Simple and Effective Tips on How to Clean a Leather Wallet

By John Cruz

You need to learn how to clean a leather wallet in order to keep it looking its best.

Not only will your wallet look great for many years to come, but it will last and make you more confident.

Being that it’s leather, it’s only normal to use and abuse it without thinking about cleaning it.

That is, until someone tells you how disgustingly gross your wallet looks.

Or, you finally see that your wallet does not look anything close to what it used to be.

Over time, dirt and oils will build up (because that’s what they do), causing your wallet to look awful.

Following a few simple steps, you can easily clean your leather wallet and keep it in tip-top shape.

How to Clean a Leather Wallet


The first step in cleaning a leather wallet is to remove any of the obvious stuff that can be removed.

IE, dirt and gunk that can be scraped off with a fingernail or toothpick.

You can do this by wiping the surface of the wallet with a clean cloth.

Preferably one that will not ruin your wallet.

Be sure to pay special attention to any crevices or folds in the leather where dirt may have accumulated.

That’s where the toothpick comes in handy.

Next, you’ll want to apply a leather cleaner to the surface of the wallet.

There are many different types of leather cleaners available, so be sure to choose one that is specifically designed for use on leather wallets.

Apply the cleaner to a cloth and gently rub it into the surface of the leather.

Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully, as some cleaners may require a certain amount of time to dry before you can wipe them off.

Understanding Different Types of Leather


If you want to learn how to clean a leather wallet, you need to understand what type of leather you are dealing with.

Different types of leather require different cleaning methods and products.

Here are some common types of leather and what makes them the leather they are:

Full-Grain Leather

Full-grain leather is the best leather you can find.

It’s made from the top layer of the hide, which is the most durable and strongest part of the hide.

This type of leather has a natural grain pattern and is often used in high-end products like luxury wallets.

Full-grain leather is also water-resistant and can withstand the everyday wear and tear that comes with life.

Top-Grain Leather

Top-grain leather comes in second place to full-grain leather.

It’s made from the top layer of the hide, but it’s broken down by some sanding and buffing to remove any imperfections.

That is what makes this type of leather smoother and more sleek in appearance, compared to full-grain leather.

It’s also worth noting that top-grain leather is also more affordable than full-grain leather.

Split Leather

Split leather is made from the bottom layer of the hide, which makes it less durable than the top layer.

This type of leather is often used in lower-end products, like the more cheaper wallets you see everyone flaunting.

Being more affordable does come with a price and that is the fact that it is easier to get damaged from water and normal wear and tear.

Bonded Leather

Bonded leather is not actually leather.

It’s made from scraps of leather that are bonded together with adhesive and then coated with a layer of polyurethane.

This is the type of leather that you would find in even cheaper wallets.

It’s not as durable as real leather and can easily crack and peel in a short period of time.

Most of you will know this type of leather as “pleather.”

By understanding the different types of leather, you can decide what products to use and how to go about cleaning your wallet.

Gathering Cleaning Supplies


Before you do any type of cleaning, you will need to get the necessary supplies together.

In this case, it’s not going to be more than a few things, so don’t think you’re going to need some fancy pants items.

Here are the two simple things you’ll need:

Choosing a Leather Cleaner

Choosing the right leather cleaner is definitely a critical part of the cleaning process.

I mean, with only two things needed to clean a leather wallet, you best get it right.

Simply put, avoid using anything crazy.

Don’t be like me and use Windex to clean my TV and iMac.

Pretty much anything that contains alcohol should not be used as it can damage the leather.

Instead, get the products designed for the job.

  • Leather Honey Leather Cleaner: This cleaner is made from natural ingredients and is safe for all types of leather.
  • Chamberlain’s Leather Milk: This cleaner is a gentle, pH-balanced formula perfect for cleaning leather wallets.
  • Lexol Leather Cleaner: This cleaner is designed to remove dirt and grime from leather surfaces without drying them out.

Selecting a Soft Cloth

Yeah, I know, this almost sounds like a joke.

But it’s actually important.

Once you have chosen your leather cleaner, you will need to find a soft cloth to clean your wallet.

Avoid using rough or abrasive materials, as obviously, they can scratch the leather.

Instead, look for a soft, lint-free cloth, such as a microfiber cloth or an old t-shirt.

In summary, you simply need the right cleaning solution and a good old rag..

Choose a leather cleaner that is designed for cleaning leather and avoid using harsh chemicals or anything with alcohol.

Use good judgment, and use something like microfiber that is gentle on the leather and won’t scratch it.

Before You Clean Your Wallet


Before any cleaning is done, there are a few pre-cleaning steps that you should take to prepare your wallet for cleaning.

These steps will help you clean your wallet the best as well as avoid damaging your wallet during the cleaning process.

Emptying the Wallet

The first step in cleaning your leather wallet is to empty it completely.

I mean, everything like cash, loyalty and rewards cards, and your driver’s license where you weighed 50lbs less.

