Can You Use Vinegar On Suede? (12 Pros And Cons)

Can You Use Vinegar On Suede

Suede is a beautiful and luxurious material. However, it can quickly turn into an expensive mess if you don’t take proper care of it.

One of the most common questions that I get is whether or not vinegar can be used on suede materials to clean them. I’ve put together this article to answer this question so you know what products should be used for your suede items

So can you use vinegar on suede? You can use white vinegar to clean stubborn stains, restore the color of your suede items, and as a natural way to disinfect your suede. Vinegar can be used to remove scuff marks, odors, grease, and oils stains by simply dabbing it on the stain.

Vinegar can also be used to clean everyday dirt, dust, and stains from any type of suede material. It’s a simple, inexpensive way to make your suede look new again.

While vinegar is a good alternative, I will always recommend using the right suede cleaners and protectors for the best results. Suede is a delicate material and needs to be treated with special care.

If you do not have the option of using specialized suede care products, then vinegar is a good substitute. You would want to continue reading the article to know the benefits of using vinegar on your suede leather.

Benefits Of Using Vinegar On Suede

Let’s now take a look at some of the benefits of using vinegar on suede.

1. Vinegar Can Be Used To Clean Stubborn Stains From Suede

When suede gets dirty, it can be difficult to clean especially if you do not know what you’re doing.

Stubborn stains will just get stuck in the nap and trying soap and water can be very tricky and risky and can seriously ruin your suede. So what do you do?

Vinegar is a great way of cleaning these stubborn stains because its acidity helps break down different types of soils and dirt.

If you get white vinegar, stains such as grass, blood, and ink can be removed with ease. Apple cider vinegar is also great for removing suede stains as it contains acetic acid which is a milder form of vinegar.

All you need to do is blot the stain with a cloth that has been soaked in vinegar until the stain fades away. Be sure to test this on an inconspicuous area of your suede before you start dabbing at any stains.

Note: Vinegar will not work on every type of stain so it is important that you identify the source of the stain before trying to remove it with vinegar.

2. Vinegar Is A Natural Disinfectant

Vinegar is also a natural disinfectant so it can help get rid of any bacteria or germs that may be on the suede material.

This is especially important if you have been handling food or working in the garden.

You can use white vinegar to safely disinfect suede as it is a milder form of vinegar and will not damage the color or appearance of your items.

By using vinegar you will not have to worry about any harmful chemicals or toxins that may be present in other disinfectants.

Again, it is just a case of dabbing your cloth and sweeping across any dirt to get rid of them so they won’t irritate you further when wearing or using the suede item.

Just be sure not to use too much vinegar as this may result in discoloration so always test first before applying.

So if you’re looking for an easy way to disinfect your suede items, vinegar is a great choice.

3. Vinegar Can Help To Restore The Natural Color Of Suede

Another awesome benefit of using vinegar on suede is that it can help to restore the natural color of your items.

over time, suede may start to look a little dull or faded and this is where vinegar comes in handy.

Suede is a highly porous leather material so expect it to absorb any type of liquid that is applied or come into contact with it and when these liquids are given the chance, they can seep away from the natural color of your suede.

This is why you will often see people using a protective sealant on their suede items as this will help to prevent any liquids from seeping in and causing color loss.

Also, there is the issue of weather elements that also causes suede to fade even faster.

So if you’ve noticed that your suede boots or shoes have started to lose their color, vinegar is a great way of bringing it back.

Just mix one part vinegar to one part water in a spray container. Now spritz some of the vinegar solution to a cloth before gently dabbing it onto the suede with it rubbing too hard.

Be sure not to use too much vinegar otherwise you might find that the color is removed instead of restored.

4. Vinegar Can Be Used To Remove Odors From Suede

Vinegar can also be used to remove odors from suede. Because suede is a super porous material, it can easily absorb smells and this can be a real issue if you wear your suede items often.

For example, this can range from sweats, smoke, to fertilizer if you have suede shoes you use for gardening. There’s a good chance that the smell will transfer to your suede shoes or boots and linger for a really long time if not treated.

But don’t worry, vinegar contains acetic acid which is a natural deodorizer.

All you need is a 50/50 mixture of white vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Now simply spritz the solution onto your suede item and leave it to dry. Once it’s completely dry, your suede will be free from any unwanted odor or smell.

Just make sure that you test this in an inconspicuous area before applying all over as there is always the possibility of discoloration.

5. Vinegar Can Be Used To Clean Dried Or Hardened Dirt From Suede

Dirt, mud, or any other type of dried or hardened stains can be really difficult to remove from suede.

This is because when the dirt dries, it will become harder and more stubborn to get rid of.

In some cases, you may even need to use a sharp object such as a knife in order to scrape off the dirt.

A few drops of vinegar on the hardened dirt will help to loosen it up. Just make sure to use a microfiber cloth dampened with white vinegar to dab over the stains.

Now use a suede brush to apply pressure onto the dirt, allowing the natural motion of brushing to push off any excess dirt away from your suede shoes or boot without damaging the leather.

This will surely get rid of all the dried or hardened dirt on your suede items.

Remember that if you’re using a knife to scrape off the dried dirt, be sure not to use too much force as it may damage your boots and shoes instead of just getting rid of the stains.

So vinegar is definitely one solution you should consider for removing those stubborn stains from your suede.

6. Effective In Removing Dirt, Dust, & Other Debris From Suede

When it comes to everyday dust, dirt, stains, or debris on suede, vinegar is an effective and safe way to remove it.

Suede has a nap that easily traps in dirt and when you’re out and about, your feet will often come into contact with dust, dirt, or any other type of debris that may land on them.

So from time to time, you would want to clean your suede items and white vinegar comes in pretty handy.

