How to Clean and Condition Leather Car Seats

There is no better feeling than the one you feel when in a luxury car with clean leather seats. Knowing how to clean and condition leather car seats helps you to maintain the elegance and sophistication of your car’s interior.  

Leather car seats are rich and comfortable, but they can draw dirt that may build up after some time and ruin your beautiful leather. However, regular cleaning will help you prevent dirt stains and other scratches to ensure the leather seats remain new and classy. This video here gives some visual tips

How to Clean Car Leather Seat Step by Step Guide

Luxury cars have awesome interiors that help you relax and feel comfortable while in them, and car leather seats contribute significantly to the comfort you enjoy in such cars, but without proper maintenance, it loses its beauty.

The leather used to make the car seats is a natural material that can attract dirt and dust. They can also begin to crack and fade because of ultra-violet rays and the heat from the sunshine.

That’s why proper cleaning and maintenance is essential as it will help to extend the life of the car seat leather and make it look new continuously. Some straightforward steps to cleaning leather car seats include:

Step One: Check out for perforated areas in the seat

If the seat has some perforated areas, you’ll have to avoid water and leather cleaner from entering the holes. It is also essential to check your car manual to see the recommendations for cleaning and maintaining the car.

Step Two: Vacuum the Seats

Get a vacuum hose with an attached vac and use it to suck up dirt particles on the leather seat. You may also use an air compressor for this process as it also helps to blow dirt out of seat cracks.

However, it is essential to employ great care in this step to avoid scratching the leather.

Step Three: Remove Surface Dirt

If you wonder how to clean dirty leather car seats that have accumulated grime, you need to pay attention to this step. You’ll need a soft towel and a leather cleaner such as the leather cleaner by leather honey.

It is best if your cleaner is in a spray bottle, and if not, you can transfer yours to a spray bottle. Now, begin by spraying the cleaner on the microfiber towel till it becomes wet and then, use it to wipe the seats thoroughly but gently.

There are lots of commercial cleaners in the stores; you can use them, but you can also clean car leather seats with household products. For example, mixing one part of white vinegar and double parts of linseed oil in a good spray bottle is great.

Step Four: Deep Clean with Brush

In this step, you have to spray the cleaner on the seat surface and scrub gently using a brush with soft bristles. The scrubbing will cause the dirt to come up to the surface.

But, to clean car leather seats with holes, it is best to spray the cleaner on the brush and use it to scrub the leather seats instead of spraying directly on the seats.

Step Five: Dry the Seats

After scrubbing, wipe the seats dry with a soft cloth. As you wipe off the cleaning agent from the leather, you’ll notice the cloth stained with oil, dirt, and grime.

Step Six: Clean the Seats Frequently

It is essential to clean your leather car seats often. You may clean them lightly every week or month and then do deep cleaning about four times yearly. You can also do deep cleaning any time you see grime accumulating.

how to clean leather car seats diy

How to Condition Leather Car Seats

Conditioning leather car seats help to replenish the leather’s natural oils and extend its life. You may take these steps to condition your leather car seats.

Step One: Select Conditioner

Select a leather car seat conditioner that is water-based and has a neutral pH like Chamberlain’s leather milk conditioner. It is best to avoid conditioners that contain waxes, distillates, and silicone as they may make the leather greasy after applying them.

You can also use homemade leather conditioners for car seats to ensure they don’t contain the wrong ingredients that’ll give you a poor result.

Step Two: Do a Spot Test

Choose an area of the seat that is hidden and apply a little conditioner. Ensure you rub it in with a soft cloth and observe if the area changes color or becomes damaged.

Step Three: Apply the Conditioner

Next is to apply the conditioner to the seats if you didn’t notice a reaction you don’t like. If there is excess conditioner after the application, ensure to clean off with a clean microfiber cloth.

The reason for cleaning off is that excess conditioner will make the leather seats greasy. Please, note that following the directions that come with the conditioner is essential.

Step Four: Park Your Car Away from UV Light

Next is to park your car in your garage or under any shade to allow the conditioner some time to set away from ultraviolet rays. The conditioner can sit for an hour or more.

Step Five: Buff Leather Seats

When the conditioner has stayed on the leather seats for up to an hour or more, polish the seats with a soft and dry cloth. It is best to wipe up any extra conditioner as you move in circular motions.

how to condition leather car seats

How to Remove Dye Stains from Leather Car Seats

No one likes dye stains on their car seats as it reduces the beauty of the seat but it may be unavoidable sometimes. So, if you have such a stain on your leather car seat, the important thing is to know how to remove dye stains from leather car seats, and we’ll be giving you the tips you need.

Dye stains are more noticeable in leather car seats with lighter colors, and it’s better to remove the stain as fast as possible before it penetrates the surface.

To get dye stains off your leather car seats, you may do the following:

  • Spray a generous quantity of leather polish on the dye.
  • Get a water-based hair spray and spray it on the dye stain and allow it to stay for about 10 minutes.
  • While waiting, combine a part of water and a part of white vinegar in a small bowl.
  • After 10 minutes, dip a soft cloth on the vinegar solution and use it to dab the dye, and you’ll notice the dye will begin to come off. Keep dabbing it until the stain goes off completely. Remember not to scrub hard to avoid scratching the leather.

How to Remove Spots from Your Leather Car Seats

Spots on a leather car seat reduce its appearance and may make it less appealing. Spots from ink and other sources don’t have to remain on your leather car seat and ruin its luxurious look. You can get such spots off your car seat by doing the following:

  • Combine white vinegar and olive oil, a quarter cup and half cup respectively in a spray bottle.
  • Spray the mixture on the parts with the spots and leave it for some minutes.
  • After 10 minutes, use a microfiber cloth to wipe it off, and it’ll come out clean.

