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How Do I Care For My Leather Wallet?

A leather wallet has a certain appeal—a certain attraction—that other wallets don’t have. Of course, there are the innate qualities of leather to help a leather wallet really stand out against other kinds of material. Leather is tough, and can last a long time if properly cared for. Leather has a uniquely natural smell and feel.

black cared for leather

Keep your leather looking beautiful with the correct care.

Quality leather is simply a signal to others that you respect the leather, and that you care enough to use the best you can get your hands on. This becomes especially true in a wallet. When you could spend $10 on a cheaper wallet, having a quality leather wallet shows that you are a person of taste.

However, keeping your leather wallet in top shape does take some work. Since leather is a natural material, it is perfectly capable of deteriorating. Think about the abuse you put your wallet through every day. It’s stuck in your pocket—an often dark, warm, maybe even damp location. Wallets can be thoroughly abused through common use and expose to various environments. This is more than enough to wear down even the best leather wallets.

A simple, regular cleaning can be a great first step in maintaining your leather wallet. This will remove the everyday grime and stains that may pile up on your wallet. Luckily, cleaning a leather wallet is perfectly easy.

First, you must remove any major stains to the leather. If the stain isn’t deeply set-in, you can simply dab it out by hand with a dry paper towel. However, if the stain is particularly stubborn, you can use a bit of rubbing alcohol on the paper towel to help remove the stain. If you happen to get a bit of grease on your leather wallet, that can be remove with a slightly dampened paper towel and some talcum powder.

Next, you must move on to hand-washing your leather wallet. It is very important that you hand-wash your wallet, as washing machines can damage your wallet through excessive motion. The best solution to wash your wallet in is a mix of warm water and a gentle soap, like baby shampoo or any unscented soaps. Mix the soap in the water, and then wash your leather wallet by hand using a soft cleaning cloth. If lather builds up on your wallet as you wash, that’s fine. You can simply wipe it away with a second, clean cloth.

Once you have washed the leather wallet sufficiently, you can rinse it off under warm water making sure to wipe away any remaining suds. Then, make sure to pat your wallet dry so that no excess water remains on it.

Finally, leave your wallet to dry but keep it away from any strong heat sources. This will ensure your wallet is fully dry when you next use it, but it doesn’t end up stiff and unusable.

Aside from cleaning, regular leather conditioning will also help maintain the quality of your wallet. This is important, since it replaces the natural oils the leather loses over time due to exposure and use. If you fail to condition your leather wallet at least every six months or so, it will become stiff, dry, and unattractive. It should be noted, however, that cheap leather doesn’t really benefit from conditioning, as it is not high enough quality to begin with.

To condition your leather wallet, you simply need to purchase and apply a leather conditioner available commercially. There are plenty of leather conditioners out there to choose from, so make sure to read their descriptions and specific applications, and pick a conditioner that is best for you. A popular all-purpose leather conditioner is Chamberlain’s Leather Milk No. 1 which regularly retails for around $20-$25 for 8 oz. (available here)

Chamberlain's Leather Milk 8oz Leather Care Liniment Conditioner No. 1

Once you have your conditioner, apply it to a high quality polishing cloth, and then buff the conditioner into the leather using the cloth (Chamberlains leather milk comes with an applicator, otherwise a fine lint free cloth rag is OK). Be sure to go light on the amount of conditioner you use, as you will get a better result out of multiple, small conditioning rather than one, big conditioning. You wont need much. Use a clean cloth to remove any excess conditioner.

By following the steps detailed here, your leather wallet can stay as high quality as it was on the day you bought it. Your wallet will stay extra attractive, and it will stay around for a much longer time than a completely un-cared-for wallet. If you keep up regular maintenance and cleanings for you leather wallet, it will develop a lovely patina, furthering the beauty of your wallet and further signaling to others that you truly care about the quality of your possessions.


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We hope this leather wallet care information has helped you. Thanks for reading.

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2 Responses to How Do I Care For My Leather Wallet?

  1. Margaret Ann August 3, 2015 at 6:10 am #

    This a great info on how to take good care of your leather things. I’ll try this out. Thank you.

  2. Patrick August 25, 2015 at 2:22 pm #

    Taking good care of your wallet is good, but if you have been using it for quite sometime why not buy a new one. Buy and keep the old one instead.

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