While stains on suede do not necessarily spell disaster, preventive care is the best way to keep your delicate suede items looking fabulous. Just think of the indelicate sport of football and its famous saying: "The best defense is a good offense."
Spray a recently purchased or recently cleaned suede item with one of the many products that protect against water damage and other stains. As with any fabric, test a small, unseen patch first.
Wear a scarf to protect the collar of a suede garment. The scarf can shield suede from hair products, sweat and makeup stains.
Store suede items so that they can breathe. Avoid plastic bags, which prevent air circulation, and opt for a pillowcase instead to protect clothing from dust. When traveling, store shoes in cotton flannel shoe bags instead of plastic bags.
Keep suede away from light, which will fade the color, and damp conditions, which can encourage growth of damaging mold and mildew.
If suede clothes or shoes get wet, soak up excess moisture with a clean towel. Then allow the suede to dry naturally; do not use a heat source to speed up the process. After the item dries, restore the nap (the raised fibers typical of suede) with a suede brush.
Use a nail file to remove dry mud and scuff marks on suede shoes. Gently file away the stain with delicate strokes. A suede brush also works to remove dirt on shoes and clothing.
Remove oil stains on suede by rubbing talcum powder or cornmeal directly on the spot. After several hours, brush off the powder. Repeat if necessary.
Recondition suede shoes with products designed for that purpose. Such products can also be used on suede clothing, unless the manufacturer's instructions specifically state otherwise. Make sure the item is clean first.
Keep in mind that major stains will probably require professional care. Take your suede item to someone who specializes in leather and suede; inexperienced dry cleaners or cobblers can cause more harm than good.
Rubbing suede with a nail file not only cleans it but also raises the nap. Holding your suede item above a steaming kettle is another method for raising the nap.
While many suede garments these days are washable, remember that animal skins can shrink a great deal when washed. Read the instructions on the label carefully.