What Takes Motor Oil Out of Suede?

Suede is softer than other types of leather.
Suede is softer than other types of leather. (Image: suede image by Dancer01 from Fotolia.com)

Suede is leather with a soft, napped finish commonly used as material for couches, shoes, coats and gloves. If a thick substance, such as motor oil, spills onto suede, it will cause a noticeable stain.

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According to Gill Chilton, author of "Cleaning & Stain Removal for Dummies," cornstarch, an absorbent thickening agent common in cooking, will remove motor oil stains from suede if done correctly. Do not attempt to remove the motor oil with water or any other liquid, as you will set the stain in further.


Rub the cornstarch into the motor oil stain and allow it to sit for five minutes. This lets the starch soak up the oil from the suede surface. Vacuum the powder away after you have let it sit to remove the oil-saturated cornstarch.


According to Donna Smallin, author of "The One-Minute Cleaner Plain & Simple," it might be necessary to repeat the cornstarch application several times before the stain has lifted completely.


  • "Talking Dirty Laundry With The Queen Of Clean"; Linda Cobb; 2001
  • "Cleaning & Stain Removal for Dummies"; Gill Chilton; 2004
  • "The One-Minute Cleaner Plain & Simple: 500 Tips for Cleaning Smarter, not Harder"; Donna Smallin; 2007
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