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What is Microsuede?

By Cherie Brunetti
Updated May 21, 2024
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Microsuede, or microfiber, is a man-made polyester fabric. Polyester can be made from both natural products, such as plant cuticles, and synthetics. Microsuede is a knit blend created from fibers that are very fine, sometimes a hundred times finer than human hair. These delicate fibers are tightly woven together to create a dense fabric that has many of the same qualities as suede leather, yet is generally much easier to clean than real suede and is usually much softer, as well. It is a good alternative to leather for people who prefer to use non-animal products.

How Microsuede Is Used

Durable and stain resistant, microsuede is an excellent alternative to suede because it is less expensive, softer, and more pliable. Upholstery fabrics are often made from microsuede because it is resistant to dirt and can hold up to the wear and tear of regular use. The fabric is used to make curtains and bedding because it is wrinkle resistant. Its durability and resistance to staining also make it popular for shoes and accessories.

Microsuede works well for use in crafts and sewing and is much easier to clean than suede. This fabric is not colorfast, however, so before beginning a project, a crafter must wash the dye out. This is relatively easy to do; the fabric can simply be run under cold water until all of the dye is released.

Cleaning Microsuede

People are often concerned about how to clean microsuede because, although it is water resistant, rubbing water into the fabric will cause stains. Spills should be dabbed with a clean cloth, not rubbed. Soap should not typically be used on this fabric, as it could stain the material. Small spills will bead on the surface, so they are easy to clean, as long they are wiped up immediately. If water soaks into the fabric, it could potentially leave permanent marks.

Most polyester cleaners can be used on microsuede, and there are several cleaning products on the market that are made specifically for this material. Rubbing alcohol or clear alcohols, such as vodka, can also act as cleaning agents. Whichever cleaning fluid is used, experts recommend that only a small amount be used at a time, and the fabric be allowed to dry completely between each attempt. Doing so will make it less likely that the microsuede will be damaged.

Although a soft material, microsuede can become stiff after being cleaned. It can return to its natural softness when rubbed with a soft brush or an old toothbrush. If a stain has caused an odor in the fabric, the area should be sprinkled with baking soda, which will help to eliminate any smells that are trapped in the fabric.

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Discussion Comments
By anon931639 — On Feb 09, 2014

It will not stand up to cats and dogs with claws.

By anon209549 — On Aug 26, 2011

I've had four huge overstuffed microfiber chairs in bone color for about twelve years and they have been spot cleaned by me and professionally cleaned about every three or four years and they are still in really decent shape. I'm tired of looking at them but when I buy again, it will be microfiber.

By raresteak — On Jul 13, 2010

I had a red microfiber couch for five years. It has been the only material that my cat never used to sharpen his claws. In addition, the couch was very large and comfortable considering how little I paid for it.

The downside to the microfiber fabric of the couch was that the seams wore and turned black. This was not as noticeable as the dark spots that occurred after anything was spilled on the microfiber. Also, by the end of the first year I had the sofa, various areas on the fabric became worn and obviously thinner than the unaffected areas.

By lmorales — On Jul 07, 2010

Microfiber is incredibly easy to clean and has found its way into many everyday applications.

The most popular one is probably couch or seating, whatever you’d like to call it. A lot of furniture manufacturers use microsuede or microfiber because it’s really durable. You should probably steer away from the ones that are lighter in color, though, if you have children or animals as they can attract pet hair and won’t work well with red juice stains – nothing does, really.

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