Suede leather is made from the inner splits of a side of leather, usually cow, although doe suede and pig suede are available. Because suede does not include the tough exterior skin layer, suede is softer than standard ("full-grain") leather. Its softness, thickness, and malleability make it suitable for garments and accessories crafting. Suede leather is also popular in upholstery, shoes, bags, and other accessories, and as a lining for other leather products. Due to its textured nature and open pores, suede is susceptible to stains. It is not washable, but must instead be cleaned carefully with a brush or special suede cleaners.
For specific suede cleaning techniques see How to clean suede leather
To protect suede from stains see How to protect suede from stains
General Leather Care
- Avoid using or placing sharp objects on leather goods. Leather is very durable, but not accident or damage proof.
- Leather naturally repels water but, for additional protection, look for an environmentally friendly repellent product to help prevent absorption of water and body oils. It's best to avoid silicone-based repellents which retard leather's ability to "breathe."
- Let wet leather garments dry in well-ventilated areas, away from heat. The leather may stiffen slightly but should soften again after having used it for a while.
- Don't load bags with overly heavy or bulky items, which could tear seams.
- Storing leather in plastic prevents it from "breathing", and may result in mildewing or drying and cracking. Use a cotton garment bag for off-season storage.
- Help leather keep its shape when not in use. Fill empty purses and bags with tissue paper.
Consider your environment. In a dry environment, condition leather on a regular basis to prevent drying and cracking.
- To prevent mildew, keep leather protected from extreme humidity.
- Store away from direct sunlight.
- To clean your leather, NEVER use soap and water. It will remove all the natural oils in the leather; your leather will dry and crack, eventually disintegrating!
- If staining occurs, do not attempt any means of stain removal yourself, as you could cause more damage than you think. Remove any large amounts of the stain by blotting with a white towel, then get the piece to your professional dry cleaner as soon as possible. The longer a stain remains untreated, the more difficult it will be to remove.
- Do not use leather cleaners that contain alcohol.
- Avoid using household cleaners on you garment, since they may take off more dye than usual.
- Leather should be cleaned sparingly by professionals who specialize in leather cleaning.
- Fresh stains from things such as blood and food should be cleaned up quickly with a damp cloth. Stains from oil or grease can be lifted by grinding ordinary blackboard chalk, sprinkling the area, and leaving the powder on for a twenty-four hour period. Resist the urge to rub the powder in. After a sufficient time has past, simply use a leather care brush to remove the powder. While fresh stains can be treated and cleaned at home, ground-in stains should be attended to by a professional cleaner who deals in leather.