How to Clean a Leather Belt?

cleaning a leather belt

Is your leather belt suffering in silence, covered in dust and neglect? It’s time to clean your leather belt. Daily wear and exposure to elements like sun or snow can make your leather belt look faded, worn, or dirty.

If you’re like most people, you’ve never washed your leather belt. With some simple tips, you can make your belt look as new as it is brand new and save money in the long run.

Related: How to wash faux leather?

Cleaning Overview

Working Time:  20 minutes
Total Time:  8-10 hours
Skills Required:  Beginner
Estimated Cost:  USD 10-40

What Will You Need


  1. Warm water
  2. Saddle soap or leather cleaner
  3. Leather conditioner (Optional)
  4. Cornstarch or talcum powder (for oil stains)
  5. Lemon and Cream of tartar (For tough stains)
  6. Activated charcoal
  7. Kitty litter


  1. Soft brush
  2. Cloth

How to Clean a Leather Belt?

The best way to keep your leather conditioned is to clean it regularly.

How to Clean Leather Belt Without Any Cleaners?

  1. If your leather belt has visible dust or loose dirt, gently brush it off using a soft brush. Be careful not to scratch the leather.
  2. Dampen a clean cloth in warm water and wipe the leather belt.
  3. Focus on the dirty areas, applying a bit of gentle pressure.
  4. If the belt isn’t excessively dirty, use a dry cloth instead of a damp one.

How to Clean Leather Belth With Cleaners?

  1. Use saddle soap or dedicated leather cleaners. (Leather cleaner is the best bet, though people have used saddle soap to clean leather for ages. If both are unavailable, you can use a mild soap, but use it sparingly on expensive belts.)
  2. Before applying the leather cleaner to the entire belt, test it in a small, inconspicuous spot (like the backside) to ensure it doesn’t cause discoloration or damage. Wait a few minutes to observe the leather’s reaction.
  3. Moisten a soft, lint-free cloth with warm water. Apply a small amount of leather cleaner to the cloth. It’s crucial not to use excessive cleaner. You can always add more if needed.
  4. Rub the damp cloth onto the leather’s surface gently. Follow the pattern and avoid rubbing harshly.
  5. After rubbing, wipe off the excess cleaner using the unused and clean part of the cloth. Alternatively, you can use another damp cloth to remove the extra cleaner.
  6. Use a clean, dry cloth to remove all the excess water and moisture.
  7. Allow the belt to dry overnight. It helps it soak up all the polish or cleaner.
  8. If your leather belt appears to have lost moisture or feels dry, you can apply a leather conditioner or cream at this point.

How to Remove Stains From Leather Belt?

Oil Stains

  1. Cornstarch is the best option if it’s a new oil stain.
  2. Cover the oil stain with a generous amount of cornstarch. Cornstarch works its magic by absorbing the oil.
  3. For older stains, rubbing the talcum powder on the stain with your fingers will help remove the oil stain.
  4. Dust off the powder with your fingers.
  5. Clean the leather belt with cleaners like saddle soap or leather cleaners.
oil stains on leather belt

Other Stains

  1. Use lemon and cream of tartar paste for other stains (stains not from oil or water).
  2. Mix tartar and lemon juice in equal proportions.
  3. Apply this mix to the stain and leave it for 10-15 minutes.
  4. Wipe out the mixture.

If none of the above methods work for you, wash your leather belt with soap and water as a last option. However, it may ruin your belt. 

Related: How to remove gum from leather?

stain on leather belt

How to Remove Odor From Leather Belt?

Activated Charcoal

  1. Put activated charcoal in a bag or an air-tight container.
  2. Throw your leather belt in this bag or container.
  3. Seal the bag or container.
  4. Leave it for a minimum of one day.
  5. If the belt still stinks, repeat the same procedure for another day.

Kitty Litter

  1. Kitty litter is another way to remove odor from your leather belt and deodorize it.
  2. The primary function of kitty litter is to absorb odors.
  3. Allow it to sit for a minimum of one day.
  4. Repeat the same procedure if the belt still stinks.

Related: How to remove smoke smell from leather?

How Often Should You Clean Your Leather Belt?

Cleaning your belt with a damp cloth once or twice a month will keep it in good shape for a long time. Though an expensive leather belt won’t need any extra maintenance from your side, it’s good to practice cleaning it at regular intervals.

However, whenever you notice any dirt, sweat, oil, or water stains, you must address the issue immediately and clean the leather belt.

  • Is water good for leather belts?

    Water in small quantities won’t pose any harm to leather belts. However, excess water may ruin the leather belt.

  • Should I oil my leather belt?

    Yes, oil your leather belt every 3 to 5 years, depending on the type and quality of the leather.


Knowing how to clean a leather belt is a valuable skill that keeps your belt looking its best and extends its lifespan. Regular cleaning, conditioning, and proper storage are crucial to preserving your belt’s appearance.

Luckily, you don’t need to be an expert to clean a leather belt. You can carry out all the methods by yourself. In addition, all the materials are readily available at home or in a nearby store.

Related: How to clean a white leather bag or purse?

Related: How to clean a thrifted leather jacket?