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How To Clean a Leather Wallet: 7 Tips & Tricks

How To Clean a Leather Wallet: 7 Tips & Tricks

Picture a wallet. Perhaps not just the wallet that you own right now but a hypothetical “ideal” of what a wallet is. The result is probably something humbly and tastefully colored — brown, black, or gray — and made from a luxe material. For many of us, that preferred, luxurious fabric is leather. 

Leather wallets, especially ones made from high-end, full grain leather, have a timeless appeal. They seemingly last forever, and thanks to a natural patina that develops over time, they often get better with age.

Something doesn’t last for years without needing a bit of attention along the way. Periodically, it becomes necessary to clean your wallet to keep it looking its best.

Below are a few simple tips and tricks to make the most of your leather wallet:

Empty the Wallet First

The first step to cleaning your wallet is to empty it entirely. We aren’t just talking about your cards and cash: The real important detail when emptying your wallet is getting rid of random particles that accumulate over time.

The best way to do this is to introduce a concentrated burst of air into the fold of your wallet. Canned air, like that used to clean keyboards, can help with this. A more DIY approach would be to simply blow into your wallet, preferably with a straw. 

Depending on whether you’re simply restoring a well-loved wallet or doing damage control, you’ll be using different materials. Some of these can leave stains on anything you typically keep in your wallet. Plus, nothing restores it quite like comprehensively cleaning it.

With this little step taken, the path is open to restoring your wallet.

Invest in Quality Cleaning Products

Plenty of stores have a variety of leather care products. However, not all of these products are created equally. If you’re buying from a shoe store, leather goods store, or another place, you can probably trust their selection. Do a little research before selecting the product to use on your leather wallet. 

By research, we really just mean doing a quick search to check reviews and general quality. Much like a top-notch leather wallet, leather cleaners and conditioners can easily stay in your possession for countless years. Note that some household products can damage leather, including baby wipes, antibacterial wipes, and cleaners with ammonia or alcohol in them. 

You don’t need to buy the most expensive luxury leather care goods, but excellence often comes with a modest cost. Spending a few extra dollars for quality that lasts for years just makes sense. 

Fight Stains Before They Set In

Accidents happen, from spilled drinks to accidental ink stains. With these, tragedy can strike your leather products at any time. If that seems melodramatic, that’s because it is. In reality, fixing stains in leather products is easy to do if you know what to do. 

Wipe First

The first step to take is to immediately wipe away the staining liquid to dry your wallet. In many cases, this can significantly reduce any damage. Don’t do anything to speed up the drying process, like use a hair drier or apply heat in any way. This can cause the leather to crack as it dries abnormally. 

Talcum Powder Technique

If your wallet is stained, there’s no need to worry. One item which can help restore your wallet is talcum powder. Talc is most commonly used in cosmetics, but it can be used to beautify leather goods as well. This helps specifically with stains from oil or grease-based sources.

Talcum can draw out grease and oil that may be staining the surface of leather. To reap the benefits, place small amounts of powder on the spots you want to treat and let it sit for several hours. Lastly, wipe it off with a dry cloth. 

Avoid applying talcum powder to wet goods or getting it wet during the cleaning process. Otherwise, it can solidify into a paste, causing further complications. 

White Vinegar

For water stains, apply white vinegar to a cotton ball or Q-tip. Rub in circular motions from the center of the stain slowly.

Tip: Try using a leather cream to help waterproof your goods

Don’t Clean It Too Often (or Too Roughly)

Cleaning your wallet is great. Cleaning it too often — is less so. When your wallet is over-cleaned, it can dry out and age prematurely. If that’s the case, some damage can be reversed through a conditioner. 

Additionally, no matter how you clean it, never get it saturated with water. Again, avoid abrasive cleaners like bleach or ammonia. When you do use soap to clean it, dilute it with water, and apply delicately with a Q-tip. In general, cleaners with either high or low pH scores, highly acidic and highly basic solutions, should be used carefully.

How much does your leather actually need to be cleaned, then? For major stains and damages, treatment should be on a case-by-case basis. Otherwise, the frequency of the treatment should depend on the coloration of the leather. 

Darker leathers can stand to only be cleaned once a year and potentially longer if their appearance remains pristine. In any case, every six months is a reasonable length of time for lighter leather goods. 

Enhance Your Leather With Leather Cream

Restoring your leather to a clean state is one thing. Improving it so that it continues to age gracefully is quite another. After you clean your wallet, let it dry completely. From there, begin to apply some leather cream or conditioner to your wallet.

First, grab your leather cream. The Andar Leather Cream is made with triple-filtered beeswax, seed oils, and naturally occurring lipids to help waterproof leather and prevent future cracks from popping up. 

Once you have the Leather Cream, bring out a clean, dedicated cloth. A clean microfiber cloth used only to clean leather can help prevent us from accidentally rubbing dirt into our wallets.

Do a little bit of conditioner at a time so as not to apply too thick a layer. There is no golden “right amount” of conditioner, so instead, judge for yourself how much you need. If your leather has recently been damaged, a slightly thicker layer may be helpful.

Otherwise, leather conditioner is a nice add-on to naturally improve the luster, feel, and longevity of your wallet. 

Opt for Full Grain Leather 

High-quality leather means a much longer lifespan. However, the different types of leather around can create a bit of confusion. For example, “top grain” leather isn’t actually the top in terms of quality. 

At the bottom, we have bonded leather. These are basically scraps and pieces of leather sewn or “bonded” together to create a single product. Next is corrected grain, which, while being of a uniform creation, has been severely altered, hence the “corrected” grain.

Top grain gets its name from being from the outermost layer of leather. The pinnacle, and Andar’s personal favorite in our designs, is full grain leather. This is made from the outermost layer of leather fabric and is nearly unadulterated. The result is a high-end, natural product that goes toe-to-toe with any synthetic fabric

Use These Tips and Tricks to Take Care of All Leather Goods

The fact that a leather wallet carries cash creates its function. On the other hand, everything to do with its style, its performance, and ultimately, its care comes down to the material. Leather lasts for years and manages to be rugged, utilitarian, and sophisticated at once. This is the case whether we are discussing wallets, device cases, or anything else.

The same tips that help your leather wallets apply to all Andar leather goods. With these, anything you take on the go with you can have its lifespan expanded and its aesthetics improved. Put them in place, and see the difference yourself.


Talc | FDA

Selection and Use of Home Cleaning Products | New Mexico State University

Take extra care when using canned air | Safety+Health magazine

How to Care for and Clean a Leather Purse | The Spruce