Cleaning Suede with Woolite

Suede brush

Have you ever considered cleaning suede with Woolite? While some people shudder at the thought, some items specifically call for the gentle fabric cleaner.

About Woolite

Woolite liquid detergent has been a household name for decades. The familiar white bottle is a staple in laundry rooms around the world. The gentle cleaner is specially designed to wash delicate fabrics, including nylon, rayon, silk and wool.

Makers of Woolite insist that the laundry detergent "has no harsh ingredients and won't cause shrinking, stretching or fading." Woolite is enthusiastically embraced by individuals who need a gentle soap to clean their fine washables. In fact, the liquid cleaner is considered so gentle that users can use it dozens of times on the same clothing item and not experience any harsh effects.

Tips for Cleaning Suede with Woolite

Cleaning suede with Woolite is a fairly recent practice, as most manufacturers of suede products don't make a habit of recommending its customers clean the delicate fabric themselves. In most cases, suede items will come with a tag that reads: "Dry Clean Only," but this is not the case with all suede products. For example, synthetic suede can be cleaned at home provided you follow the washing instructions. Failing to read the manufacturer's directions on cleaning suede can lead to irreparable damage.

If your suede item comes with a tag that allows for it to be cleaned with Woolite, then do so with care. For example, if your suede jacket allows for cleaning with Woolite, then spot clean the soiled area with a damp cloth dipped into a diluted mixture of Woolite and water. Simply, rub the edge of the Woolite-soaked cloth on the affected area, lightly rinse with another clean, damp cloth, and then allow the suede to dry. When the spot has dried, gently use a suede brush on the area to restore the nap of the fibers.

For heavily soiled suede items that allow for the use of Woolite, fill the bathroom or laundry room sink with lukewarm water. Next, add a small capful of Woolite to water and swirl around with your hand. Then, test an area of the suede item for colorfastness with the diluted Woolite mixture. If you don't see negative results, then apply the mixture to your suede item and scrub gently using a soft cloth or soft-bristled brush. When you are done washing the item, wrap it in a clean towel to absorb any excess moisture. Let the item dry naturally away from direct sunlight or heat, as the intense temperatures will likely ruin the suede. When the item has dried thoroughly, use a metal suede brush to smooth and fluff any rough edges.

Suede Cleaning: A Word of Warning

When reading the washing instructions on your suede item, be sure to note the exact detergent that's recommended for cleaning, as not all Woolite products are safe to use on fine fabrics. For example, Woolite Dry Cleaner's Secret explicitly says that it is not recommended on fur, leather, suede, or velvet.

Alternatives to Woolite

If your suede item does not allow you to use Woolite to clean it and you prefer to clean it yourself rather than send it to the dry cleaners, then consider what people used in the days before 21st century inventions. In the old days, suede was cleaned with vinegar and water. However, before using this method to clean your suede boots, gloves, jacket or hat, it's important to test the mixture on a hidden portion of the item.

Another option is to use a suede eraser. The block-shaped cleaning tool is especially effective on suede shoes and boots. It rubs off marks and scuffs and helps get under the surface of the suede to lift up ground-in dirt and debris. Finally, if you have a small protein stain on a suede item, then spot treat it with a mixture of cold water and glycerin soap. This solution works very well on heavily soiled suede garden gloves and coats.

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Cleaning Suede with Woolite