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Most clothes don't smell like anything -- at least, they shouldn't.  But suede and other leather derivatives are different.  There's a special aura to wearing something that has a distinctive scent that says, "Suede!"

Try as they might, manufacturers have yet to come up with a manufactured suede product that captures the smell, feel and durability of real suede.  How could they?  It took years to grow that skin, and special artistry and technique to stretch and dye it, then turn it into the supple and irresistibly touchable "fabric" we know as suede.

With gift-giving season right around the corner, you may be considering buying something truly memorable for someone this year, and we want to give you all you need to know about suede.

Enjoy the newsletter, and let us know when we can be of service.

Chris and Amy Baggott,
Sanders Cleaners


There's Nothing Like the Real Thing

There's suede, and there are imitation products, but nothing smells or feels or wears like the real thing.  People have loved leather and suede since cavemen first wore clothes, and no wonder!  Suede is a breathable "fabric" that adjusts to the wearer and keeps out the weather in ways regular fabrics can't.

Read on to learn more about Suede, how to buy it, and its proper care!

Per-Suede Me Coupon!

It's important to protect your suede -- new or lived in -- with proper conditioning.  We'll add water- and stain-repellent to your suede garment for FREE when you have it cleaned.  (Include a copy of this coupon or the first page of this newsletter with your order.  Offer expires 11/9/02.  Cannot be combined with other offers.)

It's not just another garment -- it's SUEDE!

Buying a regular garment involves selecting the style, color and size that is appropriate.  Buying a suede garment or item involves a little more, but the effort is worth it!

  • Always buy suede from a reputable dealer.  What you get off the back of a truck parked along the roadway is not necessarily the "good deal" that it seems.  And who do you go back to if something goes wrong?  Buying expensive garments from good dealers is a wise investment.
  • Look for consistency in all parts of the garment.  Suede is made from animals skins that have been stretched and dyed.  Make sure all parts of the garment look uniform -- indicating they probably came from the same skin.  Skins from different animals will react differently to environmental conditions over time, sometimes with one area shrinking while another does not.  Relative consistency is a good sign of a quality garment or item.
  • Consider future shrinkage.  Remember, suede is a stretched skin.  As Einstein would have said if he'd thought of it, "What is stretched, must shrink later."  So buy a little bigger than you think you need in order to accommodate later natural shrinkage.
  • Save those instructions!  Care instructions are important later, so slip them in a pocket you don't expect to use much to keep them handy.

The Gift of Suede

When you give suede to that special someone, give them all they need to keep it looking its best.

  • A suede brush is a great accessory.  Suede nap can get matted and dirty, and needs to be brushed regularly.  Slip in the appropriate tool to make the recipient's task easier.
  • Ask the retailer for care products.  A good retailer will recommend the right water-repellent and other products without you even asking, but if he or she doesn't, request a recommendation.  Put together a little kit for the gift recipient.  If the retailer does not have the right products, you can usually find them where quality shoes are sold or repaired.
  • Think about the future.  Why not include a gift certificate for professional water-repellent application or cleaning of the garment the first time it requires it?  We'd be happy to oblige, or if the recipient lives in another city, we can get you a referral for a quality local cleaner.

Yipes!  I got caught in the rain!  Now what?

Again, unlike most fabrics, suede needs special care when it gets wet.  Even just a sprinkling of rain can leave spots by flattening down the nap where the droplets land.

  • Hang the garment on a sturdy hanger in a dry place where it gets plenty of air circulation.  Do not hang it in a damp basement, or you'll quickly have mold and damage!
  • When the garment is thoroughly dry, use your suede brush to brush up the nap.  Use gentle, circular motions to do this.
  • If the rain you got caught in thoroughly saturated your suede garment and got mud into the nap, bring it to us and we'll treat it with tender loving care.

Home Remedies for Simple Suede Problems

Not everything that happens to your suede garments necessitates a trip to the drycleaner, of course.  You can take care of some things yourself.

  • Never use spot removers or fluids on your suede garments!  Because the suede was dyed, this will displace some of the dye, and actually leave a ring around the area you tried to clean -- kind of like a neon sign highlighting the problem even more.
  • For flattened nap, use the old kitchen trick.  Heat water on the stove to boiling, and put on hot-mitts to protect yourself.  Hold the garment over the rising steam so that it penetrates the nap of the garment (which will loosen it from being flattened down).  Let it dry, and then carefully brush up the nap with your suede brush.
  • For a small grease mark, put talcum powder over the mark and let it rest overnight.  The powder will absorb the grease.  Carefully brush it off in the morning.  For larger areas, best not to tackle it yourself since you'll probably only make it worse.  Let the experts handle it.

Lifetime Care and Feeding of Suede.

Feeding?  Well, yes.  Suede is a fabric made from animal hides, and that means special care must be taken to keep them looking great.

  • Get it treated for water-repellency.  When a suede garment is new, that's the prime moment to prolong its life.  If you've had the garment awhile, have it professionally cleaned, and then treated.  Continue to condition the suede regularly, whether you wear it or not, to keep it in good shape.
  • The right tool for the right job.  Your dad always told you that!  Use a suede brush to fluff the nap.  Don't use off-the-shelf spot removers!  Don't use mink oil or other animal fats that can turn rancid and then darken the suede. Consult a professional when you need one.
  • To avoid grease stains inside the back of the collar, wear a scarf or high-necked shirt when wearing a suede jacket.
  • Hang or store suede items in dry (not overly dry) and well-ventilated areas.  NEVER put suede items in plastic.  Suede needs to breathe to stay in good shape.  Drape it with a linen garment bag or other fabric cover.  Use a sufficiently heavy-duty hanger suede garments to avoid stretching.

Good suede garments and items are an investment, as much as they are a fashion statement.  Take care of them, and they'll take care of you for years to come.

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