How to Clean Nubuck

Nubuck is genuine leather, so any product you have that is made out of it — from shoes to auto interiors — needs to be cared for properly. But before we get to how to clean nubuck, we bet you're wondering one thing: Is nubuck the same as suede? 

Nubuck vs Suede

The main difference between nubuck and suede is that nubuck is made by sanding the outside layer of the hide, while suede is made from sanding the inside of the hide. The different processes lead to different products. Nubuck is typically thicker, rougher and more durable than suede. Suede is softer and a bit thinner than nubuck.

Materials Needed for Cleaning Nubuck

Now that you know the differences between nubuck and suede, here's what you need to clean nubuck:

How to Clean Nubuck in 5 Steps

1. Remove Loose Dirt

The first thing to do when cleaning nubuck is to make sure there is no loose dirt on the item. If you're cleaning a large nubuck item, use a small, handheld vacuum to remove the dirt. Make sure you use a soft-bristle attachment to avoid scuffing the nubuck. If you're cleaning a small nubuck item, use a lint-free cloth to gently brush off debris.

2. Use a Suede or Nubuck Brush

After you've used your small vacuum, your best bet to remove additional dirt is to use a suede or nubuck brush. When using the brush, make small, circular motions over the nubuck. Don't press too hard; a small amount of pressure should do the trick.

3. Remove Stains 

If your nubuck item has stains on it, use a suede or nubuck eraser to gently remove them. If you don't have a nubuck eraser, a household eraser can work. Whatever you do, do not use water on nubuck, as it can make stains worse. Nubuck is more water resistant than suede, but we still suggest avoiding water.

4. Spot Test Cleaner

Do a spot test of Leather Honey Suede & Nubuck Cleaner on your nubuck. Pick a small, inconspicuous spot and apply some of the cleaner with a lint-free cloth. Leather Honey Suede & Nubuck Cleaner is specifically engineered for suede and nubuck, so there should be no adverse impact. 

5. Apply Leather Honey Suede & Nubuck Cleaner

Grab your lint-free cloth and spray Leather Honey Suede & Nubuck Cleaner onto it. Next, gently clean the nubuck item with the cloth. Make sure you cover the entire item. Once you have finished, allow the nubuck to completely dry before using it. We suggest a minimum wait of 24 hours.

More to Know About How to Clean Nubuck

Some common questions people have about cleaning nubuck.

What household items can you use to clean nubuck?

We don't recommend using household items to clean nubuck. Household items like vinegar will dry out the nubuck and eventually ruin it. Instead, use a premade cleaner, like our Leather Honey Suede & Nubuck Cleaner.

Does water ruin nubuck?

While nubuck is more water-resistant than suede, you should avoid getting it wet. Water will dry the nubuck and lead to cracking and deterioration. 

What is the best thing to clean nubuck?

The best thing to use when cleaning nubuck leather is a premade cleaner, like Leather Honey Suede & Nubuck Cleaner.


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