How to Clean Tan Suede

Written by cassie tweten
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How to Clean Tan Suede
Tan suede shoes. (Suede man"s low shoes on a white background image by terex from

Suede is a textured material made from leather. Typical leather has a smooth side and a rough side, while suede is made by splitting leather two or three times, making it much softer and thinner than the original. Suede's absorbency, matt finish and velvety texture make it difficult to clean. Tan suede can be particularly difficult to care for as scuffs stains show easily and improperly cleaning tan suede will cause dirty areas to smudge, turning a small blemish into a large eyesore.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Terry cloth towel
  • Pencil eraser
  • Suede brush (or soft-bristled tooth brush)
  • Emery board (or sandpaper)
  • White vinegar

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  1. 1

    Remove dust from suede by rubbing with a terry cloth towel in a circular motion.

  2. 2

    Rub smudges, dirt and dried stains with a pencil eraser. Good Housekeeping recommends using a kneadable eraser (available at art supply stores).

  3. 3

    Sand matted areas by briskly rubbing them with sandpaper or an emery board. This will restore some of the original texture.

  4. 4

    Dip the towel in white vinegar and gently dab any remaining stains. The suede should appear a slightly darker tan while damp, but not muddy or grey.

  5. 5

    Allow suede to air dry.

  6. 6

    Massage the entire surface of the fabric in a circular motion with a suede brush or toothbrush to reestablish a velvety grain.

Tips and warnings

  • Have suede professionally cleaned if you are worried about damaging the material.
  • Do not attempt to remove ink, oil or grease from tan suede with water. Water will cause the stain to spread, making dark spots larger and more noticeable.

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