How to Condition Nubuck Leather

Nubuck leather is a beautiful and unique material that provides an amazing aesthetic, but can come with some challenges–it’s often difficult to keep clean and conditioned. If you own shoes, jackets or other items made of nubuck leather, it’s important to take the time to properly maintain them so they will last for years to come!

How to Condition Nubuck Leather

In this blog post on how to condition nubuck leather, we’ll discuss what conditioning nubuck leather requires and provide tips on how you can easily clean and condition your treasured belongings yourself. By following our steps, you can ensure that your favorite possessions look their best while also helping protect them from the wear and tear of everyday life. Let’s get started!

What is Nubuck Leather?

Nubuck leather is a type of full-grain cattle hide with the outermost layer buffed to create a velvet-like texture on the surface. It’s one of the toughest and most durable types of leather, making it popular in shoes and other products that require strength and resilience. It’s also known for its softness, which makes it a favorite material in handbags and jackets.

Needed Materials

Given below is a list of materials you will need to condition Nubuck leather:

  • Clean Cloths
  • A Vacuum Cleaner With a Brush Attachment
  • Bristle Brush
  • Leather Cleaner
  • Leather Conditioner

11 Step-by-step Guides on How to Condition Nubuck Leather

Step 1: Clean the Nubuck Leather

The first step is to get rid of dirt and oil that can build up on the surface over time. To do this, use a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment or a bristle brush to remove any debris. When vacuuming, make sure to use a low setting and go lightly to avoid damaging the delicate material.

Step 2: Pre-Treat the Leather

Once all of the dirt and debris have been removed with a vacuum cleaner, it’s time to pre-treat the leather with a gentle leather cleaner. This helps remove any deep-seated stains and oils. You can use a damp cloth to apply the leather cleaner and rub it on the surface. If there are any stubborn stains, gently scrub them with a brush.

Apply the Leather Cleaner

Step 3: Use a Suitable Nubuck Cleaner

After pre-treating the leather with a cleaner, it’s time to use a specialized nubuck cleaner. This type of product is specifically designed to clean delicate leather without damaging it. Make sure to read the instructions carefully before applying any product. This will help you avoid any unwanted results.

Step 4: Brush Gently

After cleaning the nubuck leather, use a soft-bristled brush to gently buff the surface. This will help restore its original velvet-like texture and make it look new again. It also helps to remove any remaining dirt or grime. But be sure to use light strokes, as brushing too hard can damage the material.

Step 5: Apply Leather Conditioner

Once you’ve brushed away any dirt and debris, it’s time to nourish and protect the leather with a leather conditioner. Look for a product that is specifically designed for nubuck leather as it will provide the best results. You can apply the conditioner with a clean cloth and buff it on the surface.

Step 6: Allow Time To Dry

Leather conditioners can take some time to absorb into the material, so give it at least 15 minutes before proceeding. This will allow the product to penetrate deep into the material and ensure that it is properly protected. It will also help keep the leather looking its best for longer.

Step 7: Buff To Shine

Finally, use a soft-bristled brush to buff the nubuck leather until it shines. This will help restore its original luster and give it an extra layer of protection against dirt and grime. This step should be done regularly to ensure that the leather stays looking its best. But be careful not to brush too hard, as this can damage the material.

Step 8: Protect From Water

To help protect your nubuck leather from water damage, consider using a waterproofing spray. These sprays will form a barrier between the material and any moisture it may come into contact with. Just make sure to read and follow the instructions carefully before applying it!

Step 9: Store In a Dry Place

Once your nubuck leather is clean, conditioned and protected from water damage, it’s important to store it in a dry and cool place. This will help keep it in good condition for longer periods of time. It’s best to avoid keeping it in areas that get direct sunlight, as this can cause the color to fade over time.

Store It in a Dry and Cool Place

Step 10: Clean Regularly

Nubuck leather should be cleaned regularly to maintain its luster and durability. We recommend vacuuming and brushing the material at least once a month to ensure that dirt doesn’t build up on its surface. It’s also a good idea to use a specialized nubuck cleaner every few months to keep it looking its best.

Step 11: Re-condition As Needed

Finally, it’s important to re-condition your nubuck leather as needed over time. Regular conditioning will help protect the material from wear and tear as well as keep it looking its best. This should be done at least once a year, but more often if the material is frequently exposed to the elements or used heavily.

By following these easy steps on how to condition nubuck leather, you can easily clean and condition your nubuck leather items yourself. With proper care and maintenance, you can ensure that your favorite possessions will last for years to come! Remember to be patient when conditioning nubuck leather and always read and follow instructions carefully.

Do You Need to Use Professionals?

If you don’t feel comfortable cleaning and conditioning your nubuck leather items yourself, it’s a good idea to hire professionals. Leather experts have the right tools and knowledge to properly care for your treasured belongings without damaging them. They can also provide advice on how best to maintain them in the future so they will stay looking their best.

How Much Will It Cost?

The cost of hiring a professional to clean and condition your nubuck leather items will depend on the size and complexity of the job. Generally, you can expect to pay anywhere from $50-$200 for their services. While this may seem like a lot, it’s worth it to ensure that your treasured possessions are properly cared for!

Condition Your Nubuck Leather Items

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can I Condition Nubuck Leather Myself?

A: Yes, you can condition nubuck leather yourself. Just make sure to follow all of the steps outlined above and read and follow any instructions carefully. With proper care and maintenance, you can keep your nubuck leather items looking their best for years to come!

Q: How Often Should I Condition Nubuck Leather?

A: We recommend conditioning your nubuck leather at least once a year in order to keep it looking its best. Additionally, it’s important to clean and brush the material regularly to prevent dirt and debris from building up on its surface.

Q: Does Nubuck Leather Require Special Care?

A: Yes, nubuck leather requires special care in order to keep it looking its best. Vacuuming and brushing the material at least once a month is recommended in order to remove any dirt and debris that may have accumulated on its surface. Additionally, you should condition the material at least once a year with a leather conditioner specifically designed for nubuck leather.

Q: Is Waterproofing Necessary?

A: Yes, waterproofing your nubuck leather items is highly recommended to protect them from water damage. Look for a waterproofing spray that is specifically designed for nubuck leather, and make sure to read and follow the instructions carefully before applying it. This will help ensure that your precious belongings stay in great condition for years to come!

Waterproofing Your Nubuck Leather Items


In conclusion, how to condition nubuck leather and taking care of your nubuck leather possessions is an important part of maximizing their lifespan and making sure they look great even in the distant future.

Conditioning should be done regularly—about every six months—in order to prevent dirt and grime from building up on the surface of your leather goods. The best way to condition nubuck leather is by using a specific type of leather cleaner, which dissolves dirt and oils and renews the leather’s softness without doing any damage.

This will help protect against fading caused by sunlight, as well as keep your leather looking vibrant for years to come. Remember to test this product on a small portion first for colorfastness before moving on to larger area applications.

Lastly, it is always best practice to look at manufacturer instructions before attempting different conditioning techniques in order to ensure proper care for your nubuck leather products. Taking these steps not only helps extend the life of your pieces but also can save you time, money and frustration down the road.

Photo of author

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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