Monday, March 3, 2008

You can wash suede clothing

Did you know that you can wash suede clothing? While it's usually recommended that you have them dry cleaned, a gentle wash in your washer will do it. Just stop the machine before the spin cycle and squeeze as much water from it as you can. Lay it flat to dry, then brush to relax the nap. Washing by hand is even gentler if you don't wring it out when you're through. Again, squeeze the fabric, then put it to dry on a flat surface.

Read: Can You Wash Suede Clothing?

115 comments:

Sharon J said...

Hmmm... I'm not sure I'd try this on something expensive (not that I have anything expensive) but it'd be worth a try on something cheap. It's certainly not something I've ever heard of before.

Can I just ask whether you've tried it yourself?

Pat said...

Yes, I have tried it. I wouldn't post a tip unless I was sure it worked! :) I prefer washing suede by hand, though, it's easier than to try to stop the machine at the right time.

Anonymous said...

G'Day Pat,
I just bought an expensive Suede jacket on ebay, though I paid very little. The only problem is it reeks of cigarette smoke. I am willing to toss it in the washer, as you suggested, but what kind of detergent/wool wash/cleaner should I use?
Cheers.
Mark
The land of Oz.

Pat said...

Any mild detergent will work, Mark. Getting rid of cigarette smoke can be hard to do, though. You might have to have it dry cleaned to do that. A mild vinegar rinse will usually do it, but I haven't used vinegar on suede so it would be at your own risk.

Elsita :) said...

Oh thank you for this post!
I was doing some research online to see if it was ok to wash suede at home and that's how I found you :)
I just have some pieces of suede that I want to use for making some craft but it needs to be washed first.
Thank you again!
Elsita :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks everyone for your posts on suede washing. Am in China and cannot get my suede jacket cleaned anywhere so it's the bin or...I just put it in the wasing machine, so here's hoping!
Cian

Anonymous said...

I wash my suede jackets all the time in the washer, I let it go through the whole cycle and throw it in the dryer for 10 min. Then hang to dry, shaping it whenever I see fit. To get the wrinkles out I use a hot iron and damp cloth and just press, all my jackets look brand new when I'm finished. I never thought about brushing them, I will try that after I press them, thanks.

Jill Bourdais said...

Hello, Pat, I bought an expensive short suede jacket which is light blue, and reversible, the other side being a two-toned blue cotton print. A thick blue embroidery- style cotton stitching runs geometrically through the entire garment on both sides but is very discreet. I gave it to be cleaned once, and the suede side came out a dull grayish blue, which doesn't match the cotton side anymore (i.e. lapels and cuffs). Now it's a bit dirty again, and I want to try washing it - maybe by hand -- to see if I can revive the color, get it clean, and not have it be even more gray. What do you advise? Jill

Pat said...

Jill, I would hate to give advice that would ruin an expensive garment, but many people have washed suede with good results. If I were you, and decided to do it, I'd wash it by hand with a mild detergent. Avoid the dryer as it can shrink the cotton and embroidery even if it doesn't affect the suede.

By the way, comments are moderated, that's why you're posts didn't go through the first time. :)

Mary Ann said...

I got olive oil on my suede jacket. What can I use to remove the spot before washing? HELP! I love this jacket.

Pat said...

Mary Anne, I can only point you in the direction of Heloise:
Removing Grease from Suede

If you search for it on Google, you'll get several links that might help.

Diogo Ferreira said...

i have puma suede sneakers...and just don't know how to get then cleaned!!!

i have to get then dry cleaned? do they dry clean sneakers?

help me please

it's pretty dirty and for a long time now

Pat said...

Dioga, have you tried cornmeal? You work it into the suede and let it set for a half hour or so, then brush it out. If they're very dirty, you might have to do it several times. I don't know if anyone would dry clean them because dry cleaning solvent can loosen glue and harm rubber and plastics. If worse comes to worst, try washing them by hand, gently with a mild soap. Try only a small spot first to see how it reacts.

Anonymous said...

Bought a top quality 2nd hand burgundy suede jacket and I have just washed it on a wool wash, with wool detergent and fabric softener. Result - perfect, no shrinkage whatsover, same texture and softness as before, no discolouration and best of all SMELLS GREAT! It was risky, I admit! but I did not want to spend £40.00 to clean it. Worth a try if you have not paid too much for the jacket in the first place!

Anonymous said...

I have this tan suede leather jacket for about two years now and i have never had it cleaned. I have two young children and well who really knows what has gotten on this jacket i really want to clean it but dont want to pay alot of money. So if i just toss it in the wash and use the laundry soap that i already have i will be good to go? Or do i need to buy a special soap? What cycle do i put it on?
thanks
ashley

Barb said...

Thank you so much for the advice. I have a suede jacket that sat at my brother's smoke filled house for a year (he lives about 200 miles from me). I will try this as soon as I can

CSRBC Carol said...

Since I have read all this here, I'm washing my suede shirt, as we speak.
It is in the machine on the HAND WASH cycle.
My question is, and I might be asking too soon but, if it dries hard, how do I go about "re-softening" it again?

I rolled it into a towel and gently wrung it and it's now flat on a sweater dryer, mesh frame. It will, no doubt, take a month to dry.

Pat said...

Nah, it won't take that long to dry. I don't think it will, anyway! I doubt that it will dry hard, either, but in case it does, you should be able to work it with your hands to soften it up. Let us know how it goes.

CSRBC Carol said...

