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"5 Tips for Maintaining and Cleaning Your Suede Jacket"

Updated: 4 days ago

A woman cleaning a suede leather jacket.

1. Cleaning and Maintenance

Brushing gently with a suede brush will help to bring the jacket back to its original smooth texture if it has become flattened in specific areas. This can happen as a result of even light contact with water, as it causes the natural oils in the skin to retreat to the surface, taking dirt and other particles with them. Dry the jacket by using a dry towel and apply a suede brush to the impacted areas, brushing in different directions to lift the flattened nap. Be sure not to get the jacket too hot in the drying process as this can cause the suede to become stiff. If the suede does become slightly stiff because of this or other contact with water, you can restore the texture by holding it over a kettle and steaming from a distance, and then re-brushing. If the jacket has become very wet and the suede has become matted or hard, then it is best to hang the garment in a warm, airy place away from direct intense heat, and once it is dry go over it with a suede brush.

2. Suede Eraser.

These are used specifically to remove stains on suede, but they are also great for removing dirt and can be used prior to brushing with the suede brush. If dirt is ingrained in your suede, you may want to do this; the rubber in the suede eraser may be enough to remove it.

A suede brush, which is a brush with metal bristles specifically designed to clean suede. They have two types of bristles: a rubber edge to remove dirt that is strongly ingrained and metal bristles to restore the nap. Although these can be purchased quite cheaply, suede brushes are quite hard to come by in some places. If you can't find one, an old toothbrush will suffice.

Suede, like all other types of leather, tends to look tired and dirty if it is not cared for properly. The first step in caring for your suede jacket is to brush off any dirt or dust that has accumulated. Over time, dirt and dust that has not been removed can become ingrained in the suede, making it more difficult to clean and actually causing damage to the jacket. Here are the things you will need to brush off the dirt and dust. First off, we should start with explaining that not any old eraser will do. Suede erasers and suede bars are made of rubber and specifically for the purpose of removing stains without damaging the suede. They are cheap and can be obtained from most good suede and leather stores. Using the suede eraser, rub the stain until it fades, remembering not to rub too hard. For tougher stains, use the edge of the eraser, while taking care not to damage the suede. A suede brush can be used at this point to help raise the nap of the suede. This will restore the texture of the suede, as it can get flattened where the stain was being worked on. Rub the suede vigorously in multiple different directions to achieve the desired result. The key to maintaining a suede jacket is fairly simple. If you remove any stains as soon as possible and brush the jacket on a regular basis to remove dust, the jacket should keep its original luster. To remove a particular stain, rub the affected part with a pencil eraser, as this will not damage the suede. If the jacket is soaked in rain, let it dry out and then brush it, and it should be fine. If this still shows water marks, try the following method. If the whole jacket is affected by a large amount of water damage, it may be best to seek professional help, as using a wet vac on suede can cause damage.

A man wearing a brown suede jacket.

3. Using a Suede Brush to Restore Texture

Remember that there are age old trade-offs with clothes when it comes to maintenance and longevity. Continual cleaning and stain removal techniques on a suede jacket can both diminish the fabric and change the appearance of the garment. If your suede jacket has sentimental value or is irreplaceable, it may be a better idea to set it aside as a collectible and purchase a new jacket for actual wear. To raise the nap on suede that appears hard, brush the area with a nylon-bristled suede brush. If you start to clean your suede and find that it is taking too long, this may serve as a signal that it is time to invest in a new leather and suede jacket. Always hang your suede garments in a well-ventilated area whenever they are damp or wet from cleaning or rain; a warm dry environment is also very conducive to mildew and must be avoided. A final note for general stain removal off suede: If it is really important that the stain be removed, and you feel you may be in over your head, consult a professional cleaner. Always point out the stain to the cleaner and what caused it. This may be the best method to avoid potentially damaging trial and error at home. Using back and forth motions, work the brush over mildly stained or dirty areas. Use a dry towel to soak up any excess moisture left from the cleaning, and repeat this process as necessary. For butter, oil, grease or wax stains on suede, allow the substance to dry, and then gently brush it off with a clean brush. If the stain does not go away, take the garment to a professional cleaner; attempting to remove these stains at home can result in permanent damage to the suede.

A woman wearing a blue suede leather jacket.

4. Applying a Suede Protector Spray

Steps and things you would need for applying a suede protector spray are as follows. Select a spray formulated specifically for suede that contains a fluoropolymer or silicone - these are the most effective ingredients for repelling water and oils. Perform a patch test on a small, hidden area of your jacket to ensure that the spray will not change the color or texture of the suede. Once you are sure that it is safe to use, take your jacket and hang it up in a well-ventilated area - this could be an outside porch area or a garage. Preventing mold and mildew is the goal of this protector spray, and the fumes are not healthy to breathe in. Wear a mask if you have respiratory problems. Hold the spray 12 inches away from the jacket and spray a light, even coat over the entire surface. Wait 2 to 3 hours for the jacket to dry, and then apply a second light coat. The last step is to store your jacket properly to prevent any damage. Invest in a padded hanger to help your jacket keep its shape, and store it in a breathable garment bag to protect it from dust. Never store it in a hot area as this can harden the suede and make it lose its flexibility. With good storage techniques on top of regular maintenance, your suede jacket should last for many years, and stay in a condition that is bound to make heads turn.


5. Leave It to the Professionals


Apply a spray coating, brush and keep your safe indoors on rainy days a good start, but after months of wear, you may find your jacket looks a little dirty the edges.

The natural protective oils in the skin will dry out over time and it might have become soiled with wear. Take it to a dry cleaner with good knowledge of leather clothing once a year.

The dry cleaner will take into account the type of skin, construction, its dyes and coverings and will treat it while properly re-oiling the skin.

It is recommended on maintaining and cleaning suede jacket to carry out cleaning depending on the frequency with which you wear suede. Once a year if you wear it but every two years is fine if you wear occasionally.

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