Suede couches add a timeless elegance to homes. They are nice to look at, comfortable, and fuzzy. They are also quite a large investment, which is why it can be so upsetting to either watch a stain being formed or find a dried food stain.

A lot of people assume that suede, and faux-suede, are difficult to clean due to their fuzziness, but this could not be further from the truth. In this article, we will show you how to protect your couch and how to remove some common stains but, before that, it is good to understand what suede is.

What is Suede?

Suede is a soft, supple type of leather made from the underside of an animal and is mostly used for creating bags, shoes, clothing, and furniture. The warm and fuzzy texture of suede comes from all of the small, raised fibres (or nap), which cover the outside of the leather.

What is Suedette?

Suedette is a man-made alternative to natural suede. It is usually made from cotton or rayon, which has been given a suede finish. This is a great option for those that want the look of suede without using animal products or for those on a budget.

How to clean a suede couch

Cleaning a delicate fabric like suede may seem like a nightmare but, with a little bit of care and attention, you can keep your couch-stain free and protect it from most of the wear and tear caused by daily life. Follow the instructions below to find out what you’ll need, as well as how to clean suede.


Before you start

  • Use an upholstery cleaner specifically for suede;
  • Always refer to the manufacturer’s care instructions before cleaning;
  • Make sure that the room your suede couch is in is well ventilated; open windows and turn on any fans;
  • Use a painter’s face mask if it is difficult to air the room, or if you’re worried about the aerosol cleaner;
  • If you have a new couch or are trying out a new cleaning spray, always test the product in an unseen area to make sure that your chosen cleaner does not affect the suede.

Things you will need

  • Furniture cleaner for suede;
  • A suede napping brush (these can be found at most shoe shops);
  • A suede rubbing cloth;
  • A vacuum cleaner;
  • Brown gum eraser or a suede eraser;
  • A dry sponge;
  • Optional – a waterproofing spray or stain repellent; although these are optional they can help protect your couch for longer.

Weekly cleaning tasks

Cleaning a suede couch can be a daunting task, especially if has not been cleaned in a while, but maintaining that beautiful couch can be made a lot easier if you include it in your weekly cleaning schedule.

  1. Spray your couch with a suede-friendly stain repellent, working from section to section to ensure that the entire couch is covered. This will help to protect your couch from accidental spills and make cleaning much easier. Keep in mind that some suede-protecting products require at least 2-3 coats to work properly.
  2. Remove the cushions every week to vacuum any trapped dust, hair, or crumbs.
  3. After vacuuming, wipe both sides of the cushions with your suede brush to remove any dust or dirt that was missed. If you have pets, this step is a must for keeping your couch looking fresh.

Cleaning monthly

If you have incorporated the weekly needs of your couch into your cleaning schedule, the monthly tasks will be done in no time.

  1. Remove all of the cushions and vacuum up any trapped dust, hair, and dirt as you normally would.
  2. Hoover both sides of each cushion following a cross pattern; this helps to loosen any trapped dirt.
  3. Once the cushions have been vacuumed, move on to the rest of the couch using the same pattern.
  4. Rub both sides of the cushions, and the rest of the couch, with a suede cleaning cloth to keep the couch looking amazing.

Removing stains from a suede couch

It doesn’t matter how careful or protective of the couch we are. At some point, an accident will happen. Whether it is dropped food or a spilled drink the result is the same, a stain. Follow the steps below, or give them to the perpetrator, to get the stains out of your suede couch.

Wet stains and spills

  1. Moisten a clean cloth with either a suede cleaner or white vinegar.
  2. Gently rub the affected area using small circular motions or in a cross pattern.
  3. Let the area dry and then polish with the suede cloth or brush with the napping brush.
  4. Clean spills as soon as possible to prevent further staining.

Dry stains

  1. Brush the stain with a suede brush gently to remove any loose dirt.
  2. Use a suede eraser or a brown gum eraser to completely remove the stain.
  3. If the stain is stubborn and can’t be removed with an eraser, you can use a small piece of sandpaper to rub it away. Gentleness is key here, so don’t scrub the stain as you will only damage the suede.
  4. When the stain is gone, use a suede napping brush to bring the fabric back to its former glory.

How to brush a suede couch

We have talked a lot about brushing your suede couch, but is there a right and wrong way to do it? The answer is yes. It is easy to think that you can brush a suede couch with long sweeping motions, but all this will accomplish is a flattened nap and trapped dirt.

There are two brushing patterns you can choose from which will show the best results  – small circular motions and cross patterns. Each of these brushing methods ensures that the dirt and dust trapped in the nap are removed.

How to remove grease stains from suede

If you are unfortunate enough to suffer from a grease stain on your suede couch, there is an easy removal method that doesn’t involve a trip to the dry cleaners’.

  1. Gently pat talcum powder or cornstarch into the grease stain and let it sit overnight.
  2. The powder you use will absorb the oils in the grease.
  3. Brush or vacuum the powder off on the next day.
  4. Use a brown gum eraser or suede eraser to remove any remaining traces of the stain.
  5. You might have to repeat this two or three times to completely remove the grease stain.

How to remove blood stains from suede

  1. Blood can be a difficult stain to remove from most fabrics, but there is a surprisingly simple removal method for blood-stained suede.
  2. Mix warm water and soap. Be sure to make as many bubbles as possible.
  3. Using a clean sponge, gently rub the stain using only the foam. Use small rubbing motions to avoid spreading the stain.
  4. Wipe the area with a clean, soft cloth until it is dry.

So there we have it, your guide to removing stains from suede. These tips can be used on furniture, clothing, shoes, and any other suede products you own. The key to keeping your suede couch happy is dedication and a speedy response to any stains. The tips in this article will allow you to remove almost any stain thrown at the couch. But, if you have tried everything and the stain refuses to be removed, it is better to take the stained area to a professional cleaner, if possible.

Thanks to Fantastic Cleaners for these in-depth instructions!