How to Clean Mildew from Suede

A pair of wine-colored, suede high heels.
  • 1 hours
  • Beginner
  • 10-20
What You'll Need
Scrub brush
Petroleum jelly
Rubbing alcohol
Clean cloths
Hair dryer
Suede brush

It is possible to clean mildew from suede, but it's best to begin the cleaning process as soon as you find any evidence on the fabric. The sooner you get to the mildew, the less chance there is for it to grow into a larger spot that will do damage. Suede is a fragile fabric, and the porous nature requires a special cleaning solution and a gentle cleaning process in order to properly remove the mildew.

Step 1 – Brush Away Mildew Spores

Take the suede to a protected outdoor area on a day with good weather. Use your scrub brush to gently brush away the mildew spores.

Take it back indoors afterward, and use your vacuum cleaner to remove as many of the remaining spores as possible. Carefully suction the area, and then remove the bag from the vacuum. Place the used vacuum bag in a garbage bag before closing and securing the opening. Dispose of it immediately in a proper disposal container.

Step 2 – Apply Petroleum Jelly

Apply a small amount of petroleum jelly to one of your cleaning cloths. Then, use the cloth to rub the petroleum jelly into the mildew.

Step 3 – Sponge the Mildew Area

In a bowl, combine equal parts of rubbing alcohol and warm water, and immerse your sponge into the solution. Squeeze out any excess liquid, use the sponge to dab the suede, and continue applying the solution until all the mildew has been removed.

Step 4 – Blot the Suede

Use soft, clean cloths to blot any excess water from the suede. Then, lay a cloth onto a flat surface, and place the suede on top of the cloth. Lay another soft cloth over the suede. Apply pressure to the cloth to draw the moisture out and into the cloth. Continue the process until the cloth is unable to draw out any more moisture.

Step 5 – Dry

Use a hair dryer to dry any remaining dampness. Hold the dryer at least one foot away from the suede before you turn it on to prevent any burns or shrinkage. Set the hair dryer to the lowest possible heat level as well. Then, turn on the hair dryer and allow the air to dry the fabric.

Step 6 – Use a Suede Brush

When the suede is completely dry, brush it to restore the nap to the fabric. Use your suede brush carefully in long, even strokes. Work the brush in the same direction over the fabric to achieve the best possible results.