How to Clean Suede Couch

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Do you love sitting on your comfortable suede couch and watching your favorite shows while having snacks and meals? But at the same time are you worried about spilling stuff on your expensive couch? Or accidentally putting your dirty feet on it?

With this guide on how to clean a suede couch, you no longer have to worry about cleaning your couch anymore! But first, let’s get to know a bit about it.


What is Suede?

For those who don’t know, suede is a kind of silky leather with a napped finish commonly used for shoes, furniture, purses, etc. It is made from the underside of the animal skin, which is softer and flexible. Suede fabric is composed of synthetic fibers.

Since suede is very delicate, it’s also easy to get dirty. And once damaged, it looks greasy and dark. This is one reason why its maintenance is important.

However, cleaning a suede couch doesn’t have to be a dreaded task. We are here to give you tips on how to clean your couch if it gets dirty or in case you just wish to maintain its beauty.

How to Clean Suede Couch?

Step 1: Determine the Type of Suede Couch

Different types of suede couches are available. So it’s important to first determine the type of suede couch you have as some repel water and some are stained by it. 

To determine the type of your couch you will have to check the tags underneath it.

  • W-labeled couches can be cleaned with a water-based solution.
  • S-labeled couches must be cleaned using a special solvent as they will be stained by water.
  • Couch with Label S-W means you can clean it with either a solvent or water.
  • Label-X means you can clean your couch only by using a vacuum cleaner and no liquid should be used on the couch at all.

If your couch tag isn’t labeled with any of these types, you should consider it as an S-labeled couch. In such a case you should always test a small not so visible area of your couch with any cleaner (just to be on the safe side). To ensure that it is the correct cleaner, wait until the area dries up completely.

Step 2: Prepare a Solution for the Type of Suede You Have

Furniture usually has a tag in unnoticeable places, just like clothes have. The tags are usually labeled with a “W”, an “S”, a “WS” or an “X”. These letters are cleanability codes that tell you the type of solution which should be used on your couch.

To not spill the solution and keep the cleaning process hassle-free take a clean spray bottle and fill the required solution in it. 

  • If you have a W-labeled couch, create a water-based mixture of warm water and a few drops of mild dish wash liquid soap or 2 tablespoons of ammonia with 1 quarter water. You can also add a tablespoon of baking soda or white vinegar to neutralize the odors.
  • If your couch is labeled S, clean it with rubbing alcohol/dry-cleaning solvent.
  • Whereas if the couch is labeled S and W, you can either use a water-based cleaner, rubbing alcohol, or dry-cleaning solvent.

If you are cleaning a particular stain or area, you need to spray the solution onto that specific area. 

In case you wish to clean or freshen the entire couch, work on one area at a time so that the cleaning process is slow and even on the entire couch. Get a soft towel or sponge (they have to be white in white color so that there is no color transfer from it to the couch).

Rub the towel or sponge in a circular motion over the sections that are saturated with the cleanser or the solution.

  • If you are cleaning an X-labeled couch then you will just need a vacuum cleaner and a soft horsehair brush
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Brush dirty areas gently with a soft horsehair brush, this will remove the top layer of dirt. Vacuum the couch using a handheld vacuum cleaner or a normal vacuum cleaner. 

You can also use the special upholstery cleaning part if provided in your vacuum cleaner.

Do not use any liquid cleaner on an X-labeled couch. 

NOTE: Don’t soak the cushions – you‘re going to want it to dry eventually – but do dampen it enough to loosen the dirt. 

If some stains cannot be removed after vacuum cleaning the couch, you should take it to a professional dry-cleaner.

The spraying and rubbing might make the couch look darker or untidy at first, but don’t worry, the suede will return to its normal self when it’s clean and dry.

Step 3: Let It Dry

Allow at least 12 hours for the solution to dry. Don’t sit or place things on the couch. 

Once dried, use a soft brush to gently rub the couch. Brushing the couch will make the material soft and fluff the fibers making it look as if you just bought it.

