9 Easy Ways to Clean a Suede Jacket

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Suede jackets are a popular style choice for both men and women, but they can be difficult to clean if they get stained. Suede is a delicate and luxurious fabric and it needs to be cleaned with a little caution.

There are many methods that can be used to clean suede jackets, but some are better than others. In this article, we will outline several methods that you can use to clean your suede jacket. We will also provide some tips on how to prevent stains from occurring in the first place.

Before I embark on a description regarding the accurate and effective cleaning of a suede jacket, let me tell you a little bit about what suede is.


What is Suede?

Suede, technically, is a type of fuzzy leather with a napped finish. It’s distinctively known for its smooth finish and snug fittings. It was popular in the 1960s and 70s and it’s making a comeback in the fashion industry again.

This “velvet-ish” material is commonly found in earth tones—red, brown, and ochre yellow (of course they can be dyed any color). It makes for great jackets—they are soft and warm without being fleecy. It also makes for great shoes (especially boots) and couches!

To clean a suede jacket is no ordinary feat, however. The fabric cannot be run through the washing machine or even water, so that option is as good as out of the window.

Basic Tips for Cleaning and Maintaining a Suede Jacket

If you own suede jackets, you must keep in mind a few basic cleaning tips.

1. The first thing to remember is that water is the suede’s arch-enemy. Water damage causes the suede to warp and bloat. So, never use water to wash suede jackets.

2. Purchasing a suede protector spray is also a smart investment, for it protects the material against weather conditions and/or accidental staining. It does require frequent reapplications (once a month), but this product does guarantee good coverage.

3. Minor spot cleaning is easily done, with the aid of a suede brush. The brushing ought to be gentle because harsh movements might worsen the stains or scuff marks.

Brush in the direction of the fiber. Suede jackets are not meant for regular use, they need to be air-dried quite often. This process allows the material to breathe and thus prolongs its lifespan.

4. The storage of suede jackets also requires careful consideration. The two primary factors to keep in mind are:

  • Store in places away from direct sunlight
  • Ensure that there is adequate ventilation

Suede when exposed to sunlight for a prolonged duration of time tends to shrink and harden. Avoid wrapping suede in packaging materials as the suede needs breathing room. The perfect storage location is therefore a cool, dark recess with enough air circulation.

Now that the basic cleaning tips are cleared, let’s move on to methods on how to clean a suede jacket.

9 Easy Ways to Clean Suede Jackets

1. Brushing

Brushing is the most commonly recommended method for suede cleaning. There are mainly two types of brushes for this—a smaller, wire brush for cleaning out hard-to-reach abscesses and crevices, and a larger rubber brush for a more large-scale cleaning procedure.

The brushing action should be gentle but impactful, enabling the bristles to permeate the jacket and clean out the dirt.

Brushing in the direction of the grain is imperative, it helps maintain uniformity. Excessive pressure is discouraged as it can lead to irreversible tear damage.

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Although brushes are almost entirely effective, they can sometimes fail to do their job. Use a suede eraser for such situations. A suede block is another useful tool that evens the surface out and gets rid of any noticeable shine.

2. Dab with Water

This might not work for every situation, but is one of the most effective methods there is.

In the eventuality that there is a stain on your suede jacket, apply water liberally to the concerned area. Use a dry paper towel to gently apply pressure, and gradually soak up the moisture.

Repeat until you notice a visible lightening of the stained area. Water has a cleansing effect on the stain, while the concentrated pressure prevents the stain from spreading any further.

In case your jacket still feels wet to the touch, use a towel or sponge to soak up the excess. Dry the jacket out overnight, preferably hanging it in an area that receives proper air circulation. Use a suede brush in the morning to brush out any folds or creases. This will help restore the original look of the fiber.

3. Removing Dried Liquid Stains

Here’s a good old DIY method to the rescue!

Talcum powder is great for the removal of dried liquid stains. All you need to do is pat the area dry, apply a layer of talcum powder, and leave it overnight. Use a suede brush in the morning to remove the talc layer.

You will notice a visible fading. Proceed to use a suede block on the affected area as it helps restore the nap. A suede eraser can also prove effective in a similar scenario.

While these are broader classifications, there are also particular methods of the removal of particular stains- be it mud, oil, or coffee.

4. Removing Oil Stains

Oil stains do not often show up on suede (unless the color is light enough). But they do leave a lasting imprint, akin to a waxy sheen that only gets more stubborn over time.

If you’re unfortunate enough to get an oil stain on your suede jacket, don’t despair – there are a few things you can do to try and remove it.

Firstly, try blotting the stain with a clean, dry cloth. If that doesn’t work, then try using a little bit of talcum powder or cornstarch to absorb the oil. Just apply a small amount to the stain and leave it for a few minutes before brushing it off.

If those two methods don’t work, then you can try using a suede brush or a damp cloth to gently rub the stain. You might need to do this a few times before the stain starts to fade.

If the stain is still there after you’ve tried all of these methods, then you can take your jacket to a dry cleaner and they should be able to help.

5. Cleaning Mud Stains

Suede is a very delicate fabric, so it’s important to take extra care when cleaning mud stains from it. The best way to remove mud stains from suede is to let the mud dry and then gently brush them away with a soft-bristled brush.

The bristles loosen the mud particles, while the brushing eventually leads to their removal. If the mud stains are particularly stubborn, you can also try using a suede eraser or rubbing alcohol. Once you’ve removed the mud stains, be sure to protect your jacket with a waterproof spray.

