Seat Maintenance: 7 Tips for Cleaning Leather Car Seats
Don’t let your leather car seats get dirty and worn out! Check out these simple tips for cleaning leather car seats and keeping your car interior fresh.
Leather seating makes your car stand out. For some people, they’re a sign of a luxury vehicle; for others, leather seats just seem more practical.
Whatever the reason for choosing leather seating, one thing is certain: maintenance is a must. Without proper maintenance on your leather, the seats become worn, dingy and uncomfortable.
So what’s the proper method for cleaning leather car seats? Should you use chemicals? How often should you clean them?
Let’s explore the best way to clean your leather seats to help it maintain its shine and strength.
Cleaning Leather Car Seats: 7 Tips
Over time, the wear and tear on the interior of your car can worsen if it’s neglected. Treating your leather to some TLC ensures your seats will serve you well for the life of your vehicle.
Before you grab your cleaning products though, you’ll need to check your seats for any rips, stains, or tears. Holes in the leather can cause problems if liquid seeps inside. Once you’ve determined there are no holes, you can proceed with your cleaning routine.
Here are the five things you’ll need:
- Leather cleaner
- Microfiber cloths
- A vacuum cleaner with attachments
- Soft-bristle brush
- Leather conditioner
Ready to get started? Follow the tips below to properly clean your leather seats.
1. Vacuum and or Dust
Your leather seats have many crevices and these will likely collect dust, debris, dirt, and if you have passengers, food particles. You’ll want to use a brush attachment or a dusting mitt to clear away all the dust so your cleaner will penetrate deeply.
If you’re using a hose attachment on a vacuum cleaner, take care not to scratch the leather seats. Be gentle!
There may be visible grime or other residue built up over time that needs to be cleaned. Choose a leather cleaner with non-toxic ingredients to wipe down your seats. Spray a microfiber rag with cleaner (for the health of the seats, never spray cleaner directly on the seats, especially if they’re perforated), and gently remove the grime.
You can also use a combination of vinegar and water, or Castile soap and warm water if you can’t find an environmentally-friendly cleaner. Never use ammonia or bleach, as they will ruin the leather. Avoid liberally using cleaner or water, because you could end up soaking the leather and causing permanent staining.
3. Scrub – Gently!
Some dirt might still linger after you’ve wiped down the seats, so it’s ok to give your chairs a good scrubbing! Using a soft brush, spray the cleaner onto the brush and gently scrub the seats. Dirt should come up and can be easily wiped away with a clean microfiber cloth.
If your seats are perforated, avoid scrubbing to ensure your seats don’t become saturated with cleaner or water. This can cause mold problems in your seats. If you find that your seats are exceedingly dirty, a second round of scrubbing might be needed.
Remember to wipe away excess water or cleaner, so there’s no staining.
4. Condition and Buff
Once your seats are clean and dry, it’s time to condition the leather. Leather often loses some of its oils due to cracking and dry conditions. Conditioning puts oils back into the leather to keep them supple and healthy.
A conditioner containing natural ingredients will work better than one with synthetics. Try to avoid using petroleum or waxes, as they will cause the leather to appear greasy or become dull.
Once you’ve chosen a natural conditioner, use a clean microfiber cloth and dampen it with conditioner. Gently rub the cloth over the seats to apply the conditioner. Too much conditioner can ruin the seating, so be careful not to overdo it.
Conditioning will only need to be done a few times per year.
5. Use A Heavy Duty Cleaner if Necessary
The years can be especially hard on your leather. If you find that your cleaners are not getting the job done, consider looking for a heavy-duty cleaner designed to tackle stubborn grime on your seats.
6. Consult the Manual
While you might be gung-ho on cleaning those seats, remember to consult your car manual first. They might have suggestions on specific brands to use or have instructions on how to properly clean the leather. Make sure you flip through the manual first before you start cleaning.
7. Keep Out of Sun
Once you’ve conditioned your seats, you’ll want to keep it out of sunlight. The conditioner needs to sit on the seats for an hour, so avoid anything coming in contact with the seats during this time.
Once they’re dry, give them a good buff with another clean microfiber cloth and wipe away any additional dirt or grime.
How Often Should I Clean My Leather Seats?
If you have heavy traffic in your car, consider wiping your seats once a month or whenever you notice excess build up. Deep cleaning might be necessary up to four times per year.
Other Ways to Care For Leather Seats
While cleaning your leather seats is essential, there are other tips to preserve their life:
- If you have quite a few passengers, you can always get seat covers to add extra protection.
- Wipe away any spills or stains immediately to avoid permanently staining the leather.
- Park your car in a shaded area, so the sun doesn’t lighten the color of the leather.
Are You Ready to Clean Your Leather Seats?
Cleaning leather car seats is not hard, and you only need a few tools. Settling into a cleaning routine, will ensure your leather seats looks their best for many years.
Are you looking for a luxury vehicle? Huber Cadillac has a great selection of new and pre-owned vehicles. Call us at (402) 238-1729 today!