How to Clean Leather Belts (6 Ways)

how to clean leather belt

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A leather belt is a very multifaceted accessory. It is not only functional when it comes to holding things together, but it’s also a profound fashion statement. Therefore, it is normal to expect to put on your leather belt frequently. This necessitates the need to maintain it for durability. One of the maintenance routines is cleaning it.

How do you clean leather belts? For starters, there is more than one way to clean your leather belt. The best part is that cleaning your leather belt mostly just requires using products that are typically already found in the household. One method of cleaning a leather belt is by wiping it down with a cloth dampened in lukewarm water. Be careful not to make the belt too wet since water destroys leather. We will discuss more about other methods to clean your leather belt throughout this article.

This article will look into different methods of cleaning your leather belt, tips of maintaining your leather belt, and other leather belt-related issues.

Methods of Cleaning your Leather Belt

Leather belts are usually made from thick cowhides. As such, think of them as skins that have been detached from their host. This means that, just like the animals themselves, leather belts can accumulate dirt and stains over long periods of use.

In order for these leather belts to maintain their luster, durability, and value as a fashion statement, they need to be well maintained. One maintenance routine is simply cleaning them. Here are some simple methods you can use to clean your leather belts besides the one outlined above.

  • Using Saddle Soap

Saddle soap like this is a traditional leather cleaner. In this process, you can replace saddle soap with any other quality modern leather-cleaning agent. Saddle soap and other leather-cleaning agents help to get rid of oil and grease spots on your belt

Step 1: Dampen a soft, clean cloth.

Step 2: Apply a small amount of saddle soap on the dampened cloth.

Step 3: Use the damp cloth to rub the saddle soap across the entire leather belt.

Step 4: When you’re convinced that your leather belt is clean, use a different damp cloth to rinse it. When rinsing, rub the cloth gently across the belt.

Step 5: After you are done rinsing, condition your leather to keep it supple.

  • Using Castile Soap

The Castile soap method is best when it comes to getting rid of stains and gloss from your leather belt. It is also the best for leather since it is gentle on the material, thanks to the fact that it is made from vegetable oil or olive oil. Castile soap is typically available at your local grocery store or shop.

Step 1: Wet a clean, soft cloth in some lukewarm water.

Step 2: Wring out the excess water so that the cloth is damp, not wet.

Step 3: Rub the damp cloth on a bar of Castile soap.

Step 4: Rub the cloth across the leather belt.

Step 5: Use a different damp cloth to rub through the leather belt briskly. This is done to rise off the castile soap.

Step 6: When you are satisfied that the leather is fully rinsed, rub it using a different dry cloth and make sure it dries up completely

In case the stains are stubborn, repeat the process until you get rid of them.

  • Using Cornstarch

When you are trying to get rid of oil-based stains from your leather belt, cornstarch can come in handy. This is especially effective if the oil-based stain is fresh.

Step 1:  Sprinkle some cornstarch powder on the stain and let it sit for some time. This will help it absorb the oils from the stains. If the stain is fresh, then the powder will easily absorb the oil. However, if the stain is old, rub the powder into the stain using your finger. The heat from your finger can help to get rid of the oil. Alternatively, you can also use a cloth.  

Step 2: When the oil has been absorbed, use a dry cloth to brush off the powder. Make sure you leave the belt to dry.

Also, to avoid the hassle of getting rid of stains, you can use a cloth to wipe off the stain first. Be careful not to spread the oil-based stain further.

  • Using Alcohol

Still on getting rid of stains from leather belts, here is how you clean stains from pen ink.

Step 1: Dampen a cotton swab with alcohol.                                                         

Step 2: Use the damp swab to clean off the stain. Be careful not to spread the stain by dabbing it instead of trying to rub it off.

Step 3: Once you have gotten rid of the stain, leave the leather belt to air dry.

  • Using a Damp Cloth

Water destroys leather; I cannot emphasize this enough. As such, it is common to notice water stains on your leather belt. This occurs when the belt is partially both wet and dry. To get rid of water stains, follow this procedure

Step 1: Wet a soft, clean cloth in some lukewarm water.

Step 2: Wring out the excess water leaving the cloth damp.

Step 3: Use the damp cloth to rub the leather belt. This helps to make the leather evenly wet.

Step 4: When you are done, allow the belt to air dry. The belt will dry up at the same time, therefore getting rid of the wet spots or stains.

  • Using Lemon

If your stains are not listed above, you may be able to use lemon to get rid of them.

Step1: Mix equal parts of lemon juice with tartar cream to form a paste.

Step 2: Use a soft cloth to apply the paste onto the leather belt.

Step 3: Leave the paste to sit for about 10 minutes.

Step 4: Wipe away the paste after the 10 minutes and make sure you leave the belt to dry as much as possible.

Can I use Soap to clean my Leather Belt?

Although regular soap can help to get rid of stains from your leather belt, it is not recommended. Soap has different effects on leather.

