Can You Bleach Suede? (How to Bleach Suede Shoes or Jacket)

Using chemical solutions is always risky. It is too difficult to control the process and once the chemicals hit the fabric they may not stop working until it is too late. Sometimes you have to be quick with the bleach stop solution to preserve the project you are working on.

Can you bleach suede? You can but it is a very tricky process if you do it yourself. All you need is some bleach and some cotton balls to apply the chemical. Once you have wet the area you want to bleach, let it dry. Repeat as often as you need to in order to get rid of the stain.

To learn if bleaching your suede items is a good idea or not, just continue to read our article. It investigates the issue so you have the facts and know-how to proceed if you want. If you don’t trust yourself, leave this action to the professionals.

Can You Bleach Suede?


Yes, you can but you are taking on a very risky and tricky task. Not only is suede a delicate fabric that can be harmed if you over-bleach, but you may also ruin a good suede garment and have to replace it.

If you have a steady hand and have confidence in your abilities then you may want to try this method. Soaking cotton balls with bleach and dabbing the stain generously is the way to get the stain out.

However, you may take several attempts and end up over bleaching which may cause the dye to run or disappear. Assess after each time the bleach has dried before making a second or third attempt at removing the stain.

If you want to redye the suede garment then you can bleach the dye out. But again, you can’t over-bleach or you will ruin the item and your project.

Does Bleach Work on Suede?

Yes, it works on suede as it does on many other fabrics that have stains on them or you want to redye. If you are going for stains, it is a good idea to pick up some dyes that work on suede. Make sure to get the same color so you can spot dye the fabric and get it back to looking like new.

Bleach is very effective when you want to redye the fabric of a different color. Then you can use that chemical to remove the old color and start fresh with the fabric a nice whitish color.

There is the possibility that natural suede once bleached will turn hard and lose its shape. Also, you may end up with a blotchy look or yellow stains. It is your decision but if you need to bleach consider buying new and saving you the risks of doing it yourself.

What Happens When You Bleach Suede?


The best-case scenarios are that you remove the stain without damaging the suede garment. Or you have removed the former color without ruining whatever suede item you are working on.

The worst-case scenarios are that you do ruin the garment and have to throw it away. Or, you have removed dye that you did not want to be removed and you have to redye the item the same color.

In between scenarios leave you with yellow stains, stiff fabric, or a blotchy uneven look. Some of these issues are not reparable and you will be looking at spending money you did not want to spend or simply tossing the item in the garbage.

Bleaching the whole item is the best way to avoid some of those worst-case and in-between scenarios. Or turn it over to a professional so you do not make a rookie mistake and end up with those negative results.

Will Bleach Clean Suede?

If you apply the bleach correctly then you should not only have zero trouble but you should have a clean suede item. The key is in the word correctly. While some people say do not dilute the bleach placing undiluted bleach on fabrics is a dangerous application.

You never know what the bleach will do at full strength. If you are not sure about the full strength application, make sure to do a test first on a hidden part of the fabric and judge from the results what you should do.

Diluted bleach may not be as powerful but it is a safer application to make. Just make sure to let the bleach dry before doing another attempt at cleaning the stain. Always err on the side of caution when expensive suede is at stake. That way you do not have to spend more money if something is not right.

Does Bleach Ruin Suede?


It can. It will depend on the type of bleach you use and how much you apply at one time. It will also depend if you dilute the chemical or not. Undiluted bleach is very powerful and very hard on fabrics including suede.

Over bleaching is also something you have to be careful of. You love that suede skirt or jacket and can’t stand to see it stained. The tendency is to over-bleach to get the stains out. That is a mistake as you will be ruining the item and the best you will get is that you would have to dye the spots again.

If you get an uneven look on your suede shoes etc., it may be best to bleach them completely and redye the shoes, etc., another color or the same color. You remove the mess and get your items looking good again.

How To Bleach Suede Shoes

Bleaching shoes when you only want to clean up a small spot or two doesn’t take a lot of equipment nor make a lot of a mess. Use cotton balls and get them wet with the bleach. Make sure to have newspapers or an old cloth down underneath your work area.

