Suede – what is it and the history of appearance, the properties of natural and artificial, product care

The content of the article

Suede – tanned leather of horned animals, clothes, shoes, accessories from which give the owner an elegant and respectable look. It is used in orthopedics, optics, for interior decoration, for furniture upholstery. It is breathable, pleasant to the touch, pleasing to the eye material. Having a suede sheepskin coat in your wardrobe, you can not be afraid of frost, the main thing is to carefully and competently care for it.

What is suede

Natural suede is the skin of medium-sized animals developed by tanning (fatty or formaldehyde-fatty). It is soft, thin, without a front layer: the material is uniformly velvety on both sides. Due to its plasticity, strength, and water resistance, it is suitable for the manufacture of clothes, shoes, and accessories. In the 17th century, thick suede was used from the skin of bulls, buffaloes, later it was made from the skin of sheep, deer, roe deer, and moose. It is of the following types:

  • refined – thin, “breathing”, obtained from deer, goat, chamois skins;
  • unfinished – from sheep’s and calf skins that are not amenable to strong mechanical influences.

Appearance story

From the 9th century AD, artisans treated the skin of animals with chicken yolks, rapeseed oil, pork, lamb fat. So she served longer. At the beginning of the 18th century, near Biarritz, cod fat, blubber (whale, seal fat), and vegetable mixtures began to be used for tanning skins of goat-like animals and chamois. From northern Europe through Poland, the technology for producing “soft leather” reached Russia. Kozhevnikov of Novgorod was called from the word “irha” (suede) – hazel, in Arkhangelsk mousse was called “mezdr”, “polite” (to clean the skin in a special way), and the skin was “meszryanka”, “vezha”.

Natural flesh-colored suede

Dressing and properties of natural suede

The skin of animals that has passed through the tanning substances (vegetable oils, fish oil, bone, seal oil) the stage of production, acquires plasticity, strength, softness, bilateral velvety. That’s why designers love her so much. Suezing is a complex process that takes place in several stages using special percussion machines, similar in principle to the processes used for the fermentation of various substances.

Suede Process

The process of mossing is a long physical-chemical process, multi-stage and complex. Production Stages:

  1. Prepare a goblet (raw skin without wool) from the skins of chamois, antelopes, goats, sheep, cows, deer.
  2. Grease the jelly with fat (fish, bone, seal, linseed or hoofed oil).
  3. They are placed in impact bumps for 3-5 hours, where fats penetrate the skins and bind to skin protein, producing oxidation through special microorganisms.
  4. Fold the skins for warming up, again grease them, place them in the pomace. This is done several times..
  5. Properly lived skins acquire a yellow-brown color, become soft, their self-heating stops.
  6. Wash the skins in a solution of potash, degreasing them. First, the skin passes water, and then becomes waterproof.
  7. Waterproof raw materials sent for painting.

What is different from nubuck

In shoe production, nubuck is used. This soft, almost invisible pile material is obtained from cattle skins by tanning, grinding the skin with small abrasive materials. Difference of nubuck from natural suede:

  • Skins for making. For nubuck, they take the skin of large animals (cow, deer, moose), for suede – small horned animals (sheep, rams, chamois, antelopes, goats).
  • Skinning. For skin skinning, animal and vegetable fats (deer, fish, flaxseed) are used – the fat method. Nubuck is manufactured by sanding the front with sand, mineral salts or other abrasive components. This type of processing is called chrome tanning..
  • Outward difference. Suede pile is more noticeable, higher, the fabric on both sides is velvety, viscous, porous. The nubuck’s pile is smaller, lower, it is present only on the front side, the canvas is harder, in order to increase water resistance it is oiled, it turns out nubuck-oil.
  • Functionality. Suede shoes are wear-resistant, let air through, preventing moisture from getting inside, and the nubuck gets wet, greasy, the oil layer gets dirty.
  • Care. Suede products can be washed with warm soapy water, nubuck must not be washed, only special cleaning is allowed..

