Is Leather Easier to Clean Than Suede?

Leather’s properties that make them particularly suited for boots and other objects are its suppleness, durability and comfort because it is a natural material that breathes. There are varieties of leather available and each requires a specific care and treatment. 

Suede, a type of leather which is manufactured from the soft underside of an animal hide, is less durable than typical leather and is more susceptible to scuffing and staining.

The basic distinction between leather and suede is that the former is supple and creamy, whilst the latter is matted and velvety. 

When it comes to maintenance and cleaning, leather is probably easier to clean than suede because most leathers are created with good quality animal hide, and the outer grain of the leather require less maintenance, but suede, being soft and delicate as it is made from the underside of the hide, is more prone to harm. While cleaning and caring for suede isn’t difficult, it does demand more attention than many other varieties of leather.

Is Leather Easier to Clean Than Suede

It’s a popular misconception that suede takes more work than leather, but the truth is that both fabrics need to be cared for in order to keep using them for a long time.

To keep its sheen and suppleness, leather shoes must be conditioned, shined, and polished frequently, whereas suede shoes must be protected against other types of harm. But when suede gets wet, it requires a lot more maintenance.

Therefore in this article, we will help you with your queries regarding the care and maintenance of both leather and suede leather. 

What are the main differences between leather and suede leather?

Features Leather Suede leather
Materials used for its production It is made from the outside of the animal hide, then buffed to a smooth, glossy finish once the hair is removed. It is made by eliminating the grain from the underside of the animal hide and leaving the soft inner surface with its longer strands.
Texture Its texture  is smooth and buttery Suede is textured and matted
Flexibility Fairly flexible Extremely flexible
Durability Extremely durable Fairly durable
Water-resistance It resists water It is not water resistant

How to clean and maintain leather?

No matter how long-lasting and sturdy your leather is, you must care for it and preserve it so that it serves you well in the long run.

Keep in mind that you don’t have to care and maintain your leather products on a regular basis. Once or twice a year will suffice to restore your leather to its former glory. 

Leather requires two types of care and maintenance. There’s washing and conditioning.

1.) Cleaning leather will eliminate all dirt, debris, and other undesired items that have gathered over the course of its wear and usage. Leather should be cleaned with a gentle saddle soap and lukewarm water.

2.) After the leather has been cleaned, it is time to condition it. Some of the leather’s natural oils are lost while cleaning. Therefore, conditioning the leather restores those oils and helps in the longevity of the leather.

How to clean and care for suede leather?

When it comes to durability and strength, suede is not as durable as leather so it requires a little more gentle love and care for its maintenance. Suede leather is not the same as leather and requires different treatment.

You should absolutely not use leather products on suede to avoid any damage. Suede leather can be cleaned in a variety of ways so let’s have a look at the various cleaning methods.

1.) Suede’s fuzzy surface makes brushing one of the easiest ways to clean it. You should brush your suede item after using it for a while to eliminate any collected trash and dirt. Brushing is an effective way to remove minor stains or dirt. 

You could use a soft brush for this purpose like Redecker Suede Brush which is ideal for a regular day when it isn’t so dirty.

Always brush in one direction of the fibers. But when you encounter some stubborn debris, you could use a hard bristle brush. 

Check out the Redecker Suede brush here-

When brushing the suede, be careful not to put too much pressure or squeeze the brush too hard. Your suede will appear nice and clean with some mild brushing in the direction of the napped surface.

Alternatively, if the nap has flattened over the years, you can use a steam cleaner on the suede before brushing it.

2.) You can use a suede eraser to get rid of difficult stains, or any other ordinary pencil eraser will suffice. After that, use a soft brush to restore the nap by brushing in one direction of the threads.

You can check out the Sof Sole Suede eraser that cleans without using water-

3.) Water stains can be removed by pressing a moist cloth on the spot. The entire area will appear wet by pressing the damp cloth against the stain. The region is then dried with a hand dryer.

4.) It’s a good idea to spray your suede with a suede protector spray once it’s clean. For suede and nubuck leather, you can use Nikwax waterproofing spray. 

So what makes suede so difficult to clean?

While suede has a velvety, rich appearance, it is also undeniable that it easily stains, scratches, and squeezes. It’s because it has a textured and fuzzy surface that makes the surface rough and porous, making the dust and debris prone to being stuck on the surface. That’s why it’s crucial to understand how to care for suede.

Suede is prone to get dirty easily, and is harder to clean than leather. It stains very quickly, to a point that even a few droplets of water may turn suede’s softness into an uneven rigidity with discoloration if it isn’t protected.

Exposing suede to water ruins the leather by darkening it, making it less supple, weakening it by eliminating oils, and making it appear scuffed. 


1.) Can weather affect both leather and suede?

Yes, excessive moisture, snow, and salt, in general, can harm any sort of leather. It is because it penetrates the leather and causes the fibrous structure to be disrupted, which in turn hampers the quality of the leather. However, moisture does impact suede more than it harms leather. 

2.) What if you get oil on your suede product?

If your suede has oil stain, you can soak it away with cornstarch that you can easily find in your kitchen. Cornstarch should be sprinkled on the oil location and left for a few hours.

Now knock the dust off and remove the oily powder without rubbing it into the cloth. Repeat the process with a second application if the initial process does not remove all of the oil. 

After the oil has been removed, use your suede cleaning brush to restore the suede’s original appearance.


The decision between suede and leather is purely subjective. It all comes down to what you’re looking for. Suede isn’t as difficult to clean and maintain as other leather varieties, but it does require some effort on your part.

With regular care and maintenance, your leather and suede leather will last a long time without needing to be repaired or replaced.

Stephen Luettgen
I have 12+ years of experience in construction, inspections, handy work, and currently working as a Construction Site Manager. In today’s day we spent a significant part of our time at workplace and a right work gear can have significant impact not only on your safety but also work quality.

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