Suede Jacket Care & Maintenance

How to clean a suede jacket

Suede is a far more delicate material than leather and you should always take care to avoid getting your suede jacket heavily soiled.  Regular light cleaning should ensure that your jacket always looks its best. 

Invest in a two-sided suede brush.  The wire side is effective in removing dry mud or dirt and the soft side can then be used to buff up the nap.  Only ever use the wire brush on dry suede and never apply extreme pressure or you may damage the surface of the suede.  Always brush in the direction of the grain. 

If you spill a liquid on your jacket, soak up the fluid immediately by using a succession of paper towels.  Do not press the paper towel into the suede as this will cause it to absorb more of the liquid.  If your jacket is stained try rubbing the area with a white pencil eraser, specialist suede erasers are also commercially available.  You can also tackle stains using a 50/50 solution of water and vinegar applied with a sponge.  Oil stains should be treated by applying an absorbent substance such as corn starch, baking powder or talcum powder and leaving overnight.  Water stains can be removed by spraying the jacket with a mist of water and then then soaking up the moisture with paper towels.  You can also steam clean your jacket by hanging it up near where you take a shower and then air drying afterwards.  Spraying rubbing alcohol onto stains and rubbing with a sponge is also an effective method of stain removal.  Whichever method you use, be gentle and patient and use a soft brush to buff up the nap afterwards.  If your jacket is heavily soiled, you should consult a dry cleaner or suede cleaning specialist.

How to clean a suede jacket collar

It is likely that however carefully you look after your suede jacket, over time the collar will become dirty.  Coat the collar in corn starch or baking soda and leave overnight, this should absorb grease and staining.  The collar should then be brushed with a stiff brush and the process repeated if necessary.  You can also buy suede or nubuck cleaning kits which contain an eraser and a stiff brush.  Rub the stain with the eraser and remove the residue with the brush.

Can you put a suede jacket in the washing machine?

You’ll find videos on the internet in which people put their suede jacket in a washing machine and claim that the result is a successful cleaning with no shrinkage, however, any leather expert will tell you that a suede or leather jacket should never be fully immersed in water and certainly never placed in a washing machine.  Water removes the natural oils from leather, is likely to remove dye and will probably cause shrinkage.  If the jacket is heavily soiled and it’s a case of washing machine or bin, then clearly you have nothing to lose, but if this an expensive much prized garment you should always send it to a specialist cleaner.  If you do decide to go ahead and machine wash you garment, turn it inside out, wash on a warm wash and dry slowly.

Can a suede jacket be dry cleaned?

Dry cleaning is the recommended method for cleaning a suede jacket.

How to dry a suede jacket

A suede jacket is best dried outside in a warm breeze but not in full sunlight.  If you are drying the jacket indoors, never place it directly in front of a strong heat source but allow warm air to circulate around the jacket.

Can you put a suede jacket in the dryer?

You can but you shouldn’t.  If you put the jacket in the dryer for a short period on a low heat you might just get away with it, but if the jacket is at all important to you, never put it in a dryer. It's important to remember that if you do shrink or damage the jacket in the dryer, this is likely irreversible and therefore not advised

How to protect a suede jacket

Suede is a durable material, but it is susceptible to staining so do not wear your suede jacket in situations where it will become damaged, such as heavy rain or muddy conditions. Spraying your jacket with a suede protector spray before you wear it will help repel dirt and grease and brushing the suede, in the direction of the grain, with a suede brush will also help the suede remain clean.  Hang you jacket on a well-fitting coat hanger, in a well-ventilated area away from direct sunlight.

How to wash a suede jacket at home

Suede should always be dry cleaned but although it is possible to wash a suede jacket successfully, there will always be a chance that the jacket will be damaged.  Your best chance of success is to hand wash the jacket gently in cool water with a mild detergent.  Rinse the jacket thoroughly, do not wring it out but use a towel to absorb as much water as possible before allowing the jacket to dry naturally.

Suede leather jacket cleaner

There are a wide range of suede cleaners available commercially.  Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and always test on an inconspicuous area first.

Suede jacket stain remover

There are several techniques which you can use to remove stains from suede.  For light staining a suede brush and a little water may do the trick, for more serious stains try applying a little distilled vinegar.  A clean pencil eraser will also work like a suede eraser.  There are a wide range of commercially available products which will effectively remove stains, these usually come in the form of lotions or erasers.

Can you iron a suede jacket?

You can remove wrinkles from a suede jacket by ironing it, but you need to be very careful.  Iron the jacket inside out and place a cotton covering, such as a pillowcase, over the suede before you begin. Use the lowest heat possible and check the suede frequently.

Can you steam a suede jacket?

Applying steam to suede will dilate the pores in the leather and allow for the removal of dirt and bacteria, however it is crucial that in the process you don’t wet the suede or apply heat directly to the surface.  Steam can also be used to remove wrinkles from suede, either by using steam from a kettle, steam iron, steam cleaner or by hanging the garment in a bathroom with a hot shower running.

How to condition a suede jacket

There are a variety of suede conditioners commercially available which are suitable for conditioning a suede jacket.  Brush the suede, using a suede brush, in different directions before applying the conditioner, this will allow the conditioner to be absorbed more easily.

