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Do you want to know how to clean leather car seats? The look and feel of leather car seats are pretty high-end. But if it wasn’t taken care of, it would lose its elegance and comfort.
If you don’t clean and condition them regularly, they can get dirty, dry out, and crack, making the inside of your car look bad and feel uncomfortable.
In short, cleaning would involve checking for holes or damage, vacuuming, wiping and scrubbing with cleaner, wiping dry, and conditioning. It’s really that easy. In this blog post, we’ll show you how to clean leather car seats and keep them in good shape for years to come.
What do you Need When Cleaning Leather Car Seats?
Most of the time, taking care of the outside of our cars is more important than cleaning the inside. Everyone can see your dirty windows and muddy wheels, but the signs of your trip through the McDonald’s drive-thru can be hidden pretty well.
We only need a sponge, a hose, and a bucket of soapy water to clean the outside of our cars. But the inside of the car seems like a much bigger job for some reason.
What do you really need to do to get those leather car seats to look like new?
You don’t need a lot of tools to clean leather car seats, so you don’t have that as an excuse not to clean them regularly. In your cleaning kit for leather, you should have the following:
- A vacuum cleaner (and optional air compressor).
- A set of soft microfiber cloths. These shouldn’t be rough or ragged.
- A soft-bristled brush or a toothbrush for smaller places (avoid stiff bristles at all costs).
- Cans of spray (depending on your cleaning products).
You should already have some of these things, but if you don’t, you can get them at most good hardware stores, auto shops, or online.
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Step by Step: Cleaning Leather Car Seats
Graphics Credit: Editorialge.com
It can be scary to try to clean your leather seats on your own, especially if it’s the first time you’ve done it. Don’t worry because there are a few simple steps you can take to make your seats fit for a king or queen. Here are some easy steps you can take to clean your car seats, so you don’t leave behind scratches or dirt:
Remove Obstacles and Large Debris
If you have a child or pet, you probably have big things in your car, like a car seat or booster seat. Getting rid of these things and any trash or other big things in the way can help you clean your seats quickly and easily. This can also help you see any dirt or grime left behind by your kids’ afternoon snack and clean it up. This gives you a chance to clean these parts before putting them back in your car. If you do this, your leather seats will look and feel clean for a longer time.
Vacuum any Dirt and Debris
The best way to clean dirty car seats is to start by vacuuming up the crumbs and specks of something you don’t know where they came from. Aside from being ugly, old crumbs and other small, sharp pieces can scratch and damage leather when you’re wiping it down. Also, be careful not to press too hard with the vacuum’s nozzle. If you find dirt or dust that is really stuck on, you can use an air compressor like this highly-rated one from Amazon to break it up before you vacuum it up.
Test Your Cleaning Solution
Before you put your leather cleaning solution on your seats, you should test it on a small, hidden area of your seats. This is especially important if you are using a new cleaning solution for the first time, as it can keep you from ruining or staining your leather seats by accident. If the cleaner starts to fizz or melt, you should stop using it right away.
When choosing a new cleaning product, you might want to look at your owner’s manual because the company that made your car might have specific suggestions for cleaners. When cleaning MB-Tex, it’s important to use a gentle cleaning solution instead of a harsh leather cleaner to keep your seat upholstery from getting damaged or stained.
Apply a Cleaning Solution
Once you’ve tried the cleaning solution on one spot of your car seat, you can use it on the rest of your seats. You can work the cleaning solution into a foam with a soft-bristled brush. This can help break down stains and dirt that are hard to get out of the upholstery and creases. Make sure you only use enough cleaner to clean the seat and not enough to soak the material. Also, it’s best to work on small sections at a time to keep the cleaning solution from changing colour or leaving stains.
If your seats have holes, rips, scratches, or other damage, be careful when applying the cleaning solution. To keep your seats from getting any worse, you might want to put the cleaner on a microfiber towel instead of directly on the material. Use light pressure to clean the surface as you work the solution into a lather. By moving the bristled brush in a circle, you can remove tough stains and dirt without hurting the surface.
