There's nothing worse than damaging a favorite article of clothing, especially if that item is made from a material that is difficult to clean, like suede. Suede is a form of leather, but it is made from the inner-facing side of animal hide. All leather is treated and conditioned, so you must be very careful about what you use to clean and care for it. A few different household products can get motor oil out of suede, including cornstarch or dish soap. Alternatively, you can buy a specialty suede cleaner.
Using Cornstarch to Remove Motor Oil From Suede
You will need paper towels, cornstarch, a damp microfiber cloth and a suede brush or toothbrush for this method. First, if the stain has not completely dried, blot it with dry paper towels to soak up as much of the motor oil or other type of oil as possible. If you can soak up even a little bit of the oil using paper towels, you'll have much more success getting out the stain, which means it's essential to promptly deal with an oil spill.
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Next, completely cover the entire stain with a generous amount of cornstarch. Let it sit for at least an hour or even overnight. Cornstarch is naturally absorbent, so the hope is that it will soak up as much of the oil as possible over this period. Remove most of the cornstarch by brushing it into the garbage can and then use your damp microfiber cloth to blot out the rest. Take care not to rub it, as you could damage the suede.
Finally, buff the spot using a suede brush or clean toothbrush, starting at the top of the stain and working your way downward. This buffing will help soften the suede fibers and renew the look of the fabric. If you can still see the oil stain, you should repeat the steps or try another method.
Using Dish Soap to Remove Motor Oil
If you're going to use dish soap for the process, you will need paper towels, dish soap, a damp microfiber cloth and a suede brush or clean toothbrush. Blot the stain with paper towels while still wet. Take the paper towel and press it firmly onto the stain for a few seconds using a clean section of the towel each time you move.
Once you've used the paper towel to absorb as much of the stain as possible, thoroughly coat the stain in grease-fighting dish soap and then let it sit for 10 minutes. Use a product without added dyes or fragrances. Next, scrub the affected area with your suede brush or toothbrush without removing the dish soap. Starting with the top of the stain, brush downward, taking care not to apply too much pressure because that can damage the material. As the soap accumulates on the brush, wipe it off on a clean, dry paper towel.
Finally, use the microfiber cloth to remove any remaining soap. Buff the spot with the brush again if necessary.
Using a Suede Cleaner to Remove Motor Oil
To clean your suede with an actual suede cleaner, you will need paper towels, a suede brush or toothbrush and a suede cleaner. Suede cleaners are specifically designed to clean suede, so they often work best. You can find suede cleaner at most shoe stores, through many online retailers or at big-box stores, like Target or Walmart.
Once again, start by blotting the stain with paper towels to remove as much oil as possible. Then, use your suede brush or toothbrush to gently scrub the affected area and remove any dirt. Like with the dish soap method, you should start at the top and work your way downward. Then, use the suede cleaner according to the manufacturer's instructions. Once you have finished following the manufacturer's instructions, you may need to brush again with the suede brush or dab again with a microfiber cloth.
If none of these cleaning options work, you may need to have your suede professionally cleaned.