All you need is a 50/50 mixture of white vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Now spritz the solution lightly all over your suede shoes or boots and use a suede brush to gently brush it off.

This will remove any unwanted dirt, dust, or debris from your suede and leave it looking clean without any damage done.

Just make sure to use a suede brush for this as other brushes may be too rough on your suede items and cause some unwanted damage instead of getting rid of those stubborn stains.

7. Vinager Can Also Be Used To Remove Scuff Marks From Suede

Scuffs and scruffs on suede can be quite problematic as they may make your suede shoes or boots look older than it really is.

But don’t worry, vinegar comes in handy for this issue too! To remove the scuffs from your suede items, you will need a toothbrush, white vinegar, and some water.

The mixture should be in a 50/50 ratio. Now dip the toothbrush into the mixture and start scrubbing at the scuffs on your suede shoes or boots.

Be sure to brush the nap gently and also in the same direction so that you do not distort the nap.

Once you’re done, wipe off any residue with a dry cloth and allow your suede to dry completely before using or wearing it out.

8. Vinegar Is A Cheap Product

Another benefit that we all will agree to is the fact that white vinegar is a cheap product and it’s readily available at most stores and chances are you might already have a jar of it at home.

So if you’re looking for an affordable way to clean your suede shoes or boots, white vinegar is the perfect option.

This will keep your suede from damaging or discoloring in any way and also avoid getting that vinegar smell on them too.

So if you’re looking for an effective, safe, and inexpensive way of cleaning your suede shoes or boots with minimal effort, white vinegar is the way to go!

9. Vinegar Can Be Used To Clean All Types Of Suede

Next, vinegar is a highly versatile cleaning solution that can be used to clean all types of suede.

Whether they are suede shoes, boots, purses, clothing items, or any other type of material made from suede – vinegar will work its magic on them.

Also, whether is faux suede, Ultrasuede, or real suede, vinegar can still be used to clean them effectively.

Just make sure not to oversaturate your suede with the vinegar mixture and test it on a small, hidden area before proceeding to clean the entire item.

10. Vinegar Can Be Used To Clean Oil And Grease Stains From Suede

Last but not least, vinegar is awesome for removing oil and grease stains from suede. Generally, removing oil and greases stains from suede can be very tricky but with the help of vinegar, it can be done fairly easily.

Vinegar can infiltrate the grease stain, break it down, and remove it completely from your suede shoes or boots.

Not only that but vinegar can also be used to remove acid stains like white wine or lemon stains on your suede.

All you need to do is mix some water with the vinegar in a 50/50 ratio, dip an old suede brush or microfiber cloth into this solution, and scrub away at the stained area of your suede item.

Be sure to brush gently but also on the nap to remove the stain completely.

Once you’re done, wipe off any residue with a dry cloth and allow your suede to dry completely before using or wearing it out.

Downsides To Using Vinegar On Suede

Now that we know all the major benefits of using vinegar to clean suede, it’s time to take a look at the potential downsides of doing so.

1. Oversaturation Can Cause Discolor The Suede

The biggest downside to using vinegar on suede is that it may cause the suede item to shrink and/or harden if oversaturated.

You always want to make sure not to saturate your suede as this can cause discoloration, fading, and even warping.

So be sure to dilute your vinegar with water and test the vinegar mixture on a small, hidden area of the suede before proceeding to clean the entire item.

2. Vinegar Can Cause A Vinegar Odor

Another downside of using vinegar is that it may leave behind a strong vinegar odor on your suede item.

Not everyone is a fan of the smell of vinegar so it’s best to keep this in mind before you proceed with cleaning your suede.

It may be a good idea to avoid using vinegar altogether if the smell really bothers you and opt for another method instead.

This is especially true with real suede as the vinegar odors can stick to its porous surface and be very difficult to remove completely.

The best way to avoid getting that strong vinegar smell on your suede item is by diluting it with water before proceeding to clean your items.

How To Use Vineger On Suede

Now that we know all the pros and cons of using vinegar to clean suede, let’s take a look at how to do it properly.

Things Needed:

  • Vinegar (white and/or apple cider)
  • Water
  • Microfiber Cloth


Step 1:

  • First, fill a small bowl with equal parts of white vinegar and water.
  • The ideal mixture should be around 50% vinegar to 50% water but you can make this percentage any way you like.

Step 2:

  • Dampen your microfiber cloth with the vinegar and water mixture and begin to clean the stained suede area.
  • Repeat this process until the stain is removed.

Step 3:

  • Once you’re done, take a dry cloth and wipe off any residue from the suede. Allow it to air dry completely.

Step 4:

  • With the help of your suede brush, brush the nap of your suede item in one direction to restore the nap after cleaning it.

Step 5:

  • Allow your suede to air dry.

Tips To Remember When Using Rubbing Alcohol On Suede

Before we wrap things up, here are a couple of tips to remember when using rubbing alcohol on suede.

  • Make sure the microfiber cloth you’re using to wipe the suede is damp and not wet.
  • Always test first before proceeding with cleaning your entire suede item.
  • When done cleaning, brush the suede in one direction with a suede brush to restore its nap before wearing or using it out again.
  • Do not rub the suede with the vinegar solution, instead, dab it on with a cloth or brush.
  • Avoid over saturating the suede and always test in an inconspicuous area first.
  • Be prepared for a vinegar odor when cleaning your suede item.
  • After cleaning, allow the suede to air dry completely before using/wearing.

Final Thoughts

As you can see the benefits or advantages of using vinegar on suede far outweighs the downsides.

It may take a bit of getting used to when it comes to cleaning your suede with vinegar but in the long run and when you follow the application instructions outlined above, it is definitely worth using this method for maintaining your suede items.


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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