How to Clean a Leather Wallet? Read This First!

So you have a new leather wallet, and you want to make sure you take care of it in the best way possible. You’ve come to the right place!

In this article, we’ll discuss exactly how to wash and maintain your leather wallet, as well as how to clean any unwanted stains.

Different Types of Leather Wallets

It seems like every day there is a new type of leather wallet claiming to be the best and most ‘user-friendly’. Things can get overwhelming when you’re in the market for a new wallet, so we’ve compiled a list of 3 different leather wallets for you.

The Bi-Fold Wallet

The bi-fold wallet is used by most men across the world due to its basic yet effective design. You can close it by folding in half and when opened it has two sections.

This wallet is slim and easy to carry around as it fits in most men’s pockets. Usually, a bi-fold wallet is made of leather or synthetic materials.

Fossil - Derrick RFID Large Coin Pocket Bifold

This fabric is made from post-consumer water bottles that have been converted to a resin that is texturized into a yarn.

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The Tri-Fold Wallet

A tri-fold is an adaptation of the bi-fold, but rather than two sections it has three. 

This wallet is ideal for men who need more space than a standard bi-fold wallet. Usually, a tri-fold wallet has more card compartments and extra space to keep important receipts.

A tri-fold has plenty of room that can easily be over-stuffed with anything and everything. 

Levi's Men's Trifold Leather Wallet

Money man. This men's Levi's wallet features ample storage space for cards and cash. RFID-blocking technology helps protect against identity theft.

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Slim Wallet / Card Wallet 

Paper money is not as necessary as it was 20 years ago, as 99% of transactions are now made online or with cards. Slim wallets are designed for men who do not want a carry around a bulky wallet or who do not need to have too many items with them.

Ekster Parliament

A premium leather smart wallet, perfect for slim storage and quick card access. The built-in aluminum cardholder fans out your cards at the click of a button and protects them against skimming. Holds 1-12 cards and bills.

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Different Types of Leather

The production of wallets include several materials, including:

  • Full-grain leather: The highest quality leather that is unprocessed and unsanded. These wallets are very sturdy and also age beautifully
  • Top grain leather: This wallet is sanded while looking and feeling luxurious. The leather is thinner than full-grain leather and does not stain easily
  • Genuine leather: This is the leather that is left over after the top layers are split off. These wallets are easy to work with, lightweight, and breathable
  • Suede leather: This leather is brushed to give it a unique look and feel

Can You Wash a Leather Wallet?

You can, and should, wash your leather wallet! 

Cleaning your wallet halts the build-up of dust and debris and maintains the leather for longer.

You should never throw your leather in the washing machine – not even in the delicate setting. The constant thrashing around in the machine can damage the leather of your wallet. We recommend hand washing.

You should not use baby wipes or any other alkaline clears to wipe off stains on your leather wallet, rather use a dry paper towel. Remember to wipe off the stains as soon as possible, preferably while it’s still moist to make sure your leather doesn’t get damaged.

How Do You Deep Clean a Leather Wallet?

Washing your leather wallet can be intimidating, but luckily you can follow a few simple tips.


Remove all the cards, coins, and receipts, and make sure that your wallet is completely empty.


Use a straw to blow out any dust, dirt, or lint that could be stuck in the corners of the interior.

Use a dry cloth to wipe down the outside of your wallet to remove any dust that might have built up.

If you have any dried stains like ink you can mix one-part water with one part rubbing alcohol (or nail polish remover), dap it onto a paper towel, and softly dab the stain on the leather. Alternatively, you can use a cotton swab to clean the stain.

If you get grease on your wallet, use a damp cloth and a small amount of talcum powder.

When handwashing your wallet you should use a soft cloth. Mix warm water with saddle soap or a leather cleaner. Dap the cleaner/soap and water mix onto your wallet to clean and moisturize the leather at the same time.

If you do not have saddle soap or leather cleaner on hand, you can use baby shampoo or any unscented soap.


After thoroughly washing your leather wallet, rinse off all the remaining suds with warm water. 

Use a clean cloth to dab any excess water and leave your wallet to dry completely.

You should not leave your wallet to dry in direct sunlight or a high heat source, which can cause your leather to stiffen.

How Do you Maintain a Leather Wallet?

As leather products become older, the leather becomes dry and brittle. A way to prolong the life of your leather is to condition the wallet regularly, this adds moisture and natural oils back into the leather.

You can purchase an all-purpose leather conditioner or leather moisturizer to maintain your leather wallet.

Apply a small amount of conditioner onto a clean cloth and first wipe a very small area of your wallet. Conditioning is known to slightly change the color of your wallet, so be aware that the color might change.

Gently wipe the cloth with the conditioner over your entire leather wallet, inside and out. 

It’s recommended to wash your wallet every 6 months and condition your wallet every two months. In between cleaning and conditioning, you should wipe off your wallet once a week

How to Clean a Leather Wallet Without Leather Cleaner

If you do not have any leather clean or saddle soap at home, you can still wash your leather wallet with water and mild soap, i.e. baby shampoo or unscented soap. We do recommend purchasing a leather conditioner to extend the lifespan of your leather.

This should clean any dirt and debris from your leather but it might not be strong enough to clean dry stains. Of course, you should always try to remove fresh stains as soon as possible with a clean and dry cloth. 

We do have some home remedies for leather stains that you can try including toothpaste, but that’s not the best.

Water Stain

Although water might seem harmless, it does leave a stain on leather so you should immediately pat the liquid with a dry cloth.

Do not use a hairdryer or place your wallet in the direct sunlight attempting to speed up the drying process. A high heat source causes leather to stiffen and will make your wallet unusable.

Place your wallet indoors and wait for the water stain to dry, then gently condition the surface of the leather.

Ink/Grease Stain

If you spill any ink or grease on your leather wallet, immediately use a clean cloth to remove as much of the liquid as possible.

If the stain has dried into the leather, mix one part water and one part rubbing alcohol or nail polish remover. Use a cotton swab to gently dab over the stain until it is removed.

Wipe off the surface again with a dry clean cloth.


How to Clean a Leather Wallet?

  1. Remove all the coins, cards, and receipts from your wallet
  2. Use a straw to blow out any dust or debris
  3. Use a dry cloth to wipe off any dust or dirt from the exterior of your wallet
  4. Mix water with a leather cleaner and lightly dab over the leather, inside and outside
  5. Use a cloth dipped in warm water to wipe off any excess suds
  6. Let the wallet air dry, but do not place it in direct sunlight or use a high heat source 

What Are The Different Types of Leather Wallets?

There are four main types of leather materials:

  1. Full-grain leather
  2. Top-grain leather
  3. Genuine leather
  4. Suede leather

Among the many types of leather wallets, the most common are:

  1. Bi-fold leather wallet
  2. Tri-fold leather wallet
  3. Slim / card leather wallet

Can You Wash a Leather Wallet?

Yes, you can wash a leather wallet but you should not throw it in the washing machine. Hand wash with a leather cleaner and water or using baby shampoo and water.

How to Maintain a Leather Wallet?

You should wash your leather wallet every 6 months and condition it every 2 months. 

Wiping down the wallet with a clean cloth every week also helps to prevent dust from building on the surface of your wallet.

How to Clean a Leather Wallet Without a Leather Cleaner?

To clean a leather wallet without leather cleaner you can use baby shampoo or unscented soap mixed with water.


We hope this guide on how to clean a leather wallet will be helpful. You should be confident in your ability to take proper care of your leather and wallet and rest assured that you will be able to extend the lifetime of your wallet drastically.

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