How to clean a suede sofa

Written by giselle diamond
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A suede sofa in your living room looks stunning and feels luxurious, but no matter how hard you try to avoid it, a suede sofa always seems to attract dirt. The supple and flexible properties of suede cause it to become easily soiled and stained. Although costly, professional cleaning will rejuvenate your suede sofa. If this expense is not an option, simple home remedies can give your suede sofa a new lease on life.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Soft towel
  • Eraser
  • Paper towel
  • White vinegar
  • Ice cube
  • Nail file

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  1. 1

    Rub the sofa with a towel to restore the nap of the suede and to help loosen any stubborn fibres.

  2. 2

    Rub dry stains lightly with an eraser. Even stains deeply ground into the suede will visibly disappear.

  3. 3

    Blot wet stains with a paper towel to absorb the excess liquid, and allow it to air dry.

  4. 4

    Freeze the hardened wax stains with an ice block for one minute, and chip away the wax with the round end of a nail file.

  5. 5

    Soak the corner of a soft towel with white vinegar. Gently rub the towel over any remaining stains until you have removed the mark, and allow the sofa to air dry.

  6. 6

    Rub the sofa again with a soft towel to restore the nap once the suede has dried.

Tips and warnings

  • Treat the sofa with a protection spray every six months. This increases the life of the fabric and makes cleaning it easier in the future.
  • Do not rub the suede too hard or the fibres will wear away, leaving noticeable bare patches on the sofa.
  • Spot cleaning a suede sofa will result in cleaner patches and different colour shades in the dye, so consider cleaning around the stain to blend in the cleaned area.
  • To freshen up suede with a heavily matted nap, consider using sandpaper or a soft toothbrush in place of a soft towel.
  • Stain removers will affect the reaction professional cleaning methods have to suede; their use is not recommended when cleaning a suede sofa. Stain removers will also result in slightly lighter spots appearing around the application area.
  • Do not apply heat to the sofa to speed up drying as this will harden the suede, and it will lose the soft, textured finish.
  • When using vinegar to remove stains, the vinegar smell will remain in the sofa for a little while after cleaning. To remove the smell sprinkle baking soda over the sofa, and allow it to stand for around one hour. Then simply vacuum the sofa to remove the baking soda.

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