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How to clean and maintain suede

Do you have certain suede products that you are proud of such as your jackets or shoes? Then you should know the importance of maintaining and cleaning such products.

What is suede?

It is softer and more delicate than ordinary leather. Thus, it stains more easily and quickly. This means it can be trickier to clean as using normal means can worsen the stain on the suede. So if you own many suede materials, knowing the right way to handle such material is vital.

Cleaning suede boots

As tempting as it may be, do not use water to spot clean suede products as it might worsen the water stain, causing more spots to appear. This can damage the look of your boots, making them look scuffed and discoloured. Knowing how to clean your boots using liquid will prevent any of the problems. Having a good quality suede brush is also necessary. Here are the best ways to keep your suede boots looking stylish and clean:

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  • Use a suede brush first to get rid of any surface dirt from your boots or shoes. This makes it cleaner before more thorough treatments. Remember to brush along the grain of the fabric and not against it
  • If your boots are looking scuffed around the edge, use the brush to rub back and forth vigorously to remove any loose fibres. Stay as close to the scuffed area as you can and avoid damaging other parts.
  • Stubborn stains need to be treated with water; you should clean the entire boot to minimise discolouration since spot cleaning can create watermarks
  • To do that, use the suede brush, a small amount of water and scrub at the stained area. Insert some rolled up paper to keep the shape of the boot and let it dry naturally. Avoid newspaper as the ink could stain the fabric.
  • If your boots have salt marks from water, use a small amount of white vinegar to clean them. The smell of vinegar might be overpowering at first but will fade eventually.

Cleaning suede jackets and accessories

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This is pretty much the same as boots and shoes, except with subtle differences in the methods and cleaners.

  • Start with a suede brush to loosen fibres and remove surface dirt.
  • To remove oily residues or sweat marks, apply corn starch to the garment and leave for a few hours or overnight. The corn starch will help absorb the stains and lift it out. To finish, use a suede brush to remove the flour
  • Steam cleaning is also an effective method for removing stains for jackets, but there is a risk of over-saturation. The best way is to hang it in a bathroom after a hot shower or bath.
  • Lastly, for heavier duty suede cleaning, check out dedicated leather cleaners suited for suede. As mentioned above, apply it all over the garment rather than spot cleaning to prevent discolouration.

Long term care and protection

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For suede, prevention is the best way to keep it clean but that is easier said than done. Here are some ways to protect your beloved garments:

  • Suede protector – such products can be easily purchased from stores or shoe shops. This creates a barrier against dirt and water stains and is best applied when you first get your suede products and after cleaning. However, this only minimises the build-up of dirt but doesn’t prevent it totally.
  • Keeping it dry – not wearing your suede boots during the rainy season will be a decision you will never regret. Water and suede never goes well together, so opt for waterproof garments.
  • Storing – don’t keep them anywhere damp such as attics, garages or damp cupboards.
  • Secure transport – don’t wrap up your suede jackets in plastic bags or other non-breathable materials. Instead, go for cotton bags to prevent cracking