Work on a construction site long enough and your tool belt is going to get dirty. Paint, oil, drywall compound, and many other substances are just waiting to cover every inch of your belt – inside and out. The good news is that you can learn how to clean a tool belt with just a little bit of reading.
It is actually easier than you might think to get a dirty tool belt clean. It is all in the cleaning solution and tools you choose. Understand that your choices will be influenced by the material your tool belt is made of. Most belts these days are made from leather, nylon, or some sort of poly-cotton material.
If you have a dirty tool belt that’s driving you crazy, it’s time to stop dreaming about cleaning it and get to it. I lay out all the necessary steps in this post. Follow the advice you read here, and you will have your belt looking clean in no time.
Nylon and Poly-Cotton Blends of Tool Bag
While not the norm, less expensive tool belts made of nylon and poly-cotton materials are out there. They tend to be your cheaper tool belts intended for DIY homeowners and weekend warriors. They can be cleaned simply by throwing them in the washing machine with the rest of the laundry. However, there are some caveats.
First, the washing machine might not get hot enough to properly handle stains without some help. So if your nylon or poly-cotton belt is stained in any way, apply some fabric stain remover and let sit for several hours before washing. Especially stubborn stains might have to be scrubbed with a brush as well. If stain remover and the washing machine don’t get the stains out, they are never coming out.
Cleaning a Leather Tool Bag
The vast majority of tool bags on the market are made from leather. Why? Because leather is durable enough to stand up to the punishment of your average worksite. The downside is that it easily absorbs all sorts of dirt and stains. Learning how to clean a tool belt made of leather is all about understanding its properties.
Leather is essentially animal skin. It is very porous and easily dries out. These two properties are critical to understand before you clean. Here’s what you’ll need:
- A soft-bristled brush (a toothbrush will work fine)
- A mild soap (like castile soap)
- A rag or two
- Lanolin and all-purpose oil.
Your first step is to empty your tool belt completely. Then either shake it off or vacuum it to remove all loose dirt and debris.
Next, dampen the soap and apply it to the brush by rubbing the two together. You want to create a generous amount of leather.
Now scrub the belt until all the lather has disappeared. Wipe the area with a damp cloth to remove any excess soap along with the dirt and debris you loosened. Repeat the process until the entire belt is clean. Now let the belt dry for several hours.
You are going to finish the belt by combining the lanolin and all-purpose oil. If the lanolin is solid, melt it over a pot of boiling water before mixing in the oil. Apply the mixture to the leather using a damp rag, working in in with the tips of your fingers. That’s it. Once the belt is dry, you’re done.
Now you know how to clean a tool belt. It is not as hard as it sounds, right? The more often you do it, the faster and more thorough you will become.
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