Suede is a beautiful fabric that, when well cared for, can last for many years. Suede coats in particular are extremely popular for their pleasant texture and flexibility, but they are easily damaged if you do not know how to protect them properly. If you are going to invest in a suede coat, then you should know how to care for it for the long run.
Things You'll Need
Waterproof suede protector
Brush the suede coat thoroughly. Even if you have just purchased the coat, clean it with a suede brush to remove excess dirt and fuzz. The brush should be stiff enough to show where the coat has been brushed, but not so stiff as to scratch the fabric itself. If you are brushing the coat for the first time, use the brush somewhere that will not be noticeable, such as under the collar, in case the bristles are too stiff.
Avoid suede cleaner. Many coats actually come with a suede cleaner that is designed to help keep the coat clean and remove stains. However, unless the suede is very dark blue, brown or black to begin with, then even the best suede cleaner will cause some slight darkening and discoloration. Unless your coat is in dire condition, do not use suede cleaners, and definitely do not use them on a regular basis as they will make your coat appear patchy over time.
Waterproof your coat. Use a suede waterproofing spray to protect your entire coat. You should re-proof it each year when you get your coat out of storage. Make sure that the coat is as clean as possible beneath the spray so that you do not seal in dirt or grime.
Have your coat professionally cleaned twice a year. At the beginning and the end of the cooler season in your area, have your suede coat cleaned by a professional. Most dry cleaners will do this for a relatively low fee (less than $30 in many cases as of 2009). This helps prevent dirt and grime from setting in while the coat is in storage, and it removes any traces of mold or mildew that may have begun to grow on your coat while it was in storage.
Shield your coat from heavy rain whenever possible. While waterproofing will make your coat safe from most inclement weather, a thorough drenching can cause the coat to become misshapen and stiff. If you must wear your suede coat out in heavy rain, be sure to use an umbrella or even a poncho in addition to the coat itself.
Suede is easy to care for as long as you stay on schedule. Make it a habit to professionally clean your coat at least twice a year and to brush it once a week. As with many things, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Many people make the mistake of rubbing petroleum jelly on suede because this treatment is good for some types of leather. However, this will destroy a suede jacket.