How to clean Nubuck shoes

Updated April 17, 2017

Nubuck is a type of soft leather with a velvety texture. Although Nubuck shoes look stylish and smart, the disadvantage with this type of footwear is that the Nubuck leather has no protective layer to guard against dirt, oil, grease and other harmful substances that can soil and damage the shoes. Regular care and maintenance is essential if you want to keep your Nubuck shoes looking clean and smart. Protect your Nubuck shoes by applying a protectant solution and regularly clean them with a Nubuck brush or cloth.

Dab Nubuck and suede protectant solution onto the shoes when they are new and then every four months or according to the shoe manufacturer’s instructions. The solution helps to repel dirt and grease by forming a protective barrier over the Nubuck.

Brush the Nubuck gently with a specialty Nubuck brush or cloth to clean dust from the shoes, remove dry stains and to restore scuffed areas of the shoe. Use a circular motion and brush against the “nap” of the Nubuck to restore flat areas.

Apply a dry, clean cloth to the Nubuck to blot away oil and grease stains. For heavily stained Nubuck you can also apply a leather-degreasing agent to remove the soiling but always check first that the agent is safe to use on suede and Nubuck.

Dab Nubuck cleaning solution onto the shoes to clean them and to remove soiling. Wait for the solution to dry onto the Nubuck and then buff them with the Nubuck cloth or brush.


You can buy specialty Nubuck cleaning and protective materials from shoe shops and some hardware centres.


Never use water to clean Nubuck shoes because this can stain and damage the material.

Things You'll Need

  • Nubuck protectant solution
  • Nubuck cleaning solution
  • Nubuck brush or cloth
  • Clean, dry cloth
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Adrian Grahams began writing professionally in 1989 after training as a newspaper reporter. His work has been published online and in various newspapers, including "The Cornish Times" and "The Sunday Independent." Grahams specializes in technology and communications. He holds a Bachelor of Science, postgraduate diplomas in journalism and website design and is studying for an MBA.