Suede Upholstery Repair


Repairing suede upholstery requires a delicate, gentle approach. Suede is the backside of regular leather and has a soft nubby texture. A suede brush can be used to brush away surface dirt and to restore the nubby texture (the nap), which often gets matted by use. Stains and holes require more attention to repair.

Closing Holes

  • Begin by using a pair of sharp scissors to gently snip away the rough edges of the hole. Cut away the edges to create a rounder, more circular opening. Place a piece of paper through the hole and into the underside of the opening and then trace the shape. Cut out the paper shape and use it as a template to cut the same size out of a piece of matching suede. Cut a piece of linen in the same shape as the leather but at one-inch larger in diameter. Use fabric glue to secure the leather patch onto the center of the linen patch and allow it to dry. Slip the patch into the hole and carefully reach into the opening and draw a bead of glue along the linen and adjust the patch to fill the opening, pressing gently to connect the glue to the underside of the leather. Allow glue to dry before using the upholstered piece. At the time of purchase, many furniture manufacturers provide extra pieces of fabric, leather and suede for future repairs. Contact the manufacturer to ask about purchasing extra suede before attempting to find a match locally.

Lifting Stains

  • For spills that pool, dip the corner of a paper towel into the spill and allow it to soak up the liquid. Move around the edges of the paper towel dipping them into the spill until the liquid is gone. Then press the spot gently with the paper towel to remove surface liquid. Rubbing the area of the spill will push the liquid into the leather making it harder to remove. Water stains should be allowed to dry naturally without the use of a hair dryer or other heat source. After the water has dried, brush the spot with a suede brush or metal nail file to restore the stiff nap.

Tough Stains

  • For tougher stains, use a leather cleaner that is specifically made for suede. Follow the manufacturer's directions for best results. Home design stores and hardware stores typically carry suede cleaning products. If having a difficult time locating products, ask a local luggage repair shop for assistance. Oil can be removed from suede by rubbing talcum powder or cornmeal directly on the spot, allowing it to sit for a few hours and then brushing the powder or meal away. Repeat the process if the stain does not come up completely. Dried stains can sometimes be lifted using a brown, art gum eraser. Colored erasers can stain suede and should not be used.

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