Yup...it is about 3/4 dry and stiffish.
Although the water was very grey when I twisted out water, the black bits on the shoulders didn't "bleed" into the arms.

Yes, I'll have to work it with my hands. It won't be back to the post wash softness but it is cleaner!
It is a Leo Chevalier suede shirt.
According to their website, they don't make them anymore...oh well.

Pat said...

Thanks for letting us know, Carol. Enjoy your shirt! :)

Anonymous said...

A Native American friend who does ceremonial dances with his wife and seven children washes all of their leather costumes in cold water and rinses in water that has a little Downy in it. They never come out stiff. He air dries in the shade.

Anonymous said...

hey, i got some part- swayed and part leather shoes, i want to wash them, can i throw them in the washing machine?

Pat said...

I wouldn't throw them in the washer, but you can probably clean them with a damp cloth, or even a wet one if you watch to see how they're reacting.

Anonymous said...

I have a tan suede jacket with fringe on it, kind of western looking, I am just now throwing it into the gentle cycle with wool laundry detergent. I will let you know how it goes.

Anonymous said...

THANK YOU SO MUCH!!! Just pulled out the fringe western type suede jacket. I am impressed! It looks wonderful! I put it into the wash with two light colored towels and then into the dryer with them for 8 minutes. Pulled it out and it is hanging in front of my pellet stove drying. Saved me $65.00. Yes! We will think of you at dinner tonight!

Anonymous said...

The jacket with fringe turned out fabulous! Thank you again for this site.

Pat said...

Awesome! Thank you for letting us know.

Anonymous said...

hi, after reading all your comments, i handwash my pink suede jacket with mild laundry detergent and rinse it with downy. its so heavy so i remove excess water by stepping into it..funny huh and hard work too. i did not wring it. i hang it dry indoor. it takes 3 days to dry naturally indoor but the outcome is okay..no more foul odor and its clean although its not as soft as new but i think a leather conditioner will take care of this issue.

Anonymous said...

My suede jacket is in washer now :) Let you know what happens

Anonymous said...

Just put my suede jacket in wash gentle cycle with Woolite. Plan to rinse 2x and catch it before the spin cycle. After it dries, I'll brush it and then spray it with protectant. If this does not work, another comment will be posted.

Anonymous said...

I work with used suede jackets, some stiffen with water usually the lesser ones. If it is a decent brand I wash it in the machines with ALL, rinse twice and run through the dryer until dry and soft. If it stiffens up I run it through the washer with a white vinegar wash and double rinse. If it is faded I re-dye it in the same color using super hot water, a pk of dye, 1 tbsp non-bleaching dish detergent, & a cup of salt and rinse well in cold water. After I press with a hot steam iron and newsprint I renew the nap with a 10-15 minute run in a hot dryer. So far the only ones that didn't make it are the ones that were too dirty on the sleeve and hem edges.

Anonymous said...

Hello Pat and all - exactly what i was looking for! I'm in Wimbledon UK and bought a lovely - but basically cheap - suede jacket from Hennes. In my messy cupboard under stairs (equals coat dumping ground) a family of mice had a good time wee-ing and poo-ing on it. Nice. To professionally clean will cost £60. I'm going to try the gentle handwashing method and ask the english summer to dry it. I'll let you know. Exciting to think I may reclaim my lovely jacket. Best wishes to all, Maria

Sue said...

Thanks, folks! I'll try it.

I will wash a suede jacket I bought in a garage sale together with one I bought in Costco that is woolite gentle cycle washable. If you don't hear from me, that means all went well

Sue

Chris said...

I've just washed a camel-coloured suede jacket that I got for £5 in a charity shop. It had been well worn,and the hems were coming down and it was grubby around the edges and the neck - also a bit "pitty"! It was marked dry clean only. I was quoted £30 to £40 at the dry cleaners, so I thought I'd give it a go in the machine after reading the comments here. I'm really happy with the results. I used Woolite on the 30 degree wool handwash setting on the machine, with a 700 spin, then hung it on the line to dry. It was butter-soft to start with, and was a little rougher in feel after it dried, but a light brushing later and it's fantastic. I'm putting a few discreet stitches through the lining at seam points to hold the hems up. Well worth a fiver!

Anonymous said...

I bought a beige suede jacket 5 years ago and haven't worn it for a bout 3 years as it's grubby looking. It only cost me about £20 in a catalogue clearance store so i'm very reluctant to spend £50 getting it cleaned! I wasn't sure if I could clean it myself but now i'm going to try washing it and see how it goes. Thanks for the tip :)

Jennifer Nogueira said...

Hi. I've just machine washed a beige jacket at 30 degrees with liquid detergent but no softner. The jacket was generally quite dirty with quite a few ground in old stains. The general look is cleaner and a bit lighter which accentuates the stains that didn't come out which unfortunately makes the jacket look worse than before washing. It is almost dry, it's shape is ok but it is quite stiff. How can I soften it up and what can I do about the now washed in stains? Thanks.

Pat said...

Jennifer, you didn't use the dryer to dry it, did you? If not, you may be able to remove the stains by scrubbing it gently between your hands. Use a mild bar soap and work at it to see if they will lighten. If they do, you can remove them with enough work.

Part of it depends of course, on the type of stain. Grease is very hard to remove without hot water, which you probably don't want to use on suede.

Anonymous said...

My suede coat hasn't been worn in two years, because I couldn't get it clean (carrying around a couple of babies/toddlers had almost destroyed it). I had tried to clean it by sponging it with vinegar, brushing it etc. The brushing had made it look pretty rough (I used a suede brush for shoes).