Gently Rub the Seats with a Soft Cloth
One of the best ways to clean leather car seats is to rub them with a soft cloth. Before you start, wipe the surface clean with a microfiber towel that has been sprayed with a leather cleaner. If a stain won’t come out, put a little toothpaste or baking soda powder on it and rub it gently with a soft cloth. Add some coconut oil to the surface and wipe it down with a cloth to make it shine even more. Lastly, wipe down each seat with a damp cloth that has a mixture of five parts water to one part soap.
Let the Cleaning Solution Sit for a Few Minutes
After you put the cleaning solution on your leather car seats, you should wait a few minutes before you start scrubbing. This will give the solution time to really break down any dirt and grime that has become stuck in the leather. After a few minutes, start scrubbing with a soft bristle detailing brush until it foams up. This will help loosen any leftover stuff, making it easier to get off.
Wipe the Seat With a Damp Towel
You can wipe the cleaning solution off the seats now that they are clean. Start by wiping the seats down with a towel that is just a little bit damp and a cleaning solution. By using a damp towel, you can pick up any dirt or grime that you might have missed while cleaning. This keeps the dirt and grime from falling to the floor of your car. Now that you’re thinking about the floor of your car, you might also want to look into floor mats. This will make it easy to clean up crumbs that fall from your seats and land on the floor.
Dry Seats With a Microfiber Towel
After the first wipe-down, you can use a dry microfiber towel to finish the job. This helps to get rid of any extra moisture on the surface of the seat, which can stop mold or mildew from growing. Make sure you wipe the seats until they are completely dry to keep them from getting wrinkled or cracked.
Apply Leather Conditioner if Needed
Leather conditioner isn’t a must-have. It keeps leather soft, smooth, and healthy by getting into the pores and stopping them from drying out. If you put leather conditioners on your seats too often, they will get slippery and greasy. We suggest using a good leather conditioner two or three times a year at most.
Most good leather conditioners have natural UV-blocking properties that can help your leather keep its colour. Use soft, circular motions to spread a small amount of conditioner over a large area.
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Products to Clean Your Leather Seats
We know that everyone has different tastes and different amounts of money. This is why we want to tell you about a few ways to clean leather that you can buy or make yourself.
Shop Bought Leather Cleaner
The leather honey cleaner looks and feels like honey and is safe and water-resistant. This honey is good for healing because of how thick it is. If your leather seats are worn down from years of use, this is the product you need.
Chemical Guys Sprayable Leather Cleaner and Conditioner
The sprayable leather cleaner has a unique PH balance that makes it perfect for cleaning leather while keeping its strength, durability, and appearance. So, the cleaner gets into the pores of the leather in your car to get rid of dirt and oils. It also acts as a conditioner, so you don’t have to use a separate product to condition the leather after cleaning.
Confident Ultimate Leather Cleaner
The chemicals in the best leather cleaner are not as harsh. This means that the product doesn’t have any colour dyes in it and that it doesn’t leave any smells after cleaning. This might be good for you if you have allergies or don’t like to use things that smell.
DIY Leather Cleaners
If you want to use things you already have around the house, you can make your own solution with dish soap or laundry detergent. Get a spray bottle, fill it with warm water (not boiling), and add half to one whole teaspoon of laundry detergent. Just shake it up, and you’re all set.
Even though it might seem strange, vinegar is a great cleaner. It is a great antibacterial cleaner for bathrooms, kitchens, windows, and mirrors, and it is cheap as chips (and goes nicely with chips too). But it smells bad, so maybe save it for a day when it’s not so hot.
To clean with vinegar, fill a spray bottle about three-quarters of the way with vinegar and the rest of the way with warm water. It’s so simple and easy, so if you don’t want to spend money on leather cleaning products, you should give it a try!
A good way to get stains out of a leather seat is to use rubbing alcohol. You can apply the alcohol and clean the area with a ball of cotton wool or a dry, lint-free cloth. After getting rid of the stain, use a solution of liquid dish soap and warm water to get rid of the alcohol.
Baking soda is often used to get rid of tough stains because it is a natural way to get rid of stains. You can either mix it with a little water to make a paste or sprinkle it on the stain and let it sit for a while before wiping it away.
But keep in mind that baking soda can be rough on things that aren’t as strong. If you don’t want to risk ruining a lot of your furniture, it might be best to stick to leather cleaning products.
Coconut oil is known for being good for your skin and hair, so it makes sense that it works like magic on leather.
