Everyone loves denim except when it rubs off onto your favourite suede bag or shoes. Unfortunately, the indigo dye used for denim (and other fabrics) is not always colour-fast and can ruin shoes, bags, clothing, furniture and car seats.
Denim is dyed using indigo, a natural inky blue dye, using a deliberately low-grade method that only penetrates the outer layers of the fabric’s fibres. This allows for natural fading over time as the white inner layers are exposed, giving denim the characteristic broken-in look that we all love. Manufacturers also deliberately pre-age denim via a host of abrasion techniques. Colour transfer from rubbing (or “crocking” as it’s technically known) is inevitable but the real trouble starts when dark blue, unfaded denim is created. Many manufacturers continue to use the same, inferior dyeing process rather than adjusting their techniques for dark denim. Dyeing dark denim properly is more time consuming and complex and, therefore, is often done badly.
Your beautiful suede bag (or shoes) has blue dye all over it. Now what? Take heart, all is not lost. There’s a simple (and inexpensive) household item that can revive your beloved accessory. What is it? An eraser. Yes, really!
There are specially made suede erasers available on the market but a regular eraser works equally well. Just make sure it’s plain white (uncoloured).
Pictured below (top) is a customer’s suede bag after her brand new indigo scarf transferred colour like crazy all over it (that same scarf also ruined the light-coloured clothing she was wearing that day). Frankly, it looked like a hopeless case.
Pictured below (bottom) is the same bag after using a regular, white eraser.
We were blown away by the result.
Before using the eraser, wipe the surface with a dry, clean cloth to remove any loose dirt or dust. Do not use water.
If the result is not as good as you’d hoped, take your bag to a specialist dry cleaner.
For more information about dye transfer and what to do about it, check out this blog https://dengarden.com/cleaning/How-to-Prevent-Fabric-Color-Transfer-Bleeding-and-Fading. Although not specifically about suede or removing dye from a bag, it has tons of great information about the problem and what to do before it ruins yours bags, clothes or shoes.
Insiders swear by this life-saving bag rescue trick
One of the cool things about designing and manufacturing our own bags has been the insider tips and tricks we’ve picked up along the way to revive and restore our much loved pieces.