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How to Get Stains Out of Suede


Most of us are familiar with suede. For some, it may stir up nostalgia from childhood; others may have seen it on the runway or heard Elvis crooning about his pair of blue suede shoes. Suede is a unique material. It is a type of leather made from the soft underside of an animal’s hide. And though it comes from leather, it isn’t as durable as its traditional counterpart. Suede tends to scuff and stain with ease, which makes some avoid it altogether.

As effortlessly as suede complements any outfit, how to get stains out of suede and keep it clean remains a mystery for most. There are tons of rules, including that it should always be pat dry and left to air dry before storing, and you should never leave it next to a heater or use a hairdryer.

That’s where we come in. At Mulberrys Garment Care, we’ve spent decades learning about the ins, outs, and nuances of clothing. Below, we share a few of our favorite tips on getting stains out of suede.

Dirt: Use a Suede Brush

Because suede is a soft and natural material, little to no elbow grease is needed to remove light stains like scuffs and dirt. All you need to get the stains out is a brush with stiff bristles. Although a brush with a mixture of stiff metal and soft nylon bristles is ideal, you can also use a generic bristle brush or a toothbrush.

Start by gently brushing the bristles in one direction in a back-and-forth motion, switching directions as needed. Afterward, you can use art gum erasers to tidy up the stain. Doing so will not only remove the stain but also helps you maintain its integrity and keep it in your closet for a long time!

Oil Stains: Treat it with Corn Starch or Baking Soda

We bet you didn’t know corn starch had uses besides making fried foods crispy and thickening sauces! Using corn starch or baking soda on your shoes and clothes is an excellent — and cheap — way to get stains out of suede. It safely draws out the oil from your item while keeping it from further damage.

Sprinkle enough corn starch or baking soda on the oil stain, enough to create a small mound that completely covers the stain. Let it sit for 10 minutes to a couple of hours, depending on the severity of the stain. Next, use your stiff-bristled brush to remove the excess powder. You may want to repeat the process if the stain remains or break out the big guns.

Heavy-Duty Stains: Apply Vinegar or Alcohol

For more set-in stains, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and break out the chemicals: white vinegar and rubbing alcohol. What makes them ideal for getting rid of stains out of suede is that they don’t stain like water can. Although white vinegar and rubbing alcohol don’t pose a significant threat to your suede garments, we still highly recommend the spot treatment method.

Pour your chemical of choice into a clean, dry white washcloth or microfiber cloth, and gently blot the area. The goal is to dampen the stained suede, not soak it. Afterward, let it completely air dry, and use a suede brush to wipe away any residue.

Take It to the Cleaners

If you don’t trust yourself with cleaning your beloved clothes and shoes, there is also the option to take your garments to the experts. That’s right, an excellent way to get stains out of suede is to take it to the cleaners!

Since before dry cleaning began, many companies have evolved to include services like suede item cleaning and shoe repair. Be sure to investigate their process and prices before dropping off your items to ensure that they are using natural and approved products in their process.

Protect Your Suede

Another way to get stains out of suede is to protect your suede apparel before you ever decide to wear them. There are several ways you can do so. The most popular choice is spraying your shoes and coat with water-repelling spray. Before you go spray-crazy, test the product on a small section of your items.

After vetting, spray the item all over and let it fully dry, and be sure to reapply a coat once every season. However, if you want to boost the odds that you’ll never damage your suede items, we highly recommend saving your fashionable items for drier weather.

Mulberrys Garment Care

Suede is easily one of the most fashionable materials, but it requires delicate care. We hope our tips on how to get stains out of suede proved helpful! If you need help managing your shoes or your laundry, Mulberrys Garment Care is more than happy to help.

We are an award-winning full-service dry-cleaning company. Our laundry list of services includes dry cleaning, shoe polish and repair, clothing alterations, wedding dress preservation, and more.

Interested in learning more about our services? Contact us today!