How To Clean Nubuck Sofa


What is Nubuck

Nubuck is a type of leather that is known for its soft and luxurious texture. It is made from the outer side of a hide, which is then sanded or buffed to create a velvety surface. This sanding process gives nubuck its characteristic grain and makes it similar in appearance to suede, but with a slightly thicker and more durable feel.

Unlike suede, which is made from the inner side of the hide and is generally more delicate, nubuck is resilient and can withstand everyday use. Its natural grain allows it to resist wear and tear, making it a popular choice for sofas and other furniture pieces that receive regular use.

One of the key benefits of nubuck is its ability to develop a beautiful patina over time. As it ages, the leather develops a unique sheen and becomes even softer and more supple. This adds to the overall charm and richness of nubuck furniture.

Due to its delicate texture, nubuck is prone to getting dirty and stained more easily than other types of leather. It requires specific care and cleaning techniques to maintain its appearance and extend its lifespan.

Now that you understand what nubuck is and its unique characteristics, let’s delve deeper into the proper methods of cleaning and maintaining this elegant material.

Understanding the Characteristics of Nubuck

When it comes to cleaning and maintaining your nubuck sofa, it is crucial to have a good understanding of its unique characteristics. This will help you choose the right cleaning methods and products to ensure the longevity and beauty of your furniture.

First and foremost, nubuck has a delicate and porous surface that can absorb liquids and oils easily. This means that any spills or stains should be treated promptly to prevent them from settling into the leather fibers. Additionally, the use of harsh cleaning agents or excessive rubbing can damage the delicate texture of nubuck, so it is important to use gentle techniques when cleaning.

Another characteristic of nubuck is its vulnerability to fading when exposed to direct sunlight. Prolonged exposure to UV rays can cause the color to fade and the leather to become brittle. To prevent this, it is advisable to place your nubuck sofa away from direct sunlight or use window coverings to shield it from excessive light.

Furthermore, nubuck is a material that naturally develops a patina over time. This patina is a result of the leather oils and your body’s natural oils that are absorbed by the material as you use it. It adds to the unique appeal of nubuck furniture and gives it a distinct aged look. Embracing the patina and accepting it as part of the natural aging process will help you appreciate the character and uniqueness of your nubuck sofa.

Lastly, it’s worth noting that nubuck is more prone to watermarks and stains compared to other types of leather. When liquid comes into contact with nubuck, it can leave behind unsightly marks. Therefore, it is important to take precautions and protect your sofa from spills or use appropriate cleaning techniques to prevent watermarks.

By understanding these characteristics of nubuck, you’ll be better equipped to care for your sofa and keep it looking its best for years to come.

Before You Begin Cleaning

Before diving into the cleaning process, there are a few important steps to take and things to consider to ensure successful and safe cleaning of your nubuck sofa.

The first step is to refer to the manufacturer’s care instructions for your specific nubuck sofa. These instructions may provide guidelines on how to clean the material and what products to use or avoid. Following these instructions will help you maintain the warranty and prevent any potential damage to the furniture.

It’s also crucial to perform a spot test on a small, inconspicuous area of the sofa before cleaning the entire surface. This will help you determine if the cleaning solution you plan to use will cause any adverse effects, such as discoloration or damage to the nubuck. If the spot test produces any negative results, refrain from using that cleaning solution and seek an alternative method.

Prior to cleaning, it’s advisable to remove any loose dirt or dust from the surface of the sofa. This can be done by using a soft brush or vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment. Gently brush or vacuum the nubuck in the direction of the grain to remove any particles that may scratch or damage the surface during cleaning.

Next, make sure to gather all the necessary cleaning supplies. This typically includes a specialized nubuck cleaner or a mild soap solution and a soft microfiber or nubuck cleaning cloth. Avoid using colored or abrasive cloths, as they can transfer color onto the nubuck or cause scratches.

Lastly, it’s important to designate a well-ventilated area for cleaning your nubuck sofa. Proper ventilation helps the cleaning solution to evaporate faster and prevents excessive moisture from penetrating the leather. If possible, open windows or use fans to improve air circulation during and after the cleaning process.

By following these preliminary steps and precautions, you set yourself up for a successful cleaning experience and minimize the risk of any potential damage to your nubuck sofa.

