How to Clean Food Off Suede

by Karen Waggoner

Zedcor Wholly Owned/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images

Food spilled on suede can leave a nearly permanent stain. However, the outcome will be greatly improved if you start cleaning the stain immediately. You can try to remove stains on suede with ordinary household products and tools, but you will probably need a commercial suede cleaner to finish the job. Always test any cleaning method on an inconspicuous area. Depending on the severity of the stain, taking the problem to a professional leather cleaner may be the best solution.

Items you will need

  • Clean towel
  • Table knife
  • Metal fingernail file
  • Clean art gum eraser
  • White vinegar
  • Soft cloth
  • Soft toothbrush
  • Very fine steel wool
  • Commercial suede cleaner
Step 1

Blot wet food stains with a clean, dry towel until most of the moisture is removed. If it appears that the stain may be nearly invisible when the spot dries, delay any further treatment until then. If the food spill is a solid or a thick liquid, gently scrape off the excess with the blade of a table knife or any smooth, noncutting edge. If it resists removal, use a fingernail file to scrape it from the leather. Allow the spot to dry completely.

Step 2

Gently rub the stained spot with a clean art gum eraser. It may successfully lift a stain out of darker colors of suede. Evaluate the stain after attempting to raise the nap of the leather. It may look much better after it is brushed.

Step 3

Gently rub the spot with some white vinegar on a soft cloth until some or all of the stain is transferred to the cloth. Rub from the edges of the spot inward to avoid a harsh outline. Allow to dry completely.

Step 4

Restore the nap of the suede where it has been cleaned by gently rubbing a soft, clean toothbrush over the spot. Try a small piece of very fine steel wool for a final brushing.

Step 5

Consider buying a cleaning product intended for suede if the stain is still conspicuous. Buy it from a reputable retailer who sells suede products, and follow the directions carefully.

Step 6

Take the suede item to a professional leather cleaner, when all else has failed. His assessment will indicate how much more improvement can be expected from professional cleaning.

Tips

  • Cleaning a food stain from suede is a challenging task, and it may not result in complete satisfaction, even if undertaken by a professional. Consider disguising the stain by dying the suede or re-covering the stained item in another material entirely.

References

Photo Credits

  • Zedcor Wholly Owned/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images

About the Author

Karen W. Waggoner is a retired teacher and lifetime scribbler. She has published short stories, essays in anthologies and periodicals. Waggoner is the author of the memoir, "On My Honor, A Navy Wife’s Vietnam War." She is a graduate of Stetson University, the University of Connecticut and Christian College for Women.