So I gave up and just washed it in a front loader washer on gentle, with a little bit of fragrant free detergent. Put it in the dryer on low for 30 mins, and it came out beautifully. Still soft, and the messed up bits from brushing are gone. The "dry clean only with leather technique" seems a bit of a scam to me....

Anonymous said...

just did mine and worked very well still like new

Anonymous said...

have a light tan jacket, not expensive with a faux fur collar and you have inspired me to put it in the washer on the gentle cycle. it would cost more to clean than i paid for it! thank you!

Anonymous said...

I just hand-washed my suede jacket (my dry cleaner had recommended doing that, too!), and as it's drying there are little dots forming all over it that didn't used to be there...do you konw why this is?

Anonymous said...

I have suede winter boots (Ugg knock-offs from Target) and have washed them several times in the washer (regular cycle, plus spin, plus Tide). So far, the glue has remained in tact. I stand them up to dry, and they are a little stiff, but better than having winter salt stains & being stinky! :) Thanks so much for your tips! I was considering putting them in the dryer, but think I will continue to let them air dry in the house. It might take a few days, but I don't want to risk ruining them.

~Lisa in Minnesota

Anonymous said...

Hi,

can i wash non-leather suede? my doggie's carrier bag is a bit dirty....and i want to give it a new look :)

Pat said...

Yes, you can wash non-leather suede. Just follow the same directions.

Anonymous said...

ran across your site and thought I would leave my comment.
I wear suede chaps to ride my horses...needless to say they get really dirty and sweaty, more so than just the average fashion garment. I wash them about every six months and they come out like new. the key is to use fabric softner in the rinse cycle. That keeps the suede soft as dries and putting them in the spin cycle for a minute just helps the excess water release out of the item. I also toss them in the dreyer with a couple of old towles for 5 min, then hang them to dry. I think this pair has been washed a dozen times and are still in great shape.
FYI,
Sharon

Laura said...

*keeps fingers crossed*

Putting in my suede coat and hoping for the best!!!

Am putting in on the delicate setting (warm wash, cold rinse) with woolite and Shout on the stained areas.

I need it dry by tomorrow, so I'm going to risk letting it spin out in the washer and put it in the dryer for just a few minutes.

Will post results!

Kerry said...

I have a very gnarly smelling pair of suede house shoes. I paid $70 for them so I was worried about putting them in the washing machine. I did though, on the gentle cycle with some Coldwater Tide and they look just fine so far. My gentle cycle doesn't seem to spin at all, so they are very dripping wet and will take a few days to dry but I am happy with the result so far. Thanks for giving me the confidence to experiment with this!

Laura said...

and the verdict is...

professional cleaning of suede is a total scam! :P

My coat came out PERFECT! Thanks SO MUCH for this posting!

BTW, I put it in the dryer for like 30 minutes on delicate as well w/ 2 dryer balls and a towel.

Thanks again!

Anni said...

I hav a black suede jacket with mud on the fringe will this work the same?
Thanks
From anni

Willmia said...

After reading all the comments. I now have the courage to wash a second hand find suede jacket I got at ARC for $3.50. I had inquired at several dry cleaners and did not want to pay from $35.00 - $45.00. That would have defeated the good deal I found.
Thanks again will keep you posted.

Pat said...

I'm glad that so many have had the courage to try and are pleased with the results.

L. NELSON said...

Unbelievable! I did it! After reading all these comments, I washed a suede DRESS. I used regular laundry soap, put the washer on handwash, cold, and even let it go through spin. Then I tossed it on LOW in the dryer with a towel for fifteen minutes. While it is not yet dry, it looks like new. Have been using the suede eraser on my jackets, I am now considering the same for them. (For now am just tossing with a dryer sheet.)
Thanks to all of you brave trailblazers.
Lynn

Anonymous said...

I used to work at a high end dry cleaner and you will be surprised to know the Dry Cleaner washes the leather and suede jackets too. None of them were put through the dry cleaning machine. The trick is how to dry them without stiffening and the cheaper suede jackets would stiffen whatever what was done. They hung them to dry slowly and used leather conditioner to soften them up.

theia said...

Thanks to all the posts I read here the other day I decided to wash a suede coat I found at a reuse recycle centre. It had the usual grease stains around the neck,  sleeves especially on the  cuffs. Some dark long marks inside along the hem edges.
After having taken inspiration and courage from all of the posts I put together my own method and proceeded to pre-treat: I turned the coat inside out and rubbed with my hands the satin lining around the neck and on the armpits using a mild body detergent with drops of lemon juice and tea tree oil.
I turned the garment back to normal and prewash the leather but instead of rubbing the detergent mix with with my hands I used a clean soft microfibre cloth I normally use to clean surfaces in my house.
As to the cotton pockets that I turned inside out I gave them a thorough rub with a mild  bar soap.
I then bravely put my pre-treated coat in the washing machine choosing a wool-cachemere gentle cycle 40° C with a 400 rpm spin, I put a little mild wool detergent (less than the recommended dose for a cycle) and forgot to pour the softener I intended to use.  When finished I inspected the coat and the stains and marks had gone and there was no used-second-hand smell at all. However, I decided to give it an extra cycle of cold rinse this time using a handful of Hair softener instead of the fabric softener and choosing a 600 rpm spin.  Perfect, new, soft and clean.

