How to Clean Nubuck Leather Sofa

Nubuck is a popular type of leather known for being soft and luxurious. While it’s beautiful to look at, it can be challenging to keep clean. If you’re not careful, dirt and debris can build up and cause the leather to become stained or faded. This article will show you how to clean nubuck leather sofa using some simple steps. Let’s get started!

How to Clean Nubuck Leather Sofa

Cleaning the nubuck sofa is not difficult. However, it is slightly different from cleaning other furniture or leather types. If you take the time to clean nubuck correctly, your sofa will look good as new for years. But when you don’t follow the correct process, there is a good chance that your nubuck sofa will be ruined.

Summary: Cleaning a nubuck leather sofa requires a few basic steps. To begin, vacuum the sofa using an upholstery brush attachment to remove dirt and debris. Then, create a cleaning solution with equal parts warm water and mild detergent, like a gentle dish soap. Apply the solution to the sofa in circular motions with a clean sponge, then rinse it off with a damp cloth.

What is Nubuck?

Nubuck is leather with a velvety finish made by buffing the flesh side to raise the nap. Like suede, nubuck is sometimes made from the underside of cattle hide. Nubuck has been used in shoes and apparel for many years; however, it was not until recently that furniture manufacturers began using this material in furnishings such as sofas and loveseats.

Nubuck is similar to suede as both are made from the underside of an animal hide, but nubuck is different because the nap is not torn out and scattered like in suede. In addition, nubuck does not repel water but instead absorbs it and, therefore, must be treated with care to avoid damage.

You should avoid nubuck at all costs if you have pets or kids because it can be easily ripped, stained, and damaged. In addition, sometimes, the fibers in these pieces of furniture are not long enough to handle certain substances such as pet urine, so proper care must be taken to ensure the piece lasts for years to come.

Things You’ll Need

  • Distilled water
  • Mild dish soap (Dawn, Palmolive)
  • Warm Water
  • 5 Soft Cloths or Towels

How to Clean Nubuck Leather Sofa Stepwise Guide

There are several methods for cleaning nubuck. Some people use a soft brush and water, while others prefer to use a professional leather product to clean the material. As with any furniture, you should always read the label before doing anything. To remove tough stains from your piece, you may need to try a few different products until you find something that works well. Follow these steps below:

Step 1: Prepare the Sofa for Cleaning

Before you start cleaning, you should prepare your nubuck furniture. The first step is to brush the sofa with a soft bristle brush to get rid of any debris collected on it while it was sitting undisturbed. Next, if there are stubborn stains or scuffs on the surface, lightly dampen a cloth and use this to wipe away dirt from the leather.

Lightly dampen a cloth and wipe away dirt

The key here is not to over-saturate the material because excess water can cause damage. Instead, wait for another day if your piece isn’t too dirty before starting this process. You can also ask a friend or family member for help when removing larger grime accumulated on your piece of furniture–one person can hold up one end while the other wipes the surface clean.

Step 2: Use Soap to Clean Nubuck Leather Sofa

If possible, try cleaning small sections of the sofa at a time. This way, you can inspect each area and ensure it is completely clean before moving on. While this may take longer than any other method, it’s also less risky and ensures that you won’t miss anything or introduce new stains while cleaning. Before starting to use soap on your nubuck leather sofa, you should first test it in an inconspicuous spot.

At First Test Soap in an Inconspicuous Spot

This will ensure that no damage will be caused–a great way to do this is by testing a patch of leather that isn’t easily seen, such as along the backside or underneath a cushion. If the dye starts running or you notice discoloration, stop immediately and not continue. Once you’ve tested your soap on a hidden area, you can use it to clean the piece of furniture itself.

Pour some mild dishwashing liquid onto a soft cloth and rub it into the leather gently in a circular motion. How much soap you’ll need will depend mainly on how dirty your nubuck is–if there is a lot of dirt that needs to be removed, consider using several clothes so that they don’t become completely soaked.

Step 3: Use Warm Water as an Alternative Method

Many people prefer to clean nubuck with warm water instead of soapy water because it’s practical and gentler for the leather. How you choose to do this depends entirely on how much cleaning is necessary. If there are only a few scuffs and stains, try using a damp cloth and applying small amounts of warm water until the material appears clean.

How often you clean your nubuck furniture should depend mainly on how quickly dust and dirt accumulate–if it’s near impossible to keep up with, consider having two pieces of furniture instead of just one since it will be used. When dealing with spills or adamant stains, soak a cloth in warm water and apply it directly to the stain’s area.

Let it sit for several minutes before gently wiping away debris–repeat as many times as needed until all odors have been removed from your piece of furniture. Be careful not to rub too hard if you are using this cleaning method, as it can cause the material to wear down or become damaged at a faster rate than normal.

Step 4: Dry Nubuck Leather Sofa

The drying process is critical when removing dirt and deodorizing nubuck leather furniture. Whether you use water or soap in your efforts, make sure that all surfaces are completely dry before letting your piece sit for longer than thirty minutes. If there is moisture left behind, mold and mildew may grow in areas where it’s most likely to accumulate, such as creases and folds.

This is especially dangerous for people with allergies–a great way to prevent any problems from developing is by using an electric fan or hair dryer to expel any remaining moisture. How long this will take will depend mainly on how damp the material is–if it’s bone dry, you can stop immediately after cleaning.

