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How to Clean Suede

Suede is a special fabric, which often requires careful handling. You can clean suede clothing, shoes and upholstery yourself with one of the methods listed below.

General cleaning

You'll need the following:

  • A bath towel
  • A clean pencil eraser
  • A suede brush
  • White vinegar
  • A clean, dry cloth

Here's what to do:

  1. Rub the suede gently with the towel.
  2. Remove dry stains with the pencil eraser.
  3. Brush over the suede with the suede brush.
  4. Apply a little bit of vinegar to the stains.
  5. Gently scrub the stains with the dry cloth and let the suede air-dry [source: repairhome].

To clean mud, oil or ink, you'll need one or more of the following:

  • Dry-cleaning solvent
  • Blotting paper
  • Leather-product degreaser
  • Suede brush
  • Nail file
  • High-nap towel
  • Clean, dry cloth

Here's what to do:

  • Ink stains Blot the stain immediately to remove excess ink. Dab on a bit of dry cleaning solvent. The solvent and stain should evaporate.
  • Mud Gently scrape off the mud with a nail file [source: Alward].
  • Grease or oil stains Blot leather degreaser on the stain with a clean cloth, and follow the directions for the product. Allow the degreaser to dry. Brush off the powder with the suede brush [source: MrsClean].

Rub the suede gently with a nail file or towel to help restore the nap after cleaning [source: Alward].


  • Spray new suede items with a suede protection product, readily available in stores. Test a small hidden section before you spray the entire item.
  • Don't clean oil or grease stains with water, as it might spread the stain.
  • Brush off dust from your garments or shoes with a suede brush. Don't use the brush for anything else.
  • Wear a scarf to protect suede collars from perspiration, hair products, body oil and makeup.
  • Store your suede garments in fabric bags, not plastic, so they can breathe.
  • Have unusual stains removed by a specialist. Have expensive items professionally cleaned by a specialist, too.
  • Take your garments to a suede specialist for professional cleaning every other year [source: Alward].