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6. Cleaning Coffee Stains

Whether you’re dealing with a fresh coffee stain or an old one, you can usually remove it from your suede jacket with some simple cleaning techniques.

First, blot up as much of the stain as possible with a clean, dry cloth. Then, make a paste out of equal parts white vinegar and cornstarch and rub it into the stain. Let the paste sit for about 30 minutes, then brush it off with a soft cloth.

If the stain is still visible, repeat the process until it’s gone. You can also try using a suede eraser or cleaner to remove stubborn stains. This works equally well for tea and juice stains too.

7. Removing Ink Stains

Ink stains often seem impossible to get rid of, thanks to their deep pigments. Quickness is of the utmost importance if your suede jacket gets an ink stain—use a paper towel to stem the spread.

Rubbing alcohol has a good track record in tackling ink stains. Use a cotton ball dipped in some rubbing alcohol to get rid of the worst ink stains.

You could also try scraping the stain off with sandpaper. But sandpaper is abrasive, and can potentially damage the material.

8. Stains Caused by Salinity

White vinegar to the rescue! Hands down the best way to deal with salt stains, make sure you do not apply too much of this bleaching agent. Direct application is also strictly discouraged. Use a rag or sponge as an intermediary surface.

Let the vinegar dry and then use a suede brush to dust it off.

9. Removing Wax

Wax tends to harden if cooled, and that is exactly how you should deal with wax stains on a suede jacket.

Put the jacket in your freezer for a couple of hours, or at least until the wax is hard enough to be scraped off with ease using a dull knife.

If the stain is still visible, you can try using a suede brush or eraser to lightly work it out. Finally, if all else fails, you can always take the jacket to a professional cleaner.

How to clean a suede jacket collar

Assuming you have a standard suede jacket, the best way to clean the collar is with a lint brush. First, remove any obvious dirt and debris with the brush. Next, use a damp cloth to lightly spot clean the collar. Be sure not to soak the suede, as this can damage the material. Finally, use the lint brush to remove any remaining dirt or debris.

If your suede jacket has a detachable collar, you can follow the same instructions as above. However, if the collar is attached, you will need to take extra care not to damage the jacket.

Can you put a suede jacket in the washing machine?

It’s generally not a good idea to put a suede jacket in the washing machine, I would avoid it. Suede is a delicate material, and it’s best to clean it by spot-cleaning.

But, if you don’t have time and you do decide to wash your suede jacket in the machine, just make sure to use the gentle cycle and wash in cold water. You’ll also want to put the jacket in a mesh laundry bag to protect it from damage. After washing, be sure to let the jacket air dry completely before wearing it again.

Will snow ruin a suede jacket?

If you must wear your suede jacket in the snow, be sure to treat it with a waterproofing agent before heading out. You can also try to keep your suede jacket as dry as possible by wearing a coat over it. But if it does get wet, don’t despair – just let it dry naturally, and brush the nap back into place once it’s dry.

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How to dry a suede jacket

If your suede jacket has been caught in the rain or otherwise gotten wet, make sure to dry it properly. First, blot the wet areas with a clean, absorbent towel. Then, hang the jacket in a well-ventilated area to air dry. Finally, use a soft brush to lightly brush the jacket and restore its nap. With a little care, your suede jacket will be back to its original condition in no time.

Can a suede jacket be dry cleaned?

Yes, a suede jacket can be dry cleaned. However, it is important to note that not all dry cleaners are able to safely and effectively clean suede. When searching for a dry cleaner that can clean your suede jacket, be sure to ask if they have experience cleaning suede coats and jackets.

How to protect a suede jacket

To help protect your suede jacket and keep it looking its best, consider the following tips:

– Brush away any dirt or debris with a soft-bristled brush.

– Spot clean any stains with a suede cleaner or white vinegar and water solution.

– Protect the jacket from moisture by storing it in a breathable garment bag.

– Avoid exposing the jacket to direct sunlight or heat sources.

– Let the jacket air out if it becomes wet or damp.

– Have the jacket professionally cleaned when necessary.

Can a suede jacket be altered?

Yes, a suede jacket can be altered but needs extra care when handling and working with the fabric.

Things to Remember When Cleaning a Suede Jacket

1. The cleaning method used for your suede jacket should depend on the type of stain.

2. A proportional amount of vinegar in a warm water solution works wonders, given that you understand and apply the correct implementation.

3. Exercise both caution and care when cleaning with a wire-bristled brush, because although effective, they are often guilty of inflicting permanent damage to the surface of suede.

4. The removal of water stains with water is a lesser-known but highly effective method. Although a direct application of water is inadvisable, you can use a damp cloth to moisten the surface.

5. Cornstarch is another home remedy that can be used to soak up grease or oil from suede. A dry application is recommended.

6. Never put your suede jacket in a washing machine.

7. Another trick I have picked up along the way is that even though the results are not quite the same, a toothbrush or sponge brush can fill in for a suede brush in case the latter is unavailable. This is not fit for long-term use but it’s a temporary solution.

To conclude, suede jackets are neither easy to maintain nor easy to clean. But as is the case with every similar quandary, there is a way around this. And that is vigilance.

Keep an eye out for how you treat it—make sure it stays away from water and in the way of plentiful air. Use a suede cleaning spray when you feel the need to and not only when you feel you must. Look after the jacket as you would after a favorite plant or pet, and you will be free from worries!

Written by Pulkit D

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