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How to Wash Suede Cushions

Updated November 21, 2016

Suede is a gorgeous and luxurious material, and can be a beautiful addition to any home. Unfortunately, suede does come with one drawback: It can be difficult to clean, and if the cleaning is done improperly, you run the risk of ruining the material. If you follow manufacturer's instructions and learn safe ways to clean your suede, you can ensure your suede cushions look new and fresh for years.

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  1. Examine your furniture to determine if you own real or synthetic suede cushions. This step is vital in determining how to properly clean your suede cushions. Washable suede can be carefully laundered, but real suede does not mix well with water. If you're unsure, check the label on your furniture or contact the manufacturer.

  2. Test your synthetic, washable suede cushions for discolouration when it comes in contact with water and soap. Put a dab of detergent on an area that is hidden, and rinse it off after five minutes. Then allow it to dry to determine if any discolouration took place. If it seems safe to wash, first vacuum the fabric to eliminate any stray crumbs or dirt. When washing, use a mild detergent, being sure to use cold water, and the gentle cycle setting on your washing machine. Tumble dry on low heat, and immediately remove the covers from the dryer upon completion. These covers should not be ironed.

  3. Maintain your suede cushions on your own by treating those pesky, less noticeable stains with simple home remedies if you own real suede that cannot go in the washing machine. Use a dry bath towel, nail brush or toothbrush to work the nap up. For dry stains, use a suede eraser or a pencil eraser. Gently rub the eraser over the stain, and start to apply more pressure as you continue your efforts. You should be able to see the marks lift off the fabric and onto the eraser. However, if the eraser technique fails to work, dab the stain with a damp towel and white vinegar, allowing the suede to dry before assessing the stain again.

  4. Avoid immediately scrubbing or blotting wet stains too hard, as this will cause the stain to seep deep into the suede's fibres. Instead, lay a paper towel over the liquid so that it can soak up some of the excess liquid. Then follow the steps for dry stain removal.

  5. Protect your suede against future stains by using a suede protection spray, which can be found in most grocery or drugstores.

  6. Invest in a professional cleaning service if you own real suede. Especially if your suede needs a significant sprucing up, dry cleaning can be the best way to safely ensure stains are removed and the fabric looks revamped.

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Things You'll Need

  • Mild detergent
  • Vacuum
  • Washing machine
  • Dryer
  • Bath towel
  • Nail brush
  • Toothbrush
  • Suede eraser
  • White vinegar
  • Suede protection spray

About the Author

Katherine Hartman started writing professionally in 2008, covering topics such as film, theater architecture and environmental issues. She has contributed to "Cleveland Magazine," "Southeast Ohio Magazine" and "Building Design and Construction" magazine, among other publications. Hartman graduated from Ohio University's E.W. Scripps School of Journalism in 2008 with a Bachelor of Science in journalism.

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