The Dos and Don'ts of Leather Wallet Care and Maintenance

dos and don’ts of leather wallet care featured image

Ever made the mistake of tossing your leather wallet into the washing machine? Or perhaps you left it in a vulnerable spot, only to find your pup mistaking it for a tasty treat? (Dogs have a knack for chewing on leather because they simply can't resist its alluring scent!)

I'm willing to bet that the outcomes of both scenarios weren't exactly what you had hoped for.

Your innocent washing machine, with its harsh chemicals, stripped your wallet of its natural oils, leaving it warped, cracked, or even peeling.

(Don't worry though, if your wallet accidentally made its way into the machine, there are ways to salvage it if you act quickly—I explain how here.)

And let's not forget those dreaded dog bites. They leave behind unsightly punctures, tears, and scratches on the surface of your beloved wallet, compromising its structure and diminishing its overall appeal.

These are just a couple of the many things you should avoid when it comes to caring for and maintaining your leather wallet—things that many of us aren't even aware of.

Fortunately, in this article, I'll be discussing several more "don'ts" to steer clear of, as well as the essential "must-dos" to keep your cherished Popov Leather Wallet in impeccable condition.

But that's not all.

I'll also be guiding you through the proper methods of cleaning and storing your wallet, emphasizing the importance of regular conditioning, sharing tips on preventing water damage, and even providing strategies for minimizing wear and tear.

In a nutshell, you'll gain valuable insights into maintaining the longevity and beauty of your wallet, ensuring it remains a cherished accessory for years to come.

Key Takeaways:

  • Only opt for full-grain leather wallets for durability and longevity
  • Follow proper care and maintenance instructions to develop a rich patina on your wallet
  • Condition your leather wallet at least every 3 to 6 months to preserve its rich texture
  • Always test a product in an inconspicuous area to know whether it’s safe and compatible with your wallet's leather

Cleaning and Drying Your Leather Wallet

The appropriate cleaning and drying of your full-grain leather wallet is the first step to ensuring that you preserve its suppleness, texture, durability, and overall quality.

Over time, dirt, dust, and oils from your hands can accumulate on your leather wallet’s surface. 

If left uncleaned, these particles will penetrate the leather, causing your wallet to deteriorate and lose its original appearance.

Regular cleaning helps remove these contaminants, preventing them from damaging your leather wallet over time.

And by leather being a natural material that requires proper care to stay in good condition, cleaning your wallet helps remove any substances that can potentially stain, discolor, or degrade it.

leather wallet, balm, and scrub on table
Popov Leather Scrub

Leather is also susceptible to mold and mildew growth when exposed to damp environments. If your wallet gets wet, drying it properly will prevent the growth of mold and mildew, which can irreversibly damage the wallet and lead to an unpleasant smell.

Below are the major dos and don’ts when cleaning and drying your leather wallet:


  • For dirt or dust on the surface of your leather wallet, use a soft-bristled brush or a clean, lint-free cloth to gently remove it.
  • Use a specialized leather cleaner, like the all-natural Popov Leather Scrub to gently clean your leather wallet.
  • Let your wallet aid-dry completely in a well-ventilated area before using it again.
  • Before applying any cleaning solution to your entire wallet, test it on a small, hidden area, such as the inner side of the wallet flap, to ensure it doesn't cause any discoloration or damage to the leather.
  • Apply a coat of protective wax at least once every few months to help protect against moisture damage and prevent everyday wear such as scuff marks or dirt buildup.


  • Don't use harsh chemicals or solvents, such as bleach, alcohol, or acetone, when cleaning your leather wallet as they will strip away the natural oils and damage the leather's finish.
  • Don't soak or immerse your leather wallet in water, since this will cause the leather to warp, shrink, or lose its shape.
  • Don't use a hairdryer, direct sunlight, or any other source of high heat to dry your leather wallet which will cause it to crack, fade, or lose its natural oils.
  • Don't scrub vigorously or use abrasive materials, such as rough sponges or brushes that will scratch or damage your wallet’s surface.
  • Don't use colored cloths or paper towels when cleaning your leather wallet since they may transfer dye onto the leather.

