Suede is one of the most luxurious materials in fashion. It is highly sought after among the fashionable crowd because of its lightweight body and soft velvety brushed finish. Most kinds of suede leather are made up of animal hide, primarily from lamb, cattle and deer.

Due to its adaptable quality, it is a popular material choice among luxury houses like Givenchy, Saint Laurent and Hermès. It’s also an excellent choice to layer on to keep toasty and warm in frosty climates. The material is also commonly used to make shoes, outerwear, bags and even small accessories.

West harness booties in suede and black suede jacket
West harness booties in suede and black suede jacket (Photo credit: Saint Laurent)

While suede layers can look really stylish, common issues with suede item owners is that they are unfamiliar with the methods to upkeep the material. Here are some tips on how you can approach cleaning could save you the risk of destroying your favourite pair of suede boots, handbag or jacket.

What to avoid with suede

Firstly, suede and water aren’t the best of friends. Due to its natural textures and open pores, the material is prone to absorbing liquid and moisture easily. We recommend you to put on your suede pieces during dry seasons and avoid wearing them in the rain. However if you do happen to get water or liquid splashed onto your suede pieces, you should quickly get rid of the liquid by soaking up all the wet parts with a dry cloth. Leave it to air dry before wearing them again.

How to protect against water and prevent stains

Another way to prevent a heart attack when you get water on your suede items is to apply a protective layer. There are various suede protector sprays available in the market, one of the trustworthy choice in the market is Jason Markk’s repel spray. The water-based formula is created to work safely on materials like suede, leather, nylon, canvas and more.

The breathable barrier that is sprayed across your product will effectively repel liquids and stains. By applying this sheer layer of protective barrier on your suede items will greatly add confidence in wearing them out.

Jason Markk's repel spray (Photo credit: Jason Markk)
Jason Markk's suede cleaning kit (Photo credit: Jason Markk)
How to clean and care for your suede fashion items

The first rule to note when cleaning stains or dirt off your suede shoes or outerwear pieces is to avoid using water. To rid the dirt stains off your suede, use a suede brush, preferably one with fine bristles. With a light pressure and repetitive back and forth brushing, it will help remove the stain from the material.

To finish, you can also get yourself a suede eraser, a cleaning tool usually made with dry crumb-like particles to help lift remaining dried soil or stains. We recommend you get the suede cleaning kit from Jason Markk that includes both the suede brush and eraser.

What do you do when the stubborn stains persists

Prepare a bowl of vinegar solution made up of one part white vinegar and two parts water. Soak a dry cloth into the solution and massage gently on the stained parts to slowly dab out the stubborn stain.

For more problematic stains such as oil or sweat, sprinkle some cornflour over and let it sit for about 30 mins before attempting to brush it off with a suede brush. Once the cornstarch have soaked up the stubborn stains, proceed to brush off the remaining cornflour. Repeat the process and allow the cornstarch to sit overnight if the stain persists.

Josiah Chua
Fashion Director
Josiah is the Fashion Director in charge of styling shoots and writing the fashion pages. On his days off, he locks himself at home designing and sewing up a collection in preparation for his label's runway debut.