Thank you all and happy new year!

theia said...

ooops! sorry but my English is not native, I used a Hair Conditioner not softener. Ciao

Anonymous said...

Okay I was completely skeptical about this but after reading this blog I gained some confidence. I have a $400 Liz Claiborne suede jacket that I love. I had it for like 6 years. I did have it dry cleaned once - $50 and they destroyed the zipper pull.

Out at a restaurant last nite I had my coat hung on the back of my chair, the waiter spilled some gravy or beef juice down the back of my jacket which we didn't find until we left the restaurant. I was not happy, and considered calling the restaurant. But found this blog instead. Okay so...let me tell you what happened; afterall that's why you're reading this!

I pretreated the spot with Shout laundry detergent and I used OxiClean on the fake fur collar and cuffs. Threw it into my FRONT END LOADER washer with regular detergent - on GENTLE CYCLE - LOW SPIN. When it was done it was way too wet and heavy to take out, so I decided to do a Spin Only on Medium speed which took 15 minutes. (Remember this is a front end washer without an agitator so they may make a big difference)

I took the jacket out and hung it on a wooden hanger above my wood stove so it would dry completely. I pulled on each of the seams to make sure they didn't shrink up and cause puckering; I did that a couple times during the drying proess. It's been about 4 hours now. The stain is gone, the jacket looks great. It's still slightly damp so I turned it inside out and still drying it high above the wood stove. it's a little stiff, but not bad.

I did NOT use the fabric softener or hair conditioner. I tried and put it in my softener cup but apparently when doing a delicate load it doesn't use softener because it was still in the dispenser when the cycle was done. The stiffness isn't bad but when it's all dry I may try to use the "fluff/air" cycle in my dryer with a dryer sheet or tennis balls - not sure yet.

Good luck - don't be afraid! I'm amazed. Thank you to all of you who posted. You're warriors in the quest to save money and not get ripped off!

anna said...

Hi, I have a grubby suede jacket w' some leather features on the cuffs and collar. Do you think the leather might be OK on the gentle cycle?

It was a 'find' for $10 and I'd be happy to experiment.

anna said...

Hi, I have a grubby suede jacket w' some leather features on the cuffs and collar. Do you think the leather might be OK on the gentle cycle?

It was a 'find' for $10 and I'd be happy to experiment.

Pat said...

If you don't mind experimenting, anna, try it on the gentle cycle. I wouldn't put it in the dryer, though.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I bought a stone coloured Suede Jacket at an op shop. It was very dirty and it showed being so light. I took it to the dry cleaners and was quoted $50 without the guarantee of getting all the marks off. I decided to use the tips on here and hand washed it with wool wash detergent and a soft toothbrush to remove the worst marks, then threw it in the washing machine on a warm gentle cycle. Then I threw it in the drier with two old towels. All of the marks did not go away due to the lightness of the fabric but it looks and smells cleaner and no damage was done to the jacket. I'm so grateful for all the posts that helped me out :)

Anonymous said...

Hi, oh I forgot to mention that I also used fabric softener in the final rinse, which made the jacket smell amazing and The jacket has no stiffness whatsoever :)

anna said...

My jacket was a find on ebay. It's brick - orange with black leather inside collar, cuffs and down the front edges of top quality lambskin from Caroline Moore of New Zealand. The jkt arrived smelling of cigarettes and perfume and was grubby with no major stains.

I aired outside for a week or so under cover and that got rid of the cigarettes smell, but the perfume lingered. I never worn it due to it being grubby. It nearly went in the rubbish but then I saw this blog.

I put it on a gentle wash in my agitator top loading washing machine with ordinary washing liquid used at normal strength. I expected the black leather to run.

I gave it 2 wash cycles as I didn't feel one gentle was would clean it enough and then let it spin on the gentle cycle. There seemed to be an alarming amount of orange coloured dye in the washing water. Without a flat drying rack, I just laid it over a folded towel on the back of a garden chair and eased it into shape.

I dried it mostly in the shade on a warm day and also turned it inside out. In 24 hours it was dry. I would say it is a 95% improvement. The grubby parts are clean with just a little residual staining under the lower sleeves but best of all, I know it's clean.

Once it dried, I brushed it gently against the nap. There is no hardening of the lambskin and it has only lost a tiny bit of the colour intensity. The black leather did not run at all and is also just fine. It still smells a little of perfume.

This blog gives us the power to seek out the unloved garments and restore them to their former glory! Thanks to Pat and everyone else who reported their results.

Pat said...

Thanks for your report, anna!

Robyn said...

Ok you have all given me the courage to wash my beautiful black suede swing coat that I bought in San Francisco back in 1991. I know I'm bad but this will be the first ever wash. At a party had a couple of banana caramel tarts to take home with me and I flopped into the cab and lost one on the way home!!!! Found it the next morning hanging off the seat of my beautiful coat. Champagne obviously was too blame for this little accident:-) fingers crossed I can bring life back to my favourite coat. Stay tuned for an update from Adelaide SA

Robyn said...

OMG my coat is be better than new!!! Cold wash with eucalyptus wool wash then a teaspoon of my over priced Redkin Sosoft hair conditioner. 10 mins on warm then 10 on hot in the dryer with a big fluffy towel. Bring on winter in Adelaide so I can wear my new coat:-)

Pat said...

Thank you for sharing, Robyn! Enjoy your "new" coat.

Sally Goddard said...

Now off to machine wash a cuff, collar and hem stained pink suede jacket I bought cheap on ebay. Worth a try considering amount paid. Will report back.

