What is suede?

Suede is a leather product with a uniquely soft texture. Traditionally, it was a scraping or sanding process done to the underside of the hide that created this finish. It’s this treatment to the inner skin of the hide that makes suede different from other leather products that are made from the tanned outer layers of a hide.

Spotting imitations

It’s not always easy to spot fake suedes. Clothing companies often use synthetic fibers that imitate the qualities of suede, as well as natural fibers like cotton that are conditioned or brushed to mimic a suede finish. And they’re getting really good at it. When in doubt, check the label.

The trouble of keeping suede clean

The two biggest reasons why it’s so hard to keep suede clean are because of the texture and porous qualities of the material. Tanned leather products do a much better job of repelling dirt, water, and other damaging agents. But the texture of suede acts like a micro-mop that collects dirt and grime like a magnet. The porous quality of suede also makes it vulnerable to damage from water and other fluids.

How to treat spot and stains

One of the first things a salesperson will do when you buy a suede product from them is to try to upsell one of their suede treatment kits. The benefits of these kits is that some of them do help protect against moisture and make removing stains less of a pain in the event get something on the fabric. But there are also lots of products that overpromise and don’t do much more than expose you to nasty chemicals when you apply them.

It’d be impossible to review even a small sample of suede cleaners and protectors in this short post. Our advice is to check out reviews of products on sites like Amazon. It’s also a good idea to contact smaller manufacturers directly and ask them what products they recommend. Smaller companies can be really responsive to these kinds of requests, so it’s worth a shot.

What to do if you’re afraid of making a mistake

It’s common for people to come to us with stains that they tried to treat themselves only to make things worse. Sometimes it’s a good idea to bring these items to a professional cleaner, especially if it’s an expensive item. We deal with these kinds of issues all the time, so there’s less guesswork as to which product to apply for the best results. Feel free to call us if you have any questions or if you just want some advice. We’ll do whatever we can to help you out.