Leather Care For Your Car

Whether you’re restoring a vintage model or keeping your daily driving vehicle in tip-top-shape, maintaining your car’s interior is must. Leather seats are not only a clean, classic look, they’re durable and maintainable if you’re willing to put in just a little bit of time. Here are some tips to keep your leather seats looking great for years to come!

Before you start

Consult your car’s owner manual. This should always be a starting point before doing any DIY car care. Next, check to see if your car’s leather is perforated or not- if it is, be careful to NOT clog the perforations with water, debris, conditioners, etc.

Cleaning the Leather

  • Begin cleaning your leather by giving your seats a gentle sweeping. This will help remove debris such as sand and dirt. Take your time to avoid scratching your seats!

  • Next, take a microfiber cloth and add a few drops of cleaner like se leather cleaner, saddle soap, or another mild leather soap. Start rubbing in small circles to work the cleaner into the leather. It’s a good idea to test the cleaner in a small, inconspicuous spot to ensure no discoloration occurs.

  • Use a brush to deep clean the leather. Spray the cleaner directly onto your seats and use a soft-bristled brush to gently scrub the leather. This will agitate the dirt and bring it to the surface. Skip this step if you have perforated leather.

  • Grab a clean microfiber and wipe off the cleaner. You’ll notice dirt residue on the cloth which is a good sign- it means you’ve cleaned your seats!

Conditioning your Leather

Take your leather maintainance one step further by conditioning your seats after they’ve been cleaned. Note: do not do this under strong UV light- you’re giving your car some TLC so let it rest away from harsh sunlight.

  • Look for a high quality leather condition that does not contain waxes, petroleum distillates, or silicone. Stick with a water-based, neutral pH conditioner since the purpose of conditioning your leather is to replenish the natural oils in the leather. Don’t skimp on the quality of your leather conditioner either. Cheap conditioners may leave your leather with a greasy look and finish- no one wants that.

  • Once you’ve selected a good, high quality conditioner, apply a small amount to a clean microfiber cloth and get to work buffing your seats. Start in a small, inconspicuous area to test for any issues with discoloration. If no issues occur, buff over the entirety of the leather.

  • Use another clean, microfiber cloth to remove any excess conditioner if the need arises.

  • After you’ve finished conditioning the leather, let it sit for at least an hour or just leave it be overnight.

  • Your final step is to wipe down your leather interior with, yes, another, clean, microfiber cloth. This will remove any residual conditioner that may have been left behind.

And that’s it, you are on your way to a great leather care routine. Get yourself in an equally as important maintenance routine by scheduling and appointment with your local auto repair center. Good luck and happy driving!

Written by Brian Bowersock

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