Nubuck leather care guide

what is nubuck leather

Every leather product needs care and maintenance to make them valuable for a long time, some types of leather require more care than others such as Nubuck leather. Nubuck leather is very vulnerable to staining and soiling, so it must be protected and cleaned with products and tools that are specially designed for the care of Nubuck leather. Nubuck leather is real leather made from the hide of lamb, sheep, cow or goat, etc.

This blog will teach you how to care for nubuck leather. Before getting involved in the method of care, let me briefly discuss the know-how of nubuck leather.

What is Nubuck leather?

It is a type of real leather that looks like suede leather, and nubuck mostly comes from the top grain layer of the hide. Nubuck leather has a good and decent look, is usually high-quality leather, and is used to make a variety of leather products such as jackets, briefcases, furniture, gloves, boots, and other personal accessories, available in various colors.

Advantages of Nubuck leather

  1. Nubuck leather is long-lasting leather, more durable than synthetic leather.
  2. More breathable than fake leather.
  3. Looks so attractive and good-looking.
  4. Require less maintenance due to its velvety surface, unlike other leather types.

The disadvantage of nubuck leather items

As Nubuck leather has many advantages but there are also disadvantages present in it which are given.

  • There is the issue of Nubuck leather with dirt, oil, grime, and mud. You should be more conscious if you want to keep these things away. Otherwise, they will likely stain the leather.
  • You need to avoid these shoes to wear in the park.

Suede leather vs. nubuck leather

  • Like suede leather, nubuck leather has a velvety or fuzzy texture to it. Both are smooth to touch as well. Both leather types require more love and care.
  • Durability is the main difference between them. Nubuck leather is more durable as it is made of an outer layer of leather.
  • Suede leather is crafted by rubbing or sanding the inside layer of the leather; this side is used as it is thin, soft, and supple. This softness gives a luxurious reputation. While nubuck is crafted by rubbing or sanding the outer side layer of the leather, this side is much more durable, sturdier, and thicker. So nubuck leather is less soft but more durable than suede leather.
  • Nubuck and suede turn dark when they get wet. But unlike suede, nubuck leather will eventually come back to its original colors as it dries.

How can you take care of your Nubuck leather?

Nubuck leather requires care and maintenance to stay neat and clean. Leather depends on care to maintain its beauty. Here you will find a guide to taking care of your nubuck leather.

Cleaning product for Nubuck leather care

Specially designed cleaning products are better to use to clean the nubuck leather because they will not spoil the special look of the nubuck leather. You can apply the product with a cloth. If you choose products that have more liquid, then they will be less likely to clog the skin as compared to those that have a high wax content.

You can use waterproofing products to protect the leather against dirt and water.

Cleaning of nubuck leather

If you are going to clean the Nubuck leather boots, then remove their laces and insoles first. Remove all the dirt with a brush or cloth. If they have stubborn stains, you can use a soapy solution.

Cleaning products can open the pores of the leather and make it unprotected. That is why water will be instantly absorbed. So to avoid harm due to this issue, you should close the pores and restore the waterproof properties.

Post cleaning care

When you have cleaned your Nubuck leather product, you should leave it for 24 hours to let it dry completely. To dry your shoes, remove the insoles because they also absorb moisture. You can stuff your Nubuck leather boots with newspaper for almost 30 minutes to reduce drying time and get rid of excess water.

  • To dry your Nubuck leather, you should avoid heat sources.
  • Always dry your soaked leather boots completely before their next use.

How do you remove scratches?

Scratches on any leather look very unpleasant, but fortunately, it is easy to remove scratches from Nubuck leather. To remove scratches, you can simply rub the eraser on the scratch area on a Nubuck leather item.

Can you polish Nubuck leather?

It is not recommended to use shoe polish on the nubuck because the leather is too rough and absorbent for shoe polish. So, you can ruin the nubuck if you apply any polish to it.

How do you maintain your Nubuck leather?

Nubuck leather is not hard to maintain. Moreover, nubuck leather needs low-maintenance leather because it usually needs a brush to clean daily. The most important aspect is that it does not require frequent conditioning.

Can you waterproof your Nubuck leather?

Waterproofing your Nubuck leather item is optional, but if you want to do it, you can waterproof your Nubuck leather. Leather protectants can be used easily.

How to restore the color of Nubuck leather?

The nubuck leather color will fade over time, making them old and ugly to see. If you want to restore your Nubuck leather, you can apply a renovating spray. We provide guidelines to restore its color if given.

Things required

  • 2 nubuck brushes or 2 old toothbrushes
  • Regular eraser.
  • Soap.
  • Bowl.
  • Old towel.
  • Old newspaper or paper towel.
  • Renovator spray.


  • Clean your Nubuck leather with a brush. You can also use erasers to remove stubborn stains. If an eraser does not remove the stain, you can also wash them with mild soap. After cleaning the stain, dry the leather properly. You can also use an old towel to wipe it.
  • Now apply the desired color renovating spray (the spray will also protect against staining and water). Use this spray in well-ventilated areas. You can apply many coats to get the required shade. If you are satisfied with the color restoration, then allow it to dry. When it dries out, you can use a brush.

How to deal with tougher stains?

  1. Use of nubuck cloth

Start the cleaning of tougher stains with a nubuck cloth. Wipe the leather with this cloth. This is sufficient for light stains. Nubuck cloth is specially made for cleaning nubuck surfaces, and nubuck cleaner is integrated into the fibers of the cloth.

  • Use of leather degreaser or leather cleaner

To loosen oily stains, you can use leather cleaner or degreaser. These oily stains are commonly found on jacket collars or headrests. Leather degreaser commonly comes in aerosol form. You can simply spray it on the stain and leave it for almost an hour. The leather degreaser converts to powder as it soaks up the oil stain. Now rub the powdery residue away with a sponge.

 If stains remain, you can repeat the process.

  • Use of ink lifters.

If your nubuck leather has ink stains, then use an ink lifter. It’s essential to start cleaning an ink stain as soon as possible before it sets and becomes tougher. Ink-lifter is a greasy substance that commonly comes in a tube like lip balm.

Rub this substance over the stain and cover it. Then you can use the leather cleaner to wipe away any remaining stains.

  • Dry the leather.

Allow the leather to air dry completely before storing it to avoid any damage.

Nubuck leather storage advice

Store your leather item in a cold, dry, and well-ventilated place. Damp boots should not be stored in moist areas because they will mold and discolor. Moreover, never store them directly on a heating floor because this will damage the leather, which decreases the lifespan of leather.

How often can you treat your Nubuck leather boots?

Treatment will depend on the number of uses. When your boots will absorb water and have stains on them, it’s time to take care of your Nubuck leather boots. To prevent stubborn marks, regularly cleaning boots is recommended. Proper care of Nubuck leather boots can increase their lifespan.

Final words

As you know, leather requires care; similarly, nubuck leather also needs loving care. Taking care of leather will make it last longer and look cleaner. Exposure to water or the use of strong cleaning agents can damage the leather. Fortunately, nubuck is easy to clean, but proper technique and some tools are necessary for nubuck leather care. You should use a nubuck brush or a soft bristle brush to clean nubuck leather. Its care doesn’t relate to cleaning but also includes a method to store and its use. Protection for Nubuck leather is very important, so we recommend you protect and clean your nubuck leather articles frequently.

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