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How to Clean Nappa Leather

Bonnie Conrad

Nappa leather is beautiful, and with the right care it can be quite durable. Even so it is important for anyone who owns nappa leather shoes, accessories or other items to care for it properly. This special leather is made from the topmost layer of calfskin, goatskin or sheepskin.

Because this top layer of leather is very delicate it is vital to give it the care it needs.

  1. Spray your nappa leather with a quality water and stain retardant as soon as you bring the item home. The delicate hides used to make nappa leather can be seriously damaged by water, and they tend to stain easily as well. Spraying the leather with a stain and water protector will reduce the chances that the delicate leather will be damaged.

  2. Clean the nappa leather on a regular basis using a rubber- or gum-based shoe polish. Be sure to match the color of the polish to the color of the leather as closely as possible--using a polish that is too dark could result in permanent staining of the hide. Also avoid the use of wax-based polishes and cleaners--those cleaners can damage the delicate nappa leather.

  3. Condition your nappa leather with a lanolin-based product. Using a lanolin-based product will protect the leather and help to lock in the color. Conditioning the leather as soon as you bring your nappa leather home, and repeating these treatments at least once every couple of weeks, is the best way to keep your delicate leather looking like new.