How To Clean Nubuck Leather Handbags

How To Clean Nubuck Leather Handbags

Understanding Nubuck Leather Handbags

Nubuck Leather: Dig Deeper– This is a top-grain cattle hide that has been sanded or buffed on the grain side, or outside, to give it a slight nap of short protein fibers, producing a velvet-like surface. Sometimes confused with suede, they are both similar in appearance, but there are some distinct differences.

Nubuck leather handbags are soft and gentle with a furry texture, also referred to as a nap. When the nap is brushed one way, it’s lighter than when brushed the other way.

Nubuck - Nubuck Leather Handbags

Check Collection in Bloomingdale’s

Understanding nubuck leather handbags:

  • Nubuck leather is made from top-grain or full-grain cowhide that is sanded down until the nap forms.
  • The fact that it’s made from the top grain part of the cowhide makes it a strong and durable leather that can withstand considerable wear and tear.
  • However, in order to attain the soft napping effect, the nubuck leather must remain untreated. Therefore, nubuck leather is actually a type of rawhide.
  • This means that natural elements such as water, dirt, and oils can have a damaging effect on the integrity of the leather.
  • Interestingly, nubuck appears to be relatively resistant to UV rays, although color fading will occur over an extended period of time.
  • Despite the name, nubuck leather doesn’t come from the hide of male deer. It’s strictly a bovine leather.
  • Although there isn’t a big variety of nubuck leather handbags on the market, there are some beautiful lines from top fashion labels that sell very well. Therefore, keep your eyes open for potential scams and replicas for sale.
  • Every designer has very distinct features in their lines. Although some copies get very close to the real model, no replicator can match all the elements of a perfectly crafted designer purse.

How to Clean Nubuck Leather Handbags

Although nubuck leather handbags are strong and durable, they’re susceptible to staining and discoloration and are notoriously difficult to clean. Always be alert when you’re out and about with your nubuck. The following are some guidelines to follow so you can keep your nubuck leather handbags looking healthy, clean and with a beautiful nap.

How to care for and clean your nubuck leather handbags:

  • The best protection is prevention. Keep your eyes open for potential spilling hazards (like when you’re having coffee with the girls and your three-year-old is playing with her barbies right by your cappuccino!).
  • Avoid getting it wet at all costs. Water will cause the unprotected leather to darken and the nap to harden, turning it into a rough, sandpaper type of textile.
  • Although hardening of the nap can be fixed by rubbing it out with a napping brush, if it happens frequently, the texture will gradually harden to a point of no return.
  • Try to avoid setting it down on the floor or rubbing it up against cars in tight parking spots.
  • If the bag is exposed to a lot of dirt and grime, over time, the soft, supple nap will turn into a shiny, smooth leathery texture.
  • Don’t use any soaps, cleaners or conditioners to clean nubuck leather, as these are liquid-based and can have the same damaging effect as water.
  • We have heard about cleaners and conditioners specifically made for nubuck and suede, but we can’t recommend any as we haven’t tested them out yet. We suggest contacting the manufacturer directly if you don’t have the cleaning instructions that came with the bag.
  • To clean the surface from dirt, dust, stains and most scuff marks, use a napping brush or very fine sandpaper (600 grit or higher). Brush it back and forth gently, but rapidly for no more than 5 – 10 seconds.

Read: Types of Leathers and Fabrics and How to clean

  • If the stain persists, try using an uncolored or natural pencil eraser. This is a very effective home remedy for cleaning nubuck leather handbags.
  • For oil and grease stains, you can sprinkle the soiled area lightly with corn starch. Let it sit for a few hours so that it can properly lift the stain. Dust off the purse with a dry towel or soft bristle brush and re brush it.
  • If you don’t have the stomach for sandpaper, corn starch, and pencil erasers, take it to your leather professional. Do your research. Make sure he’s had experience with this type of leather. Inquire about how he intends to clean it. If you’re satisfied, go ahead with the cleaning.
  • When not in use, be sure to store your nubuck leather handbags in a box or cotton dust bag. It needs to breathe. Never put any leather products into plastic bags.
  • Don’t fold or stress the purse in any way. Allow it to rest naturally, with plenty of space and nothing sitting on top of it, pressing it under its weight.
  • Tuck the strap inside, especially if there’s a chain or hardware on it. This will prevent it from scratching the leather.

Find more on how to clean the different types of leathers: