There it is in the driveway — the new car with leather seats. Leather upholstery is an investment in any vehicle purchase, and it certainly is more luxurious and durable than polyester, but how does one keep it in great shape for the long haul? I will discuss how to clean leather car seats to maintain their comfort and lifespan.
How to clean leather car seats are the gentle yet effective methods that can be used to remove stains and preserve the quality of leather car seats. Using a leather cleaner or pH-neutral soap and water, a leather couch can be cleaned and restored to keep it looking good and lasting.
Help — my child spilled a milkshake on my car’s leather seat, and I don’t know how to clean it! Leather car seats are resistant to many things, including spills, and there are several ways to clean them and remove all traces of most spills easily.
What Is Cleaning Leather Car Seats
Cleaning leather car seats is using one of several processes to remove dirt, debris, and odors from seat surfaces. It begins with vacuuming loose dirt, using a cleaning solution to wipe it clean and a soft cloth to dry it, and then applying leather conditioner. Cleaning leather car seats can be done simply by dry dusting with a soft brush or microfiber cloth or using pH-neutral soap and water or a leather cleaner.
What We’ll Explore
- Clearing up Myths & Misconceptions
- Reasons You Might Choose To Clean Leather Car Seats
- Variations or Styles of How To Clean Leather Car Seats
- How To Clean Lear Car Seats Overview Table
- What To Clean Leather Car Seats With
- Cleaner For Leather Car Seats
- Skill Level of Cleaning Leather Car Seats
- Tools and Supplies Needed To Clean Leather Car Seats
- How To Clean Leather Seats
- How To Clean Perforated Leather Seats
- How To Disinfect Leather Car Seats
- How To Clean Leather Car Seats Step by Step
- Can You Use Lysol On Leather Seats?
- How to Get Better at Cleaning Leather Car Seats
- My Personal Research on How To Clean Leather Car Seats
- Helpful Insights How To Clean Leather Car Seats
- Key Takeaways
Clearing Up Myths & Misconceptions
Some people say that because leather car seats are frequently used, household cleaners and harsh chemicals can be used to clean them. This is false because these cleansers will discolor, dry out, and damage leather leading to cracking.
Others have said that leather car seats are waterproof and must be soaked in water for proper cleaning. However, leather is water resistant, and too much water will leave stains and lead to the growth of mold and mildew.
Cleaning leather car seats can be done simply by dry dusting with a soft brush or microfiber cloth or using pH-neutral soap and water or a leather cleaner.
Reasons You Might Choose To Clean Leather Car Seats
Leather car seats are a great choice for any vehicle, and it’s important to maintain them for their appearance, comfort, and longevity. Daily use can lead to the buildup of dirt, debris, and sweat, and it is best to clean leather car seats regularly to keep them comfortable and smelling good.
If there are children and pets spending time in the car, those are also great reasons to clean leather seats! Regular cleaning keeps leather seats supple and prevents:
Variations or Styles of How To Easily Clean Leather Car Seats
There are all kinds of dirt, debris, stains, and smells that can affect leather car seats; however there are several variations of how to clean them. From spot cleaning to all-over washing, here are the safest variations for cleaning leather car seats:
- Dry dusting with a vacuum with a soft brush attachment or a microfiber cloth
- Leather cleaner
- pH-neutral soap and water
How To Clean Leather Car Seats Overview Table
|Area of Preparation
|How To Clean Leather Car Seats
|Overall Level of Skill (1–5)
|Time to Complete (minutes/hours)
|30 minutes to 1 hour
|Sturdy surface for cleaning supplies
|Basic leather care
|Tools and Supplies Needed
|Leather cleaner, pH-neutral soap, water, bowl, microfiber towels or old t-shirts, vacuum, leather conditioner
|Key Helpful Tip
|Avoid using too much water, and always test leather cleaning products in an inconspicuous place for color changes or damage before applying them to the entire leather seat.
