How to Clean a Suede Bag

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Suede. We love it, but we hate the idea of cleaning it. Suede doesn’t do well with water, and it always seems impossible to clean. 

How to clean a suede bag has always been something that many people assume you just can’t do. They often only use their bags on special occasions to protect their purse. 

Although suede is different from most materials, it’s not as difficult as many assume. It takes some extra tender loving care, but being armed with the knowledge of how to clean a suede bag allows you to use your bag as often as you’d like! 

How to Clean a Suede Bag

Despite the care being a mystery to some people, suede is expected to boom over the next seven years. So, as your purse collection grows over the years, it becomes even more important to know how to clean a suede bag! 

The number one rule of suede cleaning is no water. Water can damage suede or discolor it. It may seem weird to clean something without water, but we have a couple of methods that will do the job! 

Burlap suede coin purse

Method One: Using a Brush

Without water, you might be wondering just what cleans a suede bag. We have a simple answer for you: a brush. There are specialized brushes that work best to clean your suede bag that are reasonably priced.  

Materials

For this method, you will need:

  • A specialized suede brush

If you have a growing collection of suede, or one hand bag, in particular, that means a lot to you—it is best to invest in a suede brush. 

These are the best ways to clean and maintain your bag over time. You’ll use it for a lot of things when it comes to your suede, and they aren’t that expensive. If you decide not to invest in one, you can also use a nail brush.

Method

To clean your bag of any dirt, you will need to follow these steps:

  1. Take your brush and follow the direction of the suede
  2. Cover every part of the purse 
  3. Make sure to wipe your brush on a clean cloth to remove the dirt every once in a while instead of transferring it to a different part of the bag

If there’s a stain you are working on getting out, you can use your brush and move it in all directions over the stain. Be gentle still, though. 

Method Two: Using an Eraser

Does your bag have any stains, scuffs, or discoloration? An eraser can help with that. 

Materials

To use this method, you will need:

  • A clean, new eraser

Use a white or light pink eraser rather than a colorful one. It’s important you don’t use an eraser that has been used for erasing pencil because it will certainly come off on your bag and make matters worse. 

Method

We know you remember how to use an eraser, even if it’s been a while! The good news is that this method is a lot like what you remember. To clean off specific areas of your purse with an eraser, simply:

Pink and blue eraser
  1. Rub the eraser back and forth over the affected area

You do that until the stain is looking better, and then you can use your brush to brush it back to its former glory.

Method Three: Using a Cleaner

Sometimes, all methods fail if the stain is really set in. At that point, you are looking at three options. 

Make a cleaner using vinegar, buy a cleaner, or take it to be professionally cleaned. Vinegar can be used on suede handbags safely, although the smell deters some people. If this is you, you can use some drops of your favorite essential oil or purchase odorless vinegar.

Having a suede cleaner on hand is never a bad idea, as it can come in handy when you have emergencies. Suede cleaners can also work on very old stains—so if you have a bag you thought was ruined, you can try one of these out, and you will be surprised how well they work! 

Materials

To use a cleaning agent, you will need the following:

  • Vinegar OR Suede Cleaner
  • Essential Oils (optional)
  • Clean cloth
  • Suede brush

Method

To deep clean your suede purse, you can follow these steps:

  1. Pour vinegar into a bowl
  2. Optionally add essential oils
  3. Dip your cloth in the mixture and wring out
  4. Rub the wet towel on the area
  5. Repeat as needed
  6. Wait for your bag to be completely dry
  7. Brush your bag gently

For the specialized cleaner, you can follow the instructions on the back of the bottle. Typically, you will spray it and work it in using your brush. 

Cleaning Stains from Your Suede Bag

Each stain has different care when it comes to removing it from suede. We will go over the most typical stains that happen on purses and then talk about the removal process. 

Stain: Mud or Dirt

Did mud make its way onto your beautiful suede bag? Don’t panic. The rule of this stain is to let it dry completely before trying to remove it. 

If you try to remove it too soon, you’ll only cause the stain to rub everywhere and set into the purse. You definitely don’t want that.

When the mud is completely dry, take your brush and remove the dirt with your brush. Again, no water! Simply brush the stain out using light strokes. It can take some patience to get this done, but it will come out. 

Vinegar

Stain: Spill

Oh no! What you feared has happened…something spilled on your bag and it’s stained. Don’t fret—you can clean it. 

First, remove as much as you can by blotting it out with a clean cloth or napkin. This removes all of the excess stain. Absolutely never rub the stain—this will work the stain into the bag and make it harder to remove. 

When you get back home, break out your cornstarch and sprinkle it generously over the stain the night it happened. Leave it alone overnight. In the morning, shake gently to remove the cornstarch and take a brush to it. 

You’ll be able to work out most of the stain this way, but if any remains, you can use an eraser or vinegar to get the rest out using the methods above. 

Stain: Wax or Gum

You may be tempted to try to pick off the gum or wax immediately after it happens, but that’s not a good idea! Instead, take your purse home and freeze it. 

You can wrap it in a bag or saran wrap before placing it in the freezer to make sure nothing transfers onto it. When the gum or wax is completely frozen, it’s much easier to pick off. Then, you simply need to brush off any excess that remains after you remove it. 

Conditioning Your Suede Bag

After you’ve finished washing your bag, you may consider purchasing a conditioner to use on your bag. Many conditioners can be purchased for less than fifteen dollars. You’ll want to read the instructions and follow them exactly. 

Conditioning can help your suede look like new. Some of the conditioners on the market actually clean and condition simultaneously. Make sure that it is a suede conditioner, as using one for other materials will damage your bag instead of enhance it. 

It’s a good idea to use specific suede brushes to work in your conditioner, and pay attention to all areas of your bags, including the corners and the seams. 

Sealing Your Suede Bag

Sealing and protecting your suede bag can make it a lot easier to clean when the time comes. It will also protect it from damage. 

Have you seen suede shoe sealant? It can make suede repellant of extra moisture and protect it better than if it were not sealed. Typically, these are made for suede shoes, but they also work for suede bags! Typically, this is a spray. 

You’ll want to follow the instructions on the label, but it will look something like spraying a generous amount over your suede bag and letting it dry. Most sprays require drying of at least 24 hours to make sure the sealant has fully set. 

Clean suede bag

Professionally Cleaning Your Suede Bag

If your bag is a designer bag, it’s a wonderful idea to have it professionally cleaned every once in a while. Depending on how often you use your bag will change the frequency. 

If you use it every day, consider taking it once a year. If it’s a seasonal bag, you may just need to take it every couple of years. 

Getting a professional clean will keep your bag looking amazing and will extend the life of your purse. Professional cleaners have materials that we don’t, so it gives your bag a level of TLC that you can’t give it alone. Professionals will also   

Storing Your Suede Bag 

When your bag isn’t in use, you should store it properly. Many bags come with a dust bag. It may be tempting to throw this away, but keep it! 

It’s the best place to store the bag when not in use, as it protects your bag from collecting dust or any other materials floating in the air.

Dust is made of animal dander, insect waste, and dirt, so you definitely want to protect your bag from that! Store your bag in the dust bag in a dark place, such as a drawer or closet, to protect it best. 

If you already threw out the dust bag, you can buy a replacement or use a pillowcase instead. You’ll want to make sure that the pillowcase doesn’t transfer color and that it is at least 

Conclusion

Suede is a beautiful material for a bag. Most people don’t know how easy it can be to maintain and take care of suede, and only use their bags for special occasions. 

Now that you’ve read this article, you have all of the knowledge you need to use your suede bag without fear as often as you want.