How To Restore Suede

Suede is a costly investment and this article will show you how to restore suede. Following these  easy steps will help to restore the velvety nap of your suede that made it so beautiful when you bought it.

To restore suede, you will need:

  • Clean white terrycloth towel
  • Suede brush (an old soft tooth brush will also work)
  • Suede eraser
  • White vinegar
  • Commercial suede degreaser product
  • Tissue paper or paper towels
  • Clean soft white cotton cloth (old tee shirt works great)
  • Fine grain sand paper or fine steel wool (use grain 150 or higher for sandpaper)

Following the steps in the order provided will put  you on the path to restoring your suede to "like new" condition.

  1. Prepare the suede. If your item is heavily soiled you may need to prepare it before actually cleaning it. If the suede is wet, you should use a soft towel to absorb as much of the water as possible. (You can also "sandwich" the item between two towels to help squeeze the water out. If  the suede is muddy you must let it dry completely before attempting to clean it. You may stuff the item with paper towels or wadded up tissue paper to help the item retain its shape. Once it is completely dry, brush away the excess dirt using a suede brush or old toothbrush. Do not scrub the suede. Brush completely  and gently in one direction. This will loosen and remove the excess dirt.
  2. Remove stains and dirt spots from suede. There are many types of products and techniques made to remove dirt and stains from suede. Use a suede eraser firmly on the stain in one direction. Remember, don't scrub it. Scrubbing actually embeds the dirt or stain in more deeply. Next, use the suede eraser to gently brush away the particles from the suede eraser. If not completely clean, repeat the steps again.
  3. Some grease or body oil stains from suede require a commercial suede degreasing agent. Always use these products in a well ventilated area. Follow the directions on the product you chose. These products can be found in leather speciality stores or shoe stores.
  4. If your suede still has marks or stains after applying the degreaser, apply a small amount of white vinegar on a soft damp cloth. Blot gently into the discolored area. Allow it to dry completely before continuing with the removal process.
  5. Restore the surface texture or nap of the suede. So, your suede is finally clean and now you find it looks flatter than the suede around it. This is caused by the nap being smoothed down in the cleaning process. Again, before this last step please remember the suede must be completely dry. Begin brushing the suede in a circular motion with your suede brush (or toothbrush). This begins to raise the flattened nap to its original appearance. If the suede brush doesn't accomplish this then it is likely that the nap has been damaged in the cleaning process. The sandpaper (fine grain) or steel wool can help here by rubbing gently in a circular motion. Be careful not to rub away too much of the nap.

If the above steps do not restore your suede to its original condition you should consult a professional. Some especially difficult stains to remove are blood, red wine, and permanent marker. A leather specialty store should be able to hook you up with a company that specializes in restoring suede and removing difficult stains.

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