What To Clean Leather Car Seats With
Leather car seats come in contact with many things daily, so it’s important to clean them regularly to prevent stains and smells, protect the integrity of the material, and maintain the vehicle’s value. Using the right methods to clean can do all of these things. Here are a few tips when choosing what to use to clean leather car seats.
- Use a vacuum with a soft brush attachment to remove loose dirt and dust.
- Use gentle cleansers like a leather cleaner or pH-neutral soap, as these are formulated to be gentle on leather.
- Use microfiber towels or old T-shirts because they are lint-free, soft, and will not scratch the leather.
- Test any new products in an inconspicuous spot to check for staining and colorfastness.
Cleaner For Leather Car Seats
Several types of cleaners for leather car seats are commercially available. The best ones are designed specifically for cleaning leather and are not combination conditioner products. These should be pH-balanced, gentle, simple, and easy to use.
Some leather cleaners go the extra mile with UV protection and no scent. Leather car seat cleaners usually range from $10– $30 and can be purchased in general merchandise, auto parts, and online stores.
Skill Level of Cleaning Leather Car Seats
Cleaning leather car seats takes a great deal of skill; however, having a little knowledge of basic leather care helps. Keep in mind that any new products should be tested in an inconspicuous area first to check for colorfastness and staining, and using too much water will damage leather with mold and stains. Using microfiber towels or old t-shirts will most effectively apply cleansers while preventing scratches in the leather.
Tools and Supplies Needed To Clean Leather Car Seats
It’s important to know that different cleaning methods will require different supplies. In general, follow the manufacturer’s directions for any leather products for the best results. When preparing to clean leather car seats, gather the following supplies:
- Leather cleaner
- PH-neutral soap
- Microfiber towels or old T-shirts
- Vacuum with a soft bristle brush attachment
- Leather conditioner
How To Clean Leather Seats
Leather car seats are strong and durable but not immune to damage from poor technique or the wrong cleansers. Vacuum using a soft bristle attachment first to remove debris and dirt. Then one can use a leather cleaner that is commercially made or a pH-neutral soap in water. Condition the leather once completely dry.
How To Clean Perforated Leather Seats
Cleaning perforated leather seats take a little extra care to not damage the perforation. Using cation perforated leather seats can be cleaned following these steps:
- Begin with vacuuming up loose dirt from the surface of the seats.
- Test any leather product in an inconspicuous place.
- Dampen a microfiber towel or old t-shirt with leather cleaner or pH-neutral soap and water mixture and squeeze out any excess moisture.
- Then gently rub the perforated seats in a circular motion.
- Allow the leather to dry completely.
- Apply leather conditioner.
- Don’t use spray cleaners to avoid getting unwanted moisture into the seat cushion.
How To Disinfect Leather Car Seats
To disinfect leather car seats, do not use antibacterial sprays, disinfecting wipes, or surface disinfectants, as these will damage the leather. Also, harsh chemicals like alcohol and bleach are not recommended for use on leather. The best method is pH-neutral soap and boiling water.
- Dampen a microfiber towel or old t-shirt in boiling soapy water.
- Squeeze out any excess moisture.
- Gently rub the leather seats in a circular motion.
- Allow the leather air dry completely.
- Apply leather conditioner.
How To Clean Leather Car Seats Step by Step
Leather car seats can be cleaned in a few steps to ensure the material is restored without causing damage. It is typically best to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and test any product in an inconspicuous place before use. In general, leather car seats can be cleaned by following these steps:
- Check the owner’s manual for any specific cleaning instructions.
- Vacuum using a soft bristle brush attachment to pick up dirt and debris.
- Dampen a microfiber towel or old t-shirt with the leather cleaner or homemade cleaner and squeeze out any excess moisture.
- Gently wipe the leather seats using a circular motion.
- Use a clean, dry microfiber towel or old t-shirt to wipe the seats and remove excess soap and moisture.
- Allow the leather seats to air dry completely, and apply leather conditioner.
