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What Is Nubuck Leather And How To Care For It

What Is Nubuck Leather And How To Care For It
January 29, 2018 Richard Taylor
In News
Nubuck leather shoes

Top quality leather products require top quality care, and here at Marlborough of England, we’re always keen to pass on some tricks of the trade and insider knowledge to our customers, especially when they revolve around making the most of your favourite items. One of the questions we most commonly come across is to do with Nubuck leather care - what are the best ways to keep this very special fabric in peak condition? And what makes nubuck leather different from other, similar materials?

All types of leather require cleaning and care in order to keep them looking and feeling great, and to ensure that they last as long as possible without losing their unique and distinctive features. Nubuck leather is no different, and fans of this type of leather - which has a distinctive soft, velvety surface texture and handfeel - regularly get in touch to ask for Nubuck leather care tips. Luckily, we’re happy to share the knowledge and expertise you need to keep your leather products looking fantastic… just read on to find out more!

What is Nubuck Leather?


Nubuck leather is a highly special and sought-after product, which is prized for its gorgeously tactile texture and beauty. It is a leather which has been sanded and buffed in order to give its distinctive appearance and surface, which closely resembles a fine natural velvet.

However, due to the fact that Nubuck leather is buffed and sanded instead of finished with a protective coating, it is highly vulnerable to wear, as well as staining and other potential blemishes. As a result, knowing how to care for Nubuck leather is vital should you wish to make the absolute most of this distinctly beautiful material, and help it last for as long as it should.

Nubuck leather wallet

How to Keep Your Nubuck Leather in Peak Condition


One of the main issues that people come across with Nubuck leather is to do with the fact that it is highly absorbent. This means that any dirt it comes into contact with has the potential to negatively impact the leather, and should you wish to avoid this from happening (and why wouldn’t you?), then preparation is key.

Nubuck Leather Care: Protection


If possible, you should start protecting your Nubuck leather item as soon as possible after purchasing it. This can be done quickly and easily with an industrial quality waterproofing and stain-resistant spray, which should be available from all good leather goods stores. By applying two or three coats of a quality spray, and topping this up twice per year, you’ll be off to the best possible start.

Nubuck Leather Care: Cleaning


Unless you’ve managed to get your leather item very dirty indeed, it’s probably not a great idea to soak it in water, as this can cause damage to the structure of the leather itself.

For most regular or everyday cleaning - which is usually enough to remove dirt, dust and ‘shiny spots’ - the best approach to cleaning Nubuck leather is with a specially made Nubuck cloth. These can be purchased from most good retailers, and will have Nubuck cleaner integrated in their fibres. By rubbing your leather item with a Nubuck cloth in circular motions, you should be able to keep it looking fresh and new without too much issue.

For more intensive cleaning and refreshment, you might want to use a special Nubuck brush. Again, these can be purchased from stores which specialise in this type of leather, and they should also be used in a circular motion. However, make sure you don’t brush your Nubuck item too much - over-vigorous brushing could end up wearing away the surface of the leather and causing damage.

Nubuck Leather Care: Stain Removal


Unfortunately, sometimes stains are just an unavoidable fact of life. Perhaps you got caught out in some bad weather, or maybe you were splashed with a dirty puddle by a passing car (we hate it when that happens!)... whatever the reason may be, you’ll need to know exactly how to handle such an occurrence, should you find your Nubuck leather items stained or soiled.

No matter how deep or dramatic the stain may look, you should always begin by rubbing the item with a Nubuck cloth, in order to remove the excess.

Once you’ve done this, the next step depends on the type of stain you’re facing.

For oily stains, you’ll need to spray your item with a special leather degreaser. This spray will turn to powder on the surface of the leather, soaking up any oily deposits which can then be rubbed away with a cloth and a regular leather cleaning solution.

For ink stains, you have to act quickly and apply a specially made ink lifter - ink sets after about 6 hours, and if you don’t tackle the stain soon, it’s going to be extremely hard to remove without professional help!

For tougher stains, you might have to sand down the surface of the Nubuck with either a suede block or a gentle sandpaper. You can afford to be quite vigorous when sanding Nubuck - after all, it has been sanded in the past to give its distinctive surface! Remember to rub the item with a Nubuck brush after sanding, as the process will create a fine residue of dust to build up on the surface, which will have to be removed.

Nubuck Leather and Suede: What’s the Difference?


Although it is commonly confused with suede, Nubuck has some key differences which need to be understood if one is to care for the fabric correctly.

Unlike suede, which is made from the lower part of the animal’s skin, Nubuck is made from the top part, known in the industry as the full grain. This means that Nubuck is by its nature a more durable and robust type of leather, and highly versatile, too. 

Indeed, Nubuck is used as commonly for clothing as it is for fine furnishings, footwear and accessories, and is beloved by fans of quality leather for its undeniable quality and attractiveness.

Nubuck Leather: A Thoroughly Beautiful Natural Product


There’s no question about the fact that Nubuck leather is definitely worth caring for and protecting. Its natural beauty and charm can be perfectly long-lasting, so long as you take the steps and precautions such a special fabric deserves.


We hope you’ve found this article informative, and that it has answered any of your questions regarding what is Nubuck leather and how to care for it. Here at Marlborough of England, we love hearing your opinions, thoughts, stories and ideas regarding anything to do with quality leather - so don’t hesitate to get in touch via the comments below! As always, Marlborough of England are here as your one-stop shop of high quality leather goods and accessories, and as one of the leading providers of such items in the UK, we’re always looking to go above and beyond for our valued customers.

Nubuck leather Document Case

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