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How Do I Choose the Best Suede Protector?

By Marlene de Wilde
Updated May 16, 2024
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The best suede protector depends on the type of suede and the product being protected. There are many sprays available which protect suede from water damage and stains and these are best applied when the suede product is new and unspoiled. A good suede protector should provide resistance to water, salt and mud as well as being easily applicable. Any application should not alter the original color of the suede product.

Some sprays which are applied to protect the suede may be the cause of color changes themselves, as some can darken lighter-colored suede in particular. Any application should first be tested on a hidden part of the product to check for this kind of effect. Spraying too close can lead to wet spots, so even the best suede protector should be applied from a distance. Before the application of a second coat, it is advisable to wait for the first coat to dry completely. Some sprays may seem to change the color of the suede initially, but this may only be temporary and as the spray dries, the original color is restored.

Suede is a popular leather but one of the hardest to clean, so prevention is the best policy. Suede jackets are best worn with a scarf around the neck to prevent body oil staining the inside collars. Any greasy stains can be dealt with by sprinkling absorbent powder around the collar or using a commercial cleaner specifically designed for suede. As heat destroys the soft velvety finish of suede, any temptation to use the hairdryer to dry wet suede should be avoided. Instead, stuffing the hat or gloves with newspaper helps maintain the shape while drying naturally.

Boots and shoes are the most vulnerable to damage and stains as they take the most punishment from dirty wet surfaces. Caring for suede footwear is important for this reason and the application of a suede protector is highly recommended. If shoes and boots become damp and muddy, they are best left to dry completely before rubbing softly with an eraser to clean, and a soft clean toothbrush to raise the nap.

Leather used in upholstery is usually of a higher quality than that used for shoes and clothing, which means that it requires more care. Suede protectors should be applied a few times throughout the year in order to re-impregnate and re-fat the leather. The best suede protector for furniture should also prevent sun and atmospheric pollution where these are factors.

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Discussion Comments

By John57 — On Jan 01, 2012

I learned the hard way how important it is to clean your suede shoes before you wear them.

I bought a nice pair of black suede shoes and wore them to work in the middle of winter. The salt that was used on the sidewalks and roads is what ruined my shoes.

I noticed after the first day I wore them the ring around the bottom of my shoes. It would have been a lot better if I had used a suede shoe protector before wearing them instead of trying to treat them later on.

I was able to use some spray cleaner and a brush to get rid of some of the stain, but it never completely went away. The next time I buy a pair of suede shoes, that is the first thing I will do.

By julies — On Jan 01, 2012

I have a suede coat that I have worn a long time. It is my favorite coat, and I have had a hard time getting rid of it.

For a long time I was able to keep it clean with some Kiwi suede protector and a suede brush. After so many years though, there is no way I can get rid of the stain around the collar.

I know it is past time to look for a new coat, but I still have a hard time giving up this one. I have always enjoyed the look and soft feel of suede fabric.

My next new coat will probably be a suede coat that looks a lot like the one I am replacing.

By andee — On Dec 31, 2011

The chairs that go with my dining room table have a brown suede cover on them.

While I like the looks of them and the little cushion they provide, they aren't the best choice if you have small kids around.

The suede seems to absorb greasy food stains and dirty fingers. I sprayed every chair with a suede cleaner from the furniture store as soon as I got them.

I try to remember to keep them sprayed on a regular basis, but I haven't kept up very well. This is not something I would buy again until my kids are grown and out of the house.

By then I will probably have grand kids, so I think I will stick with plain wooden chairs for my dining room the next time around.

By kylee07drg — On Dec 31, 2011

@lighth0se33 – I also didn't know any better about using a blow-dryer on suede. I ruined my favorite blazer this way.

I took the blazer to the dry cleaner to see if there was anything they could do for it, and they said it was too late to save it. They did enlighten me by introducing me to suede protector spray, though.

I loved that blazer so much that I went out and bought another one just like it. I also bought some suede protector spray and applied two coats to it right away.

I am amazed at how well it seals out stains and protects the blazer from water damage. Now that I know about this stuff, I will use it on everything suede.

By Perdido — On Dec 30, 2011

My husband and I had been looking for the perfect couch for our living room. One day last year, he surprised me by bringing home a beautiful suede brown couch.

It was large enough for both of us to sleep on comfortably. It is the most comfortable couch I have ever sat on, and I wanted to protect it as much as possible.

So, I got some suede protector spray that promised it would not alter the shade of the material. It held true to this promise.

The amazing thing is that it actually locks out dirt, stains, and water, making them sit on the surface. That way, all I have to do is wipe them away with a cloth.

By seag47 — On Dec 29, 2011

Last spring, I bought some beautiful suede shoes. I was really looking forward to wearing them, but a few days after I bought them, we had a rainy spell that lasted over a week.

I decided to go get some waterproof suede protector. I took my shoes into the carport and laid down some old newspaper. I put the shoes on it and sprayed them at a safe distance with the protector.

I left it on there to dry for about two hours. Since my shoes were kind of thin, I only applied one coat.

The next day, the rain had slowed to a drizzle. I wore my new shoes, and I didn't even get water spots on them.

By lighth0se33 — On Dec 29, 2011

I have put my suede boots through a lot. I generally do try to protect them from mud, but there are times when stepping in it is unavoidable.

I have been wiping it off with a wet cloth and blow-drying the boots. They do look worn and darkened in spots, but I didn't know until I read this article that blow-drying suede was a bad thing.

It's probably to late to apply a suede protector to these boots. I have had them for three years. I will definitely use a suede protector on my next pair, though.

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