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How to Clean a Leather Belt? – A Step-by-step Guide

Fact checked by A. Thompson

how to clean a leather belt

A leather belt is an indispensable accessory for every man. It usually comes in earth tones such as brown, tan, black, and more. That said, leather is an old-but-gold option for various styles thanks to its elegant and classic look.

You can wear the leather belt for a long time if you care for a leather belt thoroughly. Otherwise, leather will be affected by improper humidity (over 45-55%) and temperature (exceeding 65-70F) resulting in it being stiff and cracked over time.

In case you still manage how to clean a leather belt, reading this post can help you. We’ll provide you with all-inclusive ways for leather belt cleaning

When Should I Wash a Leather Belt?


You should clean old leather belts periodically once or twice a year. In some cases, the following signs can remind you that it’s time to transform your belt into a new-like one.

  • Toughness: A tough leather belt can dig into your waist causing uncomfortable feelings. Adding moisture to it can deal with this problem. A good belt should embrace your waist snugly and comfortably.
  • Bad odors: Unpleasant smells can come from many factors: imperfectly dry, catch body sweat and smoke fumes, and more. Don’t worry, using appropriate deodorizers will erase your concerns.
  • Stains: Once you realize stains on leather belts including watermarks, sweat, and oil-based spots, you should wipe them off immediately to avoid leaving permanent damage on belts. If not, it will cost you a lot of things to remove them.

Ways to Clean a Leather Belt

</p> <h3>#1: Take care of leather at home</h3> <p>


What to prepare:

  • Very mild soap/saddle soap/ Castile soap/ a leather cleaner
  • Lukewarm water
  • Clean cloths
  • White vinegar/apple cider vinegar

Step 1: Wipe off the dirt

  • In case the leather belt doesn’t catch much dust, the best way to clean leather is with a dry cloth to avoid moisturizing the material.
  • For more dirt, dampen a towel into lukewarm water falling within 105 – 115°F (40 – 45 °C) then wipe off dust and soften stains as well.

Step 2: Eliminate tough dirt with soap and water.

We’d highly recommend using saddle soap or leather cleaners since they are formulated especially for leather surfaces. In case you don’t have those, using gentle soap or Castile soap isn’t a bad idea.

  • Mix 1-2 drops of soap or cleaner with warm water. Dip a rag into the mixture and rub lightly along the grains of the belt to remove tough dust.
  • If you use saddle soap, apply it directly on the belt and scrub it gently with a damp towel. For those using Castile soap, take soap with a damp cloth and apply it to the belt. Note that you should massage the belt in circular motions to eliminate dirt thoroughly.
  • Another way to clean the leather belt is to apply vinegar with a towel which is a good way to deodorize the bad odors.

Don’t forget to get rid of excess cleaning solution with another moist cloth followed by a dry one.

Step 3: Dry the belt

  • Place the belt in well-ventilated and dry areas overnight or 24 hours to dry it. Stay away from artificial heat to avoid damaging leather.
  • If the dirt isn’t gone, repeat the process until you are satisfied.

Step 4: Leather conditioner for belts

It’s time to apply a leather belt conditioner to protect the leather’s suppleness and keep leather belts from cracking.

  • Test the conditioner on a small area and wait for 1 day to ensure it won’t affect the belt,
  • Add a little conditioner to a lint-free towel, then rub gently it on the 2-side belt in circular motions.
  • Let it dry naturally for several hours.
</p> <h3>#2: Get rid of stains</h3> <p>


What to prepare:

  • Pledge multi-surface cleaner
  • Water
  • Cornstarch
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Castile soap/ mild liquid soap
  • Cloths
  • Cotton swab
  • Lemon juice/cream of tartar
  • A brush

1. Oil stains

Step 1: Sprinkle cornstarch on stains

    • For fresh oil stains, cornstarch can absorb the oil after a while.
    • Use a dry rag to wipe off old oil stains. Then, apply cornstarch to them and rub them with your fingers. The friction created will assist you in removing stains.

Step 2: Brush the powder residue

A brush will help you to clean excess powder.

2. Minor stains and pen marks

Step 1: Dampen a cotton swab

Dip the ball into rubbing alcohol and dab it onto the stains until they are invisible. Make sure alcohol isn’t exposed to other areas.

Step 2: Remove leftover liquid

    • Use a dry cloth to dab the remaining alcohol to avoid drying out the leather.
    • Let the belt dry naturally

3. Moldy belt

Step 1: Apply Pledge cleaner

Pledge multi-surface cleaner can help with mold. Spray this product onto a cloth and wipe it down the belt.

Step 2: Dry the belt

As above methods, wait for the belt to dry completely.

4. Lemon juice and cream of tartar

Step 1: Combine 2 substances

Mix 1 part of lemon juice with 1 part of the cream of tartar

Step 2: Apply the mixture

Add the liquid to the stains and let it sit for 10 minutes before removing the excess mixture.

5. Hand wash the belt

Step 1: Submerge the belt in a soapy mixture

    • Pour a cap of liquid soap into a bucket of warm water and mix it well.
    • Place the belt into the bucket and hand wash it gently to eliminate stains.

Step 2: Rinse it well

    • Once stains are gone, rinse the belt thoroughly with lukewarm water
    • Absorb excess water with a dry cloth and leave it overnight for drying.
</p> <h3>#3: Save the belt from unpleasant smells</h3> <p>


What to prepare:

  • Activated charcoal
  • Kitty litter
  • Baking soda
  • A bag

Step 1: Add deodorizers

  • Place your belt into the bag and add one of the available ingredients to it.
  • Seal the bag well to avoid overspilling deodorizing solutions. You can apply this way if your new leather belt smells bad as well.

Step 2: Wait

  • All you need to do is to wait for several days.
  • In case the smells are still bad, you can leave them for more days.

Other Maintenance Tips

Don’t forget to pay attention to the belt buckle which keeps the strap from loosening.

Step 1: Check the screws

Over time, the screws can become loose. That said, you should check them regularly to ensure their tightness.

Step 2: Add glue

  • Add a little blue to insecure screws. Then, insert them as usual.
  • After an overnight, the belt buckle is ready to serve you.

Tips to Extend the Life of a Leather Belt


  • Don’t overuse soapy liquid to clean the belt. Try to keep it away from wet and oil as much as possible.
  • After wearing the belt, hang it properly to reduce the tension.
  • Pick the correct belt size for your waist to avoid stretching it or creating creases
  • Don’t let the leather belt expose the sun directly; if not, the sunlight can crack it.
  • In order to double the life of the belt, you can buy 2 belts and swap them regularly.


After reading this post, how to clean a leather belt isn’t as difficult as you thought. Additionally, washing the belts also helps to remove bad odors. Depending on your wearing frequency, 4 times a year is a proper cleaning schedule for those using the belt usually.

We’d recommend following the tips to keep the belt as the new-like one. Don’t be shy to type your questions in the comment box if you still wonder about something.

Read more: Tips to clean a tool belt.

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