Sally Goddard said...

It worked very pleased with result. Machine washed on 30. Line dried to nearly dry then shoved in tumbler. Worked great.

Anonymous said...

G'day, I decided to give it a go after buying a beautiful vintage cowboy suede jacket for my son. I gently hand washed it it woollen gentle wash several times. Then I made a conditioner mix of comfort fabric softener and one of my better hair conditioners, well I added a lot of conditioner. I gave it a quick spin in the machine to remove most of the water then lied it flat for several days in the Aussie sun, turning it inside out several times. It has come up just beautiful, looks great, is soft and smells so fresh. It was a chance but it worked and I saved spending $80 plus on dry cleaning. Thanks for you tips. Kate :)

Anonymous said...

After researching online and finding this site, I decided to wash the cushion covers on a seude sofa.
These were light silver/gray color and fully dirty with body oil/dirt/coffee/wine and other stains.
I stareted with the worst one. Cold water wash with Aquilaun (woolite basically) and no pretreating. gentle cycle.
Big difference, washing removed 1/2 of the regular dirt, some of the stains, the bad ones remained but otherwise the seude leather was fine. I didn't dry it, just laid it flat on a towle on an ironing board.
All in. The next morning I decided to go after the stains and I had a bottle of spray-on Oxyclean. I sprayed the stains and brushed them with a soft toothbrush (I could see the stains vanishing) and brushed overall the cover with a really soft bristle brush simimlar to a childs hairbrush while spraying the entire cover with Oxyclean spray, then into the washer, this time cold with a Free & Clear uncented/no dye laundry soap
Results were amazing, it looked like new with only the faintest outlines of the coffee/wine stains, I once again did just the stains this time spraying Shout on them then Oxyclean and using Q-tips to rub the outline, then the toothbrush, back in the washer, no detergent.
The stains were gone.
I then did all 7 other covers with the brush/Oxyclean (used a large refill bottle) method and the Free/Clear detergent. They came out looking like new.
I tumbled dried them using the lowest setting for about 10 min then air fluff with drier balls and a large towel for 10 min putting only 2 covers in at a time, then layed them about on towels using small fans on them to speed drying.
The sofa looks like new.
I took photos and would add them if I could.

Thanks everyone.

Sheri Johnson said...

So glad I found this feed!! I had a couple of suede Pottery Barn pillow covers that are about 10 years old and have never been washed (ugh, I know).. Ran them both through a delicate wash with Woolite & fabric softener, followed by a quick spin on low, then let them air dry on the back of a chair. They're soft & look like new!! I'm thrilled. Thank you to all the trail blazers who came before me!!

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad I found this site for my source of confidence. I read through the comments last night. And this morning, with no fear, I washed 2 rather pricey suede pieces--a banana republic skirt and a jones new york shirt. My thinking was I can continue to push the years-old soiled pieces to the back of the closet or be brave and save a lot of money that I would've spent on dry cleaning (but I really didn't have or want to give lot's of cash to the dry cleaner). Both pieces turned out fabulously. A cold water wash with oil of olay dish detergent. Then completely dried in the dryer w/a couple of towels. The pieces were as soft or softer after coming out of the dryer (didn't experience any of the stiffness that other posters had). I'm so pleased with the results. Thank You Soooo Much.

Anonymous said...

I bought a 250.00 100% swade jacket problem is its to big and has lots of embroidery icons on it can I place it in the dryer and safely shink it its to big for me and it can't be returned ?

Anonymous said...

Hey kids - thought I'd add to the success stories - washed my suede skirt with leather waist in a frontloader for two cold cycles, using normal detergent for the first and some hair conditioner in the second, allowing it to spin both times. suede is happy and smooth and while not 100% dry yet (UK in February) it's going to be in better shape than it was before.

scott said...

Hi, everybody!

I have a suede field jacket that has never fit properly. It's in great shape and has a 100% wool lining. I would actually like to shrink it a half size or more, but worry about the wool lining. Is hot water with no dryer time the way to go? Please save a "hanger" queen.

Scott said...

Hello!

Just a quick edit about the suede field jacket. The lining is only 65% wool, with acrylic and nylon. Hmm....

Anonymous said...

Those of you trying to shrink your leather, I have never seen it happen. My experience with leather is that it gets wet, and maybe gets stiff when it dries but has never shrunk. In fact if I wore the leather as it dried (motorcycle rider here) I found that it stretched a bit, or took on the shape of the body part, like the knee of my pants as they dried over the knee. It is skin, not a weave of fibers.

Anonymous said...

Ok guys, got a question before I try it. I real all of the comments but the only real multi color question or comment was from someone with part suede part leather. I have a black and tan all suede jacket. There is even a part in the tan with black outlined diamond, so the multicolor is entertwined. I took it to get dry cleaned and was even willing to pay the $40 but it was returned uncleaned because they said when it goes into the machine, the black will run into the tan.

SO will this happen if I try to wash it? WIll the black run into the tan? Anyone know? Its 2 years old and has never been cleaned.

Pat said...

I would be a little leery of washing something with two colors, but I wonder if you could take a cloth and wash the color separately with that? Maybe use a little mild detergent then rinse it off with another cloth?

Anonymous said...

After reading all these knowledgeable posts, I decided I'd go for it. I bought a Jeff Hamilton label, black suede insulated jacket with Super Bowl logos embroidered in front and in back. The jacket was obviously just worn a few times if at all. The logos are from 13 years ago, but what I didn't know was the heavy tobacco smell it had. I bought it on eBay and got it at an 80% off savings. So after deciding from all these posts, I washed the jacket today on regular wash cycle with a little laundry detergent and a little white vinegar. I added a few t-shirts for some cushion. Then I put it all in the dryer at the regular cycle that I always use for about a half hour, checking regularly. It came out perfect! There was no shrinkage, no color running or fading and it still looks like new. And the smell is gone! Thanks for the advice folks. Worked like a charm for me.

Anonymous said...

Thank you!! I bought a really nice 2nd hand suede jacket for $5.00 and figured I would try washing it as the dry cleaner I spoke to said that he may ruin it while cleaning it (dye run or fading) so I figured I had not much to lose.

I spot cleaned the neck and cuffs with some organic cleaner (label has come off sorry) and then washed it in the front end loading washing machine on cold and delicate (added in a few towels)with detergent and vinegar in both bleach and softener spots. Threw it in the dryer on low heat (with towels) for 20 minutes then took it out. I then stretched all the seams and threw it back in for another 20 min. It was still damp when I took it out. I stretched the seams again and hung it to dry. It looks great!! It is not quite as soft as when I bought it, but I will brush it tomorrow and see if that works.

Monika said...

This is for all of those who washed suede shoes, where it took days for them to dry. My mother taught me to always put wadded newspaper into wet shoes and boots overnight. Take out the damp paper the next day. Repeat, if necessary (but it usually isn't). Then let the footwear dry out completely in an airy space or near a heat source (but not too close). This has worked for me for any kind of leather boot, including suede.

Anonymous said...

Washed a suede jacket & air dried it...now it is sooooooo stiff. Please help....what to do?

Pat said...

I would try working it with my hands, or put it in a dryer in the "fluff" setting.

Anonymous said...

After reading all of the comments in this post, I finally got the courage to wash my new shorts. It's from zara and at first I thought it was a regular faux leather and when I got home I realized the inside is actually faux suede so I read the instructions label and I was suprised to see ALL the symbols were crossed which means it said that I couldn't wash or 'dry clean' it. But I decided to wash it myself rather than throwing it into the professional cleaner since one of the comment said that dry cleaning is actually the same with regular cleaning. So can I just hand wash my shorts with little liquid detergent and a little hair conditioner, rinse it, and then dry it on towel(lay it on the towel)? Because I don't have a dryer here since my country is tropic. But I think I'm gonna dry it indoor, though. Any suggestions? Thanks!

Bianca

Pat said...

Blanca, it sounds as if you could do it, but please remember that this is "at your own risk" and weigh the consequences carefully. Many (including me) have had very good results from washing suede. My advice would be that if you dry them flat, turn them several times during the drying process. You may need to soften them by hand when they're dry.

v said...

Hi, I just took a shot at this, washed a nice bone colored Italian suede jacket in the machine, otherwise I was never going to bring it to a drycleaner again. I washed it on gentle cycle with a squeeze of Murphy's Oil Soap in the water and Oxyclean soil treatment on cuffs and bottom, and neckline. It came out like the day I bought it. I hung it up to dry, and you cannot tell it was ever washed. Soft as ever, and clean. I was prepared to just let it go if it didn't work, but I paid a small fortune for it. By the way, it has white silk lining all throughout, including the hood, and it's all clean and perfect. The no wash suede is a fallacy if you do it gently. (yes, it's real suede, very soft and supple, hasn't lost an ounce of it. I imagine it has to do with the Murphy's Oil soap helping maintain the moisture.)

Anonymous said...

Someone mentioned grease spots and trying to blot them out with talcum.
I have never had a problem
washing suede with the method below and the cleaner used is very effective against oils and grease - in fact it's removed what looked like oil stains on medium and dark suede many times.
1. Cold water and a big bucket or tub, about 20 gal capacity.
2. Add "Big Orange" citrus cleaner -- it's a d-limonene cleaner -- citrus peels -- and some detergents. You can buy it at Smart and Final in California.
Do not pour it directly on any cloth -you might get an orange stain. Use about 1 pint for 5 to 10 gallons in a half full tub.
3. After mixing the cleaner put the jacket in the tub Hand wash for a while, then let it soak.
4.Without ever putting any stress on it, pour out detergent, rinse with clear cold water.
5. Pick it up in a bunch, put it on a blotter to dry, flat -- after most of the water drips out you can hang it but in the shade = and not if it's very hot or dry air. Slow drying seems to keep it from getting stiff. I never tried Downy.
I've never had any trouble and cleaned very dirty, apparently oil stained medium and dark jacket to like new condition. Cost == about $1 for the a pint of the cleaner in 5 - 10 gallons of water.
Though you don't want a hot dry day to dry it, you also don't want too moist or cool, it needs to dry in a day or you risk mildew.

Val said...

Thanks everyone. I too, bought a suede blazer at a thrift store for $4.99. It has some light soil on the sleeves and neck as well as a faint smell. I'm going to try washing it and then let all of you know how it came out. I knew there had to be a way to clean it without dry cleaning. Mahalo nui loa and Aloha from Hawaii

Val said...

