How to Remove Stains From Suede Shoes, Clothes, and Furniture

How to remove suede stains

The Spruce

Suede is natural or dyed leather that has a napped or fuzzy finish. It is a thin, porous leather and is not as durable as a solid hide. But with a few cleaning tips, suede can be kept stain-free, soft, and supple for many years.

There are a few ways to remove dirt, food, oil, and adhesives from suede and microsuede (synthetic suede) fabrics, clothing, and upholstery. Large or heavily-oily stains should always be treated by a professional leather cleaning expert or dry cleaner that specializes in leather care. However, some smaller spills or drips can be successfully removed at home.

Stain type Varies
Detergent type None
Water temperature Do not use water

Project Metrics

  • Working Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes to 1 hour (depending on the severity of stain)

Before You Begin

Use a soft-bristled brush to brush away loose particles from the suede surface. This should be done after each time you wear the item or at least weekly. Suede can easily absorb oils and soil.

Allow damp suede to slowly dry away from direct heat or sunlight. Use the brush or emery cloth to raise any nap that is crushed.

Immediately dust any oily stains with cornstarch or talcum powder to begin stain removal.

Always test the cleaning solutions and steps on a small, hidden area first to check for any discoloration or damage.

Most synthetic suede fabrics can be machine washed.

What You'll Need

Supplies

  • Baby powder, foot powder, or cornstarch (for oil stains)
  • Commercial glue remover (optional for synthetic suede)

Tools

  • Suede brush
  • Soft, white, clean cloth
  • Pencil eraser or art gum eraser (for removing adhesives)
  • Blunt knife or plastic edge (for removing adhesives)
  • Emery nail file or emery cloth (optional)
  • Commercial glue remover (optional for synthetic suede)

How to Remove a Scuff or Dried Stain From Suede Shoes, Clothes, and Upholstery

Each of the following steps gets progressively more abrasive, so try the gentlest first. After each step, brush the stained area with a suede brush to restore and smooth the nap.

  1. Gently Rub the Stain With Cloth

    Use a clean, soft cloth to gently rub the area and remove any dried-on surface stain. The cloth will also restore some of the texture to the nap.

  2. Try a Pencil Eraser

    If the stain remains, gently rub the area with a pencil eraser or art gum eraser.

  3. Use Emery File if Necessary

As a last resort, use an emery nail file to gently rub the area.

How to Remove an Oily Stain From Suede Shoes, Clothes, and Upholstery

  1. Sprinkle Stain With Powder

    As soon as the stain happens, sprinkle the stain with baby powder, foot powder or cornstarch to absorb the oil. You should see the powder begin to look oily after an hour or so, and it should be brushed away with a soft brush.

  2. Repeat Process

Repeat the process until the powder no longer changes color or texture.

How to Remove a Wet Stain From Suede Shoes, Clothes, and Upholstery

  1. Blot the Stain

    Use a clean, soft cloth to blot away as much moisture as possible. Put the cloth directly over the stain and apply some pressure to draw the moisture away from the suede and into the cloth. Keep turning the cloth to a clean, dry area and continue blotting.

  2. Allow the Stain to Dry

    When no more moisture is transferring, allow the suede to dry completely away from direct heat.

  3. Repeat as Necessary

If the stain remains, follow the steps recommended for removing a dry stain.

How to Prevent Wet Stains

Suede can be waterproofed using a specially formulated spray. Before using, test on an inside seam because it can change the color, look, and texture of your suede garment.

How to Remove Sticker Glue From Suede

Kids with stickers, sticky name tags, and even tape are not good news for suede coats and furniture. Quite often when the tag or tape is pulled off, some sticky glue or residue is left behind on the nap of the suede.

Steer Clear of Glue Removers

Because most stain removers like Goo Gone or other chemical glue removers can damage natural suede, do not use them. The key to removing the adhesive is to work carefully and slowly to loosen the sticky stuff from the fibers of the nap.

  1. Dampen the Area

    If the sticker or tape is really stuck, dampen it lightly with a wet paper towel.

  2. Use a Blunt Edge to Scrape Away the Sticker

    Use the edge of a blunt knife or a credit card to ease under one corner of the sticker. Continue to try prying off the sticker and gently scrape it away.

  3. Air Dry

    Allow the area to dry slowly and completely.

  4. Erase Away the Residue

    Once the sticker is gone and the suede is completely dry, use an art gum eraser to remove any sticky residue. Use a gentle touch and lots of patience. Do not rub too hard; just lightly rub the surface and the eraser will pick up the leftover glue in the nap.

  5. Use Emery File, If Necessary

As a last resort, use an emery board nail file to gently rub the area.

How to Remove Sticker Glue and Stains From Synthetic Suede Clothes and Furniture

Microsuede and Ultrasuede are man-made microfiber fabrics with a brushed finish that resembles the nap of natural suede leather. These materials are easier to clean and much more resistant to spills and stains than natural suede, plus, they appeal to consumers who are opposed to using animal products.

  1. Use a Gum Eraser

    Use an art gum eraser to lift away sticky residue. Using a gentle touch, just lightly rub the surface and the eraser will pick up the leftover glue in the nap. This works especially well with microsuede upholstery that is difficult to remove or toss in the washer.

  2. Use Commercial Glue Remover

You can also use commercial glue removers on these fabrics. Carefully read labels before using any stain removal product.

Once you remove a stain or scuff from suede, use a specialized suede brush to restore and smooth out the nap or the natural, soft texture of the suede. This should be your last step for each of the suede treatment methods.