How to Clean Suede Car Seats

by Abaigeal Quinn
Joseph Moishe/Demand Media

Suede car seats are often sought out by car enthusiasts because of their luxurious look and feel. Although attractive, suede is difficult to clean and can be discolored by water and other liquids. Many cars are now equipped with car seats that have “Ultrasuede” or “Alcantara”—which are suede-like in appearance but actually made from synthetic materials designed to be more easily cleaned than regular suede. Check with your manufacturer to discover if your car seats are genuine suede before attempting to clean.

Step 1

Brush you car seat thoroughly with a suede brush. These can be purchased at most quality shoe stores for $5 to $7.

Step 2

Brush the suede from top to bottom, left to right, bottom to top, and right to left to remove embedded dirt. Continue brushing over the entire car seat surface in a circular motion to fluff up the nap.

Step 3

Purchase a suede eraser such as a Kiwi Suede Eraser, available at most shoe stores for under $6.

Step 4

Remove marks or stains from your seat using gentle swirling motions with the top of the eraser over the mark. The eraser crumbles as it lifts stains, which provides a clean eraser surface as you work across the seat.

Step 5

Brush the seat again with the suede brush, in the method detailed in Step 2. Remove all particles from the eraser when brushing and repeat as needed.

Step 6

Clean liquid spills on your car seat by blotting them up immediately with a soft cloth. Do not press deeply into the suede or rub as you may further push the stain into the seat.

Allow the area to dry thoroughly and examine for discoloration. Remove any remaining stain with the eraser if one is left behind; brush the car seat thoroughly afterward.


  • It is recommended to use a spray suede protectant on your car seats to help guard them from stains and make unexpected soiling easier to clean. These sprays create a barrier over the suede and may be purchased in sporting good stores and fine shoe stores.
  • Some recommend cleaning tough stains with a vinegar-dampened cotton ball dabbed over the stain. Please note this often leaves behind an odor afterward and may stiffen the nap.


  • Using water on suede to clean it will more than likely lighten the car seat and stiffen the nap.

Items you will need

  • Suede brush
  • Suede eraser
  • Soft cloth
  • Suede protectant spray

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