Well I did it !! It took all my courage to drop that jacket in the washing machine......but it turned out fabulous. I used a washing liquid from Melaleuca and put the liquid directly on the neck and sleeve edges. I washed it in the machine on a delicate/hand wash cycle. When it was finished I squeezed it out in a fluffy towel and put it in the clothes dryer on a delicate cycle for 35 minutes. It wasn't dry so I put it in for another 35 minute cycle. Still not dry so I hung it in my laundry room. I did not experience any of the seams trying to shrink and didn't have to stretch any of them when I got it out of the dryer. I must say, even though it was in super shape when I bought it, the color is sharper now that it's clean and no odor !! I'm a redhead so when I found this avocado green jacket I was immediately in love with it. Thanks for your blog, it saved me a bunch. I live in Hawaii and to have a suede jacket cleaned here is $100.

Unknown said...

So I read a lot of these posts and then bought a suede jacket on eBay - it is in perfect condition (a London Fog) but filthy. The total price was less than $10 so it is a perfect candidate for washing ala comments on this site. I washed it with Woolite in the washing machine on gentle. I didn't have guts enough to let it spin, so I took it out after the wash cycle and rinsed it in the shower. Hung it up for an hour or so squeezing out water as it accumulated on the bottom. Then into the dryer on low heat with tennis balls for 30 minutes. It is perfect (I will let it continue to air dry over the next day or so). But it is soft and the suede nap is fine.

Anonymous said...

so I have a question. If you can wash suede and you can wash faux fur, do you think I could successfully wash a reversable faux suede faux fur jacket? It says to dry clean but I do not like to do that. It is an Adrianne Landaux jacket.

Pat said...

Anonymous, I would hate to tell you that you can do something and then have it ruin your jacket. However, many people have had success doing so. My advice would be to proceed with caution.

Linni said...

I bought a green suede retro jacket at a Vintage Fair at the weekend and although it's only slightly soiled on the sleeve edges it does smell musty so I have just washed it in the machine with a little liquid non bio on 'hand wash' with cold water and 800rpm spin it's hanging on the line. It looks fine so I will report back when it's dry.....

Paul Vivian said...

There is one sure fire way to remove any nasty smells from suede or leather. I've used it dozens of times to remove cig smoke oder from my coats as well as the upholstery of my car. Buy yourself a lampe berger or an alternative. The important part is to buy the pricy but authentic lampe berger oil to burn in the lamp, in my opinion.. It's been purified to a high standard so it doesn't smoke after the catalytic combustion wick is burning.

This may sound complicated but the lamp is only three pieces and you light it like you would if you were lighting a candle except you blow out the flame once it has the catalytic combustion in process.

The lampe berger was originally developed in the 19th century for use in hospitals and mortuaries.

" The lamps are sold on the premise that molecules that cause bad smells are inherently unstable and the fragrance lamp's flame-less, low-temperature catalytic combustion speeds up the decomposition process, converting odor molecules into harmless substances (such as carbon dioxide and water). While the lamps are no longer considered effective for use in hospitals, they have remained popular as air fresheners." wikipedia

All I know it they work. Take your coats, leather what-not to your car and hang them as best you can inside the car. Make sure your lampe B. is no more then half full in case you you splash a little while walking it to the car. Light your Lampe Berger or substitute OUTSIDE THE CAR, once you have extinguished the flame and burner is orange, put the safety cap over the converter and carefully place it on the floor in front of one of your car seats. (The lamps do not give off much waste heat so there is little danger of damage if the lamp has 4-6 inches clearance around it. Close the car door and keep your eye locked on the lamp and the surrounding combustibles for any sign of heat damage.

It takes 5-10 minutes for the Lampe Berger to suck the smell out of leather, suede, practically anything, as well as killing all air born bateria. I used to work in homeless shelters, smoking was permitted and I stank after a 12 hour shift, no matter where it tried to hang my coat. The process has worked every time.

Side effects: all lampe berger oil despite the many fragrance choices, have a strong floral undertone to the scent. Don't worry , it dissipates quickly but that stink in your leather will not return once the sent of the lamp oil has worn off.

Do not get in the car with a lighted lampe berger. EVER. They convert some of the material they pull in from the surrounding air into low level ozone which could be uncomfortable if you are asthmatic. If you want to smell equally fresh, fight that urge to open the car do and take a bath instead, after you've removed the lampe berger from your car.

I understand that they have alternative burners and lamp oils on the market that claim to be just was effective. I hope you have that choice where ever you live. I'm in Canada and I can tell you that what ever the choices you have stateside, won't become options for us for another couple of years. (Seriously not kidding)

There's no need to be paranoid but but careful. Please.

Chloe said...

Ok, so I've read almost all the comments and the whole "washing machine for suede" method seems to be working but lot of people are using it on jackets. I have a really thin (probably only like 1cm thick) Comptoir des Cotoniers suede skirt that I got as a christmas present. It was really expensive and is a charcoal blue color. I went out with it a few weekends ago and tried to bring it to the cleaners but they wanted me to pay (as a base rate) $80! The tag on it says: "Do not wash, tumble dry, iron, dry clean, must be cleaned by a leather specialist". What should I do? What's the beast way to clean it?

Pat said...

Chloe, I cannot tell you whether to wash it or not or how to go about it. The post I made and the ensuing comments can only give you our experience.

That said, I wouldn't put it in the dryer if I were you, but you will have to decide for yourself. Good luck with it!

--Pat

Anonymous said...

I definitely would not put it in the dryer if it is thin (I put my insulated jacket in the dryer briefly just to get a bit of moisture out - but mainly I wrung it out after the washing machine - didn't let it spin dry). The main thing is to attack the dirt - who cares how long it takes to dry. And washing on a gently cycle with Woolite is ok for suede....just don't expect all the rest of it (spinning, dryer) to be ok.

