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How to Clean Oil on Suede

Authentic suede is made of animal skin and is a durable, yet delicate fabric. Care must be taken when cleaning and removing stains from suede. An oil stain on suede can be worrisome, especially given the fragility of the fabric. The greasy nature of oil makes it tricky to remove. Using the proper products and techniques to remove oil from suede will not only get the stain out, but will preserve the integrity of the fabric.

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  1. Sprinkle cornstarch or talcum powder over the oil at first sight. Tap the powder lightly with your finger to press it down into the oil. The powder will help to absorb the oil from the suede. Allow the powder to sit on the suede for at least an hour. The longer you can leave it on the better.

  2. Brush the powder from the suede using a dry rag. Run the rag very lightly over the suede to remove the powder and any oil that it absorbed.

  3. Place a small amount of distilled white vinegar into a bowl. Dip an old toothbrush into the bowl of vinegar. Rub the oil-stained area of the suede with the vinegar-soaked toothbrush. Rub gently, using a circular motion.

  4. Blot the suede with a clean, dry rag to absorb any excess moisture. Allow the suede to air dry and inspect for any traces of the oil.

  5. Use white spirit if the oil stain persists. Moisten a clean rag with white spirit. Wipe a moderate coating of white spirit over the oil stain. Sprinkle additional talcum powder or cornstarch over the white spirit. Wait several hours until the white spirit dries completely. Brush off the powder with a dry rag.

  6. Rub the stain with the vinegar and toothbrush again. Repeat this process, if necessary, until you have removed all of the oil.

  7. Use an art gum eraser as a last resort for removing oil from suede. Soak up as much of the oil as possible with an absorbent powder. Gently rub an art eraser over the suede until the stain disappears. Avoid rubbing too hard or you may damage the fabric.

  8. Restore the nap on the suede by rubbing over the fabric with a suede brush.

  9. Warning

    Avoid using water to remove oil from suede. It will only spread the oil and set it in further.

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Things You'll Need

  • Cornstarch or talcum powder
  • Rags
  • Distilled white vinegar
  • Bowl
  • Old toothbrush
  • White spirit
  • Art gum eraser
  • Suede brush

About the Author

Kimbry Parker has been writing since 1998 and has published content on various websites. Parker has experience writing on a variety of topics such as health, parenting, home improvement and decorating. She is a graduate of Purdue University with a Bachelor of Arts in organizational communication.

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