Suede is a fine and fragile fabric. It is actually a type of leather, but much softer and with a specific napped or brushed finish. Because of its fragile nature it is generally less durable and strong than ordinary leather. For the same reasons, stains are harder to remove from suede than from other types of natural leather. Stains from paint and other aggressive substances are especially hard to get off suede, but there are solutions that can help remove the stain almost completely.
Act immediately when you spot the stain. As with most kinds of stains, it is always better to act as soon as possible. Chances of removing a stain completely are better when the stain is fresher.
Scoop as much paint from the suede as you can with cotton swabs or a dry cloth. This works only if the paint stain is still wet. Be careful not to spread the stain; scoop gently and slowly and never cross the stain's edges.
Scrape as much paint as you can with a plastic knife. This method will work on older stains that are already dry and hardened. You can also use a metal wire sponge as long as it's not too aggressive and abrasive.
Prepare a mixture of warm water and mild liquid detergent or dish soap. Mix the two in a plastic bowl deep enough to make a foam without getting the liquid out.
Apply the foam from the bowl on a soft sponge and rub the stain with it. This is necessary because suede isn't supposed to be wet or soaked with water; dry and semi-dry methods of cleaning are the safest choice. You can use a dish sponge as long as it isn't too coarse. Rub the whole stain and try to remove as much paint as possible.
Put some commercial leather cleaning fluid onto a dry cloth and rub the paint stain in a circular motion. Allow the area to dry thoroughly but first hold a dry towel over it to soak the excess leather cleaner.
Consult a professional dry cleaner if the stain persists. Note that water-based paint is generally much easier to remove than oil-based paint. Oil-based paint leaves the area slightly different or even semi-damaged after the stain removal.
- If the paint is acrylic or car paint, try putting the garment in the freezer for a while. This will make the surface of the paint stain brittle and easier to remove with a plastic knife.
- Never use acetone or any other aggressive chemicals on suede because it is a sensitive fabric that can easily be damaged.