Sherry Binkley said...

I just got a beautiful spring green suede jacket at a thrift store, it is used and not terribly dirty, but you have given me the courage to try this.... using "V"'s suggestion of Murphy's oil soap because I worried about keeping it soft. I will ask however why no spinning dry? The garment is not twisted or anything, just flung against the wall of the washer and centrifugal force does the rest. Waiting for the results...nervous but having faith that 98 good people wouldn't lie to me!

Pat said...

Sherry, the heat and force of the dryer could wrinkle it and sometime the wrinkles will never come out again. I wouldn't take the chance, although some people have had good luck.

Sherry Binkley said...

Oh, not the dryer, spin cycle on the washer. But I did put them (had great results with 2 jackets) in the dryer on low with a couple of towels for a few minutes. They both are great, thanks for the tip!

Pat said...

Oh,that I don't know. If you've read all the comments, you should have enough information to make a judgement. I always wash them by hand, but some do use the washer.

Ruxandra said...

Oh my god! I have to try this now!

I have purchased 3 jackets and 4 skirts at a big car boot sale that was on this weekend and lets just say I don't even want to know how much it could be to dry clean them all!

They are not stained or anything they just have that car boot sale smell to them that makes one sneeze every 5 minutes..

I shall give it a go tonight when i get home and i shall keep you posted!

I will also be washing a dark purple leather skirt so fingers crossed for that one!

Joan said...

I'm so glad people have given all their experiences. I just tried this yesterday with a green suede 2nd hand skirt and it has turned out amazingly soft and clean.

Put in delicate liquid detergent (we don't have Woolite overseas) on the delicate cycle in a top load machine. Let it go through whole cycle as we don't have a port for softener. Then I started another spin cycle in delicate mode and added the softner.

Hung out to dry on the line all smoothed out. When it was still just a little damp, I put it in the dryer with two towels for only 10 minutes (sticking around to not overdry) Then I hung it up on a hanger to finish drying. The nap looks great and it is in wonderful shape!

Thank you all! and for this blog!

Joan said...

I'm so glad people have given all their experiences. I just tried this yesterday with a green suede 2nd hand skirt and it has turned out amazingly soft and clean.

Put in delicate liquid detergent (we don't have Woolite overseas) on the delicate cycle in a top load machine. Let it go through whole cycle as we don't have a port for softener. Then I started another spin cycle in delicate mode and added the softner.

Hung out to dry on the line all smoothed out. When it was still just a little damp, I put it in the dryer with two towels for only 10 minutes (sticking around to not overdry) Then I hung it up on a hanger to finish drying. The nap looks great and it is in wonderful shape!

Thank you all! and for this blog!

Julie said...

Like another commenter, I used to work for a dry cleaner and laundry service. We washed many items that said dry clean only because it worked better. We did, however,dry clean suede. My usual guide to deciding how to clean an item is to consider how our ancestors cleaned their clothing. Obviously, dry cleaning did not exist. So I wash almost everything in a front loading washer. The dryer is more rarely used as air drying is much safer. As a seamstress I would note let some items like suit jackets don't wash well because they contain man made interfacings. I wash suede, wool, cashmere, silk, and rayon with no problem. Color loss has been an issue since humans discovered dyes! Red, black, and purple tend to be the most unstable. Finally, the chemicals used in dry cleaning are quilt harsh and it's a good idea to air out your items before wearing them.

Zoya said...

Did anyone use a top loader? I wish I had access to a front loader as they are much more gentle but I don't have one around.

Anonymous said...

out of all these posts, only one mentioned 'spots' appearing after the wash (in 2010)

i tried the cold wash, gentle spin, air dry technique and now have a million little brown spots all over.

can anyone advise?

Im pretty heart-broken about it.

other than that it smells lovely..

Vic said...

My boyfriend has a suede jacket that was not cheap. He left it on the floor. My cat has a habit that when you make him mad he will pee or poop on something of yours. Well he made him mad. He pooped on the inside of his jacket, not on the suede on the lining. I'm going to rinse off what I can. But can it be machine washed? And if so is there anything I should do or not do?

Pat said...

Vic, I don't think anyone can say for sure whether you can wash it, but if you read through all the comments you can see that many did wash suede garments. The general consensus is to use a gentle cycle or hand wash. Some have used the dryer with success, but many have air dried the garment.

Preferred Missus said...

Hi Pat..I have a Tod's suede bucket bag with water mark stains..just wondering if the methods mentioned in previous comments will work with this. I have read every comment and didn't see (or maybe I overlooked it!) anyone posted about suede bags. Appreciate your reply. -JJ-

Pat said...

Preferred Missus, again, I cannot say with certainty except that many others have washed suede successfully. If it were me, I would use a damp or wet cloth and work over the water stains first, before trying to wash the entire bag. If the wet cloth doesn't help, then I would wash it, but the decision is up to you. If you paid a lot for the bucket, it might be worth having it dry cleaned.

Preferred Missus said...

Thanks for the reply Pat! And thanks for sharing the great tips.

Pat said...

You're welcome! Let us know how it works out.

Sherry Binkley said...

Preferred missus, I am sure that what works for jackets and skirts will work for bags. After reading all of the comments on washing suede I washed pretty much everything that I owned that was suede! They all came out very well. If you don't get the waterstains out and the bag is (relatively) worthless, what have you got to lose?