Using an electric fan to expel remaining moisture

It may seem like an impossible task to clean a nubuck leather sofa, but the steps above are designed for just that purpose. By using soap or warm water, gently scrubbing until dirt and debris accumulate disappear, and ensuring neatness during drying periods, you’ll be able to keep your furniture looking great for years to come.

If stains never seem to go away no matter how many times you clean them or if smells stick around long after removing other kinds of grime, consider contacting a local professional instead. It might cost more to do this, but experts will know exactly what to do with nubuck leather furniture and may prevent damage from occurring. These steps will help in how to clean nubuck leather sofa.

Conditioning & Protecting Nubuck Leather

Nubuck leather is a type of leather made from the outside portion of a cowhide, which has been sanded or buffed on one side. This makes it soft and velvety to the touch and gives it a distinct appearance.

However, nubuck leather is particularly susceptible to staining, water damage, and abrasion due to its nature. Proper conditioning and protection are important in order to keep nubuck leather looking its best.


In order to properly condition nubuck leather, it should be cleaned with lukewarm water and gentle detergent before being treated with an appropriate leather care product. After cleaning the leather, use a soft cloth or brush to apply a thin, even layer of the product onto the surface of the nubuck leather. Allow the product to penetrate the material before wiping any excess with a clean cloth. Make sure that you never use too much conditioner, as this can clog up the pores in the leather.


Once your nubuck leather is properly conditioned, it should be protected from water damage and staining by using a good-quality protector spray. These sprays act as barriers against liquids seeping into and discoloring your item’s fibers. Additionally, make sure that you protect your nubuck items from direct sunlight, as prolonged exposure can cause fading and other damage to their appearance over time.

How to Protect Nubuck Leather?

When you purchase a nubuck leather sofa for your home, you want to ensure that it looks presentable and lasts for years. To keep your newly purchased nubuck leather sofa in good shape, you should protect it. There are several easy ways to protect your new nubuck leather sofa to prevent damage and keep it looking great for years.

To protect your nubuck leather sofa, you should purchase a fitted waterproof cover to put your nubuck leather sofa in. This is especially important if you have pets that like to scratch the furniture or children who spill drinks on it. Having an additional layer of protection will help keep the surface clean and protect the finish of your sofa.

Make sure you take other basic measures, such as placing doormats outside each entrance of your home. When people come inside with dirty shoes, they will wipe their dirt and grime all over the floors and walls, which can also damage your new couch. You don’t want someone’s mess on your newly purchased item; either get a waterproof cover for it or place doormats outside each doorway, so people take off their shoes before entering your home.

To keep your new nubuck leather sofa from becoming soiled and looking shabby, you must clean it regularly. How often you need to clean it depends on how much use the sofa gets and the types of activities around it. If friends or family members eat snacks on your couch while watching television, for example, then you should plan to clean weekly. In addition, pets also add to the amount of dirt and grime accumulated on your new nubuck leather sofa, so you should clean it more often if you have animals.

You Must Clean
It Regularly

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Clean Nubuck With Soap and Water?

Normally, you would not recommend cleaning nubuck shoes with soap and water because it could damage the leather. You should use a cleaning agent approved for leather instead. Some popular cleaning agents for nubuck include a mixture of white vinegar and water, saddle soap, or a proprietary leather cleaner. Test the cleaner on a small area first to ensure it won’t damage the leather.

Can I use leather cleaner on nubuck?

While it is possible to use leather cleaner on nubuck, care should be taken not to damage the surface. Nubuck is a type of calfskin that contains a higher percentage of wool than regular leather, so cleaning it with harsh chemicals could cause irreversible damage. Instead, you may want to try using a gentle soap like an eco-biotic or vegan ‘leather’ wash. If necessary, add some drops of essential oil for added fragrance and protection.

Using a Gentle Soap

Is Nubuck Ruined by Water?

Nubuck is a type of leather that has been treated with an animal-wetting agent and then exposed to dry heat. This process causes the material to harden, making it less sensitive to water damage. While nubuck is not as resistant to water as patent leather or full-grain leather, it does tend to last longer than those types of materials when subjected to regular wear and tear.

What is the difference between leather and nubuck?

Leather and nubuck are two types of leather that are distinguished mainly by their texture. Leather is the most common type, and it has a rough surface that contains tiny bumps. Nubuck, on the other hand, is much more refined and has a smooth finish.

Leather tends to be darker than nubuck, which makes it more durable. It also absorbs oil better than nubuck, so you won’t have to resort to using stain removers as often.


If you’re in the market for a new leather sofa, consider one made from nubuck leather. This type of leather is easy to clean and maintain, making it an excellent choice for busy families or anyone who wants a low-maintenance furniture piece. Thanks for following along as we showed you how to clean nubuck leather sofa!

You may also read – How to remove sticky residue from leather.

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Matt Clark

Hi, this is Matt, and I am a leathercraft hobbyist. I have been working with leather for quite a bit of time. When I was a teenager, my father taught me the basics of leathercraft. Along the way I have learned a lot of things about leather work leather items, restoring leather, and creating leather accessories. I started this blog to share my knowledge of leatherworking with others and help people learn about this amazing craft. I also wanted to create a community of like-minded people who could share ideas and support each other in their leatherworking journey.

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