Suede can be extremely challenging to break in, particularly if it gets wet. As a result, I will detail the precise procedure for softening suede leather in this guide.
The fuzzy soft interior of a hide is called suede. This hide may originate from a pig, cow, deer, or other animal. The innermost layer of the hide contains suede, which is separated from the leather those hides produce.
Before you can soften suede shoes, clean them with a soft-bristled brush to get rid of any dirt or debris. After that, gently wipe the entire shoe down with a clean cloth that has been dampened with water. Before wearing, let the shoes completely air dry.
Read to learn how to make suede soft again.
How to Make Suede Soft Again?
A suede jacket can be softer in a lot of different ways. Give each one a go until you have a smooth, buttery-soft suede jacket because depending on the style of your jacket, any of the below methods may be effective.
Apply Suede Conditioner to the Jacket
Using a suede conditioner is your best option if you’re looking for an appropriate solution that you can use while relaxing at home.
Suede conditioners are made specifically to enrich and soften suede fibers, and they can quickly break in a stiff jacket. They are especially effective at drying wet jackets.
Simply follow the directions on your suede conditioner, and the product will take care of the rest.
Tumble Dry Without Heat
Due to the delicate nature of suede, it should not be tumble dried carelessly. However, there is a qualification to this assertion. As long as you avoid using heat, you can certainly tumble dry a suede jacket. And that’s precisely what we want to happen when we soften a suede jacket.
Most dryers have a setting that doesn’t use any heat at all. Select this setting (often called “no heat only tumble”) and throw in your jacket. The suede jacket would be battered by the tumbling, which would hasten the process of softening significantly.
You can even go back and forth between these steps if you like. You would eventually come face to face with a jacket that had gotten incredibly soft.
Blow Dry the Surface of the Jacket
To soften your suede jacket using this method, take a regular blow dryer and remove its diffuser (the flat part of the nozzle that is usually detachable). Choose the dryer’s highest heat setting and begin heating the suede jacket’s surface from top to bottom.
This method works because heat is an efficient tool to break down the strength of suede molecules. As the direct application of heat increases, the distance between molecules also increases which makes the jacket softer and more “broken-in”. Cover every inch of the jacket as you do this for roughly 10 minutes.
Dry Clean the Suede Jacket
If you don’t want to do any of the work on your own, you can simply get your suede jacket dry-cleaned in order to reduce its stiffness. You only need to specify to your dry cleaner that you want the jacket to be softer; she will take care of the rest.
This request will be easily complied with by any respectable dry cleaner, enabling you to obtain an expert assessment of the stiffness of your jacket.
Going with this approach has only one real drawback: the price. Dry cleaning is frequently expensive, especially if you ask for special services like fabric softening. Going to a professional is not harmful, though, if you have a limited budget and don’t like doing things yourself.
Wear the Jacket More Often
The oldest trick in the book to break in any jacket – start wearing it more. Your suede jacket will gradually conform to your body shape the more you wear it. In the end, you will receive a jacket that has been customized for you rather than one that has been worn.
If you wear a stiff jacket for a while, it might feel uncomfortable at first, but you’ll get used to it and it won’t bother you as much. And it doesn’t take as long as you might think to complete this process.
A suede jacket can easily become supple and break in after a month of regular use. If you have a wet suede jacket, this method won’t help you at all. You would have to use another technique for that.
How Do You Soften Suede Shoes at Home?
There’s no need to visit the cobbler if your suede shoes could use some TLC and have seen better days. You can quickly soften your shoes at home with a few basic household items.
- White vinegar and water should be combined in a bowl or basin in equal parts.
- Put your shoes in the mixture and let them soak for 30 minutes.
- Take the shoes out of the liquid, then use a soft brush to gently remove any dirt or debris.
- Before wearing them again, let your shoes completely air dry by hanging them on a clothesline or drying rack.
How to Soften Suede After Washing?
A type of leather called suede is created from the underside of an animal’s skin. It has a nap and is incredibly soft, giving it a velvety appearance. Furniture, clothing, and other items that call for softer leather frequently use suede.
It may be challenging to dry suede without causing fiber damage if it becomes wet. Stuffing suede with paper towels or newspaper and allowing it to air dry in a cool, dark area is the best way to dry it. After it has dried, use a soft-bristled brush to reposition the nap.
You can clean a suede item with a mild soap and water solution if it becomes soiled. To ensure that the soap won’t harm the suede, test it on a discrete area first. Rinse thoroughly after cleaning, then let air dry as previously mentioned.
Using a suede cleaner made especially for this purpose may also be a good idea.
Why Are Suede Stiff?
There are primarily two reasons why a suede jacket becomes stiff – newness and getting wet.
The first explanation makes sense because suede requires a little more breaking-in than fabrics like cotton because it is made from animal hide. The purpose of an animal’s hide is to shield the animal from the elements, so it is very durable.
This toughness also translates into suede, which leads to a stiff suede jacket.
If suede is exposed to water, it may also become stiff. Suede does not mix well with water. Water exposure can ruin the suede’s nape and eliminate all surface texture, giving the jacket a stiff appearance and feel. See Easy Ways to Waterproof Suede.
However, both types of stiffness can be alleviated, and using any of the five techniques listed earlier in this guide will help to soften your jacket considerably.
How to Restore Suede Texture?
If the shoes have laces, you can first start by taking them off before inserting shoe trees inside of them. You then push the fabric in both directions using a suede brush, making sure it has soft bristles.
To keep the fibers pointing in the same direction during the final pass, brush only in the nap’s direction. The second method is to remove stains as quickly as you can. You cannot put off absorbing the extra moisture when the stains are wet.
The stain must then be treated by applying vinegar with a clean cloth. After letting it dry, use a regular eraser to remove the stain. Alternatively, if you have one, use a suede eraser. If that doesn’t work, gently sand the stain away using some very fine-grit sandpaper.
There are other techniques, but these two should restore the suede’s great appearance.
Final Words: Make Suede Soft
Do not give up if your suede shoes start to show signs of wear! They can be softened and restored to their original appearance in a number of simple ways.
That soft feel can be preserved with the proper care. All you need to do to get it back when you lose it is use a brush and some conditioner. Since the weather won’t allow it, suede is something you don’t want to wear all the time, but when you do, you should feel special.
How Do You Revive Hard Suede?
For 15 to 30 seconds, place your shoes over the steam emanating from a tea kettle, a clothes steamer, or even a pot of boiling water. Then, using soft, quick strokes in a single direction, brush the shoe with a suede brush as you normally would when cleaning it. Like your skin in a hot shower, the surface of the leather dilates from the steam.
Does Vinegar Revive Suede?
White vinegar can be gently rubbed into tough stains on suede shoes. Be careful not to soak the surface, just dampen it. The vinegar might temporarily alter the color of the suede while it’s damp, but as the moisture evaporates, the material should return to its original color.
How Can You Tell If Suede is Ruined?
The nap is made of small leather “hairs” which become stiff and brittle when they get wet, or when they dry after being wet. Brittle hairs are more likely to break off, and once that happens the suede has been permanently damaged.