You can also use this baking soda method below:

  • Get some quantity of baking soda, sprinkle it on the area with spots and leave it overnight or for a long time.
  • Vacuum it, and the spots will clear off.

How to Remove Water Spots from Your Leather Car Seats

Water spills on car seats can always happen, especially if kids are onboard. The best way to avoid water spots is to dab it immediately in circular movements to clean properly without leaving a stain.

But if there is a water spot on your leather car seats already, let’s look at how to clean leather car seats with vinegar.

  • Mix about 50% each of water and vinegar in a bowl
  • Dip a microfiber cloth in the vinegar solution and rub it from the center of the area with the water spot to the outer area.
  • Get a clean cloth, dip it in plain water and dab the area with it.
  • Next is to let it dry.
  • When it is dry, wipe the area with a dry microfiber cloth and apply a leather conditioner to protect it.

How to Remove Grease Stains from Your Leather Car Seats

Grease stains on leather car seats do not look pleasant, but the good news is that you can remove them in few steps, either with a degreaser or baking soda.

To remove grease stains with degreaser;

  • Use a soft cloth to blot the excess grease from the leather surface before you begin cleaning.
  • Pour a degreaser into a bowl.
  • Dip a soft cloth into the degreaser and use it to scrub the area with grease stains.
  • Then, wipe off with a clean microfiber towel dipped into plain water.

Note: if the leather’s color begins to transfer to the cloth while scrubbing, stop and let the area dry before you start again.

To remove grease stains with baking soda:

  • Combine a tablespoon of baking soda, 1/8 cup sea salt, 3/8 cup of warm water, and half a teaspoon of flour in a bowl and mix into a paste.
  • Wet a soft cloth with the mixture and use it to scrub the area that has a grease stain.
  • Dip a clean towel into clean water and use it to wipe off the solution. Then, leave the seat to dry.

How to Restore Leather Car Seats

Knowing how to clean car interiors, especially dirty car seats, is one great way to restore leather car seats. Tips to help you restore your leather car seats include:

  • Bring out the floor mats and give them a thorough cleaning.
  • Disengage the base of the car seat using a socket wrench.
  • Disconnect electricals, remove the seats and place them on a bench.
  • Vacuum the car.
  • Wipe the seats with a wet microfiber towel and allow them to dry.
  • Apply a leather reconditioner using a soft towel after testing it on a small hidden area without negative effect.
  • Apply a diluted form of the reconditioner to the seats’ creases and crevices.
  • Allow the seats to air dry.
  • You can recolor the seats when they are dry.
  • Return the seats to the car, and you are done.

homemade leather conditioner for car seats

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q; How do you make leather car seats look new?

The simple way to make your car leather seats look new is to use leather care products to clean and maintain them often. Also, ensure to park your car in shades or garages to protect the leather from the sun.

Another smart way is to cover your leather car seats with car seat covers that are easily replaceable, unlike the leather itself. It is also good to always do repairs when necessary and not wait until they worsen.

Q: Can I use saddle soap to clean leather car seats?

It is better not to use saddle soap on leather car seats as they are caustic and may cause the leather to become dry. The reason is that saddle soap contains lye which dissolves in water and yields caustic solutions.

When you use saddle soap often to clean your leather car seats, the leather may turn alkaline after a period of usage. This alkaline nature will make your car leather lose its structure as it’ll become weak and hard.

Q: Can you clean leather with alcohol?

You can use isopropyl rubbing alcohol with 50% concentration to clean leather but not pure alcohol as it’ll bleach and damage the leather. Ensure to dip a little part of your washcloth into the rubbing alcohol and use it to scrub the part of the leather that has a stain.

After scrubbing for some time, allow the leather to dry to see if the area is clean before you scrub again until the area lightens.

Q: Can I use vinegar and water to clean leather car seats?

Yes, vinegar and water solution are excellent for cleaning leather car seats. You can combine the vinegar with a part of water and pour it into a spray bottle. Next is to spray it on the leather seats, apply generously and rinse out using warm water. Then, let it dry.  

Q: Does vinegar ruin leather?

Vinegar does not ruin your leather when you combine it with the same volume of water. However, it can make your leather dry if you use it directly without diluting it; that’s why it’s better to combine it with oil from linseed.

You can wipe the leather and dampen it with the vinegar solution. It helps to soften the leather when mixed properly.

Q: Is white vinegar safe on leather?

Yes, white vinegar doesn’t harm leather when combined with the same water volume to dilute it. It becomes harmful to leather if you don’t dilute it. After diluting it, use it to wet a clean towel and slowly wipe the leather.

Then, allow it to dry after wiping; you’ll notice all stains gone. Also, it is good to test a part of the leather first before using the mixed white vinegar on the other parts.

Q: How often to clean car leather seats?

It is best to clean your car leather seats once every month and condition them once in three months. However, if you don’t use the vehicle frequently, it may be best to clean it two or three times a year.

Final Words:

Cleaning your car leather seats always is one sure way to maintain and enjoy them for a long time. Leather car seats may attract dirt and may begin to wear and tear because of usage but, proper care will protect them and prevent dirt buildup.

We have listed the processes on how to clean car leather seats with the right tools you need. If you follow the simple procedures listed above, your car leather seats will always look as good as new.

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Tito

Hi There, I am R. Hasan Tito, a mechanic, and owner of this website. My friend and I created this website to share our knowledge, expertise, and experience with our fellow mechanics' community and car users. I am a specialist and certified automotive mechanic (Both Heavy Commercial and Private Cars). I have been working as a mechanic for over fifteen years. I worked for a long time at Global Rebound Automotive companies (Toyota, TATA, BMW, Nissan, TVs, and Others ) as a Mechanic and Mechanics Supervisor.

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