How to clean and condition Nubuck?
What is Nubuck?
Nubuck is simply sanded or buffed leather, giving it a velvet-like surface (see leather furniture article part 1). While visually it may be confused with Suede, which is produced from the lower part of the skin (splits), Nubuck comes from the top part (full grain), making it more robust and durable than suede. Its soft and velvet-like touch and its natural look, make it a popular choice for furnishing, clothing and for footwear.
However, these aspects can also be considered its Achilles heel since to obtain them, the leather receives no protective finishing coating. Thus, it is one of the most vulnerable leathers and should be a well thought-out choice.
Nubuck should be avoided if you have domestic animals who like to occupy the living room sofa, or if you have kids of very young age, or for leather furnishing in busy or public areas. But for living room furnishing, for clothing or even for shoes, its beauty and comfort can steal the show from even the finest leathers!
How to clean and condition Nubuck?
Nubuck will absorb dirt like a sponge so the first priority needs to be its protection.
• How to Protect Nubuck
As soon as possible after its purchase, Nubuck should be protected using SAHARA industrial quality waterproofing and stain-proofing spray. For optimum protection, use 2 to 3 thin coats, with 8 hours of dry time between each coat.
- If leather is not new, clean it and go over its entire surface with a Nubuck brush before applying Sahara protector (see How to Clean Nubuck below) .
- Refresh protection treatment with 1 or 2 coats, once every other year or as needed.
- Avoid breathing in the vapors of SAHARA spray. Wear a mask or scarf, apply it in a well-ventilated area and vacate the room for at least a few minutes after use.
• How to Clean Nubuck
Unless it is very dirty or stained, it is usually best not to soak Nubuck leather. Spray AQUILA in a fine mist over the Nubuck surface. AQUILA will « grab on to » the greasy dirt particles, will break them down and turn them to dust. Once dry, for nubuck leather furniture, gently go over the surface with a vacuum cleaner and a brush attachment to remove dust and dirt. For shoes, do the same or simply go over the shoes with a Nubuck brush. If needed, repeat this step for as long as you can see improvements. For heavily stained shoes, you may need to use a “Nubuck eraser.”
• How to Restore Nubucks Nap
To keep its velvet-like nap, Nubuck must be cleaned and brushed regularly, otherwise, over time it will flatten down and become shiny, and turn into smooth leather. For Nubuck leather boots or shoes, it is even recommended they be brushed gently after each wear. For Nubuck leather furniture, special attention should be given to brushing the headrests, harm rests and seating areas.
• Nubuck Color Restoration
The above will go a long way to restore Nubuck—light stains, dulled down colors, etc., can be handled with only the these. But you can take it one step further by using CAMOSCIO to restore, refresh and enhance Nubuck's colors and make them more vibrant while also helping maintain Nubuck's velvet nap.
Nubuck may not be the most forgiving leather, but with faultless regular and assiduous care, it provides rich, soothing and warm comfort, unparalleled by the best fabric imitations or even by other high-end leathers!
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
All our products have been subjected to exhaustive testing. However, since every leather is unique, both in terms of the raw materials, products employed and tanning methods used in its preparation, we recommend that a test be made on a less visible part of the article prior to the application of any leather care product.
What is the Best Leather Cleaner for NUBUCK?
The best product for cleaning leather Nubuck leather is the Aquila All Purpose Leather Cleaner. Due to its gentle formula, it can be used regularly and it can be used on all types of Leather, Nubuck, and Suede.
Since this particular leather cleaner can be used often, you’ll prevent the build-up of grease and dirt that can dab down the nap and ruin the velvet-like finish.
How often should I clean NUBUCK?
Both Cleaning very regularly as well as brushing the nubuck, performed as above will prevent losing Nubucks essential vervet-like nap. Since there are no accumulations when you are using AQUILA, it is best to use it too often rather than not enough!
As soon as you observe the nap starting to flatten you should clean it. For a Nubuck sofa for example, if you always sit in the same spot, you should clean that spot more often. It can be as often as every week! But under normal conditions, and when your Nubuck has received proper protection coatings, cleaning once a month to once every two months should be enough.
Are Nubuck and Suede the same thing?
We've covered this in the "What is Nubuck?" section above, and the short answer is no, there are not the same. Suede is made from the "splits" which is almost grainy in texture, it is rough, uneven, and a much less resistant raw material. It is more porous than Nubuck and will tend to absorb water or dirt and thus, it can stain easily.
Nubuck, on the other hand, is made from actual leather (called "grain") which is a strong, even, and compact structure or material.
As a result, Nubuck is usually much finer velvet and Suede would have more of a coarse velvet.
How to care for Suede?
This article about Nubuck applies for Suede with only a few minor differences: Use the metal brush to restore suede's « thicker » nap. However, suede has a fragile structure, and even the metal brush should be passed delicately. The rubber brushes do not work well for suede. Also, do not use a Nubuck rubber eraser to remove stains from Suede or to restore its nap.
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Read the latest version of this article as well as the added "Frequently Asked Questions about NUBUCK LEATHER"