Suede jacket polish

The soft, napped, surface of suede should never be polished. Applying shoe or leather polish to a suede jacket will seriously mar its appearance.

Will a suede jacket get ruined in the rain?

Suede is a porous material and is easily marked by water, therefore you should avoid wearing a suede jacket in rainy conditions. Water marks can be removed, and the jacket restored to its original condition, but drenching a suede jacket will wash out all the natural oils and leave the jacket stiff and shiny. A jacket in this condition can be restored but probably not to its original state.  A jacket which has been proofed will be much more water resistant, but a suede jacket is not a wet weather garment.

Can a suede jacket get wet?

Water will mark suede therefore you should always try and wear your suede jacket in dry conditions; however, a suede jacket can get wet and water marks can be removed. A pre proofed jacket will have sufficient water resistance to cope with light rain.

How to protect a suede jacket from the rain

A suede jacket is not a wet weather garment, but you can protect your suede jacket from light rain by applying a suede protector spray to the entire jacket.  For maximum protection, the spray should be reapplied every four weeks.

Will snow ruin a suede jacket?

Snow is less damaging to a suede jacket than heavy rain. Snow can be brushed off as it falls and the water penetration can therefore be minimised, however, prolonged exposure to snow will cause the jacket to become saturated, in which case permanent damage will be caused.

Can you stretch a suede jacket?

Suede is the most stretchable form of leather and one of the attractive features of this material is that it will mould to the shape of your body.  If your suede jacket is a little tight it will loosen up after you’ve worn it a while or you can speed up the process by using a commercially available leather stretching spray, appropriate for suede.  Other methods of stretching leather, such as total immersion in water, should be avoided.

Can you dye a suede jacket?

Suede is a porous material which accepts dye easily.  You can either have your jacket dyed professionally or you can dye the garment yourself using a commercially available suede dye. It can be difficult to achieve an even colour when home dyeing so you may need several applications for a good result. For the best result, seek help from a specialist. 

Can a suede jacket be altered?

A suede jacket can be altered but this is a job for a skilled tailor.

Can a suede jacket be tailored?

A skilled tailor can make a suede jacket smaller.

Can you shrink a suede jacket?

If you immerse your suede jacket in cold water or put it in your washing machine, it will shrink, however you will probably ruin the garment in the process and is therefore not advised. 

How to waterproof a suede jacket

There are a wide range of waterproofing and protective sprays available. Spray the whole jacket evenly and reapply every four two six weeks.

How to deodorize a suede jacket

Baking powder or coffee grounds can both be used to absorb odours, but because suede is such an absorbent material it is unwise to apply them directly to the garment because you are likely to leave marks.  If baking powder is placed in a bag or envelope and this is placed in a sealed bag with the garment the baking powder will, over the course of several days, absorb the odours from your jacket.

How to store a suede jacket

Suede jackets should be stored in a cool, dry environment, away from direct sunlight. Use a shaped hanger, not a wire hanger, which is the right size for the jacket.

Suede jacket rip

You can either take your jacket to a specialist tailor or you can buy a leather repair kit and attempt the repair yourself.  You will need a kit which contains a patch designed to be placed under the suede, not on top.

How to repair a suede jacket

Suede jackets can be re-stitched, rips can be mended, and stains can be removed. All these procedures are best carried out by a professional but, depending on the extent of the repair, they can also be attempted at home.

Suede jacket and rust

A common technique for removing rust stains from fabric garments is to use lemon juice but applying lemon juice to suede will simply substitute one stain for another.  You may be able to remove a rust stain by using a suede eraser, but if that fails you are advised to seek professional help.

Suede jacket smells musty

Baking powder or coffee grounds can both be used to absorb odours, but because suede is such an absorbent material it is unwise to apply them directly to the garment because you are likely to leave marks.  If baking powder is placed in a bag or envelope and this is placed in a sealed bag with the garment the baking powder will, over the course of several days, absorb the odours from your jacket.

Suede jacket gone hard

Over time, dirt and heat can cause suede to become stiff.  The first stage in restoring its natural supple condition is to clean it thoroughly using a suede brush.  Brush the suede in different directions to lift the nap and remove dirt.  Next, apply an appropriate suede conditioner. Some conditioners advise completing the process by warming the garment, using a blow dryer on a warm setting.

Suede jacket faded

A jacket which has faded evenly will be much easier to restore than one which is patchy.  You can either have your jacket dyed professionally or you can dye the garment yourself using a commercially available suede dye. It can be difficult to achieve an even colour when home dyeing so you may need several applications for a good result.

Suede jacket bleeding

‘Bleeding’ is when your jacket begins to lose its dye. With a good quality suede jacket this should not happen.  Spraying your jacket with a suede protector once a month should prevent any potential bleeding.  In severe cases it may be necessary to re-dye the jacket.

Suede jacket shedding

Shedding is when small particles of suede become detached from the surface of the jacket. Brushing the garment regularly with an appropriate suede brush should resolve the problem.

IMPORTANT: Remember to always test any leather conditioner, cleaner or product on a small inconspicuous area of your suede jacket first to ensure you're happy with the effect it may have on your product. 

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