How to Clean Leather Belts

how to clean leather belt

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A leather belt is one very, multifaceted accessory. It is not only functional when it comes to holding things together, but also a profound fashion statement. Therefore, it is normal 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 requires using products that are found in a household. One of the methods of cleaning a leather belt is by wiping it down with a cloth damped in lukewarm water. Be careful not to make the belt too wet since water destroys leather. We will discuss more on other methods to clean your leather belt

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 of thick cowhides. As such, think of them as skins that have been disattached from their host. This means that just like animals, leather belts accumulate dirt and stains over a long period of being used.

Now should these leather belts maintain their luster, durability and fashion statement, they need to be maintained. One of the maintenance routines is cleaning them. Here are some simple methods you can use to clean your leather belts other than the one highlighted before

  1. Using Saddle Soap

Saddle soap like this is 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 dampen cloth

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

Step 4: When you convinced your leather belt is clean, use a different damp cloth to rinse it. When rinsing, rub the cloth gently on 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. This gentle nature can be attributed to the fact that it is made from vegetable oil or olive oil. Castile soap is 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 and not wet

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

Step 4: Run the cloth through 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 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 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 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 dry.

Also, to avoid the hustle 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 pens.

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 tapping on it instead of rubbing 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 partly wet and dry. To get rid of water stains, follow this procedure

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

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

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

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 can 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 on 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 as dry as possible.

Can I use Soap to clean my Leather Belt?

Although 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 causes a significant PH level damage. This damage eventually causes the belt to dry up and sometimes to crack.

That said thou, should you use soap to clean leather, and this is when it is the last resort, use soapy flakes. Also, note that you should make sure you 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 the whole night.

Tips to Maintain your Leather Belt

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

  • Conditioning

Washing your leather belt 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.

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

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

So, use a soft cloth to apply the conditioner on 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 you can wear 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 at a humid pace it can grow mildew and turn greyish. 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 it to become stiff and sometimes crack.

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

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

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

Cleaning Agents

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

Keep the Leather Belt Dry

In as much as we are emphasizing the need for cleaning 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 to damage? Well, putting on a big belt may cause it to have crises due to the folds it has to go through to fit. On the other hand, a small belt will have to stretch to fit. Either way, this means damage to your leather belt. So to avoid all these, settle for a belt that fits well.

To get a fitting belt, you can try it out before the purchase. If you are not in a position to fit, choose a belt 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. So to counteract this effect, purchase an extra two to three belts to alternate with.

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. What happens is, 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 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 smell. 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 airtight 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 place 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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