Suede may be beautiful, it may be soft, and it may be luxurious, but what it isn’t is water-resistant. Water and suede simply don’t mix. If water or any other type of liquid manages to seep into suede, it’s going to leave it stiff, dull, discolored, or pilled – sometimes irreparably.
But all’s not lost. If you accidentally soak your suede sofa or encounter a sudden downpour while wearing your favorite suede jacket, swift action and a bit of know-how will save the day. But be warned – drying suede is a science. Never be tempted to simply chuck it in the tumble dryer (which could do a lot more harm than good), and always do your homework before trying any new drying technique.
That said, drying suede isn’t rocket science – get the basics down and you won’t have to worry about those stray splashes again.
Of course. Will it leave a mark? Quite possibly.
If you own any kind of suede item, be it a jacket, a bag, a sofa, or a skirt, it’s likely that at some point or another, it’s going to come into contact with water. And make no mistake – water and suede aren’t natural bedfellows. But with the right drying technique, the damage doesn’t need to be permanent.
To minimize the risk of lasting harm, try to soak up the water as quickly as possible. Use a microfiber towel (paper towels or even toilet paper will do at a pinch) and blot the affected area. Keep blotting until you’ve soaked up as much water as possible. The next steps (as we’ll soon see) will depend on the type of item we’re dealing with.
Suede might not like water, but it’s not exactly fond of intense, direct sources of heat either. If you were thinking you could accelerate the drying process by blasting the affected area with the hottest setting of your dryer, think again… unless you want a stiff, discolored, or even burnt result, that is.
However… providing you do it wisely and conservatively, there’s no harm in using your blow-dryer to help with the drying process. The key is to keep the dryer moving (don’t concentrate the heat source on any area for more than a second) and to use no more than a low to moderate heat. Be sure to maintain a safe distance between the dryer and the item – putting the nozzle in direct contact with the suede is unlikely to result in anything but tears.
Can you dry suede in the dryer? Of course you can, providing you never want to wear it again. Put a damp suede garment in the dryer and yes, it’ll come out dry. There’s also a very good chance it’ll come out stiff, discolored, and misshapen. When it comes to drying suede, air-drying is best.
There’s nothing quite so unpredictable as the weather. You wake up, the sun’s shining, the forecast is positive – the ideal time to break in your new suede shoes, right? And then suddenly, just as you’re halfway to work, lady luck decides to throw a curveball your way. The heavens open, leaving you and your beautiful shoes drenched. But don’t panic - follow these steps and both you and your shoes will live to see another day.
If you’ve spent a fortune on a suede couch, the last thing you want is for a few watermarks to ruin its splendor. But accidents can and do happen. Providing you know what to do when the inevitable happens, it doesn’t need to spell the end of the world… or your sofa.
If you spill water on your sofa, here’s what you should (and shouldn’t) do:
If your suede jacket has had a close encounter with a shower of water, don’t panic. Start by letting it dry at room temperature, before moving on to the following steps.
Even if your suede garment gets drenched, it will eventually dry. Just how long that takes will depend on just how wet it managed to get.
No matter how long it takes, be patient – rubbing furiously at the watermark or chucking it in the tumble drier to speed things up will only make matters worse.
A little spot of water should dry out by itself in just a few hours. A heavy soaking, on the other hand, might take upwards of 24 hours before it dries out completely.
Obviously, giving mother nature a helping hand will cut down on the drying time to some extent – although make sure that whatever you do to ‘help’ doesn’t end up doing more damage to the suede than the water.
Whacking the central heating up a few degrees or directing a fan at the item will speed the drying time up without causing any further distress to the suede.
If your suede shoes have taken a thorough soaking, you’ll need to leave them to dry out completely before you can start restoring the damaged nap. If you’re not content to simply let time run its course, these simple steps should help move things along nicely. Although be warned – you’re going to need a LOT of newspaper.
If you can’t get your hands on enough newspaper to see the previous method through, or if you’re concerned about the newspaper ink transferring to the shoes, try one of these handy alternatives instead.
The Fan Method
If you’ve got a fan, a wire coat hanger, and a pair of pliers, this easy method should have your shoes dry within the hour.
Using rice to dry shoes may sound a little left field, but weirdly, it works a treat. The type of rice you use doesn’t matter (you might want to save your good stuff for cooking) – just make sure it’s raw.