Storing Your Leather Wallet Properly

It might seem like a small detail, but storing your leather wallet properly makes a world of difference in preserving its charm and longevity.

Imagine this: you've got yourself the gorgeous and timeless black Popov Leather wallet that complements your style like the perfect accessory it is.

You've taken the time to clean it, nourish it, and make it shine.

Now, picture yourself tossing it haphazardly into a cluttered drawer, sandwiched between forgotten receipts and random trinkets.

It certainly won’t last.

And I bet you don’t want a wallet that looks like it's been on a roller coaster ride.

Proper storage is the secret ingredient to keep your leather wallet looking and feeling its best.

Leather, like any fine material, has a knack for molding itself to its surroundings. By storing your wallet in a cool, dry place, it retains its shape and prevents unwanted creases or warping.

Here are the top dos and don'ts when it comes to your leather wallet storage:


  • Store your leather wallet upright or flat to give it structure, help maintain its shape and prevent unwanted bends or creases.
  • The wallet’s storage space must be clean, cool, and dry to prevent mold and mildew formation.
  • Ensure there’s plenty of room around your wallet so that air can circulate freely around it.
  • Add an extra layer of protection by slipping your wallet into a soft, breathable dust bag or a clean, lint-free cloth before storing it away. This helps to protect against potential scratches, dust, dirt, and moisture while keeping the leather supple and moist.


  • Don't store your wallet in plastic or non-breathable materials. Leather needs to breathe; suffocating it can lead to unwanted moisture buildup, which promotes mold growth.
  • Don't expose your wallet to excessive heat or cold, such as near heaters or in the freezing depths of your refrigerator as this can cause the leather to dry out, lose its natural oils, and become brittle.
  • Don't pile heavy objects on top of your wallet, as this can cause unnecessary pressure and result in deformations or unsightly marks.
  • Don't store your wallet in humid areas like bathrooms or damp basements. Excess humidity will cause the leather to absorb moisture from the air, causing it to become damp and lose its natural oils.

Conditioning Your Leather Wallet

Conditioning is like a revitalizing elixir for your leather wallet.

Leather conditioner is specifically formulated to replenish the oils and nutrients that may have depleted over time or through exposure to environmental elements like sunlight, dust, and dirt.

By conditioning your wallet, you infuse it with much-needed moisture, restoring its vitality and suppleness.

And just as we indulge in self-care routines to maintain our well-being, conditioning is an act of love that extends your leather wallet's lifespan.

By regularly nourishing the leather, you're helping it resist wear and tear, reducing the risk of premature aging and deterioration.

hand holding Popov Leather Balm
Popov Leather Balm

But that’s not all. Conditioning your leather wallet also:

  • Helps prevent drying and cracking
  • Improves its water resistance
  • Enhances its flexibility
  • Acts as a protective shield
  • Preserves its visual charm

A well-conditioned wallet eventually becomes a faithful companion, accompanying you on your adventures for years to come.

Check out the top dos and don’ts when it comes to conditioning your leather wallet below:


  • Select a reputable leather conditioner, such as the Popov Leather Balm that’s specifically designed for full-grain leather wallets. It’s all natural, made by hand, free from harsh chemicals, and contains nourishing ingredients like triple filtered beeswax and seed oils.
  • Clean your wallet before conditioning to allow the conditioner to penetrate the leather effectively.
  • Follow our leather conditioner's guidance to ensure you're using it correctly, maximizing its benefits and avoiding any potential mishaps.
  • Start with a conservative amount of the conditioner and gradually increase if needed. A little goes a long way in providing your wallet with the nourishment it craves.
  • Apply the conditioner in gentle, circular motions. This helps it to penetrate the leather fibers evenly, ensuring thorough coverage and absorption.

“Little bit goes a long way! Make sure to work it into the leather and allow it to dry.”