First, soap has a basic pH level. This makes it hazardous to materials that are acidic, such as leather. So, what happens when you use soap on leather? Over a long time, it can cause significant pH level damage. This damage eventually causes the belt to dry up and sometimes to crack.

That being said, should you use soap to clean leather, which should only ever be as a last resort, you should use soapy flakes. Also note that you should make sure to use soap only once or twice in your belt’s lifetime

Step 1: Pour a cup of liquid soap flakes into a basin containing some lukewarm water.

Step 2: Immerse the belt in the solution.

Step 3: Wash the belt gently as you would a delicate fabric like silk. For stains, gently rub on the affected part.

Step 4: Once the stains are removed and you are done washing, rinse the belt using some clean lukewarm water.

Step 5: Dry the belt using a dry towel and leave it to air dry, preferably overnight.

Tips to Maintain your Leather Belt

Other than cleaning your belts, there are a few more things that you should do, if you want your belt to remain durable and with its exotic texture intact. These maintenance practices include:

  • Conditioning

Washing your leather belt alone is not enough. If anything, if you make a habit of cleaning your belt without conditioning it as the last step, then you are contributing to quickening its aging and damage over time.

Conditioning adds moisture to the leather, therefore keeping it supple and shiny. This prevents it from cracking and developing further damage. Otherwise, constantly washing your belt without conditioning will make it stiff and brittle.

To condition your belt you will need a leather conditioner. A leather conditioner for shoes or leather jackets will also work for the belt. That said though, any good leather conditioner should also work.

Use a soft cloth to apply the conditioner to the belt. Rub the conditioner into the belt on both sides. Let the conditioner sit for the leather to absorb it. Hang the belt using a hook and allow it to dry before wearing it again.

  • Storage

How and where you store your leather belts also dictates its shelf life and maintenance. For instance, if you store your belt in a humid place it can develop mildew and turn a greyish color. This means that your belt will lose that shiny, lusty look. On the other hand, when exposed to too much sunlight, leather belts tend to dry up, causing them to become stiff and sometimes crack.

So which is the best way to store your belt? Hanging them up is recommended as the most effective storage method. Rolling your belt up in a drawer can cause it to develop creases, and nobody wants their belt looking old, right?

Therefore, use a clothes hanger to hang your belts straight down with the buckle attached to the hanger. This gives your belt enough breathing space, as belts tend to age when placed in an enclosed space. Alternatively, you can also purchase a dedicated belt organizer to store your belts.

Remember to remove the belt from your pants at the end of the day to avoid it deforming.

Cleaning Agents

As mentioned before, avoid using soap when it comes to cleaning leather belts. Similarly, make sure the cleaning agents are leather friendly above all. The above cleaning methods we have highlighted above are the most recommended for correct maintenance. So, before trying out a new cleaning agent, make sure it will not cause further damage to your leather belt.

Keep the Leather Belt Dry

As much as we are emphasizing the need to clean your leather belt, you should note that water is the biggest threat to damaging leather.

Therefore, if your leather belt is exposed to water, make sure you dry it up as soon as possible. To get rid of the excess water, use a dry towel then proceed to hang the belt to air dry.

Put on the Correct Size

Did you know that wearing a big- or small-sized belt can cause it damage? Putting on a big belt may cause it to have creases due to the folds it has to go through to fit correctly. On the other hand, a small belt will have to stretch to fit. Either way, this means damaging your leather belt. To avoid each of these, look for a belt that fits well.

To get a fitting belt, you can try it out before making the purchase. If you are not in a position to try a belt out, choose one that is two inches larger than your pants. That is the recommended size.

Get Other Belts to Interchange

No matter how hard you try to adhere to all the above maintenance practices, if you frequently use your belt, it is bound to wear out eventually. To counteract this effect, purchase an extra two to three belts to alternate between.

Related Questions

Can I use a blow dryer to dry my leather belt?

Listen, I know we agreed that water is bad for leather, but using a blow drier is not the solution. When exposed to heat from a dryer, leather tends to dry up, become brittle, and in some cases crack. So then, if you wish to dry your leather belt, be patient and use a dry towel then hang it to air dry.

How often should I wash my leather belt?

Just like any other leather item, it is recommended that you wash it twice a year. Remember to condition your leather every time you wash it. However, it is best to condition your belt at least after every 3 to 6 months to have it looking new, shiny, and functional.

How do I deodorize my belt?

Apart from dirt, mildew and stains, your leather belt could start producing some foul smells. When it does, it is time to deodorize it. You can deodorize it by placing the belt in an airtight bag and adding activated charcoal to get rid of the smell. Leave the bag sealed for at least a day, then check if the bad smell is still there. If it is, you can try this procedure a second time.

Alternatively, you can use a kitty liner to absorb the bad smell. Place the leather belt in an airtight container and then place it into the kitty liner. Let it stay put for one day then remove the belt to check if the smell is still there. These are just a few examples of how to deodorize your belt.

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