Step 4: Apply a Suede Protectant Spray

Further, to protect your couch from future spills and keep it the way it is, cover the entire couch with a suede-friendly stain repellent. 

This will also make cleaning the couch easier in the future. Also, keep in mind that some suede-protecting products may require 2-3 coats to work properly.

Stain repellents repel stains, making it easier for you to clean the fabric and also making the fabric last longer by protecting it. This is great because after using this stain repellent you don’t need to worry about eating snacks and food lying on your couch and spilling it. 

Related: 5 Easy Steps to Clean Suede Shoes

Removing Stains From Suede:

Suede is a fabric that can be easily ruined if proper care is not taken. But that doesn’t mean you can limit using it because it’s so comfortable and cozy! 

Chances are that it could easily get drink spills, food stains, or just dust. Other than the regular cleaning your couch might also get some unusual stains like that of ink or blood or maybe just a water spill.

How do you clean such stains? Let’s clean them too. 

1. Wet Stains:

Wet stains are those stains your couch gets because of spilled beverages and food. In such a case you should act fast to not allow the stain to settle. Suede is sensitive to liquid and can get damaged quickly.

If you are cleaning the stained spot just after the food or drinks get spilled, remove the food spilled and use tissue paper to absorb the liquid if there is any.

After cleaning, use a tissue or a slightly damp soft cloth and blot the area gently to extract the stain. You can also use either a suede cleaner or white vinegar. Gently rub the affected area using small circular motions or in a cross pattern. 

Then simply polish the area with a suede cloth or brush it with a napping brush. Use your hairdryer to dry the spot. 

NOTE: Cleaning food and drink spills as soon as possible makes it easier for you to clean and does not allow the stains to settle. If you clean the stain right after it occurs you may not need to use a stain-cleaning product.

2. Grease Stains:

Don’t take your couch to the dry cleaners or get a brand new one just yet. Try out these steps first:

  1. Use talcum powder or cornstarch to absorb the oils in the grease. Pat talcum powder or cornstarch onto the area where the grease stain is.
  2. Leave it overnight to let the powder absorb all the oil.
  3. The next day, gently brush or vacuum the powder off the area.
  4. Use a suede eraser or a gum eraser(brown) to remove any remaining stain.
  5. Repeat this 2-3 times to clean the stain completely.
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3. Blood Stains:

Removing blood stains from most of the fabrics may seem difficult, but they aren’t. Use this technique to remove blood stains from suede couches.

Mix warm water and soap. Make as many bubbles as possible and using a clean and soft white sponge gently rub the stain using only the foam

Avoid putting water on the stain. Use small rubbing motions to avoid the spreading of the stain.

When the stain is completely gone use a clean soft towel to wipe the area until it is dry. You can also use your hairdryer to do so.

4. Ink Stains:

To remove ink stains from your suede couch, you will require vinegar and a soft rag. Gently wipe the stain with vinegar and a soft rag in a way that the ink gets transferred to the rag from the couch.

Add more vinegar as required until the ink completely gets transferred to the rag.

If a little ink stain is still left you can clean it using a cotton swab and rubbing alcohol. Gently rub the stain with rubbing alcohol on a cotton swab and keep changing the swab as required.

If there is still some ink left on the couch, you can use fine-grit sandpaper. Rub the sandpaper gently over the stain and clean the remaining stain.

5. Old Stains:

There are special erasers for suede. Using these special erasers you can clean the old stains on your suede couch. Though ordinary erasers can also do the job, we suggest you use special ones.

After erasing, brush off the spot using a soft brush. This will remove the dirt and eraser leftovers. 

But, in case you are not able to clean the old stain using an eraser you should either get the couch dry-cleaned or call a professional cleaner.

6. Wax Stains:

By any chance, if there is wax on your couch, you will have to freeze the wax first, by placing an ice pack over it.

When the wax freezes completely scrape the wax off your couch gently using a small scraper. Instead, of a scraper, you can also use a suede brush or fine-grit sandpaper.

