How to clean a leather wallet at home
What things do you check for when you’re leaving the house, car keys? your phone? Chances are you also slap the back of your pocket to make sure your wallet’s still in place. After all, wallets can hold our most personal possessions, from credit cards to photos and mementos, they literally hold tiny pieces of our lives. So it’s fair to say, when you get a good leather wallet, it’s an investment.
But here’s the thing, too many of us chuck a perfectly good wallet away the moment it get’s a little grimy. Then you’re on an (expensive) loop of buying a new wallet, watching it get dirty then throwing it away again. So let’s get off the merry-go round, as we show you How To Clean a Leather Wallet at home. Not only will it save you some moola, it will give you a nice reference point when it comes to cleaning other leather items..
Can you wash a leather wallet in a washing machine?
Perhaps you’ve been tempted to throw your wallet in with the rest of the wash. No hassle, no fuss – right? Except, chances are it’ll probably end up looking like it’s been chewed up and spat out by a mangy cat. This is because washing machines, even on delicate settings, are in constant motion. This is great for other fabrics, but not so great when it comes to leather. A machine washed leather wallet will usually come out faded, with little to no structure and only fit for the bin. So, when you need to clean a leather wallet, it has to be hand washed
Want more Tips And Tricks For Cleaning Leather? Check out: How To Remove Scuff Marks From Leather Shoes Fast
What household products can you use to clean leather?
Clean a leather wallet with mild dish soap, this acts as a good, gentle general cleaner. Just squirt some into warm water, mix, and used to clean dirt and dust.
How to clean a leather wallet in 8 easy steps
Step 1- Get the right equipment.
Before you begin you need some:
- Castile soap
- A straw
- Cloth – the ones you use on your shoe should do
- A soft bristly brush
Step 2 – remove everything from the wallet
Make sure you remove your cash, ID cards, bank cards, and any other items in your wallet before you begin the cleaning process.
Step 3 – Get rid of the dust
Unsurprisingly, sat in the back pocket of your jeans or coat pocket, most wallets collect a lot of dust. To clean those difficult interior pockets, use a straw to blow out any dust, lint or dirt hiding there. Then give the wallet a shake to get out anything that’s been loosened. (in stubborn corners, a toothpick can really help – just take care when using!)
Step 4 – Deal with fresh stains first
For stains that are fresh, you can use a dry paper towel and remove as much of it as possible. In the case of oil based stains, wipe with a paper towel and use talcum powder to remove the excess.
Once you have dealt with any newer stains, move on to the main cleaning of the wallet.
Step 5 – Remove stains on wallet by dabbing
Never immerse your wallet in water as this can damage the leather. Instead, dab the wallet with some saddle soap and a damp cloth. Alternatively, you can use baby soap or a mild fragrance free soap. When wiping, treat the leather as you would your own skin, be firm without scrubbing, taking care at all times not to do any damage.
Step 6 – Wipe the suds away
After you’re done, instead of rinsing off the soapy suds, simply wipe them away with a cloth. This is the part where it may be tempting to get it too wet, but stay patient. Keep in mind that you should be dampening the wallet and not completely wetting it.
Be as quick as possible with this part as continual exposure to water can damage the delicate leather on the wallet. When you are done, wipe all the remaining suds and pat dry.
Step 7 – Dry your wallet – the right way
Once you’ve got your wallet nice and clean, you may want to put it out in the sunlight to dry off quicker. But hold on one moment. While this may seem like a good idea in theory, it’s actually one of the most damaging things you can do to a leather wallet. The issue with drying in direct sunlight is that it can stiffen up the leather, essentially making it unusable.
Instead, place your accessory in a shaded, ventilated area and leave it to air dry for as long as needed.
Step 8 – Get the leather in the best condition
To avoid the leather seizing up on you, and to keep it nice and pliable, conditioning the leather is a must. This helps replace the natural oils in the leather, keeping it looking its best for longer.
Simply get a shoe polishing rag, and place a generous amount of conditioner onto the wallet and begin to work it it through in circular motions. This will instantly give it a nice shine and that new leather feel.
Whether you clean your leather wallet or not, try and give it a conditioning to maintain its luster and overall appearance.
To clean your leather naturally all of the above will suffice. However, if you decide to use a commercial leather cleaner, then work this in with a soft bristled brush and nothing stronger.
How to remove stains from leather wallet
There are some stains that need a specific approach, below we list some very effective ways to tackle them.
Ink: get rid of ink stains on a leather wallet with the help of alcohol. Just dampen a cotton cloth and wipe firmly (but gently) on the stain. Most pen stains will vanish very quickly with this application.
Marker pen stains: Stains from a marker pen may seem like they’re impossible to remove, but this is not the case. If your other half has some nail polish remover hanging around, you can still save that wallet. Just wipe with a cotton swab and voila! If the marker on the wallet is proving to be stubborn, place a piece of cotton soaked in acetone on the stain and leave it there for 10 minutes or so, then wipe clean.
Coffee stains: Coffee stains happen, so knock them out fast with some good old fashion lemon juice.
Blood: To remove any blood stains on a wallet, dab the area with some diluted vinegar
Grease/Fat: This is a fairly straight forward stain to remove, simply remove by dabbing with some water mixed with dishwasher detergent. Apply with a sponge and wash off with a damp cloth when you’re done.
Gum: To remove gum from a wallet, place in a freezer, after a couple of hours, remove the wallet and clean it with the edge of a spoon. Take care not to damage the leather surface.
It’s worth noting that before you try these tips to remove stains from your leather wallet, dab some on the inside of it. This way you can check how the solution reacts with the wallet without incurring any damage. If the surface doesn’t change color or shape then you can go ahead and use the stain remover for its intended purpose.
How to clean white leather wallets
In the case of cleaning a white leather wallet, you need to take special care. As elegant as these wallets look, understandably the white leather wallet gets dirty more often. But it is possible to stop it going from brilliant to dingy with a few handy tips.
As with cleaning darker leather wallets, the idea is to dampen the wallet without making it too wet. Mix Castille soap (or a fragrance free soap of your choosing) with some warm water, and a few drops of vinegar. With a cloth wipe the solution on the surfaces, and wipe off any excess soap.
For stubborn stains, did you know that petroleum can help? Petroleum jelly can soften and dissolve many stains on leather. Rub on stain in a swirling motion until it lightens and finally disappears.
Because stains don’t penetrate on leather like it does on other fabric, it’s actually possible to lift the stains off. To do this, just reach for the scotch tape. Position the wallet and put the tape over the stain, press it down hard on the stain and quickly lift away. The stain should come off, due to the tapes viscous surface. Bare in mind that this method should be used with caution, there is a chance that the fine upper layer of the leather may also come off. This is best reserved for very stubborn stains or those in less obvious places.
How to care for a leather wallet – Do’s and don’t’s
Now you know how to clean a leather wallet, it’s also good to know how to maintain it for as long as possible.
Do: Apply leather conditioner at least every 6-8 months to keep it from drying out or cracking. This also helps keep the leather resistant to any future stains. There are some decent commercial leather conditioners out there, or you can make your own with 2 parts linseed oil to 1 part vinegar mixed together. Apply this to the leather wallet, let it “sit” for around 20 minutes then buff with a cloth until it shines.
Do: deal with stains as they arrive, it’s much easier to deal with a newer stain than one that’s been there for ages.
Don’t: use bleach-based cleaners or ammonia. These both can damage the leather surface.
Don’t: use too much water. This can stain leather and cause irreversible damage
Don’t: over stuff a leather wallet as this can leave it permanently misshapen.