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Caring for your leather wallet - how to clean and maintain a leather wallet

A well-made leather wallet will not only age beautifully, taking on the patina of daily use from the particular way you handle and store the wallet, but can also be with you for a lifetime with just a bit of regular care. We make leather wallets that are designed to be loved and well-used, so we want to make sure that you have the knowledge to expand the lifetime of yours.

How do you maintain a leather wallet?

A good leather wallet may not be cheap, but that’s because it’s a quality item that can easily outlast other wallets many times over. To get the most use for your money, take note of how to care for your wallet and it will be with you for decades to come.

Just a few steps will help keep your wallet in beautiful condition:

  • Wipe away any moisture that may come into contact with your wallet as soon as possible

  • If your wallet does become wet, dry it naturally without the use of artificial heat

  • Clean your wallet 2 or 3 times a year using the steps below

  • Air out your wallet regularly

  • Don’t squeeze more cards than you regularly need into your wallet - this stretches it out

leather billfold wallet

Do you need to condition a leather wallet?

Dry leather can quickly become damaged leather. A little leather conditioner should be applied as soon as you spot the leather starting to dry in order to prevent cracking and permanent damage. Leather is resilient, if well-cared for.


How do you clean and condition a leather wallet?

One of the upsides of genuine leather wallets is how beautifully they clean up. The character and patina they gain over time mean they just become better as they age, but just a little bit of attention and care will extend their lifespan.

You won't need to clean and condition your leather wallet regularly, instead keep an eye on the condition and if the leather starts to look dry or dirty then give it a little TLC with the steps below. As a general guide, cleaning and conditioning twice a year should be plenty.

To clean your leather wallet:

First give it a good dusting down with a dry cloth. This will go a good way to removing a lot of the surface dust and day to day grime.

Next, grab a specialty leather cleaner and apply to the exterior of your wallet. Use a soft cloth and clean using gentle, circular motions. Then take another, slightly damp, cloth to gently remove the cleaner.

To condition your leather wallet:

After cleaning, grab your conditioner and a clean cloth. There are a few different conditioner options available, but make sure you choose one that is specially formulated for leather. Test the conditioner on a less conspicuous area of your wallet to start as it can slightly alter the colour of the leather. Apply the conditioner to the cloth itself and gently rub it into the entirety of your wallet.


How do I keep my leather wallet from cracking?

Even the best leather wallets can crack if they become dry and a little bit of prevention is far better than trying to fix cracks once they have appeared. This is where leather conditioner is your friend and, in our opinion, these are the best leather conditioners to keep your trusty card and coin holder in tip top shape:


Can leather wallets be repaired?

Whether your leather wallet has suffered an unfortunate mishap or you left it to get too dry and cracks have started to appear, there are plenty of repair options. The easiest is to simply find a leather repair expert. Not only will they already have all the tools required for your particular repair, but their expertise will allow you to get the best possible result.

The cost of repairing your leather wallet will very much depend on the job. Simple fixes won't be expensive at all, but more involved jobs may require a little more investment.

For stitching repairs it is best to seek an expert. Leather stitching is a skill within itself and requires specialist needles and thread.


Can a leather wallet get wet?

While it is best to avoid getting your leather wallet soaking wet, if it has accidentally found itself going through the washing machine or suffered another kind of water mishap, it's not the end of the world.

First, gently wipe away any excess moisture with a dry cloth. Next place it somewhere where it can air dry naturally, don't be tempted to speed it along by placing it on a radiator or blasting it with a hair dryer. If it is a bifold wallet, let it dry folded. If you dry it flat, it won't fold properly once dry.

After an hour or so of drying, you can add a card to each side of the wallet. This helps to encourage proper shape, but do not be tempted to fill it with cards as you could stretch it out of shape.

Once the wallet is dry, you can check whether the leather itself has dried out and consider adding some conditioner, as per the steps above.

Leather wallet made from Horween leather


How long can a leather wallet last?

At Colville Leather we take great pride in the lifespan of our wallets. They're designed to last a lifetime and we handcraft them using traditional techniques. With proper care, a good leather wallet can last for decades to come, taking on a beautiful patina that is unique to the owner. We think this character is something to admire and be preserved. If you have any questions about the care of your wallet that aren't covered here, please drop us a message and we'll be happy to help.

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