How to Clean and Care for a Suede Jacket

Suede jackets are luxuriously soft and have a beautiful nap, but they do require some special care to keep them looking their best. Follow these tips to clean, protect, and extend the life of your suede jacket.

Supplies Needed

Before caring for your suede jacket, gather a few key supplies:

  • Suede brush – Use a soft brush with short, natural bristles. Avoid using wire brushes.
  • Garment steamer – A handheld steamer can release stains without excess moisture.
  • Suede protector spray – Spray protects the jacket from future stains.
  • Vinegar or rubbing alcohol – For tougher stain removal. Dilute with water.
  • Clean cloths
  • Paper towels

Regular Cleaning

Brush regularly – Use a suede brush weekly to lift dirt, restore the nap, and keep the jacket fresh. Gently brush with the grain, not against.

Use steam cautiously – Lightly steam the outer surface to refresh suede and release odors. Keep steam 6 inches away to prevent water marks.

Apply protector spray – Every 2-3 months, apply a protector spray. This creates an invisible barrier against future stains.

Wipe gently – For a quick refresh, gently wipe with a dry microfiber cloth to remove surface dust.

Removing Stains and Marks

Suede is prone to oil- and water-based stains. Follow these steps to lift stains:

For oil-based stains:

  • Apply a small amount of vinegar or rubbing alcohol to a clean cloth.
  • Gently dab and lift the stain. Avoid excessive rubbing.
  • Allow to fully dry then brush the nap.

For water-based stains:

  • Blot excess liquid immediately with an absorbent cloth.
  • Sprinkle baking soda or cornstarch on the stain to absorb moisture.
  • Let sit 10-15 minutes before brushing off.
  • Use a suede brush to restore nap once dry.

For stubborn marks:

  • Make a paste of vinegar and baking soda. Apply to stain with cloth.
  • Let paste sit 5 minutes before rinsing with cool water.
  • Stuff jacket with paper towels to absorb moisture.
  • Once fully dry, vigorously brush nap back and forth.

Storing Your Suede Jacket

Use breathable garment bag – Store suede in a cloth garment bag, not plastic, so it can breathe.

Avoid direct heat – Prevent drying out by storing away from direct sunlight and heat sources.

Stuff with tissue – Loosely stuff sleeves with acid-free tissue to retain shape.

Hang properly – Hang suede jackets on a wide, padded hanger to prevent imprints.

When to Seek Professional Help

Some suede stains may require professional intervention. Seek help for:

  • Ink, paint, or dye stains – These can permanently discolor suede.
  • Heavy wax or grease stains – These deeply penetrate the delicate fibers.
  • Moth holes or damaged areas – These need repaired by a suede expert.
  • Odors that linger after cleaning – Suede is prone to retaining smells.
  • Jacket is heavily soiled – If the overall condition is very worn.

With regular care and prompt stain removal, a quality suede jacket can provide years of wear. Handle gently, store properly, and seek help when needed. Your beloved suede will continue looking fabulous.

Frequently Asked Questions About Caring for Suede Jackets

Should suede jackets be dry cleaned?

No, dry cleaning is too harsh for suede’s delicate fibers. Stick to home steam cleaning, spot treating stains, brushing, and protective sprays. Take to a specialty leather/suede cleaner for deeper cleaning.

How do you get sweat stains out of suede?

Gently dab vinegar onto any underarm sweat stains. Let dry fully. Apply baking soda to absorb residue, then brush thoroughly once dry. The vinegar will break down the stain.

Can you put a suede jacket in the washing machine?

Never machine wash suede jackets—this will ruin the nap and likely shrink or misshape the jacket. Only specialist suede cleaners have the tools to gently wet clean suede.

Should suede jackets be stored in plastic?

No, wrapping suede in plastic traps moisture and can promote mildew growth. Use a breathable cloth garment bag for storage.

How often should suede protector spray be applied?

Reapply suede protector spray every 2-3 months. Spraying more frequently than this can lead to a buildup and discoloration over time.

What’s the best way to remove salt stains from suede?

Mix equal parts vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Lightly mist salt stains, let sit 5 minutes, then dab with a clean cloth. The vinegar will break down the salt residue.


With its indulgently soft texture, suede makes for a luxurious jacket. While more high maintenance than leather, suede can provide years of wear with proper care. Brush regularly, judiciously spot clean stains, and store properly. Reapply protector spray to guard against moisture and oils. With this attentive care, your suede jacket will maintain its coveted beauty and softness for seasons to come.