Suede Fabric Care: How to Look After It

Suede is a type of leather with a napped finish, typically used for clothing and upholstery. While it has a luxurious look and feel, suede can be notoriously difficult to care for. Here are some tips on how to look after your suede fabric:

What Is Suede Fabric?

Suede is a sort of leather that can be made from any animal skin used to make regular leather. The primary distinction between suede and other varieties of leather is that suede fabric generates from the underside of animal skin. In contrast, most leather derives from the top side of animal skin.

The underbelly of animal skin is softer than the top but less resistant to stains and the environment. As a result, Suede is considered a premium material. Although it lacks the durability of standard leather and is more comfortable against the skin than regular leather.

Suede is significantly more absorbent than regular leather, which means it lacks the waterproofing properties of leather. You can prevent damage by wearing suede clothing indoors or in circumstances where severe environmental conditions are rare.

Most types of leather are from cow skin. Suede is from lamb skin. Other species of animal skin, such as calf, goat, and deer, can also be used to make suede.

History of Suede

In the early 1900s, suede became popular for use in clothing and upholstery. The name “suede” comes from the French word “gants de Suède,” meaning “gloves from Sweden.” In the early 1800s, Swedish gloves were known for their softness and quality, and the word “suede” came to be used to describe any soft, fine leather.

How Is Suede Fabric Produced?

Suede is usually made from the inner split of a hide and is more delicate than other types of leather. The manufacturing process begins with the tanning of the hide. Once the hide has been tanned, it is split into two layers. The upper layer, which is known as the grain split, is used to make high-quality leather products. The lower layer, or flesh split, is further processed to produce suede fabric.

Suede fabric is produced by abrading the surface of the flesh split with sandpaper or wire brushes. This process roughens up the surface of the leather and gives it a nap. The longer the nap is allowed to develop, the softer and more pliable the suede fabric will be.

Once the desired level of nap has been achieved, the suede fabric is then dyed and finished. Suede fabric can be used to make a wide variety of products, including shoes, clothing, and furniture. It is important to note that suede fabrics are susceptible to staining and should be treated with care.

What Are the Advantages of Suede?

As a member of the leather family, Suede has a few advantages that make it more desirable than some of its brothers. Let’s examine some benefits that set it distinct from other materials.

1. Longevity and Durability

The superior qualities of suede make it unique, durable, robust, delicate, and comfortable.

Suede leather’s sheer elegance adds a velvety extravagance to practical products like coats and jackets. Because of their toughness, such things will outlast their cotton equivalents.

2. Flexible

When it comes to stiffness, fresh leather might be stiff and uncomfortable to wear. Purchasing new leather shoes, in particular, might cause discomfort. It would be best to break them in until the leather softens sufficiently to allow your feet to move freely.

Suede does not have this issue. It’s already supple and soft. Suede, a fluid yet durable fabric, will flex with your body from the start.

3. Soft and smooth

When most people think of leather, they envision a hard, solid surface that is usually cold to the touch. With Suede, this couldn’t be further from the truth.

Suede is exceptionally soft and silky. It may be challenging to remember that it is a form of leather. The fact that it has leather qualities but not rigidity or harshness is arguably its most significant asset.

Suede Fabric Types

As previously stated in this article, Suede refers to any leather with a napped surface. Due to their similarity to leather, a few other materials classify as Suede. Let’s have a look at them.

1. Ultrasuede

Ultrasuede was one of the first suede substitutes to hit the market. Most types of Ultrasuede, invented in 1970 by Japanese scientist Miyoshi Okamoto, are made up of 80% polyester microfiber and 20% polyurethane plastic. Ultrasuede, unlike animal-based Suede, can be washed in a washing machine and tumble-dried.

2. Silk Suede

Silk is subject to a chemical treatment that makes it resemble Suede in texture. Sueded silk has all of the advantages of silk, yet unlike regular suede, it can be machine washed.

3. Suede

While numerous suede substitutes exist on the market, only animal-derived diaper leather may be called genuine suede.

4. Cotton Suede

Sueded cotton, like suede silk, has been exposed to a chemical treatment that roughens its external surface to mimic Suede. This fabric can be machine washed.

5. Alcantara

Ultrasuede is also known as Alcantara. Alcantara creates as part of a collaboration between the Japanese company Toray Industries and the Italian company Alcantara. This fabric is equivalent to Ultrasuede, and Alcantara, like this synthetic fabric, is machine washable. At the same time, Ultrasuede is for industrial and general consumer uses, Alcantara in upscale automobile interiors and designer purse linings.

Suede Care

Suede is a delicate fabric that requires special care to keep it looking its best. Here are a few tips on how to clean and protect your suede garments:

  • Suede can be cleaned with a dry brush or a soft cloth. Gently brush the fabric in one direction to remove dirt and debris.
  • If your suede garment gets wet, let it air dry naturally. Do not put it in the dryer or use direct heat, as this can damage the fabric.
  • To protect your suede garments from stains, you can use a waterproofing spray. Be sure to test the spray on an inconspicuous area first to make sure it doesn’t change the color of the fabric.

Should you go for genuine leather or suede? Choosing between them can be difficult as both as their own unique flair and look. Try out both and see which fits you best!


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