Car Care guide – The best way to clean and condition leather car seats

A car model doesn’t matter when you have regal leather seats that give you a luxurious edge. Technology and trends come and go, but leather seats never get old. You will always feel privileged while driving your vehicle through the sunsets.

Catch? With great pleasure comes great responsibility. You gotta know the best way to clean and condition leather car seats when you own such luxury. Whether you are coming from a sandy beach trip or eating in a drive-thru, your leather seats are bound to get dirty. Would you ever want to keep those crumbs and sand particles stuck to your leather seats? Nobody would, of course. Therefore, we have come up with: how to clean leather seats and what products to buy to carry out the cleansing guides.

What? Scroll down before your leather seats go rotten.

Why do leather seats need special care?

Before we answer this question, have you ever asked your spouse why they do special care for their leather bags? Well, if you did ask, you would be here with one eye black.

Whether it’s a bag, sofa or car, leather upholstery demands extra care and attention or else it gets dry, patchy and cracky. Here comes our biology justification for why it requires extra care.

Just like your own, animal skin produces oils to keep them nourished and soft. However, when the hide is turned into leather, it cannot produce oils on its own. Thereby it needs external care to keep it supple smooth and hydrated.

Our favorite thing about leather seats is that when you give them extra attention, they look as plush as they came right outta a showroom.

4 you need to clean leather seats

Firstly, RELAX. We won’t hand you over a bunch of expensive equipment lists to clean your leather seats. In fact, you don’t require a ton of apparatus to conduct the cleaning. Ideally, your leather cleaning box should have:

  • Vacuum Cleaners

Before doing any cleaning, you need to suck out all the dirt and debris standing on your seats to avoid further mess due to dragging them, which could also leave permanent stains on your seats. Using a vacuum cleaner will help you pull out all that dirt quickly so that you can hop on to the next step.

  • Air Compressor

While an air compressor is not a must requirement, it comes in handy when there are hidden particles in hard-to-reach areas. With the help of it, you can just blow them out. So that’s the second thing you need.

  • Microfiber Towel

The next thing you require is a soft cloth to perform the cleaning. A microfiber towel is an ideal choice for cleaning leather seats. Not too abrasive but removes dirt conveniently. 

Here is this thing, you will require two microfiber towels as one would be sprayed with the cleaner to remove gunk and dirt, and another one would be dry to wipe out the cleaner and filth from the seats.

  • Soft Bristled-Brush

You would require a soft-bristled brush for gently cleaning away the long-seated dust and gunk from your car’s leather seats. Don’t get scared. A gentle brushing would cause no harm to them. Just ensure you don’t go rough with it.

This equipment shouldn’t be new to you. In fact, you may find some of them lying around in your garage. In case, if you don’t have any, they are available in any automotive shop or online at Amazon.

5 Products you need to clean leather seats:

Products you need to clean leather seats
Shutterstock Licensed Image

After preparing a list of equipment, the next thing to do is to determine which products you will need to perform the cleaning.

  • Leather Cleaner

If you prefer on-the-shelf products, make sure they are perfect for cleaning leather upholstery. Using multi-purpose cleaners is not at all recommended. It will dry out your leather, leaving it prone to permanent damage. Hide from Auto Finesse is our best recommendation for leather seat clean-up.

  • Detergent

If you’re big on saving, you can use your regular laundry detergent or dish soap. Just add half to one spoon of laundry detergent in lukewarm water and fill it in a spray bottle. Shake it up, and you are good to go.

  • Vinegar

As surprising as it sounds, vinegar is a real cleaning wonder. Be it, windows, mirrors, kitchens or car seats, it works wonders on every surface. There is one downside, it does stink.

  • Coconut oil

While coconut oil isn’t a cleaner, it can be used as a conditioner after cleaning. Just apply it and rub gently using a microfiber cloth. Don’t forget to do a patch test first to avoid any damage.

  • Baking Soda

Baking soda is considered a universal stain cleaner. You can either directly apply it to the stains and let it rest for a few seconds or mix it with a few drops of water and apply in the form of a paste before removing it. Though, it can be harsh on your leather seats. 

How to clean leather car seats – Step-by-Step method

Now that we have everything we need on hand let’s begin the cleaning process step by step!

Step 1 – Vacuum the car seats

Before wiping, the car seats must be vacuumed to remove all the standing dirt as they could be dragged along and leave stains and scratches while wiping if not removed. Also, you need to do the vacuum so it doesn’t damage the seats either. cautiously

Start from the crevices to take out dirt from hard-to-reach areas first. However, you may use an air compressor for such areas as well if the vacuum doesn’t work there.

Note: before starting the first step, ensure your seats are not worn out and perforated. Moving on with the cleaning process while your seats have tears, holes and scratches would damage the inner foam, which would be then hard to deal with.

Step 2 – Do a spot test with the cleaner

You need to perform a spot test before going for cleaning and scrubbing. This is a mandatory step for anyone using the cleaner for the first time on their leather seats. It is a kind of precautionary step to save your leather seats from getting damaged permanently.

To do this, first, we will apply a small amount of cleaner onto a small discreet area of the leather seat. If nothing happens, you can go on with applying it to the rest of the areas.

Note: Know that if a cleaner comes up like fizzing or melting, it is not safe to use it on your car seats.

Step 3 – Remove the Dirt and Grime

It’s time to remove the dirt and grime that didn’t go away with the vacuum cleaner. It’s because long-standing dirt gets stuck and absorbed on your car seats and don’t leave the leather until a cleanser is applied.

What you need to do is apply a small amount of cleanser to the microfiber cloth and gently rub it against the seats, section by section, to remove the stains.

Step 4 – Use a Soft-Bristle brush to deep clean

If you have deep-seated dirt on the car seats, you will have to perform deep cleaning with light hands using a soft bristle brush to remove it. For this, you would need to spray the formula or cleaner directly onto the seats and scrub gently with the brush. Doing so will bring out the accumulated dirt onto the surface to get removed easily.

Step 5 – Wipe out the cleaner

 Now it’s time to use the dry micro-fiber cloth to wipe away the cleaner. Make sure you clean it properly, as even the slightest residue would cause your seat to become sticky and smelly if not removed carefully. Wipe and wipe until the seats are completely dry.

Step 6 – Apply conditioner

Again perform a spot test with the car conditioner as you did with the cleaner to check if it’s fine to use on the car seats. If nothing bad happens, go on with applying it.

Take a small decent amount of conditioner on a microfiber cloth and rub it against the seats in a circular motion.

Note: Don’t apply too much conditioner as it would leave the seats damp and greasy.

 Conclusion – how to clean leather seats

So that was our recommended method for all those asking for the best way to clean and condition leather car seats. Secondly, if you are more into a visual demonstration of the process, here is the video link for that.

Lastly, when going for an on-the-shelf product, read its ingredients carefully, as it must steer clear of silicone, wax and oil-based products. Always go for light products to avoid discoloration and greasiness.

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