I have a beautiful, light blue suede jacket that I've had for ~15 years. The cleaning instructions say that the jacket should always be dry cleaned. I've had it dry-cleaned a few times and the tough stains unfortunately never came out. I've heard that hand-washing with mild baby shampoo could effectively get the stain out, and then use a soft brush to 'refluff' the pile on the suede. A family member used this method on a dark suede skirt to get stains out and it worked. I'm too scared to try it on the light colored jacket. Has anyone had success with alternate cleaning methods?

1 Answer 1


The biggest problem with cleaning suede is that the "pile" (the tiny fibers that stand up from the fabric and give suede its soft look and texture) is easy to crush or damage. The pile absorbs and reflects light in a very specific way when it stands up from the fabric, but when the pile is crushed and forced flat, the area will reflect light very differently and look like a permanent stain.

To avoid damaging the pile, you should not put your jacket into a washing machine, but hand wash it instead. Don't rub or wring the jacket in the hand wash, only swish it around and get the water moving over the fabric. A mild shampoo should be enough to loosen dirt from the fabric.

Rinse the fabric 2 - 3 times in clean water to remove any soap residue. Don't wring the water out and don't put the jacket into a dryer, that would damage the pile. Instead, I suggest putting the jacket on a sturdy cloth hanger (the remaining water will make it very heavy) and hanging it over a bathtub or shower stall to dry. You could even stick a broom stick through the sleeves and hang it up that way. It will drip at first, so the bathtub is only there to catch the drops. You can just as well hang it outside to dry.

The advantage of hanging the jacket up while still dripping wet is that you reduce the risk of wrinkles. You cannot iron suede flat on an ironing board or you iron the pile flat. To iron suede you need a special (expensive) needle board. Try to remove all wrinkles while the jacket is still very wet.

Once the jacket is completely dry from the outside and inside, you may have to fluff the pile up a bit in places. Simply tapping it with a cloth brush should do the trick. You could also gently scrub the pile in different directions, but scrubbing with too much force can also damage the pile.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.