Can You Use Saddle Soap On Suede? (5 Cons Plus Alternatives)

can you use saddle soap on suede?

Saddle soap is a popular leather cleaner that can be used to clean a variety of leather materials, but can you use saddle soap on suede?

When it comes to cleaning suede, using a suede wire brush, creep brush, and suede eraser block will do a much better job of cleaning them than using saddle soap. This is because saddle soap can leave your suede surface blotchy and uneven.

There is certainly more to learn about suede and how to care for your suede products. Be sure to read the rest of this article to get all of the information that you need to know about suede.

Here’s Are A Few Things You Should Know About Suede

Suede is a highly porous material, which means that it can absorb a lot of water, oil, and dirt. This also means that suede is very susceptible to staining. The porosity of suede is born from it being split from the backside of the hide, which is why its texture is much nappier than the smooth grain surface of leather.

Suede is also more delicate than smooth leather and can be easily damaged if not cared for properly. Because of these qualities, cleaning, conditioning, and protecting suedes can be a bit tricky.

Products like saddle soap can actually do more harm than good to your suede surfaces. Saddle soap is designed for cleaning smooth leather, not the delicate napped surface of suede.

What Happens When You Use Saddle Soap On Suede?

Below are a few of the things that happen when you use saddle soap on suede.

1. Saddle Soap Can Ruin The Nap Of The Suede

Saddle soap can actually ruin the nap of your suede and make it look blotchy and uneven. This is because saddle soap is designed for cleaning smooth leather, not the delicate napped surface of suede.

The nap or velvety feel on suede is what gives suede its uniqueness so it’s important to be careful when cleaning it so that you do not ruin that beautiful texture.

2. Saddle Soap Can Discolor The Suede

Saddle soap can also discolor your suede. This happens because most saddle soaps are paste-like and will leave a residue on your suede. The same also goes for saddle soap that comes in a liquid form.

It can leave a big liquid stain that may be very difficult to remove. To avoid this, always test the saddle soap on an inconspicuous area of the suede first. If it seems to be working without causing any damage, then you can proceed with using it on the rest of the suede.

But if you see that the saddle soap is causing discoloration, then it’s best to avoid using it altogether. There are other ways to clean your suede without risking damage.

3. Saddle Soap Can Dry Out The Leather

Another thing you would expect saddle soap to do for your suede leather is to moisturize it, but that’s not actually the case. Saddle soap can actually dry out your suede leather even if you do not use it too frequently.

This is because suede is a highly porous material and when you use saddle soap on it, the saddle soap can actually penetrate deep into the pores and begin to dry out the leather from within.

4. Saddle Soap Can Leave Your Suede Feeling Stiff

So far you would know saddle soap is definitely not the best way to clean your suede. But wait, there’s more! Not only can saddle soap damage your suede leather, but it can also leave it feeling stiff.

This is because the chemicals in saddle soap can interact with the natural oils in the suede and cause them to break down. This will make your suede feel dry, brittle, and stiff.

All of these things can actually shorten the lifespan of your suede leather goods so it’s best to just avoid using saddle soap on them altogether.

5. Saddle Soap Can Darken The Color Of The Suede

Last but not least, saddle soap can darken the color of your suede. This is because the chemicals in saddle soap can interact with the dyes used to color the suede and cause them to change shades.

This simply means you can expect your suede leather goods to become darker after you use saddle soap on them. If you want to keep the original color of your suede leather goods, then it’s best to avoid using saddle soap altogether.

What Do You Use Instead Of Saddle Soap?

There are 3 important things saddle soap does for leather – which include; cleaning, conditioning, and protection.

And as a matter of fact, if you’re considering using saddle soap, then it is possible you were looking forward to the saddle soap offering the same benefits to your suede.

In the rest of the article, I’m going to share with you the best ways to safely clean and protect your suede – as these two are the main ways you should be maintaining your suede leather items.

Cleaning Suede

When it comes to cleaning suede there are a lot better and safer ways to do it without using saddle soap.

  • Suede Wire Brush

You usually use this to clean suede if your suede nap is very short. The wire brush will help to clean and raise the nap and give your suede a softer feel.

To use the suede wire brush to clean your suede, gently brush the entire surface of your suede item in one direction. Use quickly light strokes and be sure not to brush too hard or you could damage the nap of the suede.

  • Suede Eraser

This is probably one of the most popular ways people clean their suede and it’s definitely a lot safer and more effective than saddle soap. All you need is a good quality eraser (like this one) and gently rub the eraser over the entire surface of your suede item.

The eraser will help to remove any dirt, dust, or grime that may be on your suede and it will also help to raise the nap.

  • Crepe Brush

Another awesome and much gentle way to clean suede items is using a crepe brush. As I said, it is much more gentle, especially when compared to the suede wire brush.

It is perfect if you do not want to clean very deep or if you are just trying to remove surface dirt. To use the crepe brush, you will need to brush the item in one direction.

  • Cornstarch Or Talcum Powder

If your suede has liquid stains on them, then you can use cornstarch or talcum powder to help absorb the liquid and remove the stain.

Simply sprinkle a generous amount of cornstarch or talcum powder on the affected area and let it sit overnight. After that, gently brush off the powder with a soft-bristled brush or suede brush.

If there is any stain on your suede you cannot seem to get rid of, take your suede item to the dry cleaners or a professional suede and leather specialist.

Protecting Suede

Once your suede is clean, the next thing you should do is protect it from future dirt and stains. And the best way to do that is by using a good quality suede protector.

A good quality suede protector will help to repel water, dirt, and oil-based stains. It will also help to extend the life of your suede items.

I always like to spray my suede items with a good quality suede protector before I wear them or use them. And I also like to reapply the protector every few months – just to be on the safe side.

There you have it! Those are the best ways to clean and protect your suede leather items without using saddle soap.

Final Thoughts

Saddle soap is not good for suede and you should avoid using it altogether. There are much better and safer ways to clean and protect your suede.

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below. I would love to hear from you! Until next time, Happy cleaning! 🙂


Hi! I’m Kwabena, the owner and founder of Favored Leather. I’m a huge Leathercraft enthusiast and I’ve been that for almost 13 years now. I'm excited to share my experiences and all the new stuff I learn each day about leather craft, leather cleaning & care, and everything in-between!

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