Quick Mildew Removal Tips for Suede:
Brush gently with a suede brush to remove surface mildew.
Spot test any cleaning solution like white vinegar or rubbing alcohol in an inconspicuous area.
Apply a mild mixture of one part vinegar to one part water to tackle the mildew.
Let air dry completely before using a suede brush to restore the nap.

Mildew on your designer suede handbags or stylish suede shoes isn’t just a minor inconvenience; it’s a distress call. These luxury items are not just accessories but investments. When mildew strikes, it puts your valuable belongings at risk of irreversible damage. Understanding how to remove mildew without harming your suede items is critical.

Suede, with its soft, grainy texture, requires specialized care to maintain its elegance. Mildew, a form of mold caused by too much moisture, can be a nightmare for suede lovers. Not only does it ruin the appearance, but it can also cause a musty odor, making your favorite pieces unusable.

For those seeking a quick fix and wanting to ensure their suede items last a lifetime, it’s important to act fast but carefully. Whether you’re dealing with mildew spots on high-end handbags or essential suede footwear, knowing the right techniques and products is key to effective cleaning without damage.

Infographic on removing mildew from suede with step by step visual guide - how to get mildew out of suede infographic pillar-3-steps

We’re diving deep into suede care, specifically focusing on tackling the challenge of mildew. We understand how crucial it is to maintain the pristine condition of your suede items, and we’re here to guide you through the process of restoring them to their former glory. Let’s say goodbye to suede mildew with these expert tips for effortless removal.

Identifying Mildew on Suede

When it comes to how to get mildew out of suede, the first step is knowing what you’re up against. Mildew on suede isn’t just unsightly; it can also cause a musty odor and potentially damage your valuable items over time. Let’s break down the signs of mildew and the common areas where it tends to appear.

Signs of Mildew

  • Discoloration: Look for spots or patches that are a different color than the rest of the suede. These can range from white to greenish or black.
  • Odor: Mildew has a distinct musty smell. If your suede item starts to smell off, it’s time to inspect it closely.
  • Texture: Mildew can make the suede feel rough or crusty, a departure from its typically soft and smooth texture.

Common Areas

Mildew loves moisture, so it often pops up in places where suede items get exposed to dampness. Here are a few spots to check:

  • Corners and folds: These areas can trap moisture and are prime spots for mildew growth.
  • Near zippers and seams: Moisture can seep into these areas, making them vulnerable to mildew.
  • Storage areas: If you store your suede items in places with high humidity or poor ventilation, like basements or closets, they’re more likely to develop mildew.

mildew on suede - how to get mildew out of suede

Identifying mildew early is crucial for successful removal. Once you’ve spotted the signs, you’re ready to move on to the tools and techniques that will help you clean your suede items without causing damage. Let’s dive into the essential tools for mildew removal in the next section.

Essential Tools for Mildew Removal

When it comes to tackling the challenge of how to get mildew out of suede, having the right tools at your disposal is half the battle won. Mildew can be a stubborn foe, but with these essentials, you’re well-equipped to bring your suede back to life.

Suede Brush

A suede brush is your first line of defense. This special brush is designed to gently but effectively remove dirt, dust, and the top layer of mildew from the suede without harming the delicate material. Its unique bristles are made to lift the nap and get rid of unwanted particles.

White Vinegar

White vinegar is a powerhouse when dealing with mildew. Its natural acidity helps kill mildew spores and remove musty odors, making it a safe and effective treatment for suede. A little goes a long way. You’ll want to dilute it with water and apply it sparingly.

Rubbing Alcohol

For more stubborn mildew spots, rubbing alcohol can be your next step. It sanitizes the area and helps break down the mildew without saturating the suede. Like with vinegar, it’s important to use this solution with care, testing it on a small area first.

Soft Cloths

Soft cloths are indispensable in the mildew removal process. They’re used to apply solutions like vinegar and rubbing alcohol gently to the suede, ensuring that you don’t over-wet or damage the material. Always use a clean, soft cloth to avoid transferring any dirt back onto the suede.

Petroleum Jelly

For those tough-to-remove stains that seem to resist other treatments, petroleum jelly can be surprisingly effective. A small amount applied to a stubborn stain and gently worked in can lift the mildew away. This method is a bit unconventional but can work wonders in certain situations.

With these tools in hand, you’re ready to tackle mildew head-on. Each plays a crucial role in the cleaning process, from the initial brushing away of loose mildew to the deeper cleaning and stain removal. The key is to use these tools gently and patiently to avoid damaging the delicate suede.

In the next section, we’ll walk through the step-by-step guide to removing mildew, putting these tools to use and bringing your suede items back to their former glory.

Step-by-Step Guide to Removing Mildew

Pre-Cleaning Preparations

Before you start, it’s important to gear up for safety and set up a suitable cleaning area. Wear gloves to protect your hands from the cleaning solutions. Also, wear a mask if you’re sensitive to mildew or the fumes from alcohol or vinegar.

Choose an open area for cleaning, preferably outdoors or in a well-ventilated room. This ensures good air flow, which is essential for drying and diluting any strong odors from the cleaning agents.

Initial Cleaning Steps

Brush off mold: Begin by gently brushing the surface of your suede to remove loose mildew and mold particles. Use a suede brush specifically designed for this purpose to avoid damaging the material.

Vacuuming: After brushing, vacuum the suede item with the brush attachment. This helps remove any remaining mold particles. Be sure to vacuum gently to not harm the suede’s texture.

Deep Cleaning Techniques

Using Vinegar

White vinegar application: Mix equal parts of white vinegar and water in a bowl. Dip a soft cloth into the mixture, wring it out slightly, and gently dab the mildewed areas. Do not soak the suede. Vinegar is effective in killing mold spores and removing musty odors.

