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1 January 2022

How to Clean a Suede Sofa

Suede is a lovely material – so soft to the touch and with such a luxurious and velvety texture.

This has led to several sofas and other upholstered furnishings to include suede.

However, whilst it’s very aesthetically pleasing, one cannot really say it’s especially practical.

Unfortunately, suede is a rather delicate material and quite difficult to keep clean.

And in case of stains, it can be a bit of a problem.

However, we hope to offer you some guidance with the following cleaning tips so that you can maintain anything made from suede in a good condition.

Tools & Materials Needed

Micro Fibre Cleaning Cloths
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In order to clean your suede sofa or armchairs well you will need the following items:

  • Upholstery cleaner specifically for suede
  • Clean, dry cloth
  • Nap rubbing cloth
  • White vinegar
  • Baby powder
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Suede eraser
  • Soft brush

Suede Stain Remover

You will find various types of suede cleaners and specialised stain removers on the market.

It is important to read instructions carefully, and as much as possible always test on an inconspicuous area first.

Removing stains from suede can be a bit tricky, and this will depend on the type of stain you will be dealing with, and how soon you act.

The quicker you are, the less damage there will be.

It is a good idea to invest in a specialised suede stain remover just in case.

Besides branded suede stain removers, you may also use some distilled vinegar diluted in water.

This makes for a great alternative as it is a natural but strong cleaner.

The following stain removal tips will also help you deal with different stains more specifically.

Removing Wet Stains

Bucket & Sponge
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Spills need to be treated as soon as possible as suede is extremely sensitive to moisture.

The longer a spill is allowed to soak into the material, the more difficult it is going to be to remove it.

First off, blot the spot down with a dry cloth.

Try to absorb as much liquid as possible, but do not rub.

Allow the area to dry, and use a hairdryer on a cool setting to help speed up the drying process.

Using a clean cloth and a specialised suede cleaner brush the stained area gently.

It is very important to never apply a stain remover on wet suede as this will lead to damaging it.

In case you still see the stain after it has dried up, you can then follow the next steps below to treat dry stains.

Removing Old Dried Stains

The older stains are, the more difficult it is going to be to get rid of them.

However the following guidelines can help.

  • Rub as gently as you can the stained area using a suede eraser.
  • With a soft brush suitable for suede, brush off the stain so as to remove any excess dirt.
  • If you are not successful so far, try applying some white vinegar on a dry towel, and rub the stained area gently with it.
  • Leave it to dry.
  • Follow up with some rubbing with a suede brush to restore the nap. Hopefully the stain should be gone.

Old stains might also be removed if you use a suede cleaning block, or a rubber eraser.

Gently rub the stained area, and in some cases the stain will fade away.

Proceed to rub with a soft brush to remove any dirt that may have come off from the stain.

In case of more difficult stains, such as ink, it is best to consult a professional cleaner to deal with them.

Removing Greasy Stains

Greasy Stain
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Grease is one of the worst enemies for suede.

Oily spots can however be removed if you know how to tackle them, and if you act really quickly!

  • Apply baby powder on the oily stain so as to soak up the oil.
  • Leave it for about an hour. You should see the baby powder changing both its colour and texture over time as it absorbs the oil.
  • Then, use a soft brush to brush away.

Freshening Up Suede Upholstery

To freshen up your suede upholstery, simply wipe the surface using a clean, damp cloth.

This will remove surface dust and other dirt.

Make sure that the cloth is just damp, not wet, as you do not want to get the suede itself wet.

From time to time you may wish to have a professional cleaner to use a more thorough cleaning process ideal for suede which being a delicate material, cannot be wetted, shampooed, or steam cleaned.

In fact, professional cleaners will utilise a dry cleaning procedure.

Regular Brushing

Regularly brushing suede can really help to keep it in good shape.

From time to time, make sure to brush your suede sofa or armchairs.

Simply use a soft brush suitable for suede and rub gently in small, circular motions.

If you notice any stains you may be able to remove them with more thorough brushing, but be careful.

Regularly brushing suede will help to remove the dust and other dirt that will have accumulated on the surface.

Besides while brushing you would be raising the nap.

Brushing more often is even more important in case you have a cat or dog.

Maintaining Your Suede Sofa

Female Cleaner
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As previously noted, it is important to brush your suede sofa on a regular basis.

You may wish to do this at least once a week as naturally dust and dirt accumulates on the surface just as it does on any other piece of furniture that you dust or wipe weekly.

It is also important to make sure to tackle any stains as soon as possible.

Obviously, it is best to be aware of the type of stain, or what caused it.

This will help you to deal with it using the right tools and cleaning products, and with a cleaning method that is most suitable, as discussed previously above.

If you have trouble with stubborn stains, you may wish to consult a professional cleaner.

Other than that, here is a simple guide you should follow to maintain your suede sofa in tip top condition:

  • Remove the cushions so as to vacuum clean underneath them. Most probably there will be hair, crumbs, and other small pieces of dirt which can be removed with the upholstery attachment on your vacuum cleaner. It is best to use a criss-cross motion.
  • Using a soft suede brush wipe the cushions.
  • Flip and rotate the cushions so as to reveal fresh fabric.
  • Once a week, brush the nap of the sofa with a nap rubbing cloth to restore the shine while also removing accumulated dirt and dust.


Suede can easily look a bit grubby and dirty.

However you can improve its condition and avoid allowing it to look shabby if you bear in mind the cleaning tips outlined above.

It is also important to brush it regularly.

How to Clean a Suede Sofa
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How to Clean a Suede Sofa
Learn how to clean a suede sofa correctly and remove stains thoroughly in our informative suede upholstery cleaning article.
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