How to Lighten Suede?

Welcome to the wonderful world of suede! Suede is a popular material due to its luxurious look, soft feel and durability. While it’s usually dark in color, you can lighten your suede items to get a more classic look or even change the color entirely. Quick tip: If haven’t done any lightening yet, start with a small inconspicuous area first to determine the best approach for the color of your suede.

What Is Suede Leather?

Suede is a type of leather that has had the top layer of its hide sanded off to create a soft, velvety feel. It’s popular for it’s luxurious look and is used in everything from clothing to furniture and more. Suede is often dyed dark colors such as black, brown or navy but you can lighten it to get a more classic look or even change the color entirely.[3]

Can Suede Be Bleached?

Suede is a delicate material and should not be exposed to harsh chemicals, such as chlorine bleach. In fact, bleaching suede can irreparably damage it, leaving you with an unsightly mess. There are some methods available to safely lighten suede, but these involve using natural ingredients and require patience.[3]

Ways To Lighten The Color Of Suede

Ways To Lighten The Color Of Suede

Rosin Bag Technique

One way to lighten the color of suede is to use a rosin bag. The method is simple and effective–all you need to do is fill an old sock or small pillowcase with powdered rosin, place it onto the suede material, and press down firmly for about 10 minutes.

Once you remove the bag, brush away any excess powder from the suede. This technique can be used over and over again until you achieve the desired color.[1]

Sandpaper Method

Another technique to lighten suede is the sandpaper method. This requires you to use an emery board or fine-grit sandpaper and gently rub it against the material in small circles. By doing this, you are essentially abrading off some of the top layer of the suede fabric and making it lighter. However, it is important to note that this technique can be very time consuming and may require several attempts before you reach the desired color.[1]

Towel Method

A third way to lighten up suede is the towel method. To use this technique, simply place a damp white towel on top of the material and iron it lightly with a low-heat setting. This will help to remove some of the color from the suede, making it lighter. Be sure to check in between each attempt as you do not want to overheat the material and cause it to shrink or become deformed.[1]

Bath Powder Method

Finally, many people have used bath powder to lighten suede. To do this, simply sprinkle a small amount of the powder onto the surface of the material and rub it in gently with a soft cloth. This should help to remove some of the color from the material and lighten its shade. As with any other method, it is important to test this in a discreet area first before applying it to the entire surface.

No matter which technique you choose, there are several ways to lighten the color of suede. Be sure to use caution and patience when attempting any of these processes so as not to damage or ruin your material.

With the right approach, you can achieve beautiful results and make your favorite suede garments look like new again.[1]


Never Bleach Dark Suede

When attempting to lighten suede, it is important to note that bleach should never be used on dark suede. Bleach can damage the fibers of the material and cause discoloration or fading.[3]

Work In Gloves

When lightening suede, it is important to wear protective gloves in order to protect your hands. When working with any chemical, it is imperative that you don protective gear as chemicals can cause skin irritation or respiratory problems.[3]

Work In A Well-Ventilated Area

When lightening suede, it is important to work in a well-ventilated area. This will help to reduce the amount of fumes produced by the chemicals and protect you from inhaling any harmful particles.[3]

Always Dilute Bleach

Always Dilute Bleach

When lightening suede, it is important to always dilute the bleach with water. This will help to reduce the damage to the material and ensure that you do not end up with an overly-lightened suede item.[3]

Place Newspapers Underneath Your Cleaning Area

In order to prevent staining of other materials, it is important to place newspaper underneath your cleaning area. The newspaper will absorb any spills or splashes that may occur and help to keep your work area clean.[3]

Does Suede Fade?

Yes, unfortunately suede does fade over time. Sun exposure and cleaning with the wrong products can further accelerate the process. To minimize fading, store your suede items out of direct sunlight when not in use and avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasives to clean them.[2]

Suede Fade In The Sun

Suede is a type of leather made from the underside of an animal hide and has a distinctive look and feel. Unfortunately, over time it can fade in the sun, losing its vibrant color and becoming more worn-out looking. If you want to keep your suede looking like new, there are several techniques you can use to lighten the color and restore it back to its original hue.[2]

Why Does Suede Fade?

A common reason why suede can fade is due to the ultraviolet rays of the sun. Sunlight contains UV radiation which causes a bleaching effect on the color of the suede, resulting in a faded appearance. Other elements that can cause fading are heat, water, and air pollution such as smoke and smog.

While it can be difficult to avoid sun exposure, there are a few things you can do to protect your suede from fading:

  • Store your suede items away from direct sunlight when not in use.
  • Treat your suede with a protective spray or wax before wearing. This will help to create a barrier between the material and the elements.
  • Apply a suede protector before wearing your item in wet weather or where there is potential for dirt and water to come into contact with the fabric.[2]

Can You Fade Suede Shoes?

Can You Fade Suede Shoes

Yes, you can fade suede shoes with a few simple steps. It is important to note that this process will lighten the color of your shoes significantly, and it is best to test any product or technique out on an inconspicuous area of the shoe first to ensure safe results.

