How to Clean Light-Colored Suede

Close-up of red textile

Jupiterimages/ Images

Suede is beautiful, but it's an expensive, high-maintenance fabric. Unless the suede is only very lightly soiled, or if it's an old garment that has nearly outlived its usefulness, it will be much better to take the light-colored suede garment to a professional dry cleaner who specializes in cleaning leather. If you decide to try it yourself, handle the suede with great care, and keep in mind that trying to clean the light-colored suede on your own is risky business.

Wipe the light-colored suede with a suede brush, a soft toothbrush, or a clean, soft, light-colored bath towel. Don't rub hard. The purpose of rubbing it with a bath towel is primarily to raise the nap of the suede.

Remove small spots and stains by rubbing them very carefully with a special suede eraser, or a white rubber eraser. If this doesn't work, dab the spots gently with a damp towel or cotton ball dipped in white vinegar. If the spot remains after the suede is completely dry, wipe it again with the cloth and white vinegar. If you're attempting to remove a spot that is still wet, blot it carefully with a white paper towel.

Remove stubborn stains that don't respond to other techniques with a clean fingernail file. Work very carefully, moving the file in short strokes. This should only be attempted as a last-chance effort, because there's a possibility it will damage the suede.