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How to Care For Faux Suede and Microsuede

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What Is Faux Suede

Faux suede is a fabric that very closely resembles genuine suede; however, instead of the hide of an animal, faux suede is a 100% polyester man-made fabric. Where real suede is delicate, not water-resistant and is difficult to clean, synthetic suede is much more durable and easy to care for. Genuine suede, especially when used to make suede couches, is very susceptible to dirt, stains and water damage. Imitation, or synthetic, suede feels very similar to genuine suede and is available for a fraction of the cost of genuine.

One other advantage to purchasing furniture upholstered in faux suede is the lack of any animal products in the fabric making process. Real suede is made from the underside of animal hides and requires, in the case of a large piece of furniture like a sofa, more than one hide to complete the upholstery process. Imitation, synthetic, suede is completely made of polyester and requires no use of any animal products in its manufacturing process.

What Is Microsuede

Microsuede fabric is a knit blend on minute fibers woven together tightly to create a product that is similar to genuine suede. Some of the fibers used in the weaving process can be smaller than a human hair and are combined very densely to create a significantly durable fabric for upholstery. In addition to durability, microsuede fabric is also wrinkle resistant, making it a good choice for bedding, furniture upholstery and curtains. One disadvantage to microsuede is it is generally not colorfast, with the dye tending to run or bleach when it comes in contact with liquids.

How To Clean Faux Suede

Although both microsuede and faux polyester suede are water resistant, rubbing water into the fabric can cause the dye to bleed or discolor. The question then becomes how to clean faux suede. Dabbing at a small spill will usually clean the area without damaging the fabric. Rubbing a spill in order to dry it can cause significant discoloration to the area. The best recommendation for cleaning the fabric is to use a product specifically designed for cleaning polyester, with other alternatives including rubbing alcohol or clear hard liquor like vodka.

It is important to clean only a small area of the fabric at a time, allowing sufficient time for the fabric to completely dry before continuing the process. As with any cleaning chemical, a small area should be tested for colorfastness prior to cleaning an area that is easily seen. One other item to note when cleaning microsuede, or synthetic suede, is the fabric can become stiff after the cleaning process is completed. This can be cured with a soft bristle fabric brush, or a cheap old toothbrush, with excellent results. With care and maintenance, household items upholstered in either microsuede or synthetic suede should last for many years.

How to Clean a Suede Couch

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Despite its attractive texture and feel, many furniture buyers shy away from suede because they believe it is nearly impossible to clean. While it is true that the material requires special care procedures, suede can be as durable as cloth or vinyl if cared for properly.

It is important to take preventative measures when caring for suede.  This can be a key factor as to how long your couch will last you.  As a first step, you should always treat new suede couches with a protective coat. Many home care companies make specialized suede protectors, which can be applied to the material by rubbing it into the outer layer. This protective coating will help ensure that the couch is water and stain-proof, and should be applied on a regular basis to keep it fresh.  In addition to the protective solution being used, you should regularly brush your suede couch.  There are special suede brushes you can purchase to do this with or you can simply use a clean terry cloth.

If you happen to stain the material, fear not because you can use fine sand paper (or emery) to gently rub the exterior and remove the stain. If the stain is really small, you can use a pencil eraser.  Be careful not to rub the spot too hard, as a delicate application will more than suffice to clean the unit.  You should always remember to use circular motions when rubbing stains out.

If your couch gets water spots, in between treatments, then you should allow the spots to dry naturally and then use a specialized suede brush.  This should remove the spots in most cases.  For hard to remove stains, professional cleaners can treat and remove most spots, ranging from red wine to food, to get your couch looking like new again.

If these other solutions fail you, there are stain remover solutions available in stores.  If you decide to use any chemicals on your couch be sure to test it in an inconspicuous place first to see how the material reacts to it.  Hopefully using the methods mentioned above will get rid of the stains before you have to spend a lot of money purchasing any chemicals.  When all else fails have it professionally cleaned.