Augustine Yu, Verified Customer


  • Don't use excessive conditioner, since applying an excessive amount can saturate the leather, leading to an oily residue or prolonged drying time.
  • Don't use inappropriate conditioners, those intended for other materials like fabrics, as they contain ingredients that will harm or alter the appearance of your wallet.
  • Don't rush the process; conditioning requires patience and a gentle touch. Take your time, allowing the conditioner to seep into the leather naturally and work its magic.
  • Don't expose your wallet to heat while conditioning since heat will cause the leather to dry out too quickly, potentially leading to cracks or damage.
  • Don't over-condition your wallet. While conditioning is beneficial, too much of it will saturate the leather, making it overly soft and prone to stretching or discoloration. I recommend conditioning at least every 3 to 6 months.

Waterproofing Your Leather Wallet

When caught up in a sudden downpour, your leather wallet could become a hapless victim without proper waterproofing, letting water seep through its pores.

Waterproofing acts as a shield, creating a barrier that helps repel water and prevents it from permeating the leather.

While it’s not possible to make your leather wallet completely waterproof (since as a natural material, leather absorbs water to some extent), you can use a waterproofing product to make it more resistant to water and moisture.

A leather waterproofing product, such as beeswax or mink oil, contains protective agents that create a barrier on the surface of the leather, helping to repel water and prevent absorption.

Check out below the essential dos and don’ts when using these products to waterproof your leather wallet:


  • Perform a patch test on a small, inconspicuous area before waterproofing your entire wallet. Once you're satisfied with the results, proceed with confidence.
  • Follow the product instructions diligently to ensure optimal results and maximum protection for your leather wallet.
  • Apply the waterproofing product evenly and in thin layers to ensure comprehensive coverage without over-saturating the leather.
  • Allow your wallet ample time to dry naturally after the waterproofing treatment.


  • Don't use generic or non-leather-specific waterproofing solutions like silicone sprays or household waterproofing agents on your leather wallet. They’re not compatible with leather and can cause irreversible damage or discoloration.
  • Don't overdo it; less is more when it comes to waterproofing leather. Avoid excessive saturation, as it may alter your wallet’s texture and appearance.
  • Don't forget to clean the wallet beforehand. This ensures better adhesion and effectiveness of the waterproofing product.
  • Don't neglect regular maintenance (routine cleaning, conditioning, and inspection) since waterproofing doesn't make leather impervious to all damage.
  • Don't overlook reapplication since waterproofing is not a one-time affair. Over time, the protective barrier may wear off due to usage, exposure, or natural deterioration. Reapply the waterproofing product to uphold its safeguarding properties.

Minimizing Wear and Tear on Your Leather Wallet

Minimizing wear and tear on your beloved leather wallet is a noble quest that aims to extend its lifespan and maintain its timeless charm!

While leather is a sturdy and resilient material, it’s not immune to the ravages of time and usage.

Regular use can subject it to friction, stress, and strain, which may lead to scuffs, scratches, or even structural damage.

Taking steps to minimize wear and tear helps your wallet withstand daily adventures and stand tall in the face of the unexpected.

Besides, your full-grain Popov Leather wallet is a testament to elegance and style—a reflection of your personal taste.

Minimizing wear and tear is essential to preserving its aesthetics. By protecting it from excessive abrasion and damage, you ensure that it retains its smoothness, color, and overall visual appeal, and that it continues to make a sophisticated statement wherever you go.

scratched leather wallet
Popov Leather wallet

And despite our leather wallets being timeless fashion accessories, they also serve as practical tools for organizing your everyday essentials.

By preventing excessive damage, you ensure that their compartments and closures remain intact and fully functional. No more struggling with loose stitching or torn compartments—the wallets will serve you reliably day in and day out.

