How to Soften Suede?

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Suede is a type of leather known for its soft and luxurious texture. However, over time, suede can become stiff and lose its suppleness. If you want to revive your suede items and make them soft again, there are several methods you can try. In this article, we will explore different techniques and tips to help you soften suede effectively.

1. Brushing and Cleaning

To start the process of softening suede, it is important to clean and brush the material. Follow these steps:

  1. Gently brush the suede: Use a suede brush or a soft-bristled toothbrush to gently brush the suede in one direction. This will help remove any surface dirt or debris.
  2. Remove stains: Treat any stains on the suede by using a suede eraser or a mixture of mild soap and water. Apply the solution to the stain and gently rub with a clean cloth.
  3. Let it dry: Allow the suede to air dry naturally. Avoid using direct heat or sunlight, as it can damage the material.

2. Steaming

Steaming is an effective method for softening suede. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Prepare a steamer: Fill a steamer with water and heat it until steam starts to form.
  2. Hold the suede item over the steam: Hold the suede item a few inches above the steaming water, ensuring the steam reaches the material.
  3. Gently stretch and flex the suede: While steaming, use your hands to gently stretch and flex the suede in different directions. This will help loosen the fibers and make the suede softer.
  4. Repeat if necessary: If the suede is still stiff, repeat the steaming process until you achieve the desired softness.

3. Using Vinegar

Vinegar can be used to soften suede due to its acidic properties. Follow these steps:

  1. Mix vinegar and water: In a spray bottle, mix equal parts of white vinegar and water.
  2. Spray the mixture on the suede: Lightly spray the vinegar and water mixture onto the suede, covering the entire surface.
  3. Allow it to dry: Let the suede sit for a few hours to dry completely.
  4. Brush the suede: Once dry, use a suede brush or a soft-bristled toothbrush to gently brush the suede in one direction. This will help restore its softness.

4. Conditioning with Oil

Applying oil to suede can help soften it and restore its natural texture. Follow these steps:

  1. Choose a suitable oil: Opt for a suede-specific oil, such as mink oil or suede conditioner.
  2. Apply the oil: Using a clean cloth or sponge, apply a small amount of oil to the suede in circular motions.
  3. Let it absorb: Allow the oil to absorb into the suede for a few hours or overnight.
  4. Brush the suede: After the oil has been absorbed, brush the suede with a suede brush to restore its softness and remove any excess oil.

5. Professional Suede Softening

If you are unsure about softening suede on your own or if the material is particularly delicate, it is best to seek professional help. Professional suede cleaners have the expertise and specialized equipment to safely soften and restore suede items.


Softening suede can be achieved through various methods such as brushing, steaming, using vinegar, conditioning with oil, or seeking professional assistance. It is important to take proper care of your suede items to maintain their softness and prolong their lifespan. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and test any products or techniques on a small, inconspicuous area before applying them to the entire suede surface. With the right approach, you can enjoy the luxurious feel of soft suede for years to come.

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