Nubuck Timberlands

What is faux suede

The fabric imitating the original, widely used due to its practicality, cheapness, and resemblance to a natural one, is faux suede. Its basis is synthetic fiber, matter (cotton or silk), the front side has a pile obtained by splitting microfiber into small fibers or by gluing the pile on a basis. The artificial fabric has a good drapery, it fits the figure, does not fade, washed, it can not be ironed, and spraying the polymeric material onto the base with layers, an artificial nubuck is obtained. How to keep:

  • to wipe the places of pollution better with a weak solution of ammonia or vinegar with a foam sponge, without effort;
  • wash in cold water by hand, with machine wash – only in delicate mode;
  • the product may not be ironed;
  • vacuum the furniture upholstery, clean the dirt in the direction of the pile with washing powder, salt, an eraser, a soft brush.

What are they made of

Faux suede is hard to tell from real. Such material can be duplicated cotton, fur or thin, non-duplicated, with perforation or spraying. The canvas base for the manufacture is natural (cotton, silk) or synthetic. The ratio of 25% cotton and 75% polyester fiber is optimal for an unpretentious, durable base. The top of the artificial fabric is covered with characteristic villi, this process happens:

  1. Woven. Microfiber strands split into a fine pile are glued to the base substrate. This material is resistant to stretching, not subject to creasing, suitable for the production of gloves, raincoats, jackets.
  2. Non woven. Polyester fibers are sprayed onto a primed base with adhesive. For greater practicality, they are coated with teflon impregnation. Used for furniture upholstery.

Production technology

The method of obtaining artificial material is woven and non-woven. The difference in production technologies is as follows:

  1. On a woven basis. PVA-based glue is applied to the primed fabric substrate (the primer evens the base, prevents the adhesive from seeping in), a polyester suede coating is applied on top. Such production is more expensive, but better.
  2. Non woven. It is produced on a brush machine by splitting the microfiber warp threads into villi. This is an electrostatic method. The canvas turns out to be beautiful, but quickly wears out without a base, so it is glued to the base (knitted, non-woven, woven) in a hot or cold way, coated with teflon impregnation.

Faux Suede Properties

Fibers of polyester or microfiber, applied on the basis of natural fabrics or synthetics – this is what artificial suede is. The quality is almost the same as natural, but has its own characteristics. Properties of artificial canvas:

  • Durability, high strength. Such a fabric does not stretch, does not wear out, is not subject to deformation, creasing, creasing, scratching, cracks, holes, wear-resistant, not afraid of direct sunlight.
  • The material is pleasant to the touch. It feels soft, elastic, uniform, velvety, similar in appearance to natural.
  • Uniform, uniform color, not fading over time, looks aesthetically pleasing.
  • It is easy to clean. It is treated with Teflon impregnation that repels dust, dirt, water..
  • Homogeneous density, which is not the case with genuine leather, heterogeneous in texture.
  • “The effect of writing.” Having traced the surface of the canvas with your hand, you can see that the villi leave a mark, changing their position.
  • Uniform distribution of static electricity, does not stick to the skin.
  • Allows skin to breathe, warms in winter, cools body in hot weather.
  • Unpretentious in leaving. Washing clothes is acceptable, and the upholstery for the sofa – occasionally should be vacuumed and wiped with a sponge with a special cleaning agent.
  • Cons: it does not tolerate strong friction, is damaged by the claws of animals, does not withstand high humidity (it is permissible to use a solution of ammonia, dry cleaning), light-colored material quickly gets dirty.

Faux suede

How to distinguish faux suede from natural

Visually, natural and artificial leather are very similar, it is difficult for an inexperienced person to identify a fake. You can recognize the original suede like this:

