How to care for nubuck leather

Updated July 20, 2017

Protecting nubuck leather is the best thing you can do for it. It does not have its own protective barrier so you should apply a commercial protectant at least once every six months. There are also special cleaners to remove dirt and stains and nubuck brushes to restore the nap. These items can be purchased individually or as a nubuck care kit at shoe departments and leather goods stores.

Spray the entire surface of the dry leather lightly and evenly with a water and stain repellent specifically made for suede and nubuck.

Apply a second coat after the first one has dried.

Re-apply protectant after any exposure to water. Allow the leather to dry thoroughly before application.

Remove any dry surface dirt with a nubuck cloth or brush by rubbing the leather gently.

Rub a nubuck stain eraser softly against any stains.

Spray on a cleaner designed for nubuck if dirt and stains persist. Follow the manufacturer's directions. Generally, you brush the nubuck first, spray the leather with the cleaner, and then rub it with a nubuck cloth.

Brush the nubuck surface after cleaner has dried to restore its nap.

Apply a special leather degreaser for oily stains such as grease, butter, or body oils. Buff with a nubuck cloth and brush.

Follow up your cleaning routine by spraying protectant again.

Brush nubuck often to keep the textured surface in its original condition.

Restore flattened areas of nubuck by brushing in small circles to bring up the nap.

Apply special conditioners made for napped or oiled nubuck regularly.


Read the specific directions on the products you purchase. This will ensure your success. Allow wet nubuck to dry naturally, away from a heat source.


Always work in a well-ventilated area when using nubuck cleaning and protectant products. Do not smoke while using products.

Things You'll Need

  • Nubuck protectant
  • Nubuck cleaner
  • Nubuck brush
  • Nubuck eraser
  • Nubuck cloth
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