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How To Clean a Leather Wallet

A leather wallet is the perfect accessory. They’ve been around for centuries and will continue to exist as long as there are people who want to carry their cards and cash with them. 

Just because we take care of them well, doesn’t mean they can’t get dirty. Cleaning a leather wallet is easy and doesn't require much time at all. 

With the right materials, you can give your wallet a new life without spending too much money or effort. You'll be able to use it for many years down the road. Read on for all the information you need to know about how to clean a leather wallet!

Using A Saddle Soap Is Best for Cleaning Leather

What Is A Saddle Soap?

The unique scent and look of leather will have you tempted to use a typical soap. However, there is an alternative option: saddle soap. It has a subtle woodsy aroma and is made with extracts from trees such as cedar, birch and juniper.

Wipe Your Leather Down With a Wet Cloth First

The first thing you’ll want to do is get your saddle soap out of the bathroom and into your hands. This is your best bet. If you happen to be reading this article, chances are you don’t have any saddle soap on your kitchen counter right now. 

In that case, check your cupboard in the bathroom. If you’re lucky enough to have some, make sure you put it in a lidded jar.

Get a Bit of Saddle Soap Onto a Lint-Free Cloth

Rub a small amount of saddle soap onto the cloth. Using A Soft Glove: Once you've rubbed the soap into the wallet, work the soap into the cloth until you can't see any further.

Once you've rubbed the soap into the wallet, work the soap into the cloth until you can't see any further.

Go With the Grain, Not Against it

Always clean your wallet by rubbing in the saddle soap along the grain of the leather. This basically means that when you rub against the leather, it should feel very smooth, as if you are rubbing against a smooth groove. 

A Cotton Swab Is Great for Cleaning Deep Stains

For dirty areas that are difficult to get clean, try using a cotton swab instead. A swab with saddle soap on it will easily help to remove the most stubborn stains. 

Just be sure to use a circular motion on the stain. This will help to spread the stain out so it can be wiped away.  

Put the Wallet Inside of a Dry Towel for at Least 10 Hours

After cleaning your wallet, the best solution is to let it dry completely. 10 hours is normally enough time for the leather to dry, as the saddle soap will completely absorb and remove grease, dirt and oil. After using this method, your wallet should still be as clean as when you got it.

Using a Leather Cleaner

There are many reasons why you want to keep your wallet in good shape, but a key one is that you want to be able to use it for a long time. Every day you're carrying around your wallet, chances are that it is going to be touching your keys, ID cards, bills, and receipts.

Use Some Commercial Leather Cleaner On the Wallet

Commercial leather cleaners are great for thoroughly getting any leather surface extra clean. Simply spray osme cleaner onto the wallet. Let the cleaner soak into the material for a minimum of 30 seconds.

Use a Stiff-Bristled Toothbrush

Scrub the wallet with a stiff-bristled toothbrush and then wipe down with a soft-bristled leather scrubber. Cleaning in small circles, make sure you scrub the wallet hard enough to remove any stains. You don’t want to have to scrub again after you put all the products away.

Clean the Inside of Your Wallet

Open your wallet and lay it out in front of you with the inside facing up towards you.

Repeat the steps above to clean the inside of the wallet the same way you did the outside. Be sure to use caution with any seams so they don’t unravel

Be Sure To Use a Clean Cloth To Wipe the Cleaner Off of the Wallet

When your leather wallet gets all beat up and you're just not ready to deal with the damage, you can always wipe the cleaner off with a clean cloth. Don’t use water as this will just dilute the cleaner and make the stains darker. 

Note: Use a good microcloth, NOT just some paper towels lying around.

Let the Wallet Air Dry

Allowing the wallet to air dry completely overnight will help the wallet to prevent future staining so easily. Make sure the leather wallet is completely dry, not damp, before using.

Time to Condition Your Leather Wallet

Next, it’s time to condition your wallet. This is absolutely critical to keeping your leather in as great a shape as possible. 

Get Some Leather Conditioner Onto a Clean Cloth

Using a microcloth, go ahead and get some conditioner onto it. Use a small amount, as a little conditioner will go a long way.

Apply the Conditioner Using Small Circular Motions

Take your time when conditioning your leather. Small circular motions alway work better on leather. Be sure to let the conditioner soak into the leather well, repeating this step as many times as you need to.

Buff the Wallet to a Shine

Again, use a micro cloth towel for this application. It’s lint free and buffs extremely well. 

Prolonging the Life of Your Wallet

Try Not to Overstuff Your Wallet

Here’s one of the main causes of a dirty wallet: too much stuff stuffed in it. When you grab your wallet on the go, it’s likely that you’ll quickly realize that it’s too full. Your hands might be full, and you might not want to rummage through your wallet for your ID or your cash.

This is a common issue that doesn’t have a lot of solutions. We can only suggest that you don’t stuff your wallet too full.

Don’t Sit on Your Wallet, Try This Instead

Although we know the majority of folks always put their wallets in the back pants pocket, there are other designs which might help to prolong the life of the leather. Consider a slim wallet that can be stored in the front of your outfit. 

Something like a front pocket of a blazer, jacket or shirt might be just what the wallet doctor ordered.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is a Natural Cleaner for Leather?

Water and rubbing alcohol are the most common natural cleaners for leather. In general, you'll find organic, natural soaps for leather to be slightly more effective than regular soap, but not by much. 

For liquid products, use a soft brush or soft cloth to clean away any dirt or dirt debris. Rinse your wallet after each cleaning and dry it with a clean, soft rag.

If you're still having issues after a few cleanings, switch to a white or unscented dry cleaner (only) to clean away the unwanted impurities. Always make sure your wallet is bone dry before storing your leather wallet to avoid damage from the chemicals in the cleaners.

Is Coconut Oil Good for Leather?

Leather is an animal product. It’s full of natural oils and, with time, some oils can get on your leather, making it unhealthy. If you want to care for your wallet, it’s important that you remove any oil from the leather. Coconut oil is a popular option for this because it’s cheap and readily available.

Coconut oil works by absorbing excess oil on your wallet from animal fats, like lard. As a result, the leather will be clean and odor free. Because coconut oil works so well, it’s one of the best options for a wallet cleaning procedure.


We hope you enjoyed our review article on how to clean a leather wallet as much as we enjoyed writing it. Now you should know how to prep, clean and condition your wallet to prolong its life. It’s safe, easy and pretty quick. 

Let us know how it works out for you. Happy Leather Wallet Cleaning!