There are a lot of benefits to purchasing a car with leather seats instead of cloth: they can reduce allergens, it’s more luxurious, it’s stain-resistant, and it holds up to resale value. It also comes with a bit of upkeep, to keep your seats looking and feeling their best. Read on for our tips for how to clean your leather car seats.
Supplies You’ll Need:
- Vacuum with attachment or air compressor
- Two microfiber towels
- Leather cleaner, either commercial or DIY
- Soft-bristled brush
- Leather conditioner
Step One: Vacuum
Carefully remove dirt and debris using a vacuum attachment — you want to vacuum up every spec but also be sure not to scratch the leather. You can also use an air compressor to blow everything out.
Step Two: Wipe Seats Down
Use either a commercial leather cleaner, saddle soap, or make a DIY solution of one part white vinegar to one part linseed oil. Spray or soak a microfiber towel with your cleaner, then wipe down your seats to remove surface-level grime. Also, take care around areas with perforation, using cleaner sparingly so as not to get any lodged in the holes.
Step Three: Deep Clean
Spray your cleaner onto a soft-bristled brush, then gently scrub your seats. This process brings up deep-seeded dirt and grime to the surface, allowing you to then wipe the seat clean with a dry microfiber towel.
Step Four: Condition
You’ll want to use a high-quality leather conditioner so that instead of resting on top of the leather, it is absorbed in, replacing any oils lost in the cleaning process. Choose a conditioner that is water-based and pH neutral, and free of silicone, wax, or petroleum. If you haven’t conditioned your seats before, you may also want to perform a spot test first in an inconspicuous area.
Apply your conditioner directly to your leather seats, then use either a microfiber towel or a dry sponge to gently rub it in. Go light with the amount at first — you can always apply more, but adding too much can leave your seats greasy.
Step Five: Keep Your Car Out of the Sun
As your seats dry, you’ll want to park your car out of the sun — either in the shade or in your garage — for at least one hour and up to overnight. Once you’ve let the conditioner set in, give it another rub-down with your dry microfiber towel, using circular motions.
Step Six: Maintain
Lightly clean your seats every month by wiping them down, and follow this deep clean process 3-4 times a year to keep your leather seats in terrific shape.