How to Protect and Clean Suede Garments and Shoes

A suede female cowboy jacket with a fringeStains on suede can be difficult to remove, so it's in your best interests to protect your garments to keep them looking like new. There's several ways to protect and clean suede before it becomes permanently stained.

This article gives a variety of tips on how to clean, protect and store suede garments and shoes to keep them looking like new.

  1. Spray new suede garments and shoes with a suede protection product. There is a wide range of these products on the market and they can be found in stores that specialize in suede clothing and shoes. Be sure to test a small area on the inside of the garment, where it can't be seen, before using it to treat the entire garment.
  2. Always wear a scarf to protect the collar of suede garments. The scarf will protect the collar from body oil, perspiration, makeup and hair product stains.
  3. When you store suede garments, be certain they can breathe. Never store in plastic because it prevents circulation of air. Instead, use an old pillowcase or sheet to keep dust off the garment. White muslin can also be used.
  4. If you are traveling, place suede shoes or garments in a white, cotton or flannel bag. Never use plastic or vinyl bags to store suede.
  5. Always store suede garments in a cool, dry place. Light will fade the color and dampness will cause mildew.
  6. If suede shoes or clothing gets wet, always soak moisture out of the fabric with paper towel or a clean, white towel. Do not dry suede with a hair dryer or other heat source; allow it to dry naturally. Once the garment is thoroughly dry, restore the nap with a brush made exclusively for suede. Never use your suede brush for other cleaning purposes.
  7. If suede gets muddy, use a nail file to remove the dirt. Use delicate strokes. A brush made exclusively for suede can also be used to remove dirt and scuff marks.
  8. If suede garments are stained by oil, use cornmeal, oatmeal or talcum powder directly on the stain. Leave overnight and brush gently. This process may have to be repeated.
  9. Major stains on suede garments should always be taken to a suede-cleaning professional.
  10. Rubbing suede gently with a nail file will restore the nap. Suede garments can also be steamed to restore nap, or they can be rubbed with a high nap bath towel.
  11. If stains have dried on suede, or if it is scuffed, use an eraser to gently clean the area. If stains do not come out, use a bit of white vinegar on a silk cloth to clean.
  12. Suede garments should be taken to a suede cleaning professional at least every other year. The professional will clean the garment deeply and restore the nap to make your suede garment look like new.

Use the tips in this article to keep your suede garments and shoes in optimum condition. Clothing made of suede will last for years if properly cared for.

By Mary M. Alward
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