My work boots are 4 months old. They have wheat-colored Nubuck leather uppers, and polyurethane sole.

While dumping Canola cooking oil lots of the oil accidentally splashed on the boots causing visible staining that won't wash off.

Although they are "work boots" I would like to clean them.

Any ideas?

  • You should mention what the boots are made of: suede, nubuck, leather, canvas, rubber, etc etc. Their colour is not a type. Nov 25, 2019 at 16:09
  • @Weather Vane Point taken: I think it is "wheat-colored Nubuck leather uppers" , Sole Material Polyurethane. According the website I found.
    – Marinaio
    Nov 25, 2019 at 16:49
  • What did you try to clean them? What do you intend to try?
    – virolino
    Nov 26, 2019 at 9:14
  • @virolino I ran under some warm water minutes afterwards. I tried small amount of dish soap. It has left an oil stain now that they are dru.
    – Marinaio
    Nov 26, 2019 at 12:51
  • 1
    Nubuck has a thing for getting stained, even water can leave marks, especially in light-colored shoes (or boots, in your case). As Virolino suggested, you're probably better off trying to oil the parts that didn't get stained by the splash. I would avoid the other solutions he proposed (like strong soaps etc) because even if they succeed at removing the oil, they will likely leave the Nubuck with a stain of their own that might end up looking worst than the oil stain. Sorry for your new boots. I really can relate.
    – Joy
    Nov 26, 2019 at 23:35

2 Answers 2


Apparently Nubuck is very particular and you need a special cleaner for it:


For more info below, I extracted the most important tips from this article:


I would start with "Use leather degreaser and leather cleaner to loosen oily stains":

  • Leather degreaser typically comes in aerosol form. Spray it onto the stain, and let it stand for about an hour. The leather degreaser will turn to a powder as it stands, soaking up the oil stain. Rub the powdery residue away with a sponge and leather cleaner. If the stain remains, repeat this process (video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=PThXx4LVKAY)

If a stain is already formed, you can probably try using a suede block or sandpaper to sand that surface first.

  • This is a great start to an answer, but would be better if you added all relevant information information from the linked article instead of just the single point, so it's still here if the link goes dead in the future. Welcome to StackExchange!
    – Allison C
    Dec 12, 2019 at 14:35
  • 1
    Thanks! I tried to keep it clean and short, but will keep that in mind in the future!
    – Galaxybane
    Dec 12, 2019 at 21:48

Leather likes oil, it helps condition and protect the leather. If you wash oils out of the leather you will need to replace it.

Instead of trying to wash out the areas that have some Canola oil on them, oil the entire boot with Canola oil.

There are several references on line suggesting the Canola oil (or other vegetable oils) is a good product for the job. Though some suggest not using it on horse items, as it may encourage rats in the barn to nibble on the leather. I did not find evidence this was true, put did find references of people use it on horse items.

Wipe the vegetable oil over the top of the leather items that are clean and dry, applying a thin layer of vegetable oil to the leather. Source


For oil, we use Olive Oil. We buy it from a local grocery supply company by the case and use it on both new and used leather items. I have heard of many people using canola, peanut, vegetable, and other food oils and they seem to work fine. Source

Note: Suede and Nubuck leather will not look as fluffy, if they are oiled. As these are work boots, I am assuming that a consistent oiled look, will be acceptable.

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