Caring for a Car’s Leather Interior


Leather seats are attractive to look at and comfortable to sit in. The big advantage of leather is that when there is hot weather, the seats absorb perspiration whereas other seats trap the perspiration and get sticky. Plus there’s nothing like the smell of a leather seats in a car.

But, leather requires maintenance, certainly more than vinyl seating. Because leather is organic, it can wear out over time because it loses natural oils. As a result, it’s recommended you clean and condition your car’s leather seats often. We’ve spoken with the Sales team at Kindle Auto Plaza, a full-service car dealer with vehicles in brands such as Ford, Lincoln and Jeep, and received some tips from them. They are located in Cape May Court House, NJ. Here is a short guide we have put together with Kindle Auto Plaza’s help:

Neglected Leather

The majority of drivers do not treat their leather enough. This is why you see many older cars with stiff leather seats. If your leather needs a good deal of softening or has hardened, there are many products available to help you with this. These paste-like products are designed to penetrate into the leather surface. You typically coat the old leather surfaces with a thick coat of the product and let it sink in for twenty-four hours or so. Depending upon the leather’s condition, the seats may require numerous additional applications too.

For Regular Cleaning

You can best clean leather by using a quality leather cleaner. There are many cleaners that exist and they are designed to gently re-hydrate whatever grime and gunk build up on the seating. After these products rehydrate the grime, the leather need to be cleaned off. Use only leather products on leather, rather than vinyl or all-purpose cleaners, as these products are too harsh for leather.

The general procedure for leather cleaning is simple: Apply a small amount of the chosen cleaner to a wet cloth and lather up all the leather surfaces. After sitting for a few minutes, remove excess lather then provide clean the leather with a sponge and clean water. After this remove residual moisture with a towel and let all the leather surfaces dry for an hour or so.

For Regular Conditioning

Once the leather is cleaned up, you should restore lost oils with a quality leather conditioner. Ensure that the conditioner is water-based and a PH neutral one that is of high quality. Luckily, using a leather conditioner is easy. The majority of seats need conditioning only a couple of times a year.

Here is what to do: put a little bit of the conditioner of it on an applicator pad or cotton cloth and rub gently onto the surface. Then let it absorb for several minutes–it might even be a good idea to park your car in the shade or in the garage overnight so UV light doesn’t interfere with the absorption- and then wipe off the excess conditioner.


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