How to Remove Oil Stains on Nubuck

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Shoes made of nubuck leather require the same care as suede shoes.

Nubuck is leather from the top hide of an animal. The hide has been buffed until it is softer and smoother than suede leather. Like suede, nubuck has a nap, formed of the fine hairs that stand up from the leather itself, and which provide its soft texture. Nubuck is tougher than suede leather, and tends to last longer, but the care of nubuck is very similar to the care needed for suede.


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Step 1

Protect your nubuck shoes or clothing with a leather protectant specially designed for nubuck or suede. The protectant will provide a layer of security over the nubuck's surface, and make it possible to wipe off most stains. Apply the protectant again every six months.

Step 2

Respond to any oil or grease stain on nubuck immediately. If you wait several hours, the stain may set and become permanent.


Step 3

Blot up oil or grease from your nubuck until no moisture is left. Use a lint-free cloth made of microfiber if possible, as not to damage the nubuck nap. Don't use any water, as it may cause the stain to set.

Step 4

Sprinkle the grease or oil stain with baby powder. If you don't have any baby powder, grated or ground-up pieces of chalk will also work. The baby powder or chalk should absorb the oil. Don't rub the baby powder. Cover the stain and let it sit overnight. In the morning, shake off the baby powder or chalk. Brush the area of the stain with a suede brush and see if any stain is left.


Step 5

Use a commercial degreaser to try to remove any remaining stain. When you are done, brush the nubuck's nap to bring it up again.

Step 6

Use an abrasive block designed for removing stains from suede and nubuck, such as the Suede Block or Cleaning Gum. Rub them directly on the stain as if you were trying to erase pencil marks with an eraser. Once you remove the stain, you may find that the area where the stain was, is now cleaner and lighter in color than the rest of the shoe or garment. If this is the case, continue cleaning the entire shoe or garment with the abrasive cleaner until the color is uniform throughout. After you are done, brush the nap of the nubuck with a suede brush.


Step 7

If you still haven't been able to remove the oil or grease stain from your nubuck shoes of clothing, take the stained article to a professional cleaner to see if there is anything they can do.



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