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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.