How to Dry Suede Shoes or Couch Without Ruining It (Easy Tips)

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.

Will Water Dry on Suede?


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.

Can You Blow-dry Suede?

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?


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.

How To Dry Suede Shoes

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.

  • Step 1 - Before anything else, you’ll want to get rid of as much water as you. Grab a soft cloth or some paper towels and get to work soaking up as much of that moisture as possible. Be careful not to rub too vigorously at the suede – a blotting motion is best.
  • Step 2 - Once you’ve blotted up as much of the water as you can, take a small, soft bristle brush (a toothbrush will do if you haven’t got a brush to hand) and brush the suede in a backward and forward motion for a couple of minutes. If there’s a hand dryer around, brush for a few minutes more under the heat (but be sure it’s not too high a temperature or you could risk scalding the suede).
  • Step 3 - Once the suede is dry, use a soft, horse-bristle brush and gently brush the suede in the same way you did in step 2. Next, apply a suede erasure to the entire shoe to remove any dirt and revive the damaged nap. Finish off with another gentle brush.

How To Dry a Suede Couch


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:

  • Step 1 - Blot up the excess water, being very careful not to spread the stain. Turn up the central heating, and if you have one, direct a fan at the affected area. Leave it to dry out for around 24 hours. Don’t try to clean the stain while it’s still wet – you’ll need to make sure it’s fully dry before moving on to the next step.
  • Step 2 - Take a suede eraser and start to feather the outside perimeter of the water stain. As the stain begins to lift, work your way in towards the center. Keep going until the mark is gone.
  • Step 3 - To finish, brush the sofa with a suede brush to re-texturize the damaged nap. By the time you’ve finished, the sofa should look as good as new.

How To Dry a Suede Jacket

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.

  • Step 1 - Once the suede has dried, take a suede eraser (if you don’t have one, a damp kitchen cloth will do) and apply around the edge of the water stain. Keep feathering away from the outside in until the stain has lifted.
  • Step 2 - Take a lint brush (or a metal suede brush if the stain is particularly heavy) and brush the suede to restore the nap.

Does Suede Dry Fast?


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.

How Long To Dry Suede

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.

How To Dry Suede Shoes Faster

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.

  • Step 1 - Remove the soggy insoles and put them in front of a fan or on a sunny windowsill to dry out. While it may take a while, be patient – if they’re not completely dry by the time you next use them, wet feet won’t be the worst of your worries. As anyone who’s experienced them will know, insoles, when damp, stink to high heaven. They’re also worryingly prone to mold. Don’t risk it - make sure they’re bone dry before using them again, or even consider replacing them with a new pair.
  • Step 2 - Crumple up several sheets of newspaper into balls and shove them as far into the shoes as possible. Really push them in so they get right into the toes. Keep adding more balls of paper until your shoes are well and truly packed.
  • Step 3 - Stand each shoe on top of several sheets of newspaper. Envelop the shoes in the paper, making sure to wrap them as tightly as possible. Fit a couple of rubber bands around the wrapped shoes to keep the paper in place.
  • Step 4 - If the shoes only took a light soaking, you should now be able to leave the newspaper to do its magic. If they took a pounding, you’ll need to keep replacing the paper every 2 – 3 hours. Repeat until the shoes are dry.

Alternative Methods For Drying Suede Shoes


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.

  • Step 1 - Straighten out a wire coat hanger using pliers. Cut two, 6” long pieces using a wire cutter. The edges will be sharp so take care not to prick yourself.
  • Step 2 - Using pliers, bend the center of one of the wire pieces to make a hook. Take the straight end of the wire and bend it in the opposite direction to the first hook. You should now have one big hook and one small hook in an ‘s’ shape. Repeat with the second length of wire.
  • Step 3 - Thread the small hooks of both wires through the front grate of a fan. Make sure the fan is unplugged as you work. Space the hooks around 4 inches apart.
  • Step 4 - If your shoes have laces, remove them. These will need to be dried separately to avoid getting caught in the fan’s blades. Hang your shoes from the hooks, with the insides facing in towards the fan. If the shoes fall off the hooks straight away, bend the hooks until they stay in place.
  • Step 5 - Turn the fan to its highest setting. Keep checking back every 20 minutes or so to see what progress is being made. The shoes should be nice and dry within around an hour, depending on how wet they were at the start. To further speed up the process, place the fan on a sunny windowsill.

The Rice Method

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.

  • Step 1 - Find a lidded plastic container large enough to hold your shoes. If you haven’t got one that’ll take both at the same time, use one container per shoe. Cover the bottom of the container with 1 inch of dry, uncooked rice.
  • Step 2 - Place your shoes either upside down or on their sides on top of the rice. Push them firmly down into the rice so they’re nicely embedded.
  • Step 3 - Close the container, making sure the lid is tightly sealed. Leave the rice to absorb the moisture for between 2-3 hours, depending on how wet the shoes are. If they’re completely drenched, leave them overnight.

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