Leather Care - How To Clean A Genuine Leather Wallet

Do your quality leather goods really last forever? Would you prefer Kangaroo leather over Cowhide leather? Which of these leather wallets is going to be best for a gift? These are some of the questions we see all the time from our Harrisson Australia customers, but there are some questions that aren’t asked until years later when it might be too late. That’s right, we’re talking about leather maintenance that keeps your leather wallets soft and striking for years to come.

How do I clean a leather wallet?

Leather is a material that people seek out over all else, and this is largely due to the durable nature of genuine leather. Leather is a skin and like our own, it changes with age but ultimately lasts the decades and will always offer a soft touch and clean look… if you are prepared to put in the effort to maintain this skin like you would your own. Those who neglect their leather wallets might feel that the colour appears duller and loses that shine that you see in fine leathers. If this sounds like the wallet in your back pocket, it doesn’t have to stay like this. So, how do I clean a leather wallet?

Leather conditioner

A leather conditioner is a thick cream that you should be applying to your leather wallets every six months or so. Using a microfibre cloth, you want to apply a small amount of leather conditioner to the cloth and wipe the leather in straight motions. More cream will not yield a cleaner wallet, it will only make it wetter in parts so don’t overdo it. Be sparing with the leather conditioner and don’t rub the cloth over the same stretch of leather over and over. If you haven’t done this before, you are going to see a big change, and the more vigil you are with it in cleaning it every six months - there will be less grime that comes off and more shine coming through. Be sure to let your leather wallet dry somewhere after you are done, and there is no need to wash your cloth if it is big enough to fit this bi-annual clean.

Ok, so where do you get a great leather conditioner to clean your leather wallet? We don’t yet offer this product here at Harrisson Australia, but we can recommend the leather conditioners from Oroton, RM Williams and Leather Honey to name a few. 

Cleaning a stain

It can be a real shame to spot a stain on your leather wallet, especially when the culprit is an agent that will not come out easily. Before you clean the wallet, inspect the stain to ensure that is it marked on the leather and not just sitting on the surface. Then, you want to use a damp (but not overly wet) cloth to wipe the stain with a medium strength wipe. This will likely help the stain get lighter but it won’t remove it, so we are going to use our leather conditioner once again. Use a sparing amount to localise that area, moving in a soft circle or straight motion. Spend a bit of time on this until you start to see the stain fade away.

Don’t be afraid to use more leather conditioner in this spot than what you do in your routine clean, as leather conditioner retains leather texture and colours - but works to strip the unwanted agents that cling to the material. That said, test a corner on the inside of your wallet before trying any new conditioner on your entire leather wallet - as you want to be sure that it doesn’t have a poor effect on the wallet.

How to dry a leather wallet?

We have all been guilty of putting our wallets through the wash or having them get wet when we or our belongings are caught in the rain. This should worry people who have faux leather wallets, but those with genuine leather should be just fine. So, how do you dry a leather wallet?

Wipe and dry naturally

Let’s remember again that leather is like a skin, and so not surprisingly the best practice is to wipe the water and leave it somewhere room-temperature to dry. You are going to have to fight the urge to put it next to a heater or use a hairdryer because this drying process has to happen naturally. It is also a good idea to keep your plastic cards in their sleeves to keep the shape of your wallet and have it drying in the position you want it to be naturally (just like when you hang something on the line and it dries in that shape, or when you sleep on a crushed pillow and wake with a mark). 

Leave it longer than you think it needs to dry, as the leather has layers and just because the moisture has been expelled from the surface, doesn’t mean it’s not making its way through the skin collagen. When you are sure that it’s drying well, you can then treat your leather wallet to a healthy amount of conditioner, again letting it absorb into the skin. This is an important step as the water will have stripped the oils of the leather that keep it safe and protected.

Water-resistant leather spray

We can’t overstate how important it is to spray your leather wallets (and bags and shoes while you are at it) with a water-resistant leather spray to protect against those moments you don’t see coming. These are not an expensive purchase, and you can find them at most quality leather stores - but tell them you wish to use it for your wallet just in case their offering is for shoes, couches or anything in particular. Remember, this is a pre-emptive measure and can be sprayed on a wet wallet.

Your wallet will only need this spray maybe once a year (much more for bags and shoes), and you can do so by holding the water-resistant spray can 30cm from your wallet and ensuing the entire surface has been sprayed with one layer. It’s a bit of a strong smell, but you will come to associate that smell with a clean and safe wallet, so don’t worry too much!

Hopefully, now you feel equipped to care for your Harrisson Australia quality leather goods, and can enjoy these beautiful Australian leather pieces for many years to come. If you have any questions about leather care or a specific product, contact us online. Alternatively, you can see what we are up to on our Facebook page and chat with us there.