Suede jackets are one of the most underrated pieces in a fall wardrobe. They are absolute essentials, yet most people refrain from wearing suede. There are multiple reasons for this, but the main one is pretty clear.
Cleaning a suede jacket is… complicated.
There are a lot of instances where people have absolutely ruined their suede jackets by cleaning them in the wrong way.
But what if cleaning suede jackets was as simple as putting them in the washing machine? Yes, it is possible to machine-wash suede jackets. Read on to find out everything about this process.
Can you Wash Suede Jackets in the Washing Machine?
Suede jackets can be washed in the washing machine, but doing so may lead to discoloration and stiffening of suede.
Most experts recommend that you avoid putting suede items in the washing machine because the results are going to be completely unexpected.
There’s a chance that your suede jacket gets cleaned and looks brand new after a wash cycle. There’s also a chance that your jacket gets completely trashed and the fibers on its surface face irreversible damage.
Don’t believe me?
Here are two YouTube videos where someone puts a suede jacket in the washing machine.
This dude’s suede jacket was fully restored after being machine-washed.
And this person’s suede jacket was completely destroyed after being machine-washed.
Were their methods that different from each other? Probably not.
Then why is it that some suede jackets don’t take well to being washed and some show absolutely no change? The answer lies in the number of factors that go behind making a suede jacket.
The density of the suede fibers, their length, the animal hide that has been used, the chemicals that have been used for dyeing the jacket, and many other factors are responsible for making a jacket washable or dry clean only.
And because one can never be sure of the quality of the manufacturing process (even for bigger brands), it makes sense to avoid putting suede jackets in the wash.
Instead, opt for other solutions such as dry cleaning and using products that have specifically been made for suede.
The only time you should wash your suede jacket is when you are out of options and you are willing to risk damaging the fabric in an irreversible way.
Can you machine wash faux suede jackets?
Faux suede jackets can be washed in a washing machine. They are made from polyester, which is a fabric that is machine-wash friendly.
See, faux suede only looks like real suede. In actuality, it is a lot different. While real suede is made from animal hide, faux suede is made by treating polyester. Therefore, while it may look like suede, faux suede is an entirely distinct entity of its own.
Polyester is a fabric that is very easy to take care of. It’s washable and dryable. And therefore, faux suede jackets can also be washed in the washing machine. They will not shrink, stretch, or lose their color in the wash.
The only issue with faux suede is peeling, but you can follow this guide in order to fix this problem.
Does Suede Shrink in the Wash?
Suede can shrink in the wash, especially if it is being washed in hot water or lukewarm water.
The rich texture of a suede jacket also makes it prone to water damage. Because the nap of the suede is so important to its look, once it is destroyed, the entire jacket crumbles.
Hot water can shrink the jacket by reducing the length of these fibers and making the entire jacket appear shorter and narrower.
However, there is a way to avoid this.
Of course, you can simply not wash your suede jacket, but if you have no other option, consider washing it in cold water.
Cold water is much less harmful for suede when compared to its warmer counterpart. Although the suede in the jacket can still stiffen up due to the wetness, it will not shrink. Cold water has no adverse effect on the length of suede fibers.
How to Wash a Suede Jacket?
While washing suede jackets is generally not recommended in most situations, there are still certain things that you can do to put the odds back in your favor.
Here are a few things that you should keep in mind with regard to washing suede jackets.
- Always wash your suede jacket in cold water. Using hot water can lead to shrinkage and discoloration, and can even destroy the look of your jacket.
- Keep checking the jacket at regular intervals. Stop the wash cycle every few minutes and take a look at the jacket just to make sure that everything is alright and the suede still looks fine.
- Use the “gentle” setting. This setting may be called something different on your individual washing machine, but basically we’re looking to keep the agitation as low as possible. Low agitation will prevent tears in the suede fabric.
- Avoid using harsh detergents. It would be best if you avoid detergents in general, but sometimes it is unavoidable. But what I want you to stay away from are cheap drugstore detergents that are full of toxic chemicals.
- Do not hang-dry or tumble dry. Both hanging the jacket on a clothesline and putting it in the dryer can alter the shape of your jacket. Instead, place the jacket on a flat surface and allow it to air dry naturally.
Suede is a delicate fiber that needs to be taken care of properly. Washing suede jackets can be dangerous, but it can also be quite rewarding.
What I want to convey through this guide is that there are risks attached to putting your jacket in the washing machine. There are much better ways to clean suede, and these include both professional dry cleaning and D-I-Y options.
In the end, you have to make the decision of how you want to treat your suede jackets.
My name is Alex Higson and I am the founder of Magic Of Clothes. I have worked in the fashion industry for many years, and clothes and style are a huge part of my life.