Below are my top dos and don'ts when it comes to minimizing wear and tear on leather wallets:


  • Choose wallets made from full-grain leather—the highest quality leather known for its durability and strength. These wallets won’t stretch or become brittle with age.
  • Regularly check the stitching on your wallet; if any stitches are loose, fix them promptly before more significant damage occurs. (Popov Leather wallets are meticulously hand-sewn with the thick and durable Tiger thread so that they can never unravel or come apart).
  • Handle your wallet with clean hands, free from any dirt, oils, or lotions that can be transferred to the wallet and stain or discolor it.
  • Regularly switch your leather wallets to distribute the wear evenly among them, preventing one wallet from experiencing excessive strain or use.
  • Conditioning your leather wallet to prevent it from drying, cracking, and premature aging.


  • Don’t sit on your wallet as this can cause creasing and warping of the leather material, which may permanently damage its shape and integrity over time.
  • Don’t overload your wallet; store only what you need in order to reduce strain on both yourself and the walle itself.
  • Don't fold or bend your wallet unnecessarily. While leather is flexible, excessive folding or bending will cause creases and weaken it over time.
  • Don't ignore leather repairs. If you notice any signs of damage or wear, address them promptly since small issues, such as loose stitches or minor scuffs, will worsen if left unattended.

Removing Stains From Your Leather Wallet

Premium leather wallets like Popov Leather wallets are prized for their elegance and beauty. However, visible stains on them are unsightly and will diminish their overall aesthetic appeal.

The common culprits of stains on wallets include:

  • Ink from pens
  • Food and drink spills, especially dark colored liquids like coffee
  • Our body natural oils and perspiration
  • Dye transfer from clothing
  • Mold and mildew

By removing these stains on your leather wallet, you're restoring its pristine condition and ensuring that it continues to make a sophisticated statement wherever you go. A clean and blemish-free wallet reflects your attention to detail and enhances your overall style.

Besides, if you leave the stains untreated, they'll penetrate the leather and become deeply embedded over time, which will weaken the leather fibers and potentially discolor your wallet or damage it permanently.

Some stains, such as ink or oil-based marks, tend to spread and become more challenging to remove if left unattended. Promptly tackling them helps to prevent their potential spread and avoid additional damage to your leather wallet.

Pro Tip: Ink stains are common culprits. Opt for pens with caps instead of click pens when carrying them in the same pocket as your wallet. This minimizes the risk of leaks and stains.

Luckily, you can remove stains from your wallet whether on your own or with the help of a professional through the following ways:

1 - Using DIY Leather Stain Removers

Household items such as mild liquid soap, white vinegar, baking soda, and rubbing alcohol can be used as DIY solutions to remove small stains on leather.

Start by mixing a solution of water and liquid soap (or your other preferred leather stain remover), then apply it to the stained area with a soft cloth or sponge.

For tougher spots, mix equal parts white vinegar and water and dab onto the stain. Let the solution sit for 10 minutes before wiping off with a damp cloth.

Ancient Soap: Did you know that soap, one of the mild cleaning agents for leather, has been used since ancient Babylon? A soap recipe dating back to 2800 BC was found inscribed on a clay pot.

However, use these DIY solutions with caution and test them on a small, inconspicuous area of your leather wallet before applying them to the stained area.

Different types of leather and stains may require different approaches, so it's always wise to exercise care before proceeding.

2 - Using Commercial Leather Stain Removers

Commercial leather stain removers are specifically designed for treating different types of stains on leather products.

Look for reputable brands that offer safe and effective products.

Follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer before applying the stain remover carefully to the affected area.

Remember to test the stain remover on a small, inconspicuous spot first to ensure it's compatible with your wallet's leather.

“A little of the Popov Leather Balm goes a long way. A thin coat, finger-applied, and light buffing with a clean cloth do the trick to seal and protect all my Popov Leather wallets, belt, valet trays, and coasters. Coffee and other liquid stains and light scratch easily wipe and rub away.”

Paul William Camacho, Verified Customer

3 - Seeking Professional Leather Cleaning Services

For stubborn or large stains that you're unsure how to handle, I recommend seeking the assistance of professional leather cleaning services.

These experts have the knowledge, experience, and specialized equipment to tackle even the most challenging stains.

