Suede comes in so many grades and textures that finding the right cleaning product can be confusing. Some suede will easily lose their color and texture, actually becoming weak and damaged from the loss of their oils. Use this article as a guide only. Don’t use anything on your suede garments without first testing an inconspicuous area. Some leather cleaners can ruin suede or the stitching, so it’s best to use one that is made specifically for your type of leather.
Suede is perhaps the hardest leather to keep clean. The matte, porous texture has very little resistance to stains. Cleaning stains can be a bit tricky and you may want to take your suede garments to a professional if you have a serious stain. However, if you want to try it yourself, here’s what you can do.
For dry stains, try gently brushing them with a soft toothbrush. A baby toothbrush is best because it is softer. If a toothbrush doesn’t work, you can try erasing the stain with a pencil eraser. Remember to test a hidden area first so that you know if a soft toothbrush or pencil eraser will ruin the nap of the leather.
If the stain is wet, absorb as much as you can by pressing a dry towel or paper towel firmly against the surface. Don’t rub, only press. You may even stand on the spot to squeeze out the liquid with your weight. Wet stains should be taken to a professional. If it’s not worth the cost to you to take it to be cleaned, you can try to do it yourself with a towel that has been barely dampened with white vinegar. Test for colorfastness before you go for the stain. Depending on how the leather was treated, colors could run away from the spot.
Use a hair dryer set to cool to get the spot dry as quickly as possible. Don’t use heat or you could set the stain and harm the suede. Use a dry wash cloth or soft baby toothbrush to restore the nap of the suede as it dries. Don’t ever let a wet spot sit or it will leave a ring when it dries. It will also turn stiff and the leather will be weakened. Suede garments will often tear and crack along the seams if they get too wet.
Drying a suede coat or suit that has been drenched would take forever with a cool hair dryer. You can let them air dry if you do it properly. Suede garments will lose their shape if not dried correctly. Soak up as much water as possible by pressing with a dry cloth as described above. Hang suits on clothes hangers that are made specifically for each garment. Choosing the right clothes hanger can make all the difference. Shirts go on shirt hangers, skirts on skirt hangers, dresses on dress hangers, and coats on coat hangers. This will help to maintain the shape of the garment as it dries.
About the Author: Charlie Hafter is on the staff of Closet Hanger Factory, a leading online resource for clothes hangers. Get all of the closet and clothes hanger accessories you could need at http://www.closethangerfactory.com, which is recognized worldwide for their excellent quality hangers.