Drying process: Let the suede air dry completely in an open, airy space. Avoid direct sunlight or heat sources, as these can damage the suede.

Alcohol Treatment

Rubbing alcohol solution: Prepare a solution of one part rubbing alcohol and one part water. Similar to the vinegar treatment, use a soft cloth to apply the solution on the mildewed areas.

Spot testing: Before applying the alcohol solution broadly, test it on a small, inconspicuous area of the suede to ensure it doesn’t affect the color or texture.

Petroleum Jelly for Stubborn Stains

Application method: For tough stains that vinegar and alcohol can’t remove, try using petroleum jelly. Apply a small amount on the stain and gently rub it with a soft cloth.

Vaseline compatibility: Check for compatibility by testing the petroleum jelly on a small, hidden part of the suede. This ensures it doesn’t darken or discolor the suede.

Post-Cleaning Care

Suede brushing: Once the suede is completely dry, use a suede brush to gently restore the nap and texture of the suede. Brush in the direction of the grain for the best results.

Drying tips: Always let suede dry naturally. If you’re in a hurry, you can use a fan to speed up the process, but keep it at a distance to avoid direct air flow which can cause uneven drying.

Leather conditioner: After cleaning and drying, consider applying a suede conditioner to keep the suede soft and prevent it from drying out. Follow the product instructions for the best application method.

By following these steps, you can effectively remove mildew from your suede items and restore their appearance. Regular care and maintenance will prolong the life of your suede, keeping it looking great for years to come.

Preventing Future Mildew Growth

Stopping mildew before it starts is key to keeping your suede looking and feeling its best. Let’s dive into how you can keep those pesky spores at bay.

Silica Gel Packs

  • Why They Work: Silica gel packs absorb moisture. This keeps your storage area dry and unfriendly to mildew.
  • How to Use Them: Toss a few packs into your suede storage areas—like drawers or boxes. Change them out when they feel saturated.

Dry Storage

  • The Goal: Keep your suede in a dry environment.
  • Tips:
  • Use a dehumidifier in humid climates.
  • Avoid storing suede in basements or bathrooms where it’s often damp.

Avoiding Polythene Bags

  • Why: Polythene bags trap moisture around your suede, creating a mildew playground.
  • Alternative: Store suede in breathable fabric bags or leave them uncovered in a well-ventilated area.

Waterproofing Agents

  • Protection: Waterproofing sprays can add a layer of protection against moisture.
  • Application:
  • Test the product on a small area first.
  • Apply evenly, following the directions on the product.

By incorporating these preventative measures, you’re not just avoiding mildew; you’re ensuring your suede remains in top-notch condition for as long as possible. A little effort in prevention saves a lot of hassle in cleaning and maintenance down the road.

Next, we’ll tackle some of the most common questions about suede mildew removal to clear up any lingering doubts.

Frequently Asked Questions about Suede Mildew Removal

When dealing with the challenge of how to get mildew out of suede, several questions often come up. Let’s dive into some of the most frequently asked questions to provide you with clear, straightforward answers.

Can I use soap to clean suede?

The short answer is no. Suede is a delicate material that doesn’t react well to the harsh chemicals found in most soaps. Using soap can cause the suede to become discolored or damaged. Instead, stick to products specifically designed for suede care, such as a suede brush for removing dirt and a mixture of white vinegar and water for tackling mildew spots.

How often should I clean suede items?

Suede doesn’t need to be cleaned too often. However, it’s good practice to give your suede items a quick brush after each use to remove surface dirt and dust. This prevents buildup over time. As for a deeper clean, only do so when you notice visible dirt or mildew forming. Regular maintenance, like brushing and proper storage, will minimize the need for frequent deep cleans.

Does water ruin suede?

Water can be a foe to suede, but it doesn’t automatically ruin it. If suede becomes wet, the key is to handle the drying process correctly. Never use a direct heat source like a hairdryer. Instead, blot the water with a clean cloth and let the item dry naturally, away from direct heat and sunlight. After it’s dry, use a suede brush to restore the nap. For mildew removal, a diluted white vinegar solution can be carefully applied, but always ensure the suede is dried properly afterward to prevent damage.

The best way to deal with mildew on suede is to prevent it from happening in the first place. Store your suede items in a dry, well-ventilated area and consider using a waterproofing spray designed for suede to provide an extra layer of protection.

By addressing these common concerns, we hope to help you feel more confident in managing and preventing mildew on your suede items. With the right care and attention, your suede can remain beautiful and mildew-free for years to come.


In wrapping up our journey on how to get mildew out of suede, it’s clear that while the task may seem daunting at first, with the right tools and techniques, it’s entirely manageable. However, maintenance is key. Regular care, including proper storage and the occasional use of a waterproofing spray, can significantly extend the life and beauty of your suede items.

But what happens when the situation is beyond the scope of DIY methods? That’s where professional help becomes invaluable. Enter NuShoe Inspect & Correct, your go-to experts for when mildew or mold takes hold of your cherished suede items. With years of experience and a dedicated team, they offer a lifeline, restoring your items to their former glory.

Tackling mildew on suede isn’t just about salvaging a pair of shoes or a handbag; it’s about preserving a piece of your personal history and investment. Whether you’re dealing with a minor spot or a full-blown mildew crisis, NuShoe Inspect & Correct is equipped to handle it.

While we’ve equipped you with the knowledge and steps to fight back against mildew, some battles are best left to the professionals. Trusting your suede items to NuShoe Inspect & Correct not only ensures they’re in capable hands but also saves you time and potential heartache from accidental damage.

So, let’s not let mildew win. With proactive care and the expert backup of NuShoe Inspect & Correct, your suede can continue to be a durable, stylish part of your wardrobe for years to come.