Car Detailing

How to Clean Leather Car Seats (Without Ruining Them)


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If you are driving around in leather seats, you’ve got to make sure that you clean your leather car seats regularly. But leather is technique sensitive. That means you cannot just scrub away at the surface with soap and water. You could ruin your leather car seat covers completely. So if you aren’t sure of how to get the job done, take a look at these step-by-step procedures on how to clean car seat stains.

Step 1 - Find out What Kind of Leather

There are different kinds of leather seats used in different car models. A few car companies will use alligator, snake, crocodile and even cow leather to create custom seats for their premium car models. Please make sure you find out the exact kind of leather that has been used to make your custom seats. You can do that by getting in touch with the manufacturer or checking the user’s manual that is supplied with the car. Most dealers will also recommend a particular brand of cleaner that is supposed to be used with their car leather seats. Make sure that you stick to the dealer’s recommendations. A few cars leather seats come with a thin vinyl protectant coating that will coat the surface of the leather completely and prevent the leather from drying out.  These treated leathers can then be easily coated with ordinary vinyl protectants, as they allow dirt and stain to slide off. You can find out whether the leather seats you have are coated or not by putting a drop of water on the leather. If the water slides off, then the leather is coated; if its absorbed, then its uncoated and requires special care.

Step 2 - Use Specific Products

Do not use silicone based, wax based or oil based products to clean your leather. Note that most cleaners do contain these materials. They can easily dry out the leather and causing tears in the long run. Do not use saddle soap or baby wipes as they contain materials that dry out leather seats. Try to avoid materials that contain acids and salts too, as they will destroy the leather seats and make them rough. Use leather cleaners and conditioners that are specifically formulated for use with leather seats.

Step 3- The Right Way of Cleaning

Start by spraying the leather cleaner on the surface of the seat. Wait for a minute or two and then use a wet cloth to run the foam into the leather. This will create a foam appearance that will clean out the leather. Make sure you follow the instructions carefully. If the product says two minutes, then do not exceed two minutes. If the leather has stains then you might have to exceed the time of the soaking period. Make sure you check the product for instructions though.

Step 4 - Drying and Polishing

Once the product has cleaned the surface of the leather, then please wait for it to dry. After cleaning, you have to moisturize the leather just as you would with living skin. There are thousands of products that are present on the market that will carryout a buffing process of the leather product. Just make sure that you read the instructions carefully before proceeding.

Step 5 - Additional Tips

  • Test each and every leather cleaner you have on a hidden area of the seat to make sure the leather does not lose color or pick up additional colors from the cleaning cloth and liquid.
  • Every product has its own advantages and disadvantages, and you should choose the one that suits your leather seats. There is no best car leather seat cleaner in the market that is routinely use. Make sure that you test each product before you use them for this reason.
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