The Belt is among the accessories we regularly wear, so it needs regular cleaning and care. The frequency of cleaning depends upon the usage of the Belt. If a good quality leather belt is properly cleaned, cared for, and maintained, it can last up to 10 years or more. The following method is the answer to the question “how to clean leather belt”, this process is not recommended for other materials.
Four Reasons to Clean a Leather Belt (Bag, Wallet, Watch Strap, etc.)
Appearance: Regular use of a leather belt (bag, wallet, strap, shoes, etc.) catches dirt and stains, which affects its overall appearance. Hence regular cleaning helps maintain its overall appearance, and it goes well with the test of time.
Durability: Leather is a natural material with small pores on its surface that get affected by dirt, sweat, and skin oil, and if not cleaned, it weakens the leather, and it starts discoloring and cracking.
Hygiene and Odour: If a leather belt (bag, wallet, watch straps, shoes, etc.) is not regularly cleaned, it becomes a breeding ground for bacteria and germs, which causes an unpleasant smell and can also start skin irritation. Regular cleaning keeps leather fresh, smelling, and germs-free.
Maintenance: Regular cleaning of a leather belt (bag, wallet, strap, shoes, etc.) gives an opportunity to inspect the leather belt and accessories for regular wear and tear. Identifying any repair issue early can be addressed before it becomes more serious and irreparable.
When Is the Time to Clean the Leather Belt?
In terms of defining the frequency, how often a leather belt (bag, wallet, watch strap, shoes, etc.) should be cleaned depends upon usage and type of leather. If you wear the same Belt every day, it needs a clean after every few months, and if you have more belts in your collection and keep rotating them, then cleaning once or twice a year would be enough. However, the following criteria should also be kept in mind to determine when to clean leather belts (bags, wallets, straps, shoes, etc.).
It Feels Stiff: If the weather or working condition of the wearer is too hot, a belt can become stiff, which needs your attention. Regular cleaning and conditioning provide moisture to the leather, making it soft. When leather is exposed to sunlight for an extended time, moisture and the natural oil will evaporate from it, and it will become stiff, and if not cleaned and conditioned in time, it will start cracking.
Visible Stains: If you get accidental stains on a leather belt, bag, wallet, or watch strap from coffee, oil, water or anything else, get it cleaned as soon as possible otherwise it will damage the leather.
Bad Odour: Since leather is a natural material and has absorbent properties so it starts smelling when being in regular use, regular cleaning and conditioning deodorize leather belts (bags, wallets, straps, shoes, etc.).
How to Clean a Leather Belt?
Inspect Leather Belt: If the leather belt is too dry and cracking, don’t clean it; throw it away and buy a new belt.
Determine the type of leather: The first step before cleaning the leather belt (bag, wallet, watch strap) is identifying the leather type. The cleaning process remains the same for all types of real leather; however, Pu or vegan leather can’t be cleaned this way.
Procedure for cleaning the Leather Belt: A few things are needed for cleaning the leather belt (bag, wallet, watch strap, etc.)
- Dedicated cleaning table or flat surface
- Two clean rags
- Saddle soap or leather cleaner
- Lukewarm water in a container
First, dry clean your leather belt with a soft microfiber cloth or brush to remove dust particles. Then dip another clean microfiber cloth into lukewarm water and wring out the excess water. Apply a small amount of saddle soap on heavy stains on the Belt (bag, wallet, watch strap), gently rub the surface in a circular motion to remove them, and then wipe off the belt with a dry microfiber cloth. Your cleaning is done, now let the belt get air dry overnight. Never use a hair dryer, heat gun, or sunlight to dry the leather belt; otherwise, it will crack. It’s also important to remember not to put too much water on the leather belt since water gets soaked into the leather and damages it.
It’s also not recommended to clean the leather belt (bag, wallet, watch strap, etc.) with baby wipes, hand wipes, or any other alcoholic wipes since the chemical used in the wipes which is harmful to leather.
Apply the Leather Conditioner on the Belt: Cleaning the leather belt and not applying the conditioner doesn’t go well. Conditioning the leather belt after cleaning (let it dry first) is necessary since it enhances the grace of the belt (bags, wallets, watch straps) and makes its life longer. How often you should condition your leather will depend upon its usage and type. When you see leather looking off-color and stiff, it’s time to condition it. However, before applying the conditioner, you must remove dust and stains from the belt (bag, wallet, watch strap, etc.). You need to follow the right process for applying leather conditioner.
Tips For Maintaining Your Buckle:
After cleaning the belt, paying attention to its buckle is also very important. The buckle is an essential part of the belt, it secures the belt, enhances the style, and gives comfort to the belly.
Give a quick clean to the buckle, check that the screws are tight enough and in position, and see whether it needs tightening or replacement of screws. New screws can be bought online for a few dollars.
How Do You Extend the Life of a Leather Belt?
Don’t Overuse or Misuse: The leather belt is misused when it’s not your size. Unfortunately, most people don’t know which size belt they should wear, though they know their waist size. As a rule of thumb, the belt should be two inches bigger than your waist size, and the pin of the buckle should go in the middle hole of the belt, and while wearing, it should not be too tight or loose. If you are unsure about the belt size, click on the belt size guide for a complete understanding.
Some of us overuse leather belts and never give them rest, leather being natural material needs breathing and rest. Buy a couple of good quality belts to avoid overuse of the same belt.
Clean Belt Correctly: Periodic cleaning and conditioning of leather belts enhance their life and keep them in good shape for years. Weather and living conditions impact our leather belts and other accessories that’s why it’s essential to clean them regularly.
Store Belt Properly: When the leather belt is not under use, store it properly and don’t expose it to open air, heat, sunlight, or put under weight; otherwise, it can get wrinkles and can become stiff and out of shape; hence it’s very important to store leather belt properly. There are multiple ways to store the leather belt, but hanging it vertically on the belt hanger is the best. One of the biggest mistakes people make is leaving the belt in the trouser or rolling it and putting it in a drawer. Avoid hanging the belt on a doorknob or wall-mounted hook; it will cause it to stretch out of shape.
Keep Leather Belt Dry and Sweat Free: Proper use of a leather belt and awareness of the possible damage will ensure your leather belt retains its grace and shape for a longer period of time. Water and sweat damage the leather belt; if not wiped off and dried naturally, it will cause fungus to produce on it, and will lose its shape.
Should I Oil My Leather Belt?
It’s a part of effective cleaning, to apply conditioner or oil on leather to keep it naturally moist; however, only specific conditioners and oils can be used on leather, like mink oil, neatsfoot oil, leather oil, or any good quality leather conditioner, specifically made for leather. After applying the oil or conditioner, let it soak into the leather and wipe off the access oil/conditioner after a couple of minutes. However, distressed leather and suede should not be oiled; cleaning should be enough for these types of leather. Oiling doesn’t make leather belts/accessories 100% waterproof; it provides some resistance against water for a limited time only. Among oils, mink oil provides better protection against water.