  1. Natural material, scratches, porosity, on which microcracks are noticeable, looks natural, heterogeneous. Substitute surface perfectly smooth, no scratches.
  2. The texture of the natural canvas is uneven, the thickness from the center to the edge changes, so the color of the color also turns out to be heterogeneous. The thickness of faux suede is uniform throughout the canvas, the color is perfectly uniform.
  3. To the touch, the structure of genuine leather is tender, elastic, flowing, velvety, soft, has friability, the artificial structure is rough.
  4. If you smell the material, you can catch a leathery, tart aroma of suede, artificial smells of synthetics, paint, glue or no smell.
  5. After tracing the pile of a natural canvas, you can find that the shade of the trace has become lighter – it is the villi that have changed the slope. On an artificial pile, it almost immediately returns to its place, the trace disappears.
  6. Suede from a long touch heats up, the temperature of the artificial fabric remains the same.
  7. Natural material is visible by cut: the edges of the jacket, shoes do not bend, the cut is solid. Faux suede is bent along the edge, the fold has a fabric layer for attaching polymer fibers.
  8. Genuine leather absorbs water almost immediately, leaving a dark spot, with an artificial drop will roll off or remain on the surface.
  9. The cost of natural suede is much higher.

Application and use

Things from a natural material are comfortable, soft, light, comfortable, do not let moisture in, look elegant, speak of the good taste of their master. Suede is used for tailoring outerwear, shoes, accessories. She is loved by designers, fashionistas, stylish men. Scopes of application:

  1. When sewing clothes. Used for outerwear: sheepskin coats, coats, jackets, trench coats.
  2. Shoes and accessories. The price of suede is higher compared to other materials, shoes, jewelry, bags, gloves, straps made of expensive linen are de luxe..
  3. Upholstery of furniture. For this purpose, they often use an artificial canvas, as more unpretentious, practical, which will not deform.
  4. In optics. It is used for grinding lenses, optical surfaces.
  5. It is widely used in orthopedics due to anti-allergic properties, special softness, moisture resistance.

When sewing clothes

Clothes are made from natural and artificial canvas. Features when sewing:

  1. Natural suede is used for the manufacture of outerwear (jackets, raincoats, sheepskin coats, coats).
  2. Artificial, obtained by a woven method, goes to tailoring the upper demi-season and winter clothes (raincoats, jackets), trousers, dresses, shirts, skirts, blouses. For cutting, ordinary scissors are used, needles – sharp, as for sewing jeans. Holes from punctures during cutting can be visible, therefore, cutting must be done carefully. In addition, it is not necessary to bend or process the edges with an overlock, you can make the edge zigzag with special scissors. Free styles of the product will help better air penetration to the body.

Shoes & Accessories

Suede shoes are always relevant, elegant, not out of fashion, combined with a variety of clothes. At the peak of popularity, suede stocking boots that perfectly complement any look. Winter suede boots, due to breathability, water resistance, lightness, are more practical than similar leather models. In such shoes, the foot does not sweat, warming well. For the manufacture of shoes and accessories use split: thick layered skins of large animals. This material is used in mass production, it is cheaper than other types..

Suede men's shoes


For furniture upholstery it is more practical to use artificial suede obtained by non-woven method. This material is cheaper, unpretentious than its natural counterpart. Suede upholstery ennobles furniture, pleasant to the touch, not subject to deformation and the appearance of defects, durable, does not fade with time, suitable for any interior style. It does not tolerate wet cleaning and is damaged by mechanical friction, but with the help of a vacuum cleaner and gentle cleaning with a sponge with a special tool, it will last a very long time.

In optics

For practical applications in the high-precision and optical industries, natural suede without lint is suitable. Absorbing moisture perfectly, without leaving traces or scratches on the surface of the lens, it is used for wiping, polishing. In everyday life they use a microfiber cloth that destroys microorganisms, household dirt. Able to remove stains, fingerprints from plasma TVs, LCD monitors, photo lenses.

In orthopedics

Suede shoes are orthopedic, thanks to the modern design, natural breathable materials, a variety of colors, comfortable to wear and pleasing to the eye. For the production of insoles and orthopedic shoes, technical suede is used (GOST 3717-84). It is made in the fatty, formaldehyde-fatty way of tanning goat skins, herring, deer, and sheep. Such a raw material is yellowish brown in color, with short nap..

