How to Clean a Suede Couch: Expert Tips 101


The comforting feel of a suede couch is very inviting. A couch deserves more credit than it gets. It is used every minute of the day as a place to nap, play, eat, and hang with friends. These leisure activities inflict stains and spills of all sorts on a couch. If your couch is made from suede, then this article is for you. Here are suede couch cleaning 101 expert tips.


Get To Know Your Suede

If you are like me, who has to read the tag to know the type of suede, then this should help. Knowing the type of suede helps with the cleaning process. There are two types of suede that are mainly used to make couches. They are natural suede and microfiber suede, also called faux suede, synthetic suede, or polyester. If you’re not sure of the type of suede you have or how to clean the type of suede on your couch, check the attached care tag for information, which is most often located at the bottom of the couch.


What is Microfiber Suede ?…  

Microfiber suede, which is made from polyester fabric, is a man-made material that is woven into a thin, soft plastic fabric to create this one material, which is microfiber suede. A lot of effort is put into the cutting and texture to give it a close feel and resemblance to natural suede. This type of suede is less expensive. Unlike natural suede, this is an animal-friendly material. Microfiber suede is more resistant to dust, tears, and stains, making it easier to clean.


What is Natural Suede?...

Also called cowhide suede. This is made from the soft underside skin of an animal. Natural suede makes the trophy soft and comforting but it comes with a price. Unlike microfiber suede, this type of suede can be ripped easily as it is much softer. The material is fuzzy and porous and most of the time it comes in dyed or undyed. The bottom of this suede is leathery and has a variation in texture. Special care and attention are needed when cleaning this type of suede.


Check For These Codes On The Attached Care Tag

  1. CODE X…Code x means to avoid household cleaners, as this could permanently damage the material by staining or shrinking it. This code simply tells you to hire a professional cleaner or clean by vacuuming only.


2. Code W: Clean the fabric only with a water-based cleaning solvent. Just in case you’re wondering, a water-based solvent is formulated using water as a base. Lysol surface cleaner is a water-based solvent product that cleans well with an unforgettable fragrance and can be used as a suede couch cleaner.


3. Code W-S…This simply means it is safe to clean the material with either a solvent or a water-based cleaner. If you see this code on the care tag, it means either of these can be used to clean suede couches.


4. CODE S…This material requires a water-free solvent cleaner or dry cleaning to remove soils and stains. Water-free solvent cleaners are oil-based and flammable. When using this type of solvent, place the item in an open area free from candles and other open flames.


How To Clean A Microfiber Suede Couch

The best cleaner to use on a microfiber couch is a water-free solvent. However, some microfiber suede couches can tolerate either water-based or water-free solvents. This is due to different types of manufacturers’  so even though the material is microfiber, cleaning may vary. Avoid using water to clean a couch with an S on the care tag. This means the water will stain the couch. It is safe to use water and soap on couches where you see  SW or W on the care tag.

For couches with an S, clean them with rubbing alcohol. Using water will stain this type of suede. One should also take precautions when using vinegar on suede, as vinegar is highly acidic and may cause damage when cleaning. If necessary, only use vinegar to spot treat a small stain.


Step 1. Damp a lint-free cloth and ring-dry

Step 2. Sprinkle rubbing alcohol on the cloth

Step 3. Use the cloth to wipe down the couch. Remove the cushions if possible to allow a better clean and faster drying.


It doesn’t matter the type of solvent used to clean your couch; cleaning weekly is necessary to remove stains and oils before they are dried into the fabric, making it harder to clean. You can do this by vacuuming or spot-treating the stains promptly.


