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Suede has a supple and luxurious feel to it. If you own any suede jackets, handbags, shoes, or other accessories you know just how wonderfully smooth the material feels. However, while suede is a relatively durable material, it can still be damaged if you don’t give it the proper care it needs. “Can you iron suede” is a common question. If you’re like others, you may be curious whether ironing suede will help improve the look of the material and remove wrinkles, or whether it will damage your suede jacket or other items.
We’re going to explore this question today to give you all the information you need to properly care for your favorite suede items.
Can You Iron Suede?
The soft feel of suede is caused by its nap. The nap is made up of many very fine fibers that are standing up.
Ideally, you shouldn’t iron suede. Pressing down directly on suede using a hot iron can either flatten the nap of the fabric or crush it.
If you must iron a suede item to remove wrinkles, you will want to do so very carefully. In the next section, we’ve outlined the measures you should take to prevent ruining the nap of the suede. Remember, it is best not to iron suede, but if you see no work around, follow the steps below to preserve your item.
How to Iron Suede
As we mentioned above, when ironing suede, you’ll want to use extreme caution. Too much heat or pressure from the iron can crush or flatten the nap on suede, ruining your item.
Try these steps to ensure the best possible results:
- Open up your ironing board.
- Cover the ironing board with a damp towel. The towel should be just barely wet, so wring out any excess water before placing it on the ironing board.
- Turn the suede item inside out. You should never iron with the nap side up, as it will be much more likely that the iron will cause damage.
- Place a cotton sheet or pillowcase over the item you’re planning to iron.
- Use a low- or medium-heat setting on the iron. Too much heat will damage the suede.
- The process for ironing suede will look quite different from ironing other materials. You will not be sliding the iron back and forth over the suede, as you typically would with other garments. This will almost certainly crush the nap and ruin the suede item.
- Rather, you should gently press the iron on top of one area at a time and lift it off.
- Repeat this process a few times, frequently pausing to check on the suede and make sure it isn’t getting ruined.
- Take your time; ironing suede will not be a quick process, and trying to rush through it will likely result in damage.
- After the wrinkles have been removed, shake out the suede item
- Use a wire suede brush if the nap feels too smooth.
If you’d prefer not to iron your suede items, steaming suede is another alternative to consider.
Steam can actually be good for removing dirt and bacteria from a suede jacket or other item. The hot steam works to dilate the leather’s pores. This helps release any bacteria or dirt that the pores may have been holding.
However, as with ironing, you need to be very careful when steaming suede. It is imperative that you don’t apply any heat from the steamer directly on the suede’s surface. This can ruin the nap.
Follow the steps below to steam suede:
- To avoid damaging the suede, when steaming you will also want to turn garments and other items inside out.
- Move the steamer or a hot kettle up and down around to release the wrinkles from the item.
- Take care not to touch the steamer against the suede or to get too close. This will help prevent you from accidentally damaging the nap.
- Alternatively, you can also run a hot shower and hang the suede item in a steamy bathroom. Only do this if your bathroom is sufficiently large to keep the suede item away from the shower water. You can also run the hot water for long enough for steam to form, and then turn it off before bringing the suede item into the room.
- After you have finished steaming the item, use a suede brush to brush the nap.
Other Tips for Caring for Suede
- Protect suede against damage: While suede is durable, it can still be damaged or stained in certain situations. When possible, avoid wearing suede items when heavy rain is likely.
- Use a suede protector spray: Suede protector sprays work to repel grease or dirt, which can keep suede cleaner and protect the nap:
- Brush suede: Using a suede brush to brush suede can help keep the material clean and protect the nap. Choose a 2-sided brush with a soft side and a wire side. The soft side is ideal for buffing up the nap, while the wire side can help remove debris and dirt from the suede. Always brush suede in the direction of the grain.
- Suede should not be washed in a washing machine. Immersing suede in water can remove dye and natural oils from the material and often causes the material to shrink.
- Suede should also not go in the dryer. The heat from the dryer may damage the suede or cause it to shrink.
- Dry cleaning is the safest method for cleaning suede jackets and other items.
- Use paper towels to soak up spills on suede. Avoid pressing the paper towel into the material, though, as this can press the liquid into the suede.
- Suede erasers can be purchased to remove stains from suede. In some cases, a white pencil eraser may also be effective.
Suede can easily be damaged by the heat or pressure of a hot iron. If you need to iron a suede garment, be sure to follow the tips above to prevent damage and preserve your item.