Can You Wash Nubuck Shoes Washing Machine?



Can You Wash Nubuck Shoes Washing Machine

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No, it is not recommended to wash Nubuck shoes in a washing machine.

Nubuck shoes are a stylish and sophisticated footwear choice, known for their soft, velvety texture and upscale appearance. However, caring for Nubuck shoes requires a gentle touch and special attention to maintain their pristine condition. While the convenience of tossing your shoes into the washing machine may be tempting, doing so can lead to irreversible damage.

In this article, we’ll explore why washing Nubuck shoes in a washing machine is a bad idea and provide you with alternative cleaning methods to keep your Nubuck shoes looking their best.

Dos and Don’ts of Wash Nubuck Shoes Washing Machine


Here are some essential dos when it comes to caring for your Nubuck shoes:

  • Brush Regularly: Use a soft-bristle Nubuck brush to remove loose dirt and dust from your shoes. This should be done after every wear or whenever you notice the shoes looking dull.
  • Use a Rubber Eraser: For scuff marks or stubborn stains, gently rub a rubber eraser over the affected area. This method can often lift stains without causing damage to the Nubuck.
  • Invest in Suede Cleaner: Consider purchasing a high-quality suede or Nubuck cleaner designed specifically for delicate materials. Follow the product’s instructions for the best results.
  • Spot Clean with Hydrogen Peroxide or White Vinegar: If you need to remove specific stains, apply a small amount of hydrogen peroxide or white vinegar to a clean cloth and gently dab the stain. Always test a small, inconspicuous area first to ensure it doesn’t affect the color or texture of the Nubuck.
  • Dry Properly: If your Nubuck shoes get wet, let them air dry at room temperature. Stuff them with newspaper to help maintain their shape while drying. Avoid using direct heat sources like radiators or hairdryers, as these can cause the material to crack or become discolored.


To protect your Nubuck shoes, it’s crucial to avoid these common mistakes:

  • Don’t Use a Washing Machine: The washing machine’s agitation and water can damage the delicate Nubuck material, causing it to lose its texture and sheen. Additionally, the spin cycle can warp the shape of the shoes.
  • Avoid Sunlight: Direct sunlight can cause Nubuck to fade and lose its vibrant color. Store your shoes in a cool, dark place when not in use.
  • Steer Clear of Chemical Cleaners: Chemical cleaners and solvents intended for other materials may contain harsh ingredients that can ruin Nubuck. Stick to products specifically designed for suede or Nubuck.
  • Don’t Scrub Vigorously: When cleaning Nubuck, use gentle, circular motions with a soft brush or cloth. Avoid aggressive scrubbing, as this can damage the delicate fibers.
  • Skip Water-Based Stains: Water can leave marks on Nubuck, so be cautious when wearing your shoes in wet conditions. If they get wet, follow the drying instructions mentioned earlier.

Steps to NOT Wash Nubuck Shoes in the Washing Machine:

It’s crucial to emphasize that washing Nubuck shoes in a washing machine is not recommended, but here’s a step-by-step guide on how not to do it:

Step 1

Preparation: Gather your Nubuck shoes that need cleaning.

Step 2

Machine Selection: Choose the wrong machine – a regular washing machine with agitating drums designed for clothes, not shoes.

Step 3

Detergent Choice: Select a strong laundry detergent meant for clothing, not suitable for Nubuck material.

Step 4

Loading: Toss your Nubuck shoes, along with other laundry, into the washing machine without any protection.

Step 5

Cycle: Set the machine for a regular wash cycle with hot water, a recipe for disaster.

Step 6

Drying: After the brutal washing cycle, place your Nubuck shoes in the dryer on high heat, ensuring maximum damage.

By following these steps not to wash your Nubuck shoes in the washing machine, you’ll understand why this is a risky approach to shoe care.

Alternative Washing Methods for Nubuck Shoes:

If you find yourself in a situation where your Nubuck shoes need more extensive cleaning, consider these alternative methods:

  • Nubuck Cleaning Kits: Invest in a Nubuck cleaning kit, which typically includes a cleaner, brush, and eraser specifically designed for Nubuck materials. Follow the kit’s instructions for the best results.
  • Professional Cleaning: For deeply ingrained stains or overall cleaning, it’s wise to consult a professional shoe cleaner or cobbler who specializes in delicate materials like Nubuck.
  • DIY Nubuck Cleaner: You can create your own Nubuck cleaner by mixing mild dish soap with water and applying it gently to the shoes with a soft cloth or brush. Be sure to rinse thoroughly and let the shoe air dry.
  • Nubuck Protection Spray: To prevent future stains and water damage, consider using a Nubuck protection spray. These sprays create a barrier that repels liquids and stains, helping to keep your shoes looking fresh.


Can I use regular leather cleaner on Nubuck shoes?

Answer: No, it’s best to avoid regular leather cleaners, as they may contain ingredients that can harm Nubuck. Stick to products designed specifically for suede or Nubuck.

Can I use a hairdryer to speed up the drying process?

Answer: It’s not recommended, as the heat from a hairdryer can damage the Nubuck material. It’s best to let your shoes air dry at room temperature.

How can I prevent Nubuck shoes from getting stained in the first place?

Answer: Applying a Nubuck protection spray can help create a barrier that repels liquids and stains. Additionally, being cautious in wet or muddy conditions can minimize the risk of stains.

Can I wash Nubuck shoes in cold water by hand?

Answer: While washing by hand in cold water is gentler than using a washing machine, it’s still best to avoid submerging Nubuck shoes in water altogether. Stick to dry cleaning methods.

How often should I clean and maintain my Nubuck shoes?

Answer: Regular maintenance is key. Brush off dirt after each wear, spot clean stains as needed, and store them properly. A more thorough cleaning can be done every few months, depending on how frequently you wear them.

Final Words:

In summary, washing Nubuck shoes in a washing machine is a risky endeavor that can result in irreparable damage to these delicate and stylish footwear pieces. Instead, follow the recommended dos and don’ts for Nubuck shoe care, including regular brushing, spot cleaning, and proper storage.

If your Nubuck shoes require deeper cleaning, opt for specialized cleaning products, professional services, or DIY methods that are gentle on this unique material. With the right care, your Nubuck shoes will continue to turn heads and add a touch of sophistication to your wardrobe for years to come.

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