How To Clean A Natural Suede Couch

1. You’ll Need To Vacuum The Couch

Weekly vacuuming is required. This will remove soil and dust before they can damage the fabric. If you have a cat or a dog that likes to relax on your couch, more than likely your posh suede couch will be covered with your pet’s hair. Use an upholstery vacuum with a small attachment that’ll allow you to reach into the crevices and corners of the couch. Recommended Bissell Pet Eraser Handheld Vacuum. This can be easily purchased on


2. Treating The Stains (Old & Fresh)

When a spill happens, this turns into stains (these are called fresh stains). These should be cleaned promptly using a sprinkle of baby powder to absorb the oils and prevent permanent staining. A wet, spill-like, water-based liquid should be blotted with a damp cloth and dried immediately. A blow dryer comes in handy here for fast drying. For sticky spills, a commercial glue remover can be used to remove them. After removing the stains, use a suede brush to give it its finishing touch.

For old stains, using a pencil eraser to rub onto the stain will work. Simply rub the stain until it’s erased. Clean the treated area by brushing off the dust with a soft brush. Then blot with a damp rag.


3. Call The Pros

At least twice a year or when needed. If your suede couch is overly stained and extremely dirty, don’t hesitate to call a professional cleaner. They are equipped and trained to tackle stains, soil dust, and odors. They can get the job done without shrinking or leaving watery soil behind. After the cleaners are done, you can continue your own DIY cleaning once per week.


How To Clean Ultra Suede

Is your couch made from ultra suede? This type of suede is similar to natural suede. The difference between ultra suede and natural suede is that it is made from a foam called polyurethane, which makes it durable. This type of suede tolerates washing even in a washer. Except for one shade, which is clear white. Make sure to check your care tag before cleaning. However, if your ultra suede allows a home to be clean, here is how to clean an ultra suede couch.


Step 1: Use a lint remover to roll over the couch to remove lint

Step 2: Use a vacuum to remove the excess dust and other particles from the creases

Step 3: Use a damp, lint-free cloth to gently wipe the fabric, removing the dust. Avoid getting the material wet. Rinse the cloth once more and repeat the process.

Step 4: Allow the material to dry, then use a soft brush to brush the fabric to its former luster


Can You Steam Clean A Suede Couch?

The answer is yes. You can steam clean a microfiber suede couch. However, the best way to clean suede is to know the type of suede. For each type of suede couch, there are slightly different recommendations when cleaning. For instance, microfiber suede couches are resistant to stains, but due to manufacturing variations, each microfiber suede may react differently to stains.

Actually, the best way to clean a microfiber suede couch is simply by steam cleaning. The first thing to do is to vacuum the couch to remove debris and dust particles.

You’ll Need… 

  • A steamer
  • Clothes steamer
  • Jet nozzle
  • Cotton cover

Step. 1 Attach the cotton cover to the clothes steamer, then run the steamer on medium heat. First, test clean on a hidden area of the couch.

Step. 2 Glide your hand slowly over the area. Moving too fast will prevent the heat from penetrating and disinfecting the fabric. Steam cleaning needs high penetration for the best cleaning outcome. This will also kill dust mites and other specky bugs, like bed bugs.

Step. 3 For cracks and creases. attach the jet nozzle and get into those cracks. If the microfiber couch is stained most of the time, a steamer will be able to remove unset stains. Another good reason to steam clean your suede couch is that it also removes old stains. Those are the old ones that are already set.


Special Tip: Clean spills while they are still fresh to avoid stains. Make sure to test clean a less noticeable area before cleaning


Freshening Up A Suede Couch

If the couch smells a bit off. You can quickly deodorize the couch. Wipe the couch with a damp, lint-free cloth, making sure to remove dirt and dust. Grab a few dry sheets to rub over the seats, back, and handle of the couch. Some suedes are reactive to water and steam cleaning. This dry cleaning method is perfect when cleaning a suede couch with a professional.


Why You Need To Brush

Throughout this article, you came upon the word (brush) a few times; this is why. Suede couches need to be brushed after each clean to keep their lavish look. If you have pets, brushing regularly will keep your couch free of pets’ hair and other debris.


How To Brush A Suede Couch

When you brush the couch. Move your hand in a circular movement. For areas that were stained and cleaned, apply more pressure in these areas. When you’re through, your suede couch will be clean and looking at its best.


We have gone through how to clean suede couches, remove stains, freshen up, and brush. We hope these tips were helpful. Please share and come again soon.