Cleaning Suede

May 5, 2004

Suede footwear is expensive and difficult to care for. Suede is one of the few materials which cannot be cleaned successfully with water. In fact, weather can transform the smooth, velvety surface into one that is harsh and uneven.


These simple ideas will help to extend the life of suede boots. Never wear them in the rain or snow. A light application of silicon spray before wearing them for the first time will help prevent water from doing too much damage. After spraying, dry the boots away from direct heat, which may stiffen and crack the suede. After they are completely dry, restore the nap by gently rubbing with fine sandpaper or an emery board.

The silicon spray will also help protect against soil build up and rock salt stains. Loose dirt should be removed after every wearing by brushing the boots with a dry sponge, towel, gum eraser or suede brush. Fresh rock salt stains should also be removed before they have a chance to set. Dab the stain with a little clear water.

Grease stains can be removed by applying a bit of dry cleaning solvent mixed with an absorbent such as fuller's earth or sawdust. Never use a dry cleaning solvent alone, for it will leave rings and spots that cannot be removed. And even when used with an absorbent, dry cleaning solvent, should be used very cautiously. Solvents may remove color from suede, for the color is only on the surface. Always test the solvent mixture first on a tiny inconspicuous area of the shoe.

It may be best to have suede boots professionally cleaned by a reputable suede cleaning establishment. Resist the temptation to wear new footwear until you have polished them first with a stain-repellent product or plain shoe polish.

To remove salt stains from leather shoes and winter boots, wipe them with a solution of 1 cup water and 1 tablespoon vinegar.

To cover ugly scuff marks on leather, use a matching color in acrylic paint, indelible felt marker, or crayon.

Remove light scuff marks with an art-gum eraser.

For a speedy clean and shine on patent leather, rub a minute amount of petroleum jelly over your shoes and buff or use a spray glass cleaner.

Leather footwear should be aired out after every wearing, and periodically sprayed inside with a disinfectant or clothes deodorizer. Store them in soft cloth or tissue paper, never in plastic bags. Cornell Cooperative Extension Yates Association

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To remove stains from things like your Ugg boots, coat, jacket, gloves, and anything made from real suede, use an eraser. Even a eraser on a pencil will work, but it must be absolutely clean. Just rub over the stain and it will disappear completely. After I do this, I use a small brush to get new looking results.

Remove Suede Stains with Clean Pencil Eraser

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July 23, 2010

I have a brown suede skirt that I LOVE but when I took it to have it dry-cleaned, they wanted $50! I don't love it enough to spend a couple hundred dollars a year to clean it. I thanked the woman behind the counter but said, "No Thanks."

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To get sticky adhesive off suede items, gently run with a pink eraser then wash the suede in the laundry as usual on the gently cycle.

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February 11, 2005

I use (very inexpensive) granules for grease/oil on shop floor. I use coffee bean grinder to make fine powder (comes in 1/4 inch granules) and rub into oil stain on suede shoes. Voila! It works!

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March 28, 2005

To save on cleaning bills and headaches, don't buy anything in suede! It seems that every issue of Daily Thrifty Tip has a request on how to get a stain out of suede.

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I have a lovely dark brown leather wallet with suede sides. Somehow it got light make up stains on it! I have taken spots out with white powder before, the powder absorbs grease.

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22 Questions

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March 5, 2005

I have a request on how to get stains out of a tan colored suede vest. I took to the dry cleaners but they wanted 35 bucks to do it. Any way I can do it myself?



By kendra (Guest Post)
March 14, 20050 found this helpful

I used to work at Danier leather and have found that they offer a stone and a suede cleaning brush seem to work fairly well. They are cheap, so it might be worth a try. Even takle the vest in to them and they may have better ideas. They are usually pretty good about giving cleaning and care advice.

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By (Guest Post)
January 4, 20060 found this helpful

I have a washable suede jacket that is too big so it would be nice to shrink it. What would happen if I put it in the front loading washing machine?? How do they make washable suede washable?

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By ju-ju (Guest Post)
September 10, 20060 found this helpful

I read somewhere to try a fine-medium grit sandpaper. Well, I did just that today. Excellent results removing dirt, stains, and it rejuvenated the nap of the suede. Best part was, no chemicals or dollars$$$$

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April 13, 2020

How do I get dried chicken grease out of waterproof suede boots?


April 13, 20200 found this helpful

It looks like almost every site recommends using cornstarch.
I'm not sure how well it will work on dried fat stains and waterproofed boots may be even more difficult.
I think you should read several suggestions and settle on one to try. Maybe give it a little time and if necessary repeat it or try something else.

They do sell a suede cleaning kit that might help bringing the suede back to life after spots are gone.

Check out these sites to see if any look promising to you.

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October 10, 2015

My suede jacket was washed in a washing machine, then dried in the dryer. My jacket is now too small because it has shrunk. Is there anything I can do to "stretch it"?


October 10, 20150 found this helpful

Leather is animal skin. Most leather clothing is usually neither washer nor dryer washable. Your suede jacket is most probably permanently shrunk.

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October 12, 20150 found this helpful

No likely. Leather is not washable nor dry-able. I do not know of any way to get it back.

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Does anyone have an easy solution for cleaning suede?

By Sabrina Barr


November 8, 20090 found this helpful

I once used psst (a spray on dry shampoo for the hair) and a suede brush on a jacket with good results. Try on an inside seam or a spot that is not obvious first for any discolorations. because suede is finicky a lot of cleaners refuse to accept them. Good luck, carla

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November 8, 20090 found this helpful

If the suede is light colored (tan) a sprinkling of corn meal rubbed in will clean it.. An Nunley10 says, the dye process is questionable; so 'travel at your own risk'. Oddly enough the best Cleaners in Memphis were named Nunnelly :) (three 'N's) and they did clean all leathers.

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December 15, 2004

I have an ink line or permanent marker in red on my new suede jacket on the back. I need to found out how I can get it clean.
Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thank You,


By Shelly (Guest Post)
December 16, 20040 found this helpful

Walmart sells a suede cleaning kit (pretty cheap) that looks like an eraser. I've had luck in removing all kinds of marks (including grease) from suede shoes. You might give it a try. In that there are no chemicals involved it certainly couldn't "hurt" your jacket.

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By (Guest Post)
June 23, 20050 found this helpful

try Oreck's carpet cleaner. it takes perm marker out of carpet.

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January 20, 2014

Any tips for cleaning suede pocketbook?

By Tonella E.

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August 8, 2016

This is a page about cleaning a suede jacket. Because of its nap, suede jackets should be cleaned following the best process for this type of leather.

Camel colored suede jacket with fringe

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October 31, 2019

A new suede jacket or other piece of clothing can be quite stiff until broken in, as can items that get wet. There are a few ways to soften suede, including wearing it often, using a conditioner, or taking it to a dry cleaner or leather specialist.

A fringed suede jacket.

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January 19, 2017

Because of its nap, suede requires some special care when trying to remove stains. This is a page about removing a butter stain on suede.

A piece of toast with melted butter.

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