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What is Nubuck Leather (Design Quality & Care)

On this page you’ll discover what is nubuck leather including its design quality, comparison to regular leather types and how to care for and clean nubuck leather.
Nubuck leather couchNubuck leathers historically come from buckskin of deer, moose, or elk, some use hides of calves, sheep, and goats as an easier alternative since it is easier to be acquired due to their abundance.

This type of leather is of high-quality material since it comes from the outer side or outer layer of the leather hide which is considered as the top-grain or full-grain layer. The outer layer is tougher and more resilient than the inner layer of the calfskin.

Nubuck leathers have a velvet-like finish due to the sanding process it goes through. Since nubuck is sanded from the outside, it may leave some imperfection to its appearance that gives the leather its character. The nubuck leather can be dyed or stained to any color is one way of hiding these imperfections.

Nubuck leather is regarded as a luxury leather due to its soft and velvety texture. Nubuck has very fine leather fibers that need a lot of upkeep to look and feel good over time. It also does not develop its patina well.

Nubuck Leather Quality

Since nubuck is made from top-grain leather, it is more durable and tough. However, nubuck leather is more susceptible to soiling and prone to staining than other leathers due to its rough surface. Compared to other leather materials, nubuck is much more breathable.

Nubuck leather is extremely soft due to its manufacturing process wherein the hide is sanded or buffed, creating short protein fibers that give the leather the velvet-like finish. When you rub the surface, it can change color because rubbing this type of leather alternates the direction of the short fibers.

Nubuck leather is extremely soft to the touch since it’s made of calfskin and because of its manufacturing process. The hide is sanded or buffed, creating short protein fibers that give the leather durability, but it can also scratch easily.

Nubuck Leather Sofa

Nubuck leather sectional sofaOne of the most popular upholstery coverings for the sofa is leather. Nubuck leather sofa is seen nowadays in many living rooms due to its design, soft and velvety texture. It is polished on the grain side, which helps the nubuck leather to breathe more and makes it feel soft and warm.

Nubuck leather sofas have the characteristic to be incredibly comfortable and easier to clean than fabric sofa upholstery.

They also don’t accumulate much dust and come into their own in their resistance against wear and tear. Nubuck leather is a naturally tough material that will hold up well to everyday use.

Nubuck vs Leather

Leather is a general term that can refer to a variety of types and qualities of the material and have been applied different process and treatments that alter its surface.

Nubuck leather, on the other hand, refers to a specific group of leather that has been sanded to produce a raised fiber nap on the outer surface. Hence, this leather is certainly real leather usually colored or dyed.

The main difference between leather and nubuck leather is its look and texture. While leather has a smooth surface, nubuck on the other hand has a smooth, velvety texture due to its fine bristles, which gives this leather a unique texture.

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Is Nubuck Leather Waterproof?

Like leather, nubuck comes from the top grain of the hide and it is naturally water-resistant to a small amount of water. In case that you get your nubuck leather wet, make sure to air dry it as quickly as possible in a cool and dry area.

Some finishes can be applied to nubuck leather to make them water-resistant. There is a special spray that works for waterproofing nubuck leather that creates an invisible, water-resistant, and oil-repellent layer that will keep your leather safe as it stops any water ever actually touching the material.

Nubuck Leather Care

Taking care of your nubuck leather will not only keep it clean but will also make it last longer. Although it is easy to clean, caring for this leather requires proper technique and tools such as using a nubuck brush, or a soft bristle brush to do the job.

Nubuck leather is very delicate to water and cleaning agents and long exposure to water or using strong cleaning agents may damage and ruin the leather. Avoid exposing nubuck leather to elements, since it may dry out the fibers and would most likely lead to peeling or tearing of the leather.

Like all leather, nubuck leather is organic its fibers give the leather its color, make it tough, and keep it together. Exposure to elements, use, and time causes these fibers to become weak and start to lose oils that serve as nutrients. When this happens, using a leather conditioner will help replenish any oil that the nubuck leather loses after a certain time.

The leather conditioner will keep nubuck soft and supple for a longer time. Applying leather protectors shield and minimize the damage that certain elements may cause to the leather. Thus, conditioning and protecting are necessary for leather care.

In time the nubuck leather does become stiff, you may apply a small amount of mink oil in conditioning the leather to restore its soft and velvety touch. Make sure that you do not apply the conditioning product directly to the leather, instead lightly apply it on a soft dry cloth.

Remember to do a spot test before applying the conditioner all over the nubuck leather and avoid using too much mink oil since it will darken the leather.

Can You Polish Nubuck Leather?

Since nubuck leather is buffed leather, buffing gives it its unique look and feel. Buffing also changes the characteristics of the leather. The buffing process removes the grain of the leather, making the leather much more absorbent.

For this reason, nubuck leather absorbs stains easily and is highly prone to fading, spotting, and water marks. To protect your leather furniture from staining and damage, it is important to maintain the leather properly and only use care products specifically designed for nubuck leather.

Polishing nubuck leather is a term used when you use sprays like waterproofing spray, leather polishing sprays that would give the final touch on the surface making it shiny and protected.

How to Clean Nubuck Leather?

Unlike other types of leather, cleaning nubuck leather is simple since it is a very low-maintenance leather. All that you will need is a brass or nylon bristle brush with soft bristles making sure to be gentle when brushing in order not to damage anything in removing whatever dirt, dust, soiling, or grime that can get caught in the fibers.

When brushing, make sure you brush from seam to seam using a back-and-forth motion. This will restore the nap of the leather.

A clean brown art gum eraser or special nubuck eraser is best to use to get rid of liquid stains. For even better results, try wrapping the eraser with a sponge and use it to clean the surface.

For oil-based stains, try patting cornstarch into the stain to help absorb the oil, leave the cornstarch overnight and vacuum it off your nubuck couch in the morning.

For tougher stains, you may want to sand any areas that have noticeable stains using a clean pumice stone or with a 600-grit piece of sandpaper.

Rub on the stained area in a back-and-forth motion, making sure you don’t over-rub on the stained spot too hard. Ensure to vacuum dust from the brushing and sanding. It is important to clean nubuck leather regularly, proper, and frequent cleaning will benefit the surface in the long run.

for more content like this visit our comparison of leather vs fabric sofa.

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