How to Remove Oil Stains From Faux Suede

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You can remove oil stains from faux suede.
Image Credit: AlenaMozhjer/iStock/GettyImages

Because suede and faux suede cannot get wet, removing oil stains from suede can seem like an impossible task. While suede shoe cleaner kits can help you maintain suede shoes and other suede garments, grease and oil stains pose a unique challenge and are harder to remove without the help of an absorbent powder.

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Why Is Suede Challenging to Clean?

Suede is technically leather. Because of its soft, velvety texture, suede was initially used in glove-making before its applications evolved to include coats, jackets and shoes.

Because suede is a type of leather, it has a porous surface that is prone to scuffing, smudging and water damage. Suede can experience permanent staining and deterioration when exposed to water. This deterioration is why it is critical to avoid water and certain liquid cleaners when cleaning suede.

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To help combat potential water damage, many suede products are made with a waterproof coating. However, this coating can only do so much if you don't correctly take care of the suede product. To ensure all protective measures remain intact, you must regularly maintain suede products with a suede shoe cleaner kit. Suede shoe cleaner kits come in many different shapes and sizes. However, the most important tools you need for suede care and stain removal are a suede brush and suede eraser.

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How to Clean Suede Items

You can remove light stains with a suede brush. Begin by gently brushing the stain in a single direction to scrape away the top layer of the stain. Once the stain disappears, vigorously brush the area back and forth to remove any grime hidden deeper in the fibers.

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For more stubborn or deeper stains, you may need a suede eraser. Suede erasers contain a chemical compound that crumbles when rubbed against suede, drawing out the dirt deep in the suede's fibers. Remove a stain with a suede eraser by firmly rubbing it over the stain until the stain disappears. Because the eraser crumbles as you use it, be sure to use it outside or on a surface that is easy to clean.

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For especially stubborn stains, dampen a clean cloth with white vinegar or rubbing alcohol to wipe away the stain. Once you are finished cleaning, trim away or shave off any loose strands with a razor and spray the suede with a protectant or waterproof spray.

Removing Old Oil Stains From Suede

Because suede and even faux suede are delicate fabrics, removing an old oil stain from suede differs from removing a stain from any other material. Because suede does not like water, it is best to avoid liquid cleaning agents since these will be ineffective in removing the stain and can cause further damage.

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The best way to remove oil or grease stains is to use an absorbent powder, such as cornstarch. To remove the old oil stain from suede, sprinkle a generous amount of cornstarch onto the oil stain and let it sit for an hour or more. Over time, the cornstarch will absorb the grease from the suede.

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After the allotted time, dust away the cornstarch and use a suede brush to remove any stubborn remnants. If given enough time to absorb, the stain should vanish from the suede.

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