How to Take Care of Suede

One fashion faux pas we learned from Seinfeld is to never let your friend’s dad bully you into wearing your high-end suede jacket, one that completely changes your life, in the snow. It’ll never survive it. But that doesn’t mean you should avoid a suede jacket altogether. Suede is a velvety, rich, soft, luxurious and long-lasting fabric that will stand the test of time with a little doting on. And we know exactly how to treat it.

But first, what is suede?

Apart from seeing it as a jacket with pink-striped lining in an episode of Seinfeld, you’ve probably seen suede make its star appearance during spring, summer and fall. Its pliability, softness and durability make it a popular and exclusive fashion fabric often used in making shoes, bags, outerwear, pants, shirts, skirts and dresses.

But before it became popular in the twentieth century, Suede was just a pair of gloves from Sweden. The term originates from the French “gants de suede,” meaning gloves from Sweden. These gloves were one of the luxurious exports first created Sweden. The term suede later came to mean any kind of leather with a napped surface.

Suede is usually made from lambskin, but it is also made from animals such as goats, calves, deer and pig. To make suede, the underside of the animal’s skin is separated from the top. This creates the thin, flowy and soft suede we all love. At Lexington Company, we use the byproducts of the meat production industry when creating luxurious suede with the softest nap, the tiny, raised hairs on the surface of suede.

Despite the glorious feel and long-lasting quality, it does have a downside. Suede’s nap can collect dust and dirt, which can harm the smooth appearance and make it look dirty and flat easily. So, how do you keep it in tip-top shape?
• The first rule of caring for your suede is brushing. Invest in a suede brush made with brass or nylon bristles or use a toothbrush. Make sure to brush your suede in the same direction after every use. If brushing after every use is hard commitment, make sure to brush your suede at least once a month in a back and forth motion to lift the nap up.
• Employ a preemptive strike and protect your suede from stains and dirt sticking to it. Spraying it with a suede protector is a good idea. You’ll thank us when you’re caught in a drizzle as it will make your suede a bit water-resistant. But before you spray it all over your jacket, make sure you brush your suede first and test the treatment in an inconspicuous area to see if it leaves a stain.
• Use talc powder or cornmeal on a wet stain. If you spilled a cup of joe during your morning commute, pat the area with a clean cloth before applying a layer of cornmeal or baby powder. Let it sit overnight before brushing the powder off.
• If your suede gets wet, don’t use a blow drier or hang your suede on a radiator. It will damage your suede.
• A dried stain can be treated with white vinegar or a kneaded eraser. The kneaded eraser is a quick fix for easier stains. Use the eraser to rub off the dirt gently in the same direction. For heavier stains, blot the stain using a small amount of vinegar and clean towel. Repeat until the stain disappears.
• If you ignored the very first rule of caring for your suede, your suede will start to look dull and flat, and brushing won’t awaken those tiny hairs. That’s when you take to steam. Hold your suede above steam from a pot or teakettle for a few seconds, and then brush it.

Follow these steps, and you’ll always have a new suede jacket, minus the pink-striped lining.