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Ways to lighten the colour of suede

Updated April 17, 2017

Suede is a brushed leather fabric that is durable, but unfortunately it can fade or change colour over time. Thankfully, there are ways to remedy this and lighten the colour of the material. Whether you have an old suede jacket that needs lightening, or you have just bought a new pair of suede shoes that aren't quite the correct shade to match your outfit, there are some simple techniques that will help give your suede item a new lease of life.

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Rosin bag technique

The rosin bag method is the most effective way to lighten suede. You can purchase rosin bags from many sporting goods shops. These bags contain a powder made from a plant extract, and are intended for use to enhance hand grip in sports such as tennis, baseball, and rock climbing. The powder works by absorbing moisture. To lighten suede, simply pat the bag all over the fabric, and brush excess powder from the surface using a clothes or suede brush.

Sandpaper method

The sandpaper method is simple, but exerting too much force or using the incorrect grade of sandpaper could damage the fabric. Rub a very fine grade of sandpaper gently over the entire surface of the fabric, covering the whole garment or shoe evenly. You should be able to see the colour lightening as you progress. It is difficult to lighten the whole surface evenly using this method.

Towel method

The towel method is similar to the sandpaper method and is safer, but takes longer. Take a dry, clean towel and gently rub the suede to restore its condition. After extended periods of rubbing, the suede will being to lighten.

Bath powder method

The bath powder, or talcum powder lightening method is similar to the rosin bag method, as both involve moisture-absorbing dry powders. To lighten suede using bath powder, first make sure the fabric is dry. Then simply shake bath powder over the entire surface of the suede, covering it with a thin layer. Take a suede brush, and lightly brush off all the excess powder. Follow with a light brushing with a clothes brush.

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About the Author

Joseph Kellem has worked across a range of publications, websites and events since 2005. His writing and editing experience spans a wide range of industries, including industrial materials, computing, medical technology, marketing and communications. Kellem holds a Master of Science in physics from the University of Birmingham, UK.

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