How Do I Clean My Suede Chair?

Suede is a favorite choice for many home furnishings. It is soft, yet durable, and feels buttery soft against the skin. Cleaning suede is quite difficult, and you can ruin the material if you are not careful. Whenever possible, take your suede chair to professional cleaners. Since this is not always possible, consider a few simple tricks you can try yourself.

Products to Obtain

If you have just invested in a new suede chair, do yourself a favor and invest in a few other items that will come in handy should your chair need to be cleaned in a pinch. One of the handiest items you should have around the house to reinvigorate your suede furnishings is a suede brush. You can find these in the footwear care aisle of the grocery store with the shoe polish. (While you're there, see if they have any suede cleaner in stock.) They are also sold online, in department stores and in shoe stores. A suede brush is used to return the nap to an area of suede that has lost it's original finish. Use this specially designed brush both before and after treating stains.

You should also have plenty of clean rags or paper towels on hand, as well as soap, water, laundry detergent, baking soda and hydrogen peroxide.

Stain Treating Tactics

You'll find that your treatment method for removing stains will vary depending on what kind of stain or mark you are dealing with. Regardless of whatever kind of stain you are fighting, you will want to test a small, less visible portion of the chair to make sure that no adverse effects occur (loss of color, acid wear).

For dry scuff marks or similar problems, gently rubbing the area with a pencil eraser often does the trick.

For salt stains, the cleanup can be a little more challenging. Try either a mixture of a few drops of laundry detergent in warm water applied with a clean cloth or a small amount of white vinegar. (This can leave a smell behind, so go easy with this cleaning solution.)

Oil-based stains, such as might be caused by oily potato chips or other food items, will need to be treated with detergent to break up the stain. This might be a simple paste of water and baking soda, or a few drops of color-safe laundry detergent dissolved in a cup of hot water.

Blood stains are best treated with hydrogen peroxide. Simply use an eyedropper to precisely drip the chemical onto the stained area. It will fizz slightly. Press on the stain with a rag or paper towel, and continue dripping and dabbing until the stain is lifted. Rinse with cold water, and dab the excess moisture away. Make sure you always using dabbing and blotting motions, never scouring or scrubbing, as this will make the stain bigger.

Remove pet stains such as urine using the baking soda paste method listed above, which will lift the stain and neutralize the odor.

Remove ink stains by first soaking the stain in rubbing alcohol and rubbing them with Vaseline. At that point, you can spot clean the area with the detergent/warm water blend listed above. You may need to machine wash the component if possible for best stainlifting power.


Once the stain has been eradicated, use a silicone-based solution designed to waterproof suede. Always allow the suede to air dry after cleaning. If the nap is still a bit off, try using a suede brush, emery board or textured sponge. If your attempts at cleaning that stain have made it worse or have failed to completely remove the stain, call a professional cleaner.

About the Author

Tucker Cummings is a freelance writer based in New England. She holds two Bachelor of Arts degrees from the University of New Hampshire and is a member of the Association of Professional Business Writers. Cummings is also a food writer and curates the blog, Brave New Breakfast.