Clothes Care Tips: Cleaning Your Suede Blazer

Caring for suede is easier than you might think. Tips and instructions suggested for cleaning, washing, removing and preventing stains and watermarks.

A suede blazer is a welcome addition to anyone's wardrobe. Rich and luxurious, suede always makes a statement and it goes with almost anything. Suede requires a bit of attention, however, and if you want to make your blazer last for a long time, you'll have to take the time to clean and care for it properly.

When you first bring your jacket home, you'll want to protect it against the weather and other damaging elements. The best way to do this is to purchase a product formulated for protecting suede such as Scotch Guard, and spray the blazer according to the directions. Many shoe stores and repair shops also sell suede cleaning products, and a lot of the same products that work on shoes and boots will also work on jackets. Once the jacket is dry, give it a good brush with a stiff bristled suede brush to restore the nap. If you're leery of spraying chemicals onto your blazer, test in a small, hidden area first.

You'll also want to protect your blazer against sweat, body oils and products such as perfumes, deodorants, colognes and moisturizers as these will all cause difficult-to-remove spots and stains. If your suede jacket will be making contact with your neck, it's a good idea to wear a scarf to prevent staining and spotting. Before you dress, however, put on any lotions, sprays or cosmetics. Any of these products can damage suede. The last thing you want is to have to throw away your good blazer because you got hairspray on the shoulder.

Cleaning suede isn't difficult at all. In most instances, you'll need only a good brushing to remove any particles and raise the nap to keep it looking fresh. If necessary, you can do a little spot cleaning.

If you get a greasy stain on your suede, pour some baking soda, talcum powder, corn meal or even saw dust directly onto the spot to absorb the grease. Let this sit for a few hours and brush off with a stiff bristled suede brush.

If you get mud or dirt on your suede, try brushing it off. If a suede brush isn't available, gently rub the spot with a nail file, pencil eraser or piece of low grit sandpaper. Don't apply too much pressure because you don't want to damage your blazer. Use just enough pressure to remove the dirt and raise the nap.

Vinegar makes an awesome spot cleaner as long as you don't pour it directly onto the suede. Instead, put a little on a clean cloth and gently blot until the stain is removed. It's important to note, however, when using vinegar or any other spot remover on your suede blazer, it's wise to test the product on a hidden area such as an inside hem.

Avoid wearing your blazer in the rain or snow. If your jacket happens to get wet, blot with a thick towel and allow to air dry. (Never throw it in the dryer or use a hair dryer to speed along the process; this will only seal the stain making it impossible to remove). When it's still slightly damp, give it a good brushing to raise the nap and bring out the color.

Once or twice a year, bring your jacket to the dry cleaner for a good all -over cleaning. If there are stains you cannot get out by simple spot cleaning, you'll want the dry cleaner to tackle that as well.

If you're going to be storing your blazer, remove the plastic dry cleaning bag first since suede needs to breathe. Instead, store it in a pillowcase or cloth garment bag. Whatever you do, don't store it uncovered where it can sit in the sunlight for prolonged periods of time because the sun will cause it to fade. Don't store it in the basement or any other damp area either as suede is prone to mold and mildew.

Now that you know how to care for suede, there's no reason for you not to own a suede blazer. As long as you keep it well protected and take it to the dry cleaner periodically, there's no reason why it shouldn't last a long time. Once you see how nice it looks, you're sure to add more suede pieces to your wardrobe.

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