A genuine leather wallet is a stylish accessory to own. It’s something that never really goes out of style. The reality, though, is that your leather wallet will be subjected to a lot of handling throughout its life.
That means that dirt and grime will quickly accumulate on the surface, causing it to look dirty and worn.
To clean a leather wallet, start by removing regular stains with alcohol and oil/grease stains with a damp cloth and talcum powder. Prepare the wallet by wiping it down with a damp cloth, then proceed to wash it with saddle soap. Use gentle circular movements. Gently rinse the wallet before allowing it to air dry overnight.
What’s the best way to clean a leather wallet?
There are a few things to be mindful of before cleaning a leather wallet. Leather is a very strong and durable material, but it’s also a delicate material that can easily be ruined if the wrong cleaning agent is used. Your leather wallet cannot be cleaned using just any type of detergent. Most household detergents are alkaline because it is an excellent cleaning agent.
However, alkaline has the opposite effect on leather and may ruin your leather wallet by creating an imbalance between the alkaline and acidic ratios in the leather. It’s best to only use products designed for leather cleaning, such as saddle soap or leather cleaners. Alternatively, you may also opt to use baby soap. Baby soap contains natural oils that may help to nourish the wallet when you wash it. It’s also a very gentle and mild cleaner.
Cleaning method and supplies
Your leather wallet is delicate. Always opt to use your hands to gently massage the wallet while you clean it. Avoid using any abrasive cleaning equipment such as hard bristle brushes as this may ruin your wallet. Use a small circular motion to lather the wallet completely.
Before you start the cleaning process, you should have your cleaning supplies ready. These include:
- Leather cleaner/saddle soap/baby shampoo
- Leather conditioner
- A soft dry cloth
- A paper towel
Prepare the wallet
Remove all the contents from the wallet. Use the paper towel to wipe the wallet and prepare it for cleaning. Remove any debris in the corners of the wallet by blowing it out. You could opt to use a straw to blow out any debris.
Start with stain removal. Your wallet is subject to a lot of handling throughout its lifetime. Most of the stains will be accumulated through sweat from your hands. Your wallet may accumulate other types of stains such as oil or grease stains. To clean the wallet properly, it’s best to address these stains first.
You can apply a few drops of alcohol to regular dry stains. Remember, you only need one or two drops at most. Use a dry, soft fiber cloth and pour the alcohol drops onto the cloth. Use it to gently rub over the stains in small circular motions. Be gentle. Don’t apply too much force. It should be sufficient to remove stains that have dried.
Grease or oil stains should be treated with a damp, soft, fiber towel and talcum powder. Again, use gentle, circular motions on the stain. Some grease or oil stains may be very stubborn. Remove as much as possible before washing the wallet. After all or most of the stains have been removed, use a dry paper towel to pat down the wallet.
Washing a leather wallet
An important point to keep in mind is that you should never wash your leather wallet in a washing machine. The movement inside the washing machine will completely damage the wallet. It’s best to apply a hand wash to clean your leather wallet.
Use a damp, soft, fiber cloth and wipe down the surface and interior of the wallet. The wallet should not be drenched in water. The surface should be moist enough to allow the cleaning agent to create a lather. Take your cleaning agent of choice, whether that is a leather shampoo, cleaning agent, or baby shampoo, and place a few drops on the damp cloth. Dab the cloth on the leather wallet and start to make small circular movements to create a lather on the surface of the wallet.
Continue making circular movements across the wallet until the entire surface of the wallet has a soap lather across it. Continue to make another round of circular motions to remove the dirt and grime from the surface of the wallet. Then, proceed to do the same on the interior of the wallet until you have washed the entire wallet.
Try to be gentle when washing the leather wallet. Use light movements. Try to be as thorough as possible and don’t worry too much about tough stains. The circular movements and cleaning agent should eventually remove most of the dirt and grime.
Use a clean, damp, cloth and wipe down the exterior and interior of the wallet to remove most of the soap.
Rinse your leather wallet
Never completely submerge your wallet under water. Rinse it one section at a time under running water. The water should not be too hot or too cold. Opt for lukewarm water. Use your hands to gently remove any excess soap from the wallet. Once all the soap has been removed and the water is running clear, use another dry cloth to completely wipe down the interior and exterior of the wallet.
Dry your leather wallet
Allow the wallet to air dry. Keep it out of direct sunlight and do not use an outside heat source to dry your wallet. Place it in a cool, dry area, away from any direct sunlight, and allow it to dry air. It may be best to do this step overnight.
Conditioning your leather wallet
Washing a leather wallet isn’t sufficient to keep the wallet in optimal condition. Washing the wallet will only remove any dirt and grime from the surface. But, the process also removes essential oils from the leather which may cause it to dry out prematurely and become brittle.
To prevent this from happening, you should condition your wallet frequently. For best results, aim to condition a leather wallet at least every two months. This will replenish the leather of any moisture loss, and revive the appearance of your leather wallet.
Conditioning your leather wallet is also a great way of enhancing the natural beauty of the wallet and extending the life of your leather wallet.
How often should I clean my leather wallet?
A leather wallet should be properly cleaned and washed every six months. The wallet should be conditioned at least once every two months to ensure that the leather remains soft and subtle. In addition, you should use a dry, soft cloth to wipe the wallet at least once a week. Wiping down the wallet frequently will prevent dust and debris from building up.
Regular maintenance and cleaning of the wallet is ideal. A leather wallet is an investment that should be taken care of properly. By investing in high quality products that are specifically designed to care for your leather wallet, you will extend the life of your wallet.