How to clean fake suede

Updated April 17, 2017

Fake suede is the synthetic version of genuine animal suede. It is used for clothing, furniture, car upholstery and shoes. Fake suede is much easier to clean than its animal counterpart. Typically, fake suede is moisture-resistant, making it more difficult to stain. If you do spill on fake suede, you can clean it with a few common household products.

Remove spills as soon as possible by placing a cotton cloth or sponge on the spot, absorbing the moisture before it seeps into the fake suede. Do not rub or press, as this may make the stain harder to remove.

Sprinkle baking soda on the spot and allow it to sit overnight to absorb odours and freshen the fake suede. If you are applying baking soda to furniture or other heavy items, vacuum the baking soda to remove it. If it is a lightweight item, shake off the baking soda outside.

If possible, wash the item in a washing machine. Fake suede is usually made with polyester or other materials so check the label's washing instructions. Make sure you remove the stain before putting the item in the dryer to avoid permanently setting the stain.

If your suede item cannot be put in a washing machine, apply dry cleaning solution. First brush the stain with a suede brush to loosen the debris. Follow the dry cleaning product directions exactly. If a dry cleaning product is not available, dampen a lint-free cloth with ethyl alcohol and gently wipe until you have removed the stain.


Ethyl alcohol is available at most drugstores. If moisture marks remain on the fake suede after it has dried, apply lemon juice and blot with a sponge. Regularly brush fake suede with a suede brush and vacuum to keep the colour uniform and clean.


If you use any type of cleaning chemical, such as the ethyl alcohol, be sure to work in a well-ventilated area. Always blot stains and spills rather than rubbing or wiping to avoid making the stain worse.

Things You'll Need

  • Cotton cloths
  • Sponge
  • Baking soda
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Washing machine
  • Suede brush
  • Ethyl alcohol
  • Dry cleaning solution
  • Lemon juice
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About the Author

Yvonne Ward began her professional writing career in 2004. She wrote a true-crime book published in 2010 and has two more underway. She also has a strong background in business, education and farm living. Ward is pursuing a Master of Arts in history and culture from Union Institute and University.