They’ll assess the type of stain and determine the most suitable cleaning method without compromising your leather wallet’s integrity.

4 - Consulting With the Wallet Manufacturer

If your Popov Leather wallet is heavily soiled or the above solutions don't work, consider reaching out directly via my website’s Contact Us page.

My experienced team will provide guidance on how to address specific stains on your wallet or recommend suitable cleaning products for it.

Generally, these are the dos and don’ts when it comes to caring for your leather wallet:


  • Always carry your wallet inside pockets or bags instead of in your hands or exposed areas; this way any contact with potential stainers is limited.
  • Occasionally use protective sprays specifically designed for leather products.
  • Act promptly to prevent the stain from setting and becoming more challenging to treat. The sooner you address a stain, the better chance you have of successfully removing it.
  • Test the stain remover in an inconspicuous area, such as the interior or an inside fold, to know whether it’s safe and compatible with your wallet's leather.
  • Gently blot the stained area with a clean, soft cloth or paper towel. Blotting helps absorb the stain without spreading it further or damaging your wallet’s surface.


  • Don't scrub vigorously when removing the stain as this may scratch or scrape your wallet’s leather surface.
  • Don't use strong chemicals or solvents such as bleach, ammonia, or acetone which will cause discoloration, damage your leather wallet's finish, or strip away its natural oils.
  • Don't use excessive water, which can saturate the leather, potentially causing it to warp, shrink, or lose its shape.

Refreshing the Color of Your Leather Wallet

As you continue to use your leather wallet over time, the exposure to sunlight, environmental elements, and regular use will cause its color to fade or lose its vibrancy.

Refreshing the color helps restore its original beauty, bringing back the rich tones and luster that initially caught your eye. 

It's like giving your wallet a rejuvenating spa treatment, allowing it to shine once again.

Refreshing will also contribute to its longevity. When you rejuvenate your wallet’s color, you nourish and protect the leather, preventing further deterioration and potential damage.

Leather dyes are the most popular way to refresh the color on any leather product.

5 Card Wallet - Heritage Brown
Popov Leather Card Wallet - Heritage Brown

However, you can also use natural remedies such as coconut oil or olive oil. Simply follow the manufacturer’s basic guidelines before you begin.

Here are the top dos and don’ts to consider when refreshing your wallet’s color:


  • Clean your leather wallet beforehand to allow for better color absorption and ensure a more even application.
  • Apply a small amount of dye onto a lint-free cloth and gently rub into your wallet’s surface until it's completely saturated.
  • Invest in a reputable brand of leather dye or colorant specifically designed for your wallet’s leather. High-quality products offer better color saturation, durability, and a more professional finish.
  • Apply multiple thin layers rather than a thick coat of color all at once to ensure better color penetration and help achieve a more uniform and natural-looking result.
  • Follow the recommended drying and curing times provided by the product manufacturer. Rushing the process may result in uneven color distribution or premature wear of the new finish.
  • Let the wallet dry for 24 hours before using once all sections have been dyed. This gives the dye enough time to set properly within your wallet’s leather fibers.
  • Protect the newly refreshed leather by applying a leather conditioner. This helps seal in the color, provides additional moisture, and enhances the longevity of your wallet's new hue.

“If you’re gonna spend the money on high value things you have to have the upkeep products.”

Caleb Banks, Verified Customer


  • Don't skip the patch test before applying any color-refreshing product. Doing so may lead to undesirable color reactions or unexpected results on your wallet's surface.
  • Don't use products not intended for leather, such as general-purpose paints, markers, or household dyes on your leather wallet. They’re not formulated for leather and may cause damage, color bleed, or uneven results.
  • Don't apply excessive pressure when applying the color-refreshing product, as this may cause the leather to absorb too much dye or result in uneven coloring.
  • Don't neglect proper ventilation. Some dyes or colorants release fumes or contain chemicals that require proper air circulation.
  • Don't rush the drying process: Allow each color layer to dry completely before adding another or handling the wallet. Rushing the drying process may result in smudging or uneven color distribution, compromising the overall finish.
  • Don't expose the freshly colored wallet to excessive moisture or water until the dye has fully cured. Moisture can interfere with the coloring process or cause the dye to bleed, leading to undesirable results.