This will allow you to clean your entire wallet without damaging any of your personal items.

Dusting Off Surface Dirt

Once your wallet is empty, the next step is to dust off any visual dirt that has literally grown on the leather.

You can use a soft-bristled brush or a clean, dry cloth to gently wipe away any dirt or dust that may be present.

Don’t forget about those crevices as they will hold the most gunk.

By following these pre-cleaning steps, you can ensure that your leather wallet is ready for battle.

This will help your wallet stay in great shape to withstand the test of time.

Applying the Leather Cleaner


If you want to know how to clean a leather wallet, you definitely need to know how to choose the right cleaner.

Leather cleaners are designed for the job as they can do so without damaging whatever it is you are cleaning.

Here are the steps on how to apply leather cleaner:

Testing the Cleaner

Before you start cleaning everything, you want to test the cleaner on a small area that is not so visible.

This will show you if the cleaner is safe or not.

You want to apply a small amount of the solution to a more hidden area of your wallet, like the inside of the flap or even the back of your wallet.

Give it a few minutes and then wipe it off with a clean cloth.

Inspect the area and see if there is any discoloration or any possible cracking.

If there aren’t any, you can now clean the rest of your wallet.

Cleaning the Wallet

To understand more about how to clean a leather wallet, follow these steps:

  1. Remove any loose dirt or debris with a soft-bristled brush or clean, dry cloth.
  2. Apply a small amount of leather cleaner to a clean, damp cloth. Be sure to read the instructions on the cleaner and follow them carefully.
  3. Gently rub the cloth over the surface of the wallet, working in small sections at a time. Be sure to apply the cleaner evenly and avoid using too much.
  4. Use a clean, damp cloth to wipe away any excess cleaner. Ensure to remove all of the cleaning solution from the wallet.
  5. Allow the wallet to air dry completely before using it again.

By following these simple steps on how to clean a leather wallet, you can keep it looking great for years to come.

Post-Cleaning Care


After cleaning your leather wallet, it’s important to remember how it felt to clean your wallet.

Sometimes we get too busy and whatnot, but treat your leather wallet with care and as if it were new.

For further care, here are two important steps to take:

Dry Your Wallet

After cleaning your leather wallet, it’s important to let it dry completely

I know we tend to get impatient, but leave the hairdryer to the women or you’ll end up needing to buy a new wallet.

Instead of rushing to get it dry with a hairdryer, let it air dry right in the room you cleaned it in.

Just put it on a clean cloth or some paper and let them absorb some of the moisture.

Check back on your wallet in a few hours and it should be ready to go.

Applying Leather Conditioner

Once your wallet is dry (completely) now is the time to put some leather conditioner.

This will help it to withstand the elements and remain soft.

Treat it like a car and maybe you’ll put a little more love into your wallet.

To apply the conditioner, simply follow these steps:

  1. Apply a small amount of leather conditioner to a clean, soft cloth.
  2. Gently rub the conditioner into the leather, using circular motions.
  3. Be sure to cover the entire surface of the wallet, including the edges and any seams.
  4. Let the conditioner soak into the leather for a few minutes.
  5. Use a clean, dry cloth to buff away any excess conditioner.

This should only be done every so often or when you feel it is needed.

Make sure you choose the right conditioner and, again, avoid any products that contain chemicals or alcohol.

Wallet Maintenance


Regular Cleaning

Like every other cool man gear you have in your EDC, you need to maintain your wallet if you want it to look great and last longer.

The basic cleaning should consist of a nice wipe down on your wallet’s surface.

Empty everything out every now and then and get rid of the crumbs and useless receipts and whatnot.

If your wallet comes across any stains, that good old cloth will need to work again.

Like everything else, gentle rubbing of the cleaner will do.

From there, follow the drying instructions.

Storing Properly

My wallet goes in a few places and that’s about it.

If it’s not in my pocket, it’s on the shelf in my house or the center console in one of our cars.

These places might not be the best place to store a leather wallet, so consider somewhere nice and cool, dry, and away from direct sunlight.

Don’t store it in any types of containers or your wallet will dry out and eventually crack.

If you have a Bellroy travel wallet or something, you might want to store it in a cloth or bag to protect it from the elements.

Eventually we will acquire all kinds of cards and other junk, but you still want to avoid overstuffing your wallet.

If you find this happening, you might want to carry a bag to put it in.

And, yes, manbags are in.

Conclusion – Now You Know How to Clean a Leather Wallet

Leather is not your ordinary material and it requires special attention.

Wallets come in and out of your pockets and EDC bags, so remember that they will need some maintenance over the period of just a few months.

Consider buying an EDC bag if you haven’t already as they will definitely help with this modern world we live in.

Besides that, I hope you learned how to clean a leather wallet and are able to remember how it’s done for future use.

Thanks for reading and don’t forget to subscribe to receive cool man things sent to your inbox.

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