7 Tricks to Clean Your Suede Bag


(Image credit: Szymon Brzóska | The Style Stalker)

If you're anything like me, you likely have one of your beloved designer bags tucked away in your closet. For me, it's the Chloé Faye Bag I eyed forever and then finally sealed the deal on. However, that beautiful suede work of art rarely sees the light of day as I save it for "special occasions"—days when there is neither a drop of moisture in the air nor snow on the ground. Suede is one of the more delicate bag materials; once you've gotten it dirty, there's no going back. Or so I thought.

Upon recently experiencing the nightmare of getting a stain on my suede bag (I live in New York—it was bound to happen eventually), I frantically scoured the internet for tips and tricks to restore my baby to its pristine condition. It turns out that cleaning a suede bag is not as difficult as I once thought. It simply requires specific, precise steps and tools (you may already have them in your kitchen!) and the know-how to treat the material properly.

With the following tools and tips, you can easily bring your suede bag back to its former glory—or ensure your currently clean carry-all maintains its perfect condition for years to come. Keep reading to find out how to clean a suede bag and remove everything from dirt to stains and even gum.

1. Use a Dry Brush


(Image credit: Szymon Brzóska | The Style Stalker)

For clear surface marks and water spots, a dry cloth will do. The rule of thumb with suede is to avoid using any color, as the water will discolor the suede. Use a clean cloth and gently rub your bag to remove surface marks. Don’t press too hard to ensure not to ruin the texture of the suede.

2. Use a Specialty Brush to Remove Dirt


(Image credit: Szymon Brzóska | The Style Stalker)

To clear dust from your bag and re-store its fine appearance, use a brush— but not just any old brush; you’ll need a specialty one like the one below from Amazon. Brush the suede in one single direction to clean away dust and dirt from your purse, or you can use small back-and-forth motions to help loosen up specific stains.

3. Remove Stains With an Eraser


(Image credit: Szymon Brzóska | The Style Stalker)

Stains are a suede bag’s worst nightmare; however, it doesn’t have to be the end of your beloved bag. Try using a soft pencil eraser and literally erase away the stain. Afterward, when the stain is gone, try the first tip. Make sure the eraser is clean and hasn’t been used before.

4. Condition It Up


(Image credit: Szymon Brzóska | The Style Stalker)

After you’ve cleaned your suede bag, it’s often a good idea to condition it. Using a specialty suede conditioner, add a little onto a buffing cloth and rub it gently into the bag with short, steady strokes. Don’t forget to do the seams and corners.

5. Apply Vinegar or Rubbing Alcohol to a Clean Cloth


(Image credit: Szymon Brzóska | The Style Stalker)

Vinegar and rubbing alcohols are safe to use on suede, as they can help brighten the material after it has gotten dingy or dirty over time. Pour a small amount onto a clean cloth, just enough to make the cloth damp, and then proceed to rub the suede with the cloth to clean it. You may need to make several applications depending on how dirty the cloth has become. Let the suede dry completely after using vinegar or rubbing alcohol.

6. Periodically Clean Your Bag Professionally


(Image credit: Szymon Brzóska | The Style Stalker)

Even though you clean your bag regularly, taking your bag to a professional suede cleaner once a year will keep your bag in perfect condition forever. The cleaner will give your bag the spa treatment that you wouldn’t be able to do yourself.

7. Freeze Your Bag


(Image credit: Szymon Brzóska | The Style Stalker)

Yes, really. Don't fret if you get in a particularly erm… sticky situation, such as getting gum or wax stuck to your suede bag (yikes). You can still recover. You can remove it by freezing your purse first (yes, you read that correctly). This will harden the wax or gum, and then you can pull it off or chip it off in pieces using your fingers (no sharp objects) without ruining the material.

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This story was published on a previous date and has since been updated by Jasmine Fox-Suliaman.

Next up, These 31 Suede Bags Were Literally Made for Fall