Cleaning Guides

How to Clean a Suede Sofa

Suede sofas and armchairs are beautiful interior pieces in any home, extremely delicate and soft to touch, however, easy to damage and hard to clean. If you don’t know how to properly take care of your suede or microsuede, you risk ruining this nice fabric fast. The thing is that suede couches require proper routine maintenance with everyday use. Liquids and dirt can really change the look of suede, making it look greasy and darkened.

Stains set in quickly into the fabric, so you will need to take care of them immediately, in order to spare your sofa a dingy appearance. Frankly, everyone enjoys a clean home and a fresh and lovely looking sofa is essential for that. That is why we have put together this guide for anyone wondering how to clean a suede sofa.

So, keep on reading if:

  • You want to avoid damaging your sofa while cleaning it up;
  • There are set-in stains that refuse to come out;
  • You’re not sure how to approach the task.

Before cleaning look for your suede sofa’s label

Cleaning a suede sofa can be tricky. Each suede piece is unique and requires specialised cleaning. That is why it is important to know whether your couch is suede or microsuede to avoid damaging it in the cleaning process. Suede can generally repel water to some extent, though microsuede is more resistant to liquids. Still, some suede pieces can be very sensitive to moisture. 

Sofas come with a care tag where information can be found on what type of cleaners are safe to use. Tags have a coding system that tells you whether you can use water or you need to use other solutions.

  • W: It is safe to use water-based solutions on the fabric.
  • S: Dry cleaning or water-free solvent is required as water will damage the fabric.
  • S-W: You can use either of the above methods. Water-based and solvents are both safe. 
  • X: Any liquid can harm the fabric. Use only vacuum cleaning.
Pro tip: If you cannot find the label, test the cleaner on a small, hidden part of the sofa to avoid discolouration and damage.

Then vacuum

Suede sofas require regular vacuuming to free the fabric from any dust, small debris or pet hair. It is advisable to vacuum clean your sofa weekly if possible or at least once a month. Use the upholstery brush attachment of your vacuum and go over the surface in a crisscross pattern.  For easy access to every nook and cranny, use a hand vacuum or a crevice tool. If you have removable cushions, put them aside and later go over their surface, as well.

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How to remove stains from a suede sofa

  • Dealing with wet stains – Due to the suede’s sensitivity to moisture, the rule ‘the faster, the better’ will apply if any food or drink spills on your couch. Use a clean cloth or towel to gently blot the spot to absorb as much liquid as possible. Don’t rub or scrub. If there is any grease or food still left, use a slightly damp (not wet) cloth to remove the residue. If the stain is taken care of immediately, cleaning products might not be required. Only if needed and advised by the manufacturer, apply a stain treatment and leave it for a few minutes. Rinse with a clean damp towel and use a hairdryer to dry the area faster.
  • Treating old stains – Old and dried stains, however, can be more stubborn and hard to get rid of. Whether food or a drink caused the staining, cleaning it, after it has been on your sofa for some time, is a hard task but not mission impossible. You just need to know what to do. There are special suede erasers that can be found for this purpose but an ordinary pencil eraser can also do the job for you. Rub gently the affected area. Remember to be careful not to harm the fabric. After that, use a soft brush like a toothbrush, for example, to remove any excess dirt. If you have a suede brush, it will be even better. However, there are some stains that just don’t disappear with home remedies and especially if you are dealing with an ink or crayon stain, you will need to contact professional cleaners.
  • Cleaning grease stains – Greasy stains on the suede couch? Unpleasant! But fortunately, there is a way to combat them. There are several home products that can be used to clean grease from suede and all of which have the ability to absorb grease. First, gently blot up any excess grease with a clean towel. Don’t press too hard into the fabric, nor rub the area to avoid spreading the stain. Then sprinkle a thin layer of either baking soda, talcum powder or cornstarch over the spot. Be careful to not overdo it, as that might cause unwanted discolouration. Allow the powder to stay overnight and then vacuum the remaining powder or brush it off using a soft-bristle brush. If necessary, repeat the steps until the stain disappears. There are some commercial degreasers that you can find in stores or online and use them to clean your sofa, but be careful and always follow the product’s instructions.
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How to maintain your suede sofa

  • Brush it regularly – This will also ensure that they stay in a good shape and more in-depth cleaning won’t be required too often. There are two brushing techniques suitable for suede sofas. You can either use small circular motions or follow crisscross patterns. Both ensure that any dirt is thoroughly removed without damaging the upholstery. Always use a soft brush instead of one that is too abrasive. You can buy a specialised suede brush. If you have a pet at home, brushing is essential and you should do it more regularly. Pet hair, similarly to dust and dirt, can take away the shine and gorgeous look out of your suede furniture.
  • Use a stain-repellent spray – Those products cannot secure absolute protection against any staining but at least they can make the cleaning later on simpler. This works by forming a protective layer over the suede upholstery that stops stains from setting in and helps the fabric last longer. Use the spray preferably in a well-ventilated room by holding it about 30cm away from the surface. Work in sections. For better results, apply two to three coats. Let the suede dry for a few hours before sitting on it.

Having trouble with a stain on your suede sofa?

Let the professionals from Fantastic Services handle the rest!

Add a valid postcode e.g. SE1 2TH

Hire a professional

Even though there are plenty of techniques you can use to protect your beloved suede furniture from potential accidents or clean food and drink stains with home remedies, in some cases, you may well require professional help. However, there is no need to stress over that. Fantastic Services works with certified professionals who have the right knowledge and equipment to bring back the healthy look of any suede sofa. Our upholstery cleaning services include fabric protection for long-lasting furniture and antiviral upholstery sanitisation that gets 99.99% of the bacteria killed. Whether you need to get rid of a nasty stain or foul odour in your suede furniture, contact us and we will be happy to help.

Takeaways:

  • Suede is a beautiful and soft fabric that can be very easily ruined and tricky to clean.
  • Regular maintenance is required for suede sofas, such as brushing and vacuuming.
  • Suede is very sensitive to water, which is why you need to check your sofa’s label to know whether it can be damaged by liquids.
  • Wet stains need to be cleaned immediately before they have the chance of setting in. 
  • There are some natural products that can be used when trying to combat grease stains.
  • Old stains are very hard to get out of suede upholstery and that is why professional help is required in some cases.

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Image source: Shutterstock / RusAKphoto

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