by Jennifer Smith September 17, 2022 8 min read

A suede jacket is one of the much-loved fashion staples that you want to keep for a long time. While the durability of high-quality suede is often talked about, one must understand that it is originally animal hide, which needs adequate care and maintenance to last longer. You don't get a high-quality suede jacket at cheap rates, so it's vital to know how to clean a suede jacket properly so as not to ruin it.

Understanding what suede is as a material will help you know how to clean and care for it. Originally, suede is the inner facing side of the animal hide, explaining the soft fuzzy texture and softness it is known for. The suede is highly porous, delicate, and has an unparalleled luxe feel to it.

All these qualities indicate towards suede being a high maintenance material. If your suede jacket has been stained, you must treat it immediately in the right way to not let the stain get penetrated in the porous suede. Also, its fragility means that the cleaning process must be gentle so that the natural oils on the skin don’t dry out.

If you enjoy the luxuriant feel of your suede jacket and wish to keep it in a nice shape for years to come, read on to know the dos and don’ts of cleaning it.

How to Clean a Suede Jacket

The life of your suede jacket is partly knowing how to buy a leather jacket of high quality, and partly how well you care for it. Even if the quality of the jacket is supreme, you cannot expect it to last long if you wear it in the pouring rain, let the stains of all kinds sit for hours and days, and store it carelessly. You must know how often to clean your suede jacket plus how to treat different kinds of stains to maintain it.

Staining, spills, and dirt accumulation is inevitable on your suede jacket, especially if you wear it outdoors for long periods of time. A suede motorcycle jacket worn during a bike ride may even get tough stains like grease along with dirt. Even light, everyday stains need your immediate attention. Your best bet is to clean your jacket as quickly as possible to make the cleaning process easy while avoiding damage to the delicate material. 

When you buy your suede jacket, it is wise to invest in products like a suede brush, a suede eraser, a suede leather conditioner, and a protector spray simultaneously. These things will be quickly accessible when your suede jacket gets dirty. Below are the various ways to clean a suede jacket.

Cleaning Dirt and Mild Scuffs Off the Suede Jacket

Suede Brush

To get rid of slight dirt and mild cleaning of your jacket, brushing the surface of your suede jacket with a suede brush is enough to freshen it up. Brushing will also smoothen and fluff up the nap. For dirt stains that don’t come off easily, try moving the brush back and forth with a slightly increased pressure on the stained area. Be careful not to damage the fuzz.

Suede Eraser

For scuffs that won’t come off with the brush, make use of a suede eraser. It is a great product to clean mild stains and scuffs without using water. You can also use a regular eraser alternatively. Be gentle and patient to remove the stain without causing any damage.

Vinegar and Water Solution

Sometimes, dirt would get accumulated in a way that it doesn’t get cleaned with the above two methods. Just mix one part of white vinegar in two parts water, dip a cotton ball in it, and use soft strokes to the stained area to clean it. Be careful that the cotton ball or swab isn’t soaking, it just needs to be damp enough to treat the stain. Use the suede brush on the spot afterwards to restore the fluff.

Treating Water Stains on a Suede Jacket

Water stains can be quite unsightly on a suede jacket. The right way to clean water stains is to dampen the jacket slightly. You can use a damp cloth and run it over the jacket, or use a spray bottle to evenly spray water lightly on the jacket. After that, let the jacket dry completely.

If you use the brush after the jacket is dried, it will revive the nap.

Treating Liquid Stains on your Suede Jacket

Accidental spills on the suede jacket must be treated immediately before the liquid seeps into the pores of the suede and leaves a tough stain. Use a towel, an absorbent cloth, or a paper towel to blot the liquid. Do not press hard or the liquid will get pressed into the jacket even more. After soaking the excess liquid, use a suede eraser or brush to remove the stain.

Clean Oily Stains From Suede Coats

Oil and sweat stains on suede jackets require something that can soak up the oil or sweat. Cornstarch works best in this regard. You can smear some cornstarch to the stain and leave it for a few hours. Use the suede brush to sweep off the cornstarch and repeat the process if necessary. For grease stains, you can first use a clean rag to wipe off the grease, and then sprinkle talc or baking soda over it. Leave for a few hours and brush off the talc/soda to get rid of the stain.

Cleaning Tough Food Stains and Mud From Suede Jackets

To remove food and mud stains from your jacket, carefully remove the excess wet gunk with the help of a tip of a blunt knife. Let it dry and then erase off the stain as much as you can with an eraser. Use a suede brush to smoothen up the nap.

Although suede stain removers are available in the stores which do a decent job at removing these kinds of stains, your best bet is to find a professional suede cleaner who will make sure your jacket isn’t damaged in the process of cleaning.