Removing Surface Dirt and Dust

Regular cleaning of your nubuck sofa is essential to maintain its appearance and prevent the buildup of dirt and dust. Here are the steps to effectively remove surface dirt and dust from your nubuck sofa:

  1. Start by using a soft brush or a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment to gently remove loose dirt and dust. Ensure that the brush or attachment is soft-bristled to avoid scratching the nubuck surface. Remember to brush or vacuum in the direction of the grain to prevent any damage to the delicate texture of the leather.
  2. If there are any visible stains or spots on the sofa, try using a specialized nubuck eraser or a white eraser to gently rub the affected area. This can help lift the stain without causing damage to the leather. Be sure to test the eraser on a small, inconspicuous area first to ensure it doesn’t leave any residue or marks.
  3. For stubborn dirt or stains, dampen a soft microfiber or nubuck cleaning cloth with a small amount of distilled water. Gently blot the affected area, being careful not to saturate the nubuck. This method should be used sparingly and only for localized stains, as excessive water can damage the leather.
  4. If the above methods are not effective in removing the surface dirt and dust, you can try using a specialized nubuck cleaning solution. Consult the manufacturer’s recommendations or seek advice from a professional to choose the appropriate cleaner for your sofa. Apply the cleaner on a clean cloth and gently blot the area, again being cautious not to over-wet the nubuck.
  5. Once you have finished cleaning, allow the nubuck sofa to air dry naturally. Avoid using heat sources such as hairdryers or heaters, as they can cause the leather to crack or shrink. Patience is key during the drying process to ensure that the nubuck retains its original shape and texture.

Remember to always work gently and be mindful of the delicate nature of nubuck. It’s better to take your time and apply a light touch than to risk causing damage to the leather. By regularly removing surface dirt and dust, you can maintain the beauty and longevity of your nubuck sofa.

Treating Stains and Spills

Accidents happen, and when spills or stains occur on your nubuck sofa, it’s essential to act quickly and appropriately to prevent permanent damage. Here’s how you can effectively treat stains and spills on your nubuck sofa:

  1. Blot the spill immediately with a clean, dry cloth or paper towel. Avoid rubbing the affected area, as this can spread the liquid and work it deeper into the nubuck.
  2. If the spill has left behind a visible stain, use a specialized nubuck cleaner or a mixture of mild soap and distilled water. Apply a small amount of the cleaner to a clean cloth and gently blot the stain. Be sure to work from the outside of the stain toward the center to prevent spreading.
  3. Continue blotting the stain until it starts to fade. It’s important to be patient and avoid using excessive force or scrubbing, as this can damage the delicate texture of the nubuck.
  4. Once the stain is less noticeable, dampen a clean cloth with distilled water and blot the area to remove any residual cleaner. Make sure to use a minimal amount of water and avoid saturating the nubuck.
  5. After treating the stain, gently blot the area with a dry cloth to remove excess moisture. Allow the nubuck sofa to air dry completely. It’s important to avoid using heat sources or direct sunlight for drying, as they can cause the leather to warp or fade.
  6. If the stain persists or if you’re unsure about how to proceed, it’s best to seek professional help. They have the expertise and specialized cleaning agents to safely treat stubborn stains without causing further damage to your nubuck sofa.

Remember, prevention is key when it comes to spills and stains on your nubuck sofa. It’s advisable to promptly clean up any spills and avoid eating or drinking near the sofa to minimize the risk of accidents. By addressing stains and spills immediately and using the proper cleaning techniques, you can help ensure that your nubuck sofa remains in pristine condition for years to come.

Drying and Maintaining the Nubuck

Proper drying and maintenance are crucial for preserving the beauty and longevity of your nubuck sofa. Here are some key steps to follow:

  1. After cleaning or treating any spills, it’s important to allow the nubuck sofa to dry completely. Ensure that the area is well-ventilated and avoid using artificial heat sources, as exposure to direct heat can cause the leather to warp or crack. Simply let the sofa air dry naturally at room temperature.
  2. During the drying process, it’s crucial to avoid sitting or placing any objects on the damp nubuck. This prevents imprints and allows the leather to retain its original shape and texture.
  3. Once the nubuck sofa is dry, use a soft brush or a nubuck conditioner brush to gently restore the texture. Brushing in the direction of the grain helps to revive the natural nap and remove any remaining residue.
  4. To maintain the softness and suppleness of the nubuck, it’s recommended to apply a nubuck conditioner. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the specific conditioner and apply it evenly across the sofa. This helps to nourish the leather and prevent it from drying out or cracking.
  5. For regular maintenance, it’s advisable to vacuum or brush the nubuck sofa on a weekly basis to remove loose dirt and prevent it from settling into the leather. This helps to keep the nubuck looking clean and pristine.
  6. Avoid exposing your nubuck sofa to direct sunlight or extreme temperatures, as this can cause fading and damage to the leather. Consider using window coverings or rearranging the furniture to minimize sun exposure.
  7. It’s also important to keep sharp objects and pets away from the nubuck sofa to prevent scratches or tears. Taking these precautions helps to maintain the integrity and appearance of your furniture.

By following these drying and maintenance steps, you can ensure that your nubuck sofa remains in optimal condition and continues to exude its luxurious and elegant appeal.

