How to Wash a Suede Jacket

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A suede jacket like Lea Thompson's is worth taking care of.
A suede jacket like Lea Thompson's is worth taking care of.

Suede is soft, warm and gorgeous. It is the perfect material for a light autumn jacket or a heavy winter coat. Unfortunately, this versatile material cannot be thrown in the washing machine, and tough stains must be dry cleaned. Before giving up your favorite suede jacket because you don't want to have it dry cleaned, try these tips first.

Things You'll Need

  • Damp towel
  • Pencil with eraser
  • Suede protecting spray
  • Leather cleaner
  • Vinegar
  • Suede brush
  • Dry cleaners (optional)

Step 1

Before wearing your suede jacket, treat it with a suede protector spray. These are widely available. It will help protect your jacket from grease and water stains.

Step 2

Water will ruin a suede jacket; that's why you cannot throw it in the washer. However, you can try to remove light scuffs or dirt marks with a damp washcloth. Brush the material lightly, and be sure not to get it too wet.

Step 3

For tougher stains, try rubbing the jacket with a rubber pencil eraser. This can remove some stains, and if it doesn't, you haven't added any harsh chemicals that will interfere with the dry cleaning process.

Step 4

Try using a bristle brush to get rid of mud.
Try using a bristle brush to get rid of mud.

Some people have had luck cleaning their suede with leather cleaners. Test it on a small, hard-to-spot area first to be sure it doesn't stain the suede. Remember that adding chemicals to your suede can interfere with dry cleaning chemicals.

Step 5

If the stain is muddy or crusty, try brushing it out with a suede brush or bristle brush. This may be enough to make the stain disappear.

Step 6

Try a little vinegar on stains.
Try a little vinegar on stains.

One last ditch effort to remove stains from suede: vinegar. Dab a bit on a soft cloth and rub it on the stain. Be careful not to get the suede too wet, and don't use very much, or your suede jacket will smell like a pickle.

Step 7

If the stain refuses to come out, dry cleaning is your best option. You should have your suede jacket dry cleaned once every two years anyway, to keep it clean and remove the smells so you can wear it for years to come.

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