7. Dry Stains:

To get rid of those dry stains on your couch, brush the stains gently with a suede brush. Use a suede eraser or a brown gum eraser to remove the stains.

Rub the stains using the eraser. If the stain still doesn’t go away use a small piece of sandpaper or fine-grit sandpaper to rub it away.

Do not scrub the stains as it can damage the suede. After the cleaning process, you can bring the original texture using a suede napping brush. 

Suede Cleaning Products:

NOTE: There are many brands of dry-cleaning solvents and suede cleaners available, but it is advised to test them on a small unnoticeable part of your couch. Follow all the cleaning instructions on the pack. Always blot the area dry after removing a stain.

How to Maintain and Keep Your Suede Couch Clean for Longer:

If you wish to keep your living room look beautiful with your lovely suede couch in there, you will have to take care of and maintain your couch regularly.

Regular cleaning and maintenance will make your suede couch look as if you bought a new one every time you will see it. It will help your suede couch to stay soft, silky, and elegant. Here are a few ways that can keep your couch look beautiful:

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1. Weekly Cleaning:

If you get enough time in your daily routine, you can clean your couch every week or once in 10 days. All you gotta do is follow these simple steps:

  1. You will require a dust buster and a vacuum cleaner. First, remove all the cushions and use the dustbuster to remove all the dust and debris.
  2. After dusting use a handheld or normal vacuum cleaner to vacuum in all the dust and litter stuck in the corners of the couch. Vacuum up the dust from all over the couch.
  3. Using the vacuum cleaner removes all the dust from the cushions too.
  4. Wipe the cushions using a soft towel or suede brush to clean them completely. Brushing with a suede brush brings back the shine of the couch.

2. Monthly Cleaning:

When you feel that cleaning the couch every week is a bit of a boring task, no problem. Make a habit of cleaning it once every month. 

Remove all the cushions as you would in the weekly cleaning process. Use the dustbuster or horsehair brush to remove all the dust on the outside of the cushions and place them in a clean area.

Using the dustbuster or horsehair brush removes all the dust from the couch. Try to clean small areas at a time so that you do not leave any part of the couch undusted. 

After dusting with a horsehair brush or dustbuster, use the special couch cleaning part that comes with your vacuum cleaner to clean the corners. Vacuum the cushions also. 

If there are any stains on your couch clean the stains by following the steps mentioned above depending on the type of stain. Let the areas that you have cleaned if you have used a solution to clean them. You can also use a hairdryer to dry them up.

On completion of this cleaning process, you can always go for using a suede protectant spray on your couch. 

Follow the same once every month.

3. Tips to keep your couch clean for longer:

  • Use a suede protectant spray to keep your couch clean for a longer time and to protect it from spills that can become permanent. Consult the owner’s manual and use the suede protectant suitable for the type of suede couch you have.
  • Work in a well-ventilated area when applying the suede protectant. Allow as much ventilation as possible.
  • Some suede protectants need to be sprayed 2-3 times. Check this on the pack of the suede protectant.
  • It is good to brush your suede couch regularly. Brushing the couch regularly will maintain its shine and keep the dust away. Brushing regularly will not let the dust settle on the couch. 
  • You should avoid brushing your couch with long sweeping motions, instead; you should opt for brushing small areas at a time in circular or cross-motions.
  • If there is food or drink spills on the couch, try to clean the stains as soon as possible, so that the stains do not settle.
  • Work on one section of your couch at a time. Keep the spray bottle at a distance of 20-30 cm away from the couch. Spraying from close can result in too much spray on a particular spot and spraying from too far may result in getting sprayed unevenly or getting sprayed on other things.
  • Allow the suede spray to sit for at least 12 hours so that it dries completely. 
  • Keep a habit of cleaning your suede couch regularly to avoid dust and stains.

What not to do while cleaning your suede couch

  • Avoid brushing your couch in long sweeping motions.
  • Do not use any solvent on your couch without checking the type of your couch.
  • Do not place anything or sit on the couch for at least 12 hours after spraying the suede protectant.
  • Avoid using any solvent on the X-labeled couch.

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