Updated Sunday, October 17 2021
This guide will show you how to safely clean suede upholstery and seats. This method applies to both Alcantra (synthetic) and suede (organic) because the product used in this method is safe for both materials.
Most modern cars use Alcantra materials. Genuine suede is usually found on older cars. Suede is made from leather. Refer to your owner’s manual to determine if the materials used in your vehicle’s interior are Alcantra, suede, or both.
When the term “seude” is used throughout the rest of this post, it will refer to both Alcantra and genuine suede.
Much like cleaning leather, when cleaning suede, the best practice is to avoid getting suede too wet because you don’t want to saturate the foam cushion underneath the suede skin of your upholstery.
With suede that’s over five years old, be careful when cleaning because excessive scrubbing can cause suede fibers to deteriorate. If your suede is excessively damaged from wear and tear, then it might be time to consider a reupholstery, replacement seat, or replacement door panel.
- Meguiar’s All Purpose Cleaner
- Spray bottle
- Bucket or large bowl
- Warm water
- Microfiber towels
- Suede brush (optional)
Fill your bucket or bowl with warm water. Next, soak several microfiber towels in the bucket or bowl. Finally, set aside several clean dry towels for later.
Fill your spray bottle with a 10:1 dilution mix of Meguiar’s All Purpose Cleaner.
Next, thoroughly vacuum your suede. This means vacuum all hard to reach spots.I use this portable shop vacuum for my professional jobs and to clean my personal cars.
First, get one of your microfiber towels that has been soaked in warm water. Afterwards, wring the towel. The cloth should be damp but shouldn’t drip water.
Spray your 10:1 mix of Meguiar’s All Purpose Cleaner on one section of suede.
Next, working from top to bottom, wipe your suede seats or upholstery with horizatonal and vertical passes. Blot at stains.
Repeat this process on the next section of suede until all your suede has been dried. Use as little moisture as possible. Warm water works better at extracting spill stains than cold water in most cases. In certain instances, for example, with blood stains, it’s better to use cold water than warm water.
Vacuum your suede one more time to suck out any remaining moisture. When you’re finished, the suede should be dry to the touch.
Maintenance Tip: Repeat this cleaning process once every week or so to extend the life of your suede. Regular maintenance is easier, better, and cheaper than the cure.
Optional: Suede Brush
For that next level in suede detailing, you can purchase an inexpensive suede brush to comb your suede fibers to look like the patterns on a freshly cut baseball field, UFO landing marks on a corn field, or whatever pattern you want. This is your chance to get creative.
If you know someone whose suede could use a touch up, then please pay it forward by sharing a link to this page. Thank you!