The most common way to lighten suede shoes is to use a commercial suede dye kit. The kits typically contain a lightener, a soft brush, and instructions. To use the kit, you will need to apply the lightener onto the shoe with the brush, evenly distributing it across the entire surface of the shoe. Next, leave your shoes in direct sunlight for several hours to allow the lightener to take effect. Once they are done, use a suede cleaner and a dry cloth to restore the soft nap of the shoe.[2]

How Do You Fade Suede?

One of the most common questions with regards to caring for your suede is “How do you fade suede?” Fading can be a great way to give new life to an old piece of suede. Here are some tips on how to fade your suede items:

  • Use a damp cloth and a suede eraser to gently rub away any dirt or stains.
  • Use a suede brush to further clean the item and raise its nap (the velvet-like texture of the surface).
  • Soak the item in a bucket of water mixed with either white vinegar or a mild detergent for up to an hour.
  • After soaking the item, hang it outside in the sun for up to 1 day.
  • Use a suede cleaning product designed specifically for lightening suede. These products usually come in foam or spray form.
  • If your item still needs further lightening, you can use a specialized brush to delicately rub away any excess dye on the item, or you can use a suede dye eraser.[2]

Do Faux Suede Shoes Fade?

Yes, faux suede shoes will fade over time just like other types of synthetic materials. The color may become lighter or more patchy as a result of being exposed to the elements such as sunlight and water. To prevent fading, avoid exposing your shoes to direct sunlight and never get them wet. If your shoes do become wet, make sure to dry them gently and in a well-ventilated area. Additionally, you can use a suede protector spray or waterproofing sprays to help prevent color fading. Finally, it’s best to store faux suede shoes in a cool, dry place when not being worn. Taking these steps will help ensure your shoes last longer and maintain their original color.[2]


Can You Dye Dark Suede Lighter?

Yes, you can! There are several methods to lighten suede. These include using a combination of chemicals and special sprays specifically designed for lighter suede, as well as natural solutions like lemon juice and salt mixtures. However, it is important to note that the success of any lightening attempt depends on the material used for your specific item and the current shade of your suede.

Can You Lighten Suede With Bleach?

No, you should not use bleach to lighten suede. Bleaching is extremely damaging and harsh on the material, leading to irreversible damage including discoloration and weakened fibers. Additionally, it is incredibly difficult to control how much color is removed from the suede when using bleach, resulting in a piece that may be too light or unevenly lightened.

Can You Change The Color Of the Suede?

Yes, you can change the color of suede. There are a variety of ways to do this including dying, painting, and using specialized sprays. When choosing which method is best for your project, it is important to note that synthetic suede and natural suede require different dyes or paint depending on their absorbency. Additionally, some methods are better suited for permanently changing the color whereas others might be ideal for more temporary color changes.

Can You Dye Suede White?

Yes, it is possible to dye suede white depending on the material used. Most synthetic suedes can be dyed with ease using special leather dyes and paints meant specifically for white tones. Natural, untreated suede may not be able to reach a stark white color but you can lighten its shade considerably using natural or chemical solutions designed for lightening suede.

Can You Dye Suede Shoes Lighter?

Yes, you can! However it is important to note that the success of any attempt to lighten or dye suede shoes depends on the type of material used for the shoes. Synthetic suede can be dyed whereas natural suede varieties may require more specialized techniques such as chemical lightening solutions and sprays.

Additionally, some techniques like painting may not be suitable for shoes due to the risk of damage while wearing them.

How Do You Lighten Black Suede Shoes?

The best way to lighten black suede shoes is by using specialized sprays or lightening solutions designed specifically for suede. When choosing between different lightening products, consider the material used in the shoes’ construction and the desired end result. Natural solutions like lemon juice and salt mixtures may also be effective albeit they take longer to work and are not as strong.

What Happens If You Dye Suede?

Dying suede can be a great way to customize and add color to an otherwise plain item. Depending on the dye used, suede may lose some of its softness when dyed but it usually remains just as durable and long-lasting. Additionally, choose a dye that is specifically designed for leather or suede to ensure a successful dye job.

Can You Dye Shoes A Lighter Color?

Yes, you can! The best way to dye shoes lighter or a different color is by using specialized dyes and paints meant specifically for leather or suede. When choosing between different products, consider the material used in constructing your shoes as some of them may require specific formulas. Additionally, take into account whether you are looking for a more temporary or permanent result.

Useful Video: How to lighten felt (fabric) on a sneaker


Lightening suede is a tricky but rewarding process that can restore life to older pieces or give a unique look to an otherwise plain item. It takes patience, care, and practice to get the desired look, but with the right tools and techniques you can be successful. Remember when lightening suede:

  • Always test your cleaning and lightening methods on a small, inconspicuous area first.
  • Wear gloves for protection when dealing with chemicals.
  • Focus on spot cleaning and treating stains as soon as possible to prevent them from setting in.
  • Use a suede brush or gentle cloth to keep your material clean and free of debris.
  • Protect your suede from water and moisture to prevent staining.
  • Don’t be afraid to experiment with different lightening methods to find the look you want.

With the right approach, lightening suede can be a great way to give new life to a beloved item or create a unique fashion statement. You may not get it perfect the first time, but with practice, you can get great results. Good luck!