• February 16, 2016

Cleaning and Conditioning your Car’s Leather Interior

Cleaning and Conditioning your Car’s Leather Interior

Leather seats have been used in cars for almost over a hundred years.  They are attractive to look at and very comfortable to sit on.  The main advantage of leather is that when the weather is hot, the seats absorb perspiration whereas vinyl seats trap it and get sticky. Plus there’s nothing like the smell of a leather interior in a car.

Leather, however, requires maintenance, certainly more than vinyl seats do.  Because leather is an organic product, it can deteriorate over time because it loses its natural oils.  As a result, it is recommended that you clean and condition your car’s leather seats frequently.  Here’s how to do it.Cleaning

Cleaning leather is best accomplished by using a specifically designed, quality leather cleaner. There are many cleaners on the market and they are designed to gently re-hydrate whatever grime and gunk accumulate on the seats.  After these products rehydrate the grime, the leather can be cleaned off. Use only leather products on leather, do not use vinyl or all-purpose cleaners, as these products tend to be much too harsh for leather.

The general procedure for leather cleaners is to apply a small amount of your chosen cleaner to a damp cloth and work up a good lather on all the leather surfaces.  After sitting for a few minutes, remove the excess lather then give the leather a good cleaning with clean water and a sponge. After this remove any residual moisture with a towel and allow all the leather surfaces to dry for about an hour.


Once your leather is clean, you should definitely restore the lost oils with a quality leather conditioner. Fortunately, applying a leather conditioner is simple. Here’s what you do: put a small amount of it on an applicator pad or cotton cloth and work gently into the surface. Don’t be afraid to really saturate the leather. Then allow it to be absorbed for several minutes and then wipe off the excess.

Neglected Leather

If your leather has hardened or needs serious softening, there are several products on the market to help you with this. These products are paste-like and are designed to really penetrate into the leather surface.  Generally, you coat the old leather surfaces with a good thick coat of the product and let it sink in for 24 hours or so. Depending upon the condition of the leather, it may require numerous additional applications too.  With luck, you should be able to resurrect the old leather you started with and have a softer, more appealing surfaces to use.

Keeping it like new

By the way, most people don’t treat their leather often enough.  This is why you see so many older cars with old, stiff leather seats.  You can easily avoid that fate by conditioning your leather at least a couple of time per year.  Think of it as a maintenance item, like oil and filter changes, that you can perform yourself.


Article Courtesy: Sheboygan Chrysler Center

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