Suede is a popular material for shoes, jackets, purses and sofas; unfortunately it is also one of the most frustrating ones. Even when you take care to prevent liquid and other stains from damaging your suede pieces, accidents happen. It can cost up to $100 to get a pair of suede shoes or a purse professionally cleaned, and several hundred to clean a suede sofa, so it's important to learn how to handle most cleaning situations yourself. Cleaning a dark color like red can be even more frustrating due to the behavior of the original dye.

Brightly colored suede is not only popular and attractive, but also often difficult to clean.

Remove Dirt or Grime From Suede

Step 1

Vacuum the surface as clean as possible.

Step 2

Stuff paper towels or socks into a shoe or purse to maintain the item's shape, if needed.

Step 3

Lightly brush the nap of the suede with a toothbrush to loosen grime.

Step 4

Gently scrub the stains with the pencil eraser until the stains disappear or transfer to the eraser.

Step 5

Vacuum the surface to remove bits of eraser, if needed.

Step 6

If the suede is clean, brush the nap again, varying directions, until the nap texture is restored.

Remove Water Stains

Step 7

Water and suede do not mix; often the only way to remove a water stain is to mask it over a larger area. If the surface is still wet, lightly soak up excess water with paper towels, being careful not to push the moisture into the suede. A wet vac can help suck up excess liquid from a sofa.

Step 8

Lightly brush the nap of the suede with a toothbrush.

Step 9

If needed, stuff paper towels inside the item to help with the moisture, maintain the shape and prevent shrinking. Allow the suede to dry.

Step 10

Test the following steps on an inconspicuous spot to ensure the color will not be altered.

Step 11

Spray the suede with a gentle mist of water so the surface is evenly damp but not dripping wet.

Step 12

Soak up the excess water with paper towels or a clean cloth.

Step 13

Lightly brush the nap with a toothbrush and allow the suede to dry.

Step 14

Brush the nap with a toothbrush again. If water stains remain, repeat the above steps.

Stubborn Stains

Step 15

Make a solution of half white vinegar and half water.

Step 16

Test the following steps on an inconspicuous spot on the suede to be sure the color will withstand it.

Step 17

Dab the vinegar solution onto the stain with a cotton ball or soft cloth and rub gently.

Step 18

Lightly brush the wet area with a toothbrush.

Step 19

Allow to dry and brush with a toothbrush again to restore the nap.