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Is it safe to steam clean a suede couch?

Updated February 21, 2017

Sure, suede sofas class up a room, but once you've set up the couch, you've got to be very careful because suede is difficult to clean and maintain. Steam heat allows you to disinfect and deep clean the sofa as long as you take care not to let water get inside the suede fibres.

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Yes, it's totally safe to steam clean your suede sofa. Steam heat removes bacteria and dirt from your sofa without using water, which can mar the look of suede by spotting. The steam vapour pulls dirt out from the surface, and the hot water -- 93.3 degrees Celsius -- sterilises the surface for deep cleaning without introducing chemicals. Mold and mites also die from the hot vapour.


Suede is a very sensitive material. It does not like to get wet, and its signature texture can be damaged by improper cleaning products or cleaning methods. While brushing removes hairs, surface dirt and dust from a suede couch, it does not deep clean. When you need to get a stain out, disinfect or deep clean suede, steam is effective enough to do the job, yet gentle.


To safely deep clean suede, plug in your steam cleaner and allow it to heat up. Some steamers have a low vapour mode which uses less water, which works well on sensitive substance like suede. Work the steam wand back and forth over your sofa, holding it about 6 inches from the surface. Hold the suede over the area long enough to heat it, then move the wand to a new area. Don't hold the brush so long over your suede that water penetrates.


Brush the suede with a suede brush after steaming to restore the nap or the signature raised look of your suede sofa. Combining a steam cleaning with a proper brushing afterwards helps your suede furniture stay clean and look its best. Depending on your lifestyle, you may want to steam clean often -- for example, if the suede gets a beating from kids or pets -- or only once or twice a year if it gets little use.

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A successful website writer since 1998, Elton Dunn has demonstrated experience with technology, information retrieval, usability and user experience, social media, cloud computing, and small business needs. Dunn holds a degree from UCSF and formerly worked as professional chef. Dunn has ghostwritten thousands of blog posts, newsletter articles, website copy, press releases and product descriptions. He specializes in developing informational articles on topics including food, nutrition, fitness, health and pets.

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