A tool belt is used to contain tools and equipment in activities like carpentry, construction, gardening, DIY activities, and more. Given the nature of these activities, it is expected that they will get exposed to different weather conditions, dust, oils, and other substances that dirty your tool belt in the long run.
Cleaning tool belt, especially ones made of leather, may sound intimidating. However, this is not an excuse for you to skip doing it. After all, you wouldn’t want to use something grimy and dirty, would you?
So if you’re unsure how to clean a tool belt, just follow this guide!
Table of Contents
Step-by-step Instructions in Cleaning a Tool Belt
In cleaning leather tool belt like the Occidental tool belt, you will pretty much apply the principles of leather care.
There are two popular methods in order to wash a leather belt for tools. First is using soap and water and second, using Vaseline petroleum jelly and alcohol.
Method #1: Soap and Water
You will need the following materials:
- Mild soap, such as castile soap or saddle soap
- Soft-bristled brush
- Clean, damp towel
- Neatsfoot oil
- Soft cloth
- A vacuum cleaner
Here the steps for leather tool belt cleaning:
Step #1: Empty out the pockets.
Remove all remaining tools inside the pouches. You can turn the tool bag upside down and shake it to get rid of debris inside the bag.
Then, use a vacuum to remove the remaining dust.
Step #2: Brush the leather tool belt.
Apply a little bit of water to the mild soap of your choice to dampen it. Once damp, rub it with a soft bristled brush until bubbles form.
Brush the outside part of the tool belt before moving on to the inner part. You can also use a soft-bristled toothbrush to clean hard-to-reach parts of the pouches.
Step #3: Rinse off.
With a damp towel, rinse the soap off the leather’s surface.
Step #4: Make a leather conditioner.
Place the lanolin inside a glass container and melt it over a pot of hot water. It is advised to only simmer and not to boil the water.
Once lanolin is melted, mix it with neatsfoot oil to complete your homemade leather conditioner.
Step #5: Condition the leather.
This is the last step of tool leather belt cleaning. Dampen the soft cloth and apply an adequate amount of leather conditioner.
Then, rub the conditioner all over the tool belt— both inside and outside. You should allow the oils to seep into fibers of the leather and air dry for around two (2) hours.
Method #2: Using Vaseline and Alcohol
Now that you know how to clean your tool belt using soap and water, here are the steps in cleaning it using petroleum jelly and alcohol.
You will need:
- Rubbing Alcohol
- Clean cotton ball or tissue paper
- Vaseline or any petroleum jelly of choice
- A vacuum cleaner
Step #1: Remove dust and debris
Before beginning the cleaning process, make sure that the tool belt is completely empty. Remove all remaining tools and debris.
Dust it off by either shaking it upside-down or using a vacuum cleaner.
Step #2: Apply alcohol
Grab a clean cotton ball or tissue paper and add an ample amount of rubbing alcohol onto it.
Clean the entire surface of the tool belt. Don’t forget to clean inside the pouches too! The alcohol will open up the fibers of the leather which is essential for the next step.
Repeat this step until the leather absorbs an adequate amount of alcohol. Let it dry.
Step #3: Apply Vaseline or any petroleum jelly.
Take an ample amount of Vaseline and rub it all over the tool belt. You can use your fingers to do this step.
Considering that alcohol can dry up the leather, the petroleum jelly will act as the leather conditioner and moisturizer that will bring back the moisture to the leather.
Wipe off excess petroleum jelly. This will ensure that the excess product will not attract any dirt or dust. Let it dry.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you wash a tool belt in the washing machine?
Sure, leather is a durable material. Despite its durability and other great characteristics, it still remains a delicate material that needs proper handling.
This being said, cleaning using the washing machine is not among the ways to care for a leather belt for tools. There are several reasons for this.
First, the washing machine uses water to operate and clean things and soaking leather in water is a big no-no. This is because water strips off its natural oils as it dries up.
Second, the machine might release heat that can also damage the leather.
Why shouldn’t leather tool belts be put in the dryer?
One of the golden rules of leather care is to not expose it to excessive heat. Excessive heat can damage the quality of the leather. Particularly, it can cause it to shrink, dry out, and even weaken its fibers. When this happens, you will end up with cracked and brittle material.
Therefore, tossing leather tool belts in the dryer after cleaning can be considered a taboo.
How do you restore an old leather tool belt?
If you have an old leather tool belt just lying around (and you don’t want to throw it out), you can still bring it back to its old glory and use it again. After all, this can save you money on a new tool belt.
There are three main steps in order to restore an old leather tool belt: cleaning, smoothening,fcare for a leather belt and retouching.
To clean, you can follow any of the two methods listed here. Then, you can use a super-fine sandpaper to smoothen it. Lastly, retouch the appearance by putting leather filler or dye on the nooks and crannies of the leather.
How do you maintain your leather tool belt?
Aside from keeping your tool belt clean, another way of maintaining your tool belt is by applying essential oils and conditioners. This ensures that the fibers are moisturized and cracks are avoided.
Storage is also important. Always store it in a dry place. When placed in a humid environment proper ventilation, leather can build up mold which can later on cause damage. To increase breathability, you can hang it before storing it.
It is also important to keep the tool belt away from extreme heat.
Some people may think that cleaning tool belts is not necessary, but it is definitely an important step in taking care of it. After all, just like any other accessories used at work, they also need to be cleaned and maintained.
Learning how to clean a tool belt is just one of the steps that allow you to maximize its use. However, it is not enough that you only keep them clean. Tool belts also need to be maintained regularly and even stored properly.
Indeed, the process of making your belt long-lasting is not a one-time thing. It requires dedication and consistency in order to develop it into a habit.
Other guides you can refer to:
Veronica is our content editor. She is a talent in delivery. Her main work is editing and writing articles that are both informative and simple to follow. She is in charge of synthesizing our understanding of what personal protection equipment (PPE) is needed in each job, how to best apply it, and how to visualize that equipment.