How To Clean Leather Belts (7 Ways and Tips)

Use saddle soap to clean leather belts and products as regular soap is not safe for this material. Use a microfiber cloth to scrub the belt with the saddle soap then rub it clean with a damp towel.

Belts generally serve two purposes: they hold up clothing such as pants and skirts and make a fashion statement. To do the latter, they need to be kept clean and not allowed to dry out, or they’ll start to show tears and rip.

How To Clean Leather Belts (7 Ways and Tips)

When cleaning leather it is helpful to remember that it is made from skin. Just like the animals that the leather came from, this product can wither or become dirty and stained. 

Here are a few tips on cleaning leather so that it doesn’t smear, stain, or become too mummified to wear.

1. Don’t Use Regular Soap

  • While it may be pretty good at removing grunge from leather belts and other leather products, it is not a good idea to use regular soap on them.

  • It will have different effects on different types of leather and may negatively affect yours.

  • Maintaining a proper PH level is vital to preventing the leather from cracking and drying up.

  • The basic PH level of regular soap can be hazardous to materials such as leather, which are acidic.

  • If using regular soap is the only choice you have, you should only use soap flakes, and only once or twice during the entire life of the belt.

2. Use Saddle Soap Instead

Saddle soap has been used for years worldwide on fine leather shoes, belts, purses, and of course, saddles. It cleans and helps to lubricate the fibers of the leather so that it doesn’t become brittle. 

It is still important to use leather-safe oil afterwards since any soap can deplete the leather’s natural oils. Here is how to use it on your leather belt.


  • 2 Small rags or microfiber cloths

  • Water

  • Saddle soap

  • Leather-safe oil or conditioner


  1. Dampen one small wash rag or microfiber towel.

  2. Put a small amount of saddle soap onto the damp cloth.

  3. Rub the saddle soap over the entirety of the leather belt.

  4. Take particular care to rub out stains, oil, and dirt.

  5. Using another dampened cloth, rub the saddle soap off the belt under a small amount of water.

  6. Condition with a leather-safe oil or leather conditioner.

Saddle soap is a good choice for a maintenance cleaning routine or to remove oil and grease spots that can accumulate on your leather belt, purse, boots, and saddles.

3. Cornstarch Does Wonders On Oil-Based Stains

Cornstarch can be especially helpful in removing oil-based stains from your leather belt. This works best if the stain is fresh but can be tried on any stain. Here is what you need to do.


  • Cornstarch

  • Cloth for cleaning (if preferred to using your hand)

  • Another cloth for brushing off the debris when finished


  1. Sprinkle the cornstarch onto the stain.

  2. Allow the cornstarch to sit for an hour or two, to absorb the oil in the stain.

  3. If the stain is new, the oil should be absorbed easily. If not, rub the cornstarch into the stain with your fingers.
  4. If you’d rather not use your fingers, you can use a cloth. However, the heat from your skin can help absorb the oils.

  5. Once the oil has been absorbed into the cornstarch, brush it off with a dry cloth.

You can also try rubbing the stain away with the cloth before sprinkling the cornstarch onto the leather, but you’d have to be sure not to smear any oil-based stains.

4. You Can Also Use Alcohol to Clean Leather

Alcohol is another substance that can remove stains from leather, and it is especially good for removing ink stains from pens from your belt.


  • Cotton swabs

  • Rubbing alcohol

  • Leather-safe oil or conditioner


  1. Dampen the cotton swabs with rubbing alcohol.

  2. Dab the pen ink or other stain with the alcohol-dampened swab.

  3. Be careful to dab only and not rub, as rubbing will spread the stain instead of removing it.

  4. Allow the belt to air-dry.

  5. Treat the belt with a leather-safe conditioner or oil if needed since alcohol can be drying.

5. Castile Soap is An Excellent Leather Cleaner and Treatment

This is perhaps the best method for cleaning leather since Castile soap is made from vegetable oils, which will also condition the belt as it cleans. It is also readily available at most grocery stores and local shops.