Apply the bleach generously to the stains and let the bleach dry. There is no need to rinse as water is another issue altogether. If the stain is not removed you can repeat this process several times until you are successful.

If you have black suede shoes, forget the bleaching. The results are not going to be good and if you end up with a blotchy mess, no amount of bleaching will correct the problem.

Then if this process does not leave an even look, you may have to completely bleach the shoes and redye them.

How do You Whiten Suede?


The best way to whiten suede is to follow this procedure. You shouldn’t need chemical bleach to be successful. The first step is to blot the shoes with a white cloth. This removes any moisture around the area.

Next, you use a pencil eraser and remove any stains that can be rubbed off. If the stain is still moist, put a piece of paper towel over the stain and let it soak up the moisture. Don’t rub but do apply some pressure.

After that, put some white vinegar on a clean cloth and rub gently over the stains. Let the shoes dry and then brush the area with a suede brush. You shouldn’t have to rub in both directions just follow the direction of the nap to avoid further damage to the shoes or suede clothing items.

How To Bleach Suede White

It is not a good idea to bleach suede white as there are just too many risks involved and you may not end up with a totally white or even off white fabric. If you want to get the suede to a whitish color you can rub bleach using a rag until all the dye is gone.

This can be time-consuming but it is better than washing the fabric in bleach. This method protects you from over bleaching the item. After you get the dye out, you should have a white dye made for suede and a deglazer.

After you have cleaned the item rub the deglazer onto it and wipe it off almost immediately. Then make sure the suede is damp and apply the dye using an applicator that comes with the dye.

Make sure you spread the dye evenly and then let it dry. Bleaching black colored suede does not work. Do not even try to do it. You will ruin whatever suede item you are bleaching and will throw it away.

How To Get Bleach off Suede


Bleach can leave a yellow stain on some suede fabrics. It is not hard to remove this stain but it might take a little time. First, you must moisten a cotton ball with a little Isopropyl alcohol. Then use circular motions over the stained area.

Let the alcohol sit for a few minutes if the stain is really yellow. Then rinse the area with a damp sponge. That will remove the alcohol as well. Let dry. If the stain is gone your work is done.

If the stain is still there, put some hydrogen peroxide on a clean cloth and rub it over the stain. Rinse with a sponge moistened with water and let dry. Look at the stained area.

If it is really a stubborn stain you may have to go to chemical stain removers made to work on suede. Follow the instruction son those bottles to make sure you won’t harm your suede shoes or other suede items.

Can You Bleach Faux Suede?

From what can be seen the only bleach that you should use on faux suede is oxygen-based. These products are made to work with almost all fabrics and they do the job as a chlorine bleach would. These products are just safer to use.

If you want to be on the safe side and not use bleach there are some better products you can use. For example, you can use rubbing alcohol, vodka, mild soap diluted in water, and save the oxygen bleach for the stubborn stains those items can’t clean.

Strong household bleach can rot the faux suede fabric and ruin the item before it gets close to being clean. Faux suede is made of plastic so you cannot use suede or leather dye to change the color if you used the wrong bleach.

If you want to get those faux suede items nice and clean, take them to a professional. They have the right materials and equipment so they can do a better job than you can without the risk

Bleach Suede Jacket


One method you can so if there are only spot stains is to use cotton balls and apply a generous amount of bleach to the stained area. The risks still apply here and you need to be careful. It is best to use an oxygen-based bleach as those are safer for almost all fabrics.

Stay away from chlorine bleach as that is too strong for suede. If you over-bleach make sure you have some suede dye in the same color handy to cover up any mistakes you may have made.

One tip you can consider doing when the bleach leaves a bad spot. Get a permanent marker in the same color and color over the stain. If you do it right no one will be able to tell unless they really get up close.

Some Final Words

Suede is a delicate fabric so you should [proceed with caution if you want to use bleach on suede. This fabric is not as hardy as other ones and bleach can really mess up your garments or shoes.

Redyeing is a possibility to correct any bleach stain. But remember it is almost impossible to remove black dye from a suede item. Sometimes it is best to just purchase an identical suede item instead of going through the hassle of bleaching.

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