Replacing Worn Parts on Your Leather Wallet

A well-worn full-grain leather wallet carries its own charm and character, but when certain parts start to deteriorate, it can detract from its overall appeal.

Replacing the worn parts on your leather wallet allows you to preserve its aesthetics, maintain its visual integrity and ensure that it continues to be an elegant and stylish everyday accessory.

Besides, your Popov Leather wallet is a testament to superior craftsmanship and skilled artistry. When you replace any of its worn parts, you honor the craftsmanship we’ve invested in its creation.

You also pay homage to my dedicated artisans who’ve meticulously handcrafted it, appreciating the skill and effort they’ve poured into every detail.

worn out leather wallet
Popov Leather worn out wallet

Check out below my top dos and don’ts when repairing your leather wallet:


  • Carefully assess the extent of damage to your wallet before proceeding with any repairs.
  • Seek professional assistance if needed. Skilled leather craftsman or reputable repair services have the expertise and tools necessary to handle intricate repairs.
  • Opt for high-quality repair materials (adhesives, threads, and patches) specifically designed for leather. Using subpar materials may compromise the longevity and appearance of the repair.
  • Thoroughly clean your wallet using Popov Leather cleaner and water prior to initiating any repairs to ensure a clean surface for better adhesion.
  • If you're using adhesive to repair loose edges or components, apply it sparingly to prevent excess glue from seeping out and marring the surrounding leather.


  • Don't attempt complex repairs, such as major structural issues or extensive stitching repairs, without proper knowledge as this may lead to further damage or a less-than-optimal result.
  • Don't pull or stretch the leather forcefully when making repairs, as this may result in distortion or further tearing.
  • Don't overlook preventive measures, such as conditioning the leather, avoiding exposure to excessive moisture or heat, and handling the wallet with care after repairing your wallet to minimize future damage.

Invest in a Leather Wallet That’s Worth Preserving

Maintaining a leather wallet may seem like a lot of work, but it's an investment of time, effort, and money that pays off in the long run.

That's why you must choose a wallet that's truly worth the maintenance.

Hand-sewn full-grain leather wallets are your best bet. They’re incredibly durable, exude a high level of craftsmanship, and possess a distinct character that sets them apart.

At Popov Leather, all my leather wallets are designed with longevity in mind. They’re meticulously hand-stitched by skilled artisans, ensuring impeccable attention to detail and durability that surpasses mass-produced alternatives.

And since each piece is handcrafted, no two wallets are exactly alike. The subtle variations in grain patterns and stitching create a one-of-a-kind item that reflects our artisans’ skills and adds a personal touch to your accessory collection.

With proper care and maintenance, taking into considerations these dos and don’ts, your Popov Leather wallet will stand the test of time and be passed down through generations as family heirloom.

Browse our leather wallet collection to find the best options for you. Their classic design, exquisite stitching, and rich texture will effortlessly elevate your style and add a touch of sophistication, whether you're attending a formal business meeting or a casual dinner date.

The table below shows some of the leather wallets available at Popov Leather.

Traditional Leather Wallet - Black

Long Wallet - English Tan

Money Clip Wallet - Heritage Brown

“Beautiful leather color and great combination with the Red thread. I cannot wait for the wallet to contour to my cards, I love seeing the leather transformation and the development of the patina.”

Jorge Restrepo, Verified Customer

Article by Ryan Popoff

Ryan Popoff is the CEO and Co-Founder of Popov Leather. He has absolutely no business background, in fact, he graduated in 2012 with a bachelor's degree in fine arts. Ryan's leather goods business was born from a hobby at the dining room table and a passion for technology (ecommerce in particular). Ryan calls Nelson BC his home where he's raising his family and enjoys spending the odd afternoon at a local craft brewery.

Ryan Popoff

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