Watch this helpful video from IMJOSHV as he demonstrates deep cleaning dirty leather vehicle seats.
Can You Use Lysol On Leather Seats
Lysol may be great to use to disinfect non-porous surfaces like marble countertops and porcelain toilets, but not for leather seats. Disinfectants like Lysol usually contain alcohol, which dries out leather and damages bonds leading to cracks and splits.
In addition, researchers Koleva, Zheleva, and Tsanov inform us that leather for vehicle interiors is treated with Flacavon B-45 to add flame retardancy to leather car seats, which can be affected by the use of Lysol.
How To Get Better at Cleaning Leather Car Seats
Regularly cleaning them is a good idea to keep leather seats looking and feeling luxurious. This is the best way to improve and try different methods. There are many commercial products and homemade solutions, so give it a go!
Take note of what works well and what doesn’t. Clean leather car seats about every three months and spot-clean any spills when they occur. These practices will prevent the leather seats from cracking and fading and keep them comfortable.
My Personal Research on How To Clean Leather Car Seats
Many people have leather or faux leather vehicle interiors nowadays because they are easier to clean and last much longer than polyester seats. So how do these people keep their leather car seats clean? I asked folks what products they usually use, and here is what I learned from the poll about cleaning leather car seats.
|Leather Car Seat Cleaning Method
|Leather cleaner spray
|Leather cleaner wipes
|Dish soap and water (not recommended)
|White vinegar and water (not recommended)
Helpful Insights On How To Clean Leather Car Seats
What are the best things to clean leather car seats?
The best things to clean leather car seats are leather cleaner or pH-neutral soap and water. These cleaners are gentle on leather, can remove stains and smells, and prevent cracking and fading. Clean leather seats about every three months with any of these cleaners to maintain their durability and appearance.
What is the best way to deep clean leather seats?
Deep cleaning leather seats is best done with a pH-neutral cleaner and a soft-bristled brush or microfiber towel. Gentle scrubbing can be done with these to remove deep dirt and stains without causing any damage to the leather. Avoid using too much water and scrubbing too hard, then allow them to dry completely before applying a leather conditioner.
How do you clean leather seats like a pro?
Leather professionals start cleaning by vacuuming and inspecting the seats for any damage. They use pH-neutral cleaners like leather cleaner or mild soap and water. They use soft-bristled brushes and microfiber towels to scrub gently and remove deep dirt and stains. Leather professionals fix the damage when it occurs to prevent further harm and keep seats conditioned.
What are the dos and don’ts of leather car seat cleaning?
Do: use pH-neutral cleaners, use soft-bristled brushes or microfiber towels, apply leather conditioner after cleaning, and clean every three months.
Don’t: use harsh cleaners like alcohol or bleach, use abrasive materials, and don’t spray anything.
Can you use Dawn and water to clean leather car seats?
Dawn dish soap is a detergent that is not specifically made for leather and should not be used to clean leather car seats. Leather requires cleaning products that have a pH level that won’t damage the material, which most household cleaners do not. A leather cleaner or pH-neutral soap will be a better option for cleaning leather car seats.
What is a natural cleaner for leather car seats?
Natural cleaners for leather car seats are cleaners made with natural ingredients that clean and protect leather. Most natural cleaners that aren’t specifically made for leather will cause damage to the material. However, some professional leather companies make leather cleaners using natural ingredients.
- Leather car seats can be cleaned with microfiber cloths, leather cleaners, pH-neutral soap, and water.
- Use soft bristled brushes and microfiber towels or old t-shirts to clean leather seats and avoid scratching the material.
- Avoid using too much water, and apply a leather conditioner to keep leather seats soft and supple.
Cleaning leather car seats is important to prevent them from cracking, keep them comfortable, and preserve their luxurious looks. Many products are available to accomplish this, and many are already in most homes, so it is easy to do. Remember to check the vehicle care manual for care suggestions and follow my tips to easily clean and maintain those leather car seats.
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