After you’ve cleaned the inside of your car well, you can use coconut oil or even olive oil to soften the leather. Just put a little bit on at a time and rub it in with a dry cloth.
Always test on a small, inconspicuous, or hidden area first to make sure it won’t hurt your leather.
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What Kind of Cleaning Solution Should You Use?
Commercial leather cleaners are easy to find, and most auto shops carry them (and even some grocery stores). But be careful not to buy a cleaning product that has bleach or ammonia in it since either of those can damage leather.
If you want to clean leather on your own, mix 5 parts warm water with 1 part liquid dishwashing soap or Castile soap made from vegetable oils (five parts water, one part soap). Mix the leather cleaner in a bucket, then put it on the microfiber cloth you’re using to clean the seats.
How to Choose a Leather Upholstery Cleaner?
A damp cloth soaked in a mixture of warm water and vinegar can be used to clean up small spills on leather. But if you want a deeper clean, you will need a different kind of product. Since leather is made of living things, cleaning products made for it contains moisturizers to keep it from drying out and don’t use harsher chemicals that could damage it.
There are many leather cleaning kits on the market. Most of them have a cleaner and a conditioner. After using the cleaner, conditioner is used to add back any moisture that may have been lost while scrubbing. You might also see products that come in one bottle and have both conditioner and cleaner in them. Look for brands like The Chemical Guys, Lexol, and Meguiar. Each has a good reputation among professionals who do detailing.
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How to Use Leather Cleaning Products?
Almost every store-bought item comes with instructions that show you how to use it. Many products say to use a vacuum to clean the surface first, then use a cleaning solution. The best way to get stains and dirt out of your seats is to gently work the cleaner into them. You can make sure you use the cleaner correctly by reading the directions on the bottle.
If you’re still not sure how to use the leather cleaner or don’t want to risk ruining your seats, you might want to take your car to a professional detailer. These experts can help clean and condition your leather seats in a way that is less likely to damage or stain them. Most of the time, these professionals also have access to high-end tools and cleaning solutions that will make your seats look their best.
How do I Clean Perforated Leather Seats?
Before you clean the leather seats in your car, it’s important to know if they have holes in them. Perforation means that there are small holes. You’ve probably seen a car with leather seats with holes in them. Perforations can just be used for design, but most of the time, they are on heated leather seats. During the heating process, air can flow through these holes.
Then, how do you clean seats with holes? Even though you shouldn’t let a lot of liquid sit or get on leather seats in general, this is especially true for perforated seats. It’s easy to fix: just use fewer solutions! We’ll talk about how you should never put a cleaning product on your seats directly; instead, you should put it on a cleaning cloth or sponge.
With seats that have holes in them, you should only use a small amount of product on your cleaning tool. Make sure the cloth is only slightly wet.
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How Often Should You Clean and Condition Your Leather Seats?
Since you now know how to clean leather car seats, you may be wondering when you should use your new skills. So, how often should leather car seats be cleaned and oiled? Every three months is a good rule of thumb. But this can vary quite a bit depending on how it is used. If you park your car in a garage and keep it there for a long time, you probably won’t need to condition the leather very often.
But if you drive every day and have to park a lot in the Bay Area’s hot sun, leather conditioning is probably a good idea. If you want to talk to our team, we’d be happy to look at your habits and give you a care plan.
How to Maintain the Beauty of Your Leather Car Seats?
Every month, you should vacuum your leather car seats to keep them clean and beautiful. Use a hand-held attachment for the upholstery to get between cushions. Dirt and other rough things won’t get into the leather if you vacuum your seats. Small scratches can be made on leather by dust, sand, and bread crumbs. When you clean your car seats, use a leather cleaning cloth.
First, vacuum the seats well to get them clean. Then you can use something to clean it. Never clean leather with bleach or anything that has ammonia in it. If you want to make your own cleaner, you can mix warm water with either Castile soap or liquid dishwashing soap. Before using the cleaning solution, make sure to wet a cloth. If you use too much cleaning product, it will stain the leather.
You can use a leather cleaner or wipes on the seats after you’ve cleaned them. These wipes should be used once or twice a month. You can also use a conditioner once every three to six months to keep stains from becoming permanent. Cleaners and conditioners for leather are often sold in auto parts stores. You can also use a home remedy, like beeswax or baby oil, if you’d rather. Make sure to try the cleaning solution on a small area first to make sure it doesn’t cause any damage.
