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What Is the Best Way to Clean Suede?

Suede is a beautiful fabric—very smooth and sophisticated, and much prized for bags and shoes. It is also used in home décor.

However, suede is quite delicate. It is important to use specialty cleansing products, because even if it is a type of leather, traditional leather cleaners will damage the finish. Some people recommend using vinegar or soap but this is a case to case basis. It is best to test this first on a small and discreet part of the suede object to see if it will ruin the fabric.

Some suede cleansers are conveniently shaped like a small block—like a pencil eraser. This is great for removing small stains and smudges, or lifting off any layer of dirt or dust that can accumulate on the fabric, even when it is just stored. When the suede eraser is rubbed against the object, it crumbles into little particles that help “lift” the grime. It is excellent for taking off a dried stain.

Another important cleaning tool is a metal suede brush. This can help smooth the rough texture of the object especially after it has been cleaned with a suede eraser. It helps put the “fluff” back into the suede. This is very important for suede shoes, coats or sofas. Metal suede brushes can also take off scuff marks.

However the best way to care for suede is to prevent damage. For example, stuff paper into wet suede shoes so that the soft material doesn’t become deformed. Spray suede shoes or bags with a protective spray.

Featured in DIY / Hobbies