How To Clean Leather Car Seats?

Taking care of your car seats is a must whatever your car seat type is. Car management does not end in car wash, car detailing, car coating, or any exterior car services that you purchased to take care of your vehicle. Interior car details also matter, and should never be neglected. This is very much true with leather car seats too.

Aside from making the interior of your car look sleek and cool, leather car seats are nice and comfortable to seat on. But having leather car seats does not end at having it, you should also think about maintaining and keeping it clean. Sure, it will come as complicated, and requires too much work at first, but eventually, things will get easy when done regularly.

Cleaning leather car seats requires the right equipment and following the proper process. If you cannot stand the dirt in your car seat anymore or if you just really want a guide in cleaning your leather upholstery, this guide is for you. Now the lingering question is: how do you clean leather car seats?

How To Clean Leather Car Seats? | Easy Steps

What You Need:

  • A vacuum hose or a wet-dry vacuum.
  • Microfiber towel.
  • Leather cleaner, mild leather soap, or saddle soap.
  • Clean brush.
  • Leather conditioner.

Here’s how to clean leather car seats:


Step 1 - Keep An Eye On Perforated Areas.

Holes in your leather car seats should be avoided to prevent unnecessary stuff or dirt from getting stuck in the hole. In the case of perforated areas, your car manual is your best friend. There should be in-depth instruction on how to deal with problems like this as regards leather upholstery.


Step 2 - Remember To Vacuum And Thoroughly Clean The Seats.

Cleaning your leather seats can be done manually, but using a vacuum will make the job a lot easier. Since you are using a vacuum in cleaning, be careful not to scratch the leather of your seats while cleaning it. To suck up bigger or huge specks of dirt and particles, it is best to use a vacuum hose or a wet-dry vacuum to make the task easy and breezy.


Step 3 - Remove Leather Grimes.

Thoroughly cleaning a leather car seat does not end in vacuuming, you should also check if there are layers of grimes in the leather car seat, so you can clean them immediately. Using a microfiber towel, spray some cleaner into it and lather throughout the leather car seats. Some of the ideal products to use during this process are leather cleaner, mild leather soap, or saddle soap.


Step 4 - Be Prepared With Other Cleaning Materials.

When cleaning the leather upholstery, the right cleaning products and methods are important. An example of this is a clean brush, you would need a clean brush to clean deeper parts of the leather car seat. After spraying the cleaner into the affected areas, a clean brush is also required to further remove the dirt or grimes that you wish you remove. A horse brush hair is more favorable when cleaning leather upholstery, it can give better, deeper, and cleaner effects.


Step 5 - Set A Cleaning Date.

Cleaning your leather car seats should not be done once in a while. It should be done regularly. Slightly cleaning or spraying your car seats can be done every month, but deep cleaning your leather car seats must be done at least quarterly, as deep cleaning is crucial to the life of the leather material.


Step 6 - Leather Conditioner Is A Must.

Water-based and pH neutral leather conditioners are the way to go, especially in leathery car care. This means you should avoid leather conditioners that contain silicone or waxes, as these ingredients may bring harm to the leather quality. The water-based leather conditioner can replenish the natural oils in your leather that’s why it is better to choose a product that consists of premium ingredients.

Before applying the leather conditioner to your whole seat, perform a spot test first by applying a little amount of leather conditioner into a specific area. This is to make sure that the product would not bring harm to your leather such as damages and discolorations.
After checking if the leather conditioner will work just fine for your seat, then you are good to go in applying it all over the leather car seat. Just keep in mind to not overuse conditioner on your seat to avoid being greasy or slick.
After following the product instruction and applying it all over your car's leather seat, it is now time to park your car in a shaded area overnight. This is to give the leather conditioner some time to set in.  
Once all the tedious processes have been made, and once the leather is able to soak in the conditioner, it is now time to polish and clean your seat using a dry and clean microfiber cloth. Be sure to wipe out any excess conditioner in circular motions, if possible.
Following these steps may be too much work at first, but the whole process can be easy when done regularly.

Helpful YouTube Video

Need more help in cleaning your leather car seat? Watch this helpful YouTube video that shows you “How To Clean ACTUAL Dirty Leather Car Seats”:

Other Ways You Can Clean Leather Car Seats

If, however, you are stuck in a position where you do not have the access to the above-mentioned cleaning products, here are other ways to clean your leather car seats:


Method 1 - Rubbing Alcohol.

A staple item in the household, rubbing alcohol helps clean your leather car seats, especially when removing stains. Just wet cotton in the rubbing alcohol and gently pat the stain with it. After the stain is removed, clean the area with soap and warm water.


Method 2 - Baking Soda.

As a known DIY tool in removing stains, baking soda can also help in cleaning stains and greases in your leather car seats. Sprinkle an amount of baking soda into the specific area in your seat then rub it with a slightly wet white cloth. Let the baking soda sit overnight or just a few hours. After the seat is cleaned, apply some leather conditioner in your seat to keep the leather safe from fading or cracking.


Method 3 - Toothpaste.

Non-gel toothpaste is also one of the go-to home products when removing leather car stains. By using an old toothbrush, gently scrub the toothpaste into the stain. Wipe it afterward with a damp white cloth, then try it with a clean towel.


Method 4 - Cream of Tartar Mixed with Lemon Juice.

As lemon juice has a bleaching effect, this can be used in light-colored leather upholstery only. Make a paste out of equal parts of cream of tartar and lemon juice. Apply the paste into the stained area and let it sit for around 30 minutes. Pat the area with a damp sponge when removing the paste.


Method 5 - Nail Polish Remover.

Just like rubbing alcohol, nail polish remover is a household staple product that can be used to remove car seat stains. Dip a cotton swab into your nail polish remover and apply to the car stain until the stain is removed. Clean the area with liquid soap mixed with warm water.


Since we sometimes cannot avoid getting stains and specks of dirt in our car, it is best to act immediately when it happens.  Cleaning the leather car seats as soon as possible can prevent worse damages and bigger stains. Another tip is to keep your cleaning tools prepared and organized.


When it comes to technical or more crucial car stains and damages, it is always best to consult a car technician about it. The rule is, when in doubt, consult a professional. If the stains can damage your car seat, or when you encounter emergency cases, having a professional on-call is very much helpful. It is always better to be safe than sorry.

Final Word

Though the cleaning process seems to be tedious, complicated, and requires too much effort, it is not, once you get the hang of it, and once you have the right tools and items when it comes to cleaning your leather car seats.

Preparation is the key to everything we do. If we are prepared – from tools to procedure – then we will surely know how to act whenever our leather car seats require stain and dust cleaning.

In cleaning leather car seats, you should always be prepared with the tools and you should know the steps and methods by heart.

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