing it off. Take some ice cubes and put them in a ziplock baggie. Put this on top of the gum until it freezes then carefully pick off the frozen piece of gum. Follow with a suede brush to remove any remaining gum and to lift the nap.

Cleaning Suede Shoes

Using vinegar can clean your suede shoes. Take a clean soft cloth and wipe a small amount of vinegar on them. If you have stains and spots that have become permanent over time, getting them wet and letting them air dry may hide or make the stains less visible. After either of these methods, when dry, use a brush to rough the nap back up.

How To Keep Your Suede Clean

Once you’ve gotten rid of the stain and grime on your suede item, be sure to treat it with a suede protector. Follow the instructions when applying it to suede. It also can’t hurt to waterproof suede items to prevent stains and even water spots from marring the finish of the suede.