Care Rules

Suede is a moody material. If there are a lot of suede items in the wardrobe, it is advisable to know the operating conditions. How to care for suede:

  1. After the purchase, it is recommended to treat the suede item with a protective agent (silicone or fluorocarbon aerosol impregnation).
  2. If the thing began to shine, you need to hand it in for dry cleaning. You can clean the product at home by washing in a warm solution with soap, shampoo or use a special tool for suede – wash very quickly, avoiding significant wetting, without strong friction. Do not squeeze! Wipe without twisting with a cloth.
  3. It is allowed to clean places of severe contamination with a special brush (rubber, brass, rubber) with metal bristles or a sponge.
  4. Suede products are dried at room temperature on a dryer, a hanger (if it is clothes), indoors, in no case near heating radiators or taking them out to the open sun. The dried thing is slightly washed away with hands, cleaned with a special soft brush, straightening, raising the pile.
  5. You can refresh the color using a special spray paint..

To remove stains from the surface, you can not use stain remover, substances with acetone. You can use home cleaning products:

  • add half a teaspoon of soda to milk (0.5 cups), wipe the dirt with a solution, and then with a damp cloth;
  • light suede is cleaned with a mixture of magnesia, talc, turpentine, milk (in the same ratio);
  • oily stains are removed with a mixture of starch and ammonia;
  • regular eraser removes fresh light dirt.

Baking soda

How to care for suede shoes

It is required to timely carry out cleaning of dirt, to handle suede shoes carefully. Care Rules:

  1. Spray shoes before use with an aerosol protective agent..
  2. If dirt gets on the shoes, let it dry, then brush off the dirt. Do not overdry shoes.
  3. Hold the boots over the steam and clean again, rubbing the shining places with a special brush or eraser. Brush in one direction.
  4. Light suede shoes are cleaned with a solution that combines magnesia, talc, turpentine, milk – in equal proportions.
  5. Salt stains go away when removed with 5% vinegar solution.

Outerwear Care

Outer suede clothing is warm, comfortable, breathable, does not enhance sweating. The product is cleaned in one direction with a rubber brush. Care Rules:

  1. The dirt stains on the jacket should be dried first, then brushed off with the metal side of the brush and brushed with silicone.
  2. To remove particles of food, drinks, fatty, protein contaminants, the stain is sprinkled with talcum powder (or gruel of starch with ammonia), after 3 hours, shake it off with a brush.
  3. If the stain remains, mix ammonia with water (1: 4), wipe the stain, pat it dry with a towel, dry it.
  4. For the operation to remove contaminants, you can use gasoline for lighters, starch. After brushing, stain removal areas are rubbed with bread crust.
  5. The product is kept above the steam, then the villi are straightened with a toothbrush.
  6. If washing cannot be avoided, you should clean the dust off the clothes, put the item on a hard surface, wipe it with a cotton swab dipped in soapy water (20 g of shampoo per liter of water), wipe it with a damp cloth until the foam is completely removed, dab it with a towel, hang it in a room and dry it . Such cleaning is carried out very quickly, preventing the material from getting wet.
  7. Brown surfaces are cleaned with coffee grounds, colored surfaces with a solution of water with ammonia (5: 1 ratio), white surfaces with a mixture of skim milk and soda (05 tbsp. Soda per 0.5 cup of milk).
  8. In case of severe contamination, it is better to immediately contact a dry cleaner.

Potato starch in a plate

How to clean suede gloves

They will give a respectable look to their owner, give comfort, perfectly complement the look, and gloves of natural suede will warm your hands. Such an accessory requires careful handling and special care. Cleaning Rules:

  1. Immediately after purchase, gloves should be spray-treated. This water-repellent care product – pollution prevention.
  2. When the gloves are greasy or dirty, they need to be held above the steam, so the pile will rise and smooth.
  3. Gently clean the dirt with a suitable rubber brush..
  4. By combining a solution of ammonia with water (1: 5 ratio), you can get rid of persistent pollution by cleaning gloves.
  5. Gloves are washed in extreme cases, only with a means for natural material, in cold water (not higher than 30 degrees), putting them on each hand in turn.
  6. Rinse thoroughly after washing, remove excess moisture with a nap cloth, wipe.
  7. Dry gloves at room temperature away from radiators.
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