Washing Suede Jackets

Experts usually warn against submerging a suede jacket in water as it removes all the natural oils that are present in the hide. It will also cause the jacket to discolor. There are ways to wash your leather jacket without ruining it.

Washing Suede Jackets with Vinegar

If you decide to give washing a shot, gently hand wash the jacket in cold water with mild detergent. After rinsing it properly, use a towel to absorb as much water as you can. Allow the jacket to dry naturally (not under intense sunlight).

Can You Put a Suede Jacket in the Washing Machine?

As mentioned above, putting a suede jacket in the washing machine is not recommended as it will strip your jacket of its natural oils, leaving it stiff and shiny. But if your jacket is heavily soiled and you are considering throwing it away, you can try washing it in the machine. Remember to wash it on a warm wash after turning it inside out. Dry slowly and apply a suede conditioner once your jacket is completely dry.

Drying a Suede Jacket

If you are drying your jacket outdoors, never hang it in full sunlight. Natural air is adequate to dry the jacket. If you are drying it inside the house, avoid keeping it near a strong heat source such as a heater or a fireplace. Always hang your jacket on a coat hanger to avoid hanging creases that may develop permanently.

Can a Suede Jacket be Dry Cleaned?

Yes, dry cleaning is the proper way to get the suede jacket cleaned, but make sure the dry cleaner specializes in treating suede. We strongly recommend resorting to dry cleaning after giving the suede brush, eraser, and distilled vinegar a shot.

Suede Jacket Care & Maintenance

Prevention is always better than cure, especially when you invest in a stylish suede jacket. We advise you to read up on leather wear and how to care for them to stretch the life of your suede jacket.

One of the few things you can do to avoid stains on your jacket is to wear a scarf around your neck so that sweat and stains do not transfer to the collar. You can also use sprays that make your jacket water repellent. Stains are, however, unavoidable. So make sure you treat them immediately to avoid ruining the jacket.  

How Often to Clean a Suede Coat?

It is recommended to get your suede jacket or coat cleaned at least once I twice a year.

Applying Suede Conditioner

As soon as it shows signs of fading, it's time to apply a leather conditioner to your suede jacket. Think of it as skin that needs moisture to remain supple and soft. Suede conditioners are available commercially, and keeping a suitable one for your jacket is highly recommended. We suggest using a suede brush on your jacket before applying the conditioner for better results.

Applying Suede Protector

Suede protector sprays give a wetness repellent quality to your suede jacket. It will protect it from light surface stains caused by grease, water, and oil. However, using a protector spray doesn't mean that you can wear your jacket in the rain. It will also not provide an adequate barrier against heavy stains such as mud or blood.


How To Clean A Suede Jacket Collar?

Sprinkle an even layer of cornstarch, talc, or baking powder on the suede jacket collar and leave it for some hours. Use the stiff suede brush to brush the collar. Use a suede eraser if the stains are still visible.

Will A Suede Jacket Get Ruined In The Rain?

Remind yourself that suede is a porous material. Rain will ruin the color of the jacket, cause it to shrink, and leave unsightly water marks even after it is dried. The natural oils will wash out, leaving the jacket stiff and unwearable. Avoid wearing your suede jacket if there is a rain forecast for the day, or keep a raincoat with you to avoid the jacket from getting soaked.

Can You Put A Suede Jacket In The Dryer?

Air drying the suede jacket is the best way to dry it. A tumble dryer may shrink and damage your jacket to a level that might not be restorable.

Can You Iron A Suede Jacket?

It is best to avoid creasing on the suede jacket by storing it properly hung on a coat hanger. A jacket crammed into the closet will develop creases that may not be ironed out easily. If you need to iron out the creases, turn your jacket inside out, and place a cotton cloth in between the suede layers. Slowly iron the jacket on low heat.

Can You Steam A Suede Jacket?

Using steam on the suede jacket dilates its pores, which makes it easy to remove the trapped dirt and bacteria. But instead of using a steam iron, try hanging your jacket in a bathroom with hot water running. The steam will even out the creases.

How To Deodorize A Suede Jacket?

Place a small pouch of any breathable material filled with baking soda with your jacket after storing it. The baking soda will completely absorb the odors from your jacket after a few days, leaving your suede jacket smelling fresh.

In a Nutshell

The soft and durable suede is an ideal material for lightweight fall jackets and heavy wool or fleece lined winter coats. It may feel like cleaning suede is a challenge. However, with the right techniques and care, you can keep it maintained very easily. With a few simple items, some of which are found in every home, your suede jacket will stay in good shape with you for a very long time.

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