  • 3 Wash rags or microfiber cloths

  • Water

  • Bar of Castile soap


  1. Dampen the washrag or microfiber cloth with lukewarm water.

  2. Be sure that the cloth or rag is only dampened but not soaking wet.

  3. Rub the microfiber cloth or rag against the bar of Castile soap.

  4. Rub the leather belt with a soapy cloth or rag.

  5. Wipe the belt off with another rag or microfiber cloth to remove the Castile soap.

  6. Use the third cloth to rub the belt down again. This helps ensure that all of the soap and dirt have been removed.

Castile soap is also available as a liquid. Most Castile soap products are made of at least 90 percent organic ingredients, making this method especially good for those who prefer to use cleaning agents with no harmful chemicals.

6. Vinegar Can Be Used to Remove Mold From Leather

If you have an issue with mold on an old leather belt that has been in storage for a while, vinegar can be a good solution. 


  • Dry brush such as a saddle brush

  • 1 cup vinegar

  • 1 cup water

  • A washrag or microfiber cloth

  • Leather-safe oil or conditioner


  1. Using the brush, wipe away as much of the mold as possible. It is best to perform this step outside with a mask on since mold spores can easily spread.

  2. Mix equal parts vinegar and water.

  3. Dampen a rag or microfiber cloth with the vinegar mixture.

  4. Gently rub the rag or cloth on the mold stains, being careful to rub softly so that the leather surface isn’t damaged.

  5. You may want to condition it with a leather-safe oil or conditioner afterwards.

7. Unfinished Leather is Different!

  • Unfinished leather is very porous and can break down easier than treated leather.

  • Substances such as harsh detergents, inappropriate cleaners, or even water can penetrate under the surface of the leather, causing damage.

  • Saddle soap is the only cleaning agent that should be used on untreated leather.

  • When cleaning unfinished leather, be careful to avoid using:
  1. Detergents
  1. Household soaps such as facial cleansers, dishwashing liquid, etc.
  1. Rubbing alcohol
  1. Lanolin creams
  1. Hand wipes
  1. Baby wipes
  1. Creams or lotions

Bonus – Homemade Leather Cleaning and Conditioning Recipes

We have two recipes to help take care of your leather belt for those who prefer homemade cleaning solutions. One is a stain remover, and the other is a homemade conditioner for your belt, boots, purses, saddles, and other leather products.

Homemade Leather Stain Remover


  • Lemon juice

  • Cream of tartar

  • Microfiber cloths or wash rags

  • Leather-safe oil or conditioner


  1. Mix one part lemon juice and one part cream of tartar into a creamy paste.

  2. Using a cloth, rub the paste onto the stained areas of the leather.

  3. If the stain remains, let the belt sit for a few hours, and repeat the process.

  4. Treat with leather-safe oil or conditioner.

Homemade Leather Conditioner 


  • Beeswax

  • Cocoa Butter

  • Almond oil

  • Soft cloth


  1. Mix one part beeswax, one part cocoa butter, and 2 parts almond oil in a small pot over medium heat until all oils are melted.

  2. Allow the mixture to cool until it forms a balm.

  3. Massage this balm into the leather belt, rubbing it into the cracks with your fingers.

  4. Polish with a soft cloth.
Homemade Leather Conditioner

FAQs On How To Clean Leather Belts

Can I Clean My Leather Belt With Soap and Water?

Yes, you can clean your belt with soap and water, but depending on the soap and how rigorous a clean you require, it can damage the leather. We recommend you follow the methods above instead.

How Do I Dry My Leather Belt?

Leather belts can be dried by hanging them over a clothes hanger or towel rack so the air can circulate them. You may also use a hairdryer on the cool setting to help speed up the process, but be sure not to get the leather too close to the heat, or it may become damaged.

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