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Tips for Cleaning Your Leather Car Seats
Even though it seems like a big job, cleaning your leather car seats is actually pretty easy. But if you really want to make the inside of your car shine, remember these tips from the pros.
- Stay Still and Scrub Down: If you want your leather cleaner to work its magic, Varela says to let it sit for a few minutes and then scrub with a soft bristle cleaning brush. How to do it? Move your brush around very gently in a circle.
- Use Leather Conditioner Rarely: Leather conditioner might keep the inside of your car soft and nice, but you shouldn’t use it every time you clean your seats. Varela says that you should use a leather conditioner once every three months.
- Explore the Alternatives: How can a driver make their car seats shine if leather cleaner and conditioner don’t work? Sokolowski says not to worry because there are many other options. Mould and mildew can be gotten rid of by mixing equal parts warm water and rubbing alcohol. Aerosol hairspray can be used to get rid of permanent marker marks. Grease can be cut through with a little baking soda.
Sokolowski says that red wine or fruit juice stains can be taken care of with lemon juice and cream of tartar. “Leave this on the stain for at least 10 minutes before wiping it away with a damp sponge.” If you use lemon juice, wipe it off and then condition the leather.
You just need to think outside the box, and you’ll soon have a clean car.
Don’t let the leather on your car seats get old. Follow these steps to learn how to clean leather car seats and condition them to keep them looking and feeling nice. Also, don’t forget that they need to be cleaned and conditioned often. You can also find out more about how to clean other types of car seats, such as clean cloth, suede, and white leather. Like this post? In the comments, you can say anything you want. You should also share this article, especially if you know people who could use the information.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about How to Clean Leather Car Seats?
What Should You Not Clean Leather With?
It’s enough to just use cleaning solutions and water to clean your leather. Many homemade chemicals and remedies, like Tartar, lemon juice, and string acidic or alkaline products, might be too harsh on the leather and damage it.
Can You Use Car Wax on Leather Seats?
You shouldn’t put car wax on the leather seats, especially if the leather is perforated. Use a damp microfiber instead of wax to clean your car. On the leather seat, the microfiber cloth makes it shine. Check the conditioner you want to use to make sure it doesn’t have any wax or petroleum in it.
Can Magic Eraser clean leather car seats?
Get Magic Eraser clean. If you’ve used this product around the house, you know that it really does work like magic, even on leather couches and chairs. This way of cleaning leather seats is one of the safest and most effective ways to do it. The Magic Eraser makes it easy to clean your car seats of dirt and grime.
How do you clean leather car seats naturally?
A solution of a quarter cup of olive oil and half a cup of distilled white vinegar is a great way to clean leather car seats at home. This mixture doesn’t need a water base. Just put the two ingredients into a spray bottle and shake them well to mix them together.
Can I use alcohol wipes to clean my leather car seats?
When cleaning leather seats, the most important thing to remember is not to use a cleaner that contains alcohol. Most disposable cleaning supplies and wipes have alcohol in them, which will dry out leather seats and damage them. A lot of other cleaners, like nail polish remover or acetone, will also hurt your leather seats.
Can you use Windex on leather car seats?
Because almost all window cleaners have alcohol in them, you really can’t use them on leather furniture. Alcohol will damage the surface of your leather, especially by breaking down the protective top coat on fully finished leathers, which make up the vast majority of the leather upholstery market.
Can I use vinegar and water to clean leather car seats?
For a more natural way to clean leather car seats, try a solution of water and vinegar: First, fill a spray bottle about 3/4 of the way with vinegar. Then, fill the rest of the bottle with warm water. You should spray the seat from about 20 cm away. Use a damp chamois to rub the solution into the seat in a light, even way.
Can I use Lysol wipes on leather?
Please don’t use disinfectant wipes or sprays on your leather because they contain alcohol, which would break down the glue on the leather’s topcoat. Once the topcoat is broken, the leather is no longer protected, and the colour starts to move.
What should you not clean leather with?
Never use products with ammonia or bleach because they are too harsh and can damage the leather’s natural finish. When you clean, you should also use very little water because too much liquid can leave its own marks. Make sure to only use damp cleaning cloths, not ones that are soaked or dripping.
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