How To Clean a Suede Couch

By: Contributors  | 
A beige suede sofa.
Microsuede couches are easier to maintain. Maryna Terletska / Getty Images

Caring for luxurious suede furniture requires specific techniques, especially when it comes to cleaning. Learning how to clean a suede couch properly can not only enhance the look of your living space but also prolong the life of your beloved furniture.


Understanding Suede: Characteristics and Care

Suede, a type of leather with a napped finish, is a popular choice for furniture due to its soft texture and elegant appearance. Whether you own natural suede or faux suede couches, understanding the material's delicate nature is key to effective upkeep. Suede upholstery needs more attention compared to other fabrics, so it's important to know how to clean a suede couch carefully.


Pre-Cleaning Preparations: What You Need

Before diving into cleaning, gather the essential tools: a soft suede brush or a vacuum's soft brush attachment, a dedicated suede stain remover, and a spray bottle. These items are crucial in dealing with visible dirt and preparing your suede sofa for a deeper clean. Remember, using the right tools can prevent further damage to the delicate fabric.


Regular Maintenance: Dusting and Vacuuming

Regular maintenance, such as dusting with a dry cloth and vacuuming with an upholstery brush attachment, is vital for suede furniture. This routine helps in removing surface dirt and prevents the build-up of grime, keeping your suede sofa looking fresh and clean. Stick to only a vacuum with the correct attachment to avoid pushing dirt deeper into the suede.


Spot Cleaning Techniques: Tackling Stains Immediately

When spills occur, immediate action is crucial. Gently blot the area with a paper towel or a microfiber cloth and then use a mild cleaning solution if necessary. Avoid vigorous rubbing, as it can spread the stain further into the suede upholstery.

For oil stains, a little cornstarch, baby powder, or baking soda can be effective in absorbing the grease. Allow the powder to sit on the stain for up to an hour and then brush away with a soft brush.


Deep Cleaning: Step-by-Step Process

Deep cleaning a suede couch requires careful attention to avoid water damage. Start by thoroughly vacuuming the couch with the upholstery attachment to remove all loose dirt and dust. For a targeted clean, use a suede brush to gently lift dirt and restore the nap of the suede.

For isolated stains, apply a small amount of dedicated suede cleaner or a mixture of baking soda and water to the stained area. Use a soft suede brush or a dry cloth to gently blot and lift the stain. Be cautious not to oversaturate the suede. Once the stain is removed, allow the area to air dry completely.


If necessary, use a blow dryer on a cool setting to help speed up the drying process, holding it at a safe distance to avoid overheating the suede. Remember, always adhere to the manufacturer's instructions for specific cleaning methods and test any cleaning solution on a small, inconspicuous area first.

Using Suede-Specific Products: When and How

Investing in dedicated suede cleaning products like a suede brush and suede cleaner can make a significant difference. These products are designed to remove stubborn stains without harming the suede. A suede brush, in particular, is excellent for restoring the fabric's texture after cleaning.


DIY Cleaning Solutions: Safe Home Remedies

For those preferring homemade solutions, a mixture of white vinegar and water can be effective for stain removal. Apply the solution with a spray bottle and blot gently. However, always test any DIY method on a small, inconspicuous area first to ensure it doesn't cause further damage.


Dealing with Tough Stains: Ink, Wine, and More

Tough stains like ink or red wine require special attention. A dedicated suede stain remover is best for these challenges. Apply a few drops to the stain and use a soft suede brush to work in a circular motion, lifting the stain from the suede fibers. For extremely stubborn stains, professional upholstery cleaning might be necessary.


Protecting Your Suede Couch: Tips and Tricks

Protection is key in extending the life of your suede sofa. Use stain-resistant treatments and regularly apply a suede protector following the care tag instructions. Additionally, avoiding direct sunlight and keeping the fabric dry are crucial in maintaining the integrity of both natural suede and faux suede.


Professional Care: When to Call the Experts

In some cases, such as with extensive water damage or when dealing with tough stains like commercial glue removers, it's wise to seek professional help. Experts in upholstery cleaning can steam clean the couch, ensuring deep cleaning without risking damage. Remember, sometimes, professional intervention can save your suede couch from irreversible damage.

This article was updated in conjunction with AI technology, then fact-checked and edited by a HowStuffWorks editor.