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How to Clean Your Suede Jacket to Keep it Fresh and Pristine

The thing about suede is that it looks great but it can be intimidating to maintain. It is notoriously sensitive to scuffing, staining, and especially moisture. Suede is a variety of leather made from the underside of the animal's skin rather than the outside like standard leather. The inward-facing texture of the animal's skin is more porous, which gives suede its distinctly beautiful texture -- called the nap --but it also allows dirt and liquids to seep in.

We are here to tell you that you do not have to be intimidated by suede! You can keep your jacket looking fresh yourself by following this simple guide. With a couple of small tools, you can clean your suede jacket at home, saving time and money. These tools, designed specifically for suede, will also help restore the beautiful nap of your jacket that made you want to buy it in the first place.




15 minutes

What You Need

  • Suede Brush

  • Suede Eraser

  • Suede Shampoo (For Liquid Stains Only)

The best part about this guide is that you do not have to treat your suede with any chemicals beforehand for these tools to be useful. Weatherproofing chemicals can make help protect your best men's jacket but they can also muddle that beautiful suede texture. They can also discolor the dye, and once they are applied, there is no way to get them off.

A close-up of a zippered suede jacket.

Using A Suede Eraser and Brush

Suede erasers and brushes are great tools designed specifically for cleaning suede. A suede eraser is a block of soft robber that effectively works the same way as a pencil eraser on paper, rubbing stains off of suede. A suede brush is a very coarse brush, often made of nylon or sometimes horsehair and metal bristles. The brush wipes away particles pulled up by the eraser and restores the nap of the suede where it has been matted down.

Suede erasers and brushes are readily available, but we recommend buying them together in this kit from Cobbler's Choice.

Step 1: Use the eraser on any visible stains or scuffs. Use medium pressure in small back-and-forth motions in the same way you would erase pencil from paper.

A Cobbler's Choice Suede Cleaning kit displayed against a blank background.

Step 2: Use the brush to wipe away any dirt and debris pulled up by the eraser. Brush with broad strokes, using firm but gentle pressure. Too much pressure can scratch the suede. After focusing on the stained areas, brush the rest of the jacket to create an even texture.

Treating Liquid Stains

Liquid stains are a bigger issue for suede than dirt stains and scuffs but they are still treatable at home. All you will need is a good suede or nubuck shampoo. We recommend Saphir Omnidaim, which you can pick up online or at most shoe care stores.

Step 1: Mix your shampoo in a small bowl using two parts warm water to every one part shampoo. Take the brush provided with the shampoo or your suede brush, if none was provided, and stir it the shampoo mixture until you have a lather on the brush.

A bottle of Saphir Nubuck Shampoo with a brush on plain background.

Step 2: Rub the stained area firmly enough to build up a foaming lather. Be careful not to apply too much pressure because you could scratch the suede. This step may be repeated until you see the stain fade.

Step 3: The shampoo will darken the suede a lot at first but only slightly after it dries. You will need to scrub the entire jacket to create a uniform color. This will also help clean and treat the entire jacket.

Step 4: Allow time to dry then repeat steps 1 to 3 if necessary.

Suede jackets are an excellent addition to any wardrobe. They're versatile because they match practically everything and they single-handedly upgrade any outfit. A good suede jacket can be worn with slacks and a button-down to add complexity to a formal outfit or it can be worn with a t-shirt and jeans to add respectability to a casual outfit. There are countless uses. Once you learn how to clean your suede jacket yourself, you can wear it unburdened by the fear of stains.

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Brad Lanphear
Brad spent a decade on the front lines of New York's fashion retail industry. He did time with Abercrombie & Fitch, Rugby…
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