Nubuck Cleaning Dos and Don’ts

When it comes to cleaning your nubuck sofa, there are certain dos and don’ts to keep in mind to ensure the best results and avoid damaging the leather. Follow these guidelines to effectively clean your nubuck sofa:


  • Read and follow the manufacturer’s care instructions for your specific nubuck sofa.
  • Perform a spot test in an inconspicuous area before applying any cleaning solutions.
  • Use a soft-bristled brush or a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment to remove loose dirt and dust regularly.
  • Blot spills immediately with a clean cloth or paper towel to prevent them from soaking into the nubuck.
  • Use a specialized nubuck cleaner or a mixture of mild soap and distilled water for stains, following the instructions carefully.
  • Gently blot the stained area with a clean cloth, working from the outside towards the center.
  • Air dry the nubuck sofa in a well-ventilated area and avoid using artificial heat sources to speed up the drying process.
  • Brush the nubuck with a soft brush or nubuck conditioner brush to restore the texture and remove any residue.
  • Apply a nubuck conditioner periodically to keep the leather soft and supple.


  • Use harsh cleaning agents, abrasive cloths, or colored towels, as they can damage the nubuck.
  • Saturate the nubuck with excessive amounts of water or cleaning solutions.
  • Rub the nubuck vigorously when cleaning, as it can cause the skin to peel or discolor.
  • Expose the nubuck sofa to direct sunlight or extreme temperatures, as it can cause fading and damage to the leather.
  • Use heat sources like hairdryers or heaters to speed up the drying process, as it can cause the leather to warp or crack.
  • Ignore spills or stains, as they can become more difficult to remove if left untreated.
  • Forget to perform regular maintenance, such as vacuuming or brushing, to prevent dirt buildup.
  • Allow sharp objects or pets near the nubuck sofa, as they can scratch or tear the leather.

By adhering to these cleaning dos and don’ts, you can effectively maintain the cleanliness and beauty of your nubuck sofa without causing any harm to the delicate leather.

Preventive Maintenance Tips

In addition to regular cleaning and proper care, taking preventive measures can help extend the lifespan and beauty of your nubuck sofa. Here are some preventive maintenance tips to keep in mind:

  • Place your nubuck sofa away from direct sunlight or use window coverings to protect it from prolonged exposure. This helps prevent fading and damage to the leather.
  • Avoid placing your sofa near heat sources like radiators or fireplaces. Excessive heat can cause the nubuck to dry out and become brittle.
  • Use caution when wearing clothes with sharp objects, such as belts or jewelry, to prevent accidental scratches or tears on the leather.
  • Keep pets away from the nubuck sofa to prevent any damage from their claws or accidents. Consider using pet-friendly furniture covers for added protection.
  • Regularly rotate the cushions or change seating positions to prevent uneven wear and maintain the overall appearance of the sofa.
  • Consider using nubuck protectors or sealants to create a barrier against spills and stains. Follow the product instructions carefully for application and reapplication.
  • Use caution when applying hair products or lotions while sitting on the nubuck sofa. These substances can transfer and cause stains on the leather.
  • Perform routine maintenance tasks, such as vacuuming or brushing, to remove dirt and prevent it from settling into the nubuck. This helps to keep the sofa looking clean and fresh.
  • If you are unsure about how to clean or treat a particular stain or issue, consult a professional cleaner or seek advice from the manufacturer. They can provide expert guidance tailored to your specific nubuck sofa.

By following these preventive maintenance tips, you can minimize the risk of damage and keep your nubuck sofa looking beautiful for years to come.

Hiring a Professional Cleaner

While regular cleaning and preventive maintenance can go a long way in maintaining your nubuck sofa, there may come a time when you require the expertise of a professional cleaner. Here are some considerations when hiring a professional to clean your nubuck furniture:

Experience and Expertise: Look for professional cleaners who have experience in cleaning and treating nubuck. Ask for references or read reviews to ensure they have a track record of delivering high-quality results.

Certifications: Check if the professional cleaner is certified in handling and cleaning leather furniture. Certifications provide assurance that they have received proper training and can handle nubuck effectively and safely.

Specialized Equipment and Products: Inquire about the equipment and products the professional cleaner will use. They should have access to specialized nubuck cleaning solutions and tools specifically designed for delicate leather. Avoid cleaners who use generic or harsh cleaning agents that could damage the nubuck.

Insurance and Guarantee: Confirm if the professional cleaner is insured. This protects you in the event of any damage that may occur during the cleaning process. Additionally, inquire about any guarantees or warranties they offer for their cleaning services.

Cost and Time: Request a quote for the cleaning service and compare it with other professionals in your area. Keep in mind that the cost may vary depending on the size of your sofa and the extent of the cleaning required. Additionally, ask about the estimated time it will take for the cleaning process to be completed.

Communication and Customer Service: Choose a professional cleaner who is responsive and communicates clearly. They should be able to address any concerns or questions you may have regarding the cleaning process, products used, or aftercare instructions.

Recommendations: Seek recommendations from friends, family, or trusted sources who have had their nubuck furniture professionally cleaned before. Their firsthand experiences can help you find a reliable and reputable cleaner.

Remember, hiring a professional cleaner for your nubuck sofa can be a worthwhile investment, especially for deep cleaning or stubborn stains that may require specialized knowledge and equipment. By choosing the right professional, you can ensure your nubuck sofa is cleaned effectively and safely, preserving its beauty and extending its lifespan.