How to Clean Leather Wallet? - Cardinal Wallets

How to Clean Leather Wallet (A Quick & Easy Guide)

When it's time to clean a leather wallet, you may worry about doing it properly. 

In fact, you may even wonder if it's possible to clean your leather wallet without ruining it. This guide can help you clean it safely and quickly.

Why a Wallet Gets Dirty

Leather is porous and soft, so it absorbs natural oils and moisture from surfaces. Your skin is the primary reason your wallet gets dirty. The oil from your palms gets absorbed into the grains, but that helps your leather wallet stay supple.

Still, the oil attracts dirt particles, causing the leather to lose its shine and colour.

Can You Clean Leather Wallets?

Yes, you can, but it's best to avoid things like baby wipes and nail polish remover because those could cause damage to your wallet, making it unusable. They contain chemicals which dry out the leather your wallet is made out of.

There are certain steps you need to follow to properly clean a leather wallet, and they’re listed below.

5 Tips for Cleaning Leather Wallets

1. Empty the Entire Wallet

empty leather wallet

Remove everything from the entire leather wallet, including money and cards. While you’re at it, now is also a great time to throw away expired coupons and receipts. Consider it a part of the cleaning process and you’ll be able to enjoy your wallet even more after you’re done.

[Related: How Many Bills Should a Compact Wallet Hold?]

2. Identify the Stain Type

old brown leather wallet

Determine what stains are on the wallet to see what you should do. You can use a dry paper towel or soft cloth, or a soft brush to brush away dirt. For stubborn dirt, you might need a slightly damp soft cloth to get the job done. Never use an abrasive or rough cloth to clean your leather wallet.

Grain leather often develops a patina in the corners and around the edges. That happens when it ages, but it's not necessarily a bad thing! In fact, it adds character to the leather and showcases its high quality.

3. Use a Leather Cleaner

If you want a perfectly-cleaned leather wallet, that requires using saddle soap or another specially-formulated leather cleaner. 

If you’re using saddle soap, get a dry cloth or a soft brush and slightly dampen it with warm water. Add the saddle soap and allow a lather to form. Apply the saddle soap to the leather, making small circles, and wipe it off with a clean, dry cloth afterward. 

There are specifically designed leather cleaner products available, also. To use these, follow the instructions on the container. Often, leather cleaners can be sprayed onto a dry cloth and require no water whatsoever. Spray-on leather cleaners are a good option, especially if you have a grease stain, since using water on a grease stain only serves to spread the grease.

Gently rub without applying too much pressure, and soon your wallet will look like new.

4. Let It Air Dry

Once you've finished cleaning your wallet, you should let it air dry without putting it in direct sunlight.

Wrap the wallet in a clean cloth, tissue paper, or a paper towel. Keep it in a well-ventilated area for about 12 hours.

5. Use Leather Conditioner

Take a soft cloth and natural leather cream to the wallet leather, restoring its shine and improving the water-repellant nature of the leather.


How Do You Clean a Luxury Leather Wallet?

The cleaning process is similar for luxury and lower-quality wallets. It’s best to surface-wash your wallet, and you should only use warm water, if any. Here are the steps you should take:

  • Remove everything from the wallet.
  • Wipe off dust/debris.
  • Use a leather cleaner or saddle soap and water to deep clean your leather wallet
  • Clean in a circular motion.
  • Let it air dry (wipe with a clean, dry cloth first if using saddle soap).
  • Condition it.

How Do You Clean a Dirty Wallet?

Your skin produces the oil that makes your wallet look dirty. Using a cleaning cloth, you can shake talcum powder on the outer layer to absorb some of that, and then use a dry cloth to wipe it off. Just be aware that you should condition your wallet immediately afterward since talcum powder can dry out the leather. 

Otherwise, follow the steps above for all of your leather items.

How Do You Maintain a Leather Wallet?

brown leather wallet, mobile phone, and cup of iced coffee

Make sure to clean the leather wallet about every six months and use conditioner every two months. If it sees everyday use, wipe it with a cloth each week to prevent the build-up of dust and grime.

How Do You Clean Genuine Leather?

Cleaning your leather wallet is easy when you use the steps above!

Keep Your Leather Wallet Clean With Our Tips!

cardinal wallets black leather wallet

If you aren't ready to buy a new wallet, it’s a good idea to properly care for what you have already. It's best to keep your wallet dry and free from dust particles. Baby shampoo, rubbing alcohol, and other products aren’t ideal, since they dry out the leather. Avoid using alkaline cleaners on your leather, too. 

Clean your wallet regularly to avoid issues and help it keep its original shape. 

If you're ready for something new, Cardinal Wallets has many high-quality leather products available. Take a look at our shop if you’d like to get your hands on a new, colourful minimalist wallet!

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