How To

How to Clean Nubuck Shoes Conveniently?

Nubuck shoes are similar to suede shoes in look and feel, but they are made of a type of leather that acquired from cowhide. Nubuck is made from the outside of the hide that’s why it is more strong and durable. Also more expensive than suede; but, needs more regular cleaning and protection. If your expensive shoes are dirty or stained, do not worry. Let’s start the process of cleaning nubuck shoes.

Tools Required

  • Nubuck cloth (usually nubuck cleaner is included into its fibers)
  • Nubuck cleaner crepe brush
  • Nubuck cleaner
  • Ink lifter for ink stains
  • Leather degreaser
  • Nubuck spray protectant
  • Toothbrush
  • Vinegar
  • 2 pieces of clean cloths
  • Sandpaper or sanding pad

Method # 1: Brushing Dirt or Dust away

Brush your shoes on regular basis to remove any dirt or grimes stuck into nubuck material. Follow this step by step procedure:

Step 1: Unlace your shoes before starting the process of cleaning. Wash laces separately to remove their dust.

Step 2: Wipe your shoes with nubuck cloth in circular motion. It will remove any loose dust or dirt entrapped in shoes. It will also restore the look and feel of the nubuck shoes.

Step 3: Clean your shoes with nubuck cleaner crepe brush thoroughly from top to bottom, on the heels and welt surfaces. Warning: Do not use brush on any area more than a second; otherwise, the nap will get damage. Nap is the risen short protein fibers look giving the surface of the shoes a smooth and soft appearance.

Step 4: Use a nubuck cleaner to clean heavily soiled area on your nubuck shoes. Nubuck cleaner are easily available in nubuck shoe’s stores in liquid and aerosol form. Finish your cleaning with one last brushing of the nap. Pro-Tip: Use nubuck cleaner with a nubuck cloth for better results. Let your shoes completely dry for 24 hours before use.

Step 5: You should coat a protectant spray layer on the shoes to protect them from future dust. Spray after cleaning your shoes. Pro-Tip: Use protectant spray after every six months and with only specially formulated for nubuck shoes. Let the shoes dry completely before use.

Method # 2: Cleaning Small Stains either Dried or Wet

Examine your shoes for the type of stains and deal with them accordingly as given below:

Step 1: Take out the laces from your shoes before cleaning. Wash them separately to remove their dust.

Step 2: Wipe away the stain excess substance with nubuck cloth. If the stain is dried one, scratch it gently with a unused toothbrush. It will remove the spot without affecting the nubuck nap.

Step 3: Dip a clean cloth in white vinegar and clean your shoes for wet stains. Then wipe away the vinegar with another clean cloth. Let your shoes dry completely before use. Pro-Tip: If the wet stain is oily or toughest too then look for the cleaning method 3 and 4.

Method 3: Dealing with Stubborn Stains including Oil and Ink spots

Identify the type of stains and deal with them accordingly as given below:

Step 1: Remove the laces from your shoes, before the process of cleaning. Wash separately to remove their dust.

Step 2: Wipe your shoes with nubuck cloth in circular motion; it will remove any loose dust or dirt.

Step 3: Use leather degreaser or cleaner to wipe away oily stains. It will absorb oil stains. Take a sponge and rub on the stain to wipe away powdery residue. If oil stains remain after the process, apply the leather degreaser again. Pro-Tip: After spraying leather degreaser, leave it for an hour. Only then it will turn into a powder form to soak up the oil.

Step 4: When you have an ink stain on your nubuck shoes that is very common with painters or office workers; so, come here. Buy an ink lifter, that is a greasy material and available in tube, more like lip balm. Rub it on the ink stain and cover the whole area with it. Finally, take a nubuck cloth or leather cleaner and wash away any residue of ink stain.

Step 5: Dry your shoes with blow dryer or any shoes dryer and then brush them to remove any remains of stains. In this way the brush bristles will raise the nap and shoes will become clean and look vibrant. You can check out some of the best dryers available in the market in our latest article here.

Step 6: Apply nubuck shoes protectant spray for future prevention of stubborn stains. Pro-Tip: After application of spray, leave your shoes for drying under shady area instead of direct sunlight to save them from fading.

Method 4: Cleaning Toughest Stains with Sanding

Sanding is also a synthetic process to bring the animal hides into a perfect form for shoes. Here we will see how sanding can be used to remove toughest stains.

Step 1: Prepare your shoes for cleaning.

Step 2: Clean the surface of the stain with sanding pad or sandpaper by rubbing vigorously till the stain get removed. Pro-Tip: Make sure the sandpaper or sanding pad is clean.

Step 3: If the shoes are badly soiled or the stain is poorly settled into the nubuck nap, then rub sandpaper or sanding pad thoroughly on the entire surface. Rub till the stain get removed and the stain sand off. Sanding can withstand with nubuck cloths perfectly.

Step 4: Finally brush away any residue from sanding and make your shoes clean and crisp clear from dust or any stain.


Finally, you have better idea about how to clean your nubuck shoes. A quick guide with four effective methods is given above. Apply these methods in your certain situations and clean your nubuck shoes without any inconvenience.

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