The best suede protector depends on the type of suede and the product being protected. There are many sprays available which protect suede from water damage and stains and these are best applied when the suede product is new and unspoiled. A good suede protector should provide resistance to water, salt and mud as well as being easily applicable. Any application should not alter the original color of the suede product.
Some sprays which are applied to protect the suede may be the cause of color changes themselves, as some can darken lighter-colored suede in particular. Any application should first be tested on a hidden part of the product to check for this kind of effect. Spraying too close can lead to wet spots, so even the best suede protector should be applied from a distance. Before the application of a second coat, it is advisable to wait for the first coat to dry completely. Some sprays may seem to change the color of the suede initially, but this may only be temporary and as the spray dries, the original color is restored.
Suede is a popular leather but one of the hardest to clean, so prevention is the best policy. Suede jackets are best worn with a scarf around the neck to prevent body oil staining the inside collars. Any greasy stains can be dealt with by sprinkling absorbent powder around the collar or using a commercial cleaner specifically designed for suede. As heat destroys the soft velvety finish of suede, any temptation to use the hairdryer to dry wet suede should be avoided. Instead, stuffing the hat or gloves with newspaper helps maintain the shape while drying naturally.
Boots and shoes are the most vulnerable to damage and stains as they take the most punishment from dirty wet surfaces. Caring for suede footwear is important for this reason and the application of a suede protector is highly recommended. If shoes and boots become damp and muddy, they are best left to dry completely before rubbing softly with an eraser to clean, and a soft clean toothbrush to raise the nap.
Leather used in upholstery is usually of a higher quality than that used for shoes and clothing, which means that it requires more care. Suede protectors should be applied a few times throughout the year in order to re-impregnate and re-fat the leather. The best suede protector for furniture should also prevent sun and atmospheric pollution where these are factors.