It's easy to neglect the interior of a car, especially when it comes to keeping the seats clean. However, your car can really stand out from the crowd if you keep your leather seats in optimal condition. To do this, you should regularly remove the dirt on the surface, clean the leather and treat the seats with a care product. While this may sound like labor-intensive, the process is actually quite simple and cleaning becomes a breeze if done regularly.
Part 1 of 2: cleaning the seats
Step 1. Check to see if your car seats have perforated areas
If this is the case, you have to be careful that no water, cleaning agents or care products get stuck in these holes.
Check your car's manual. Before you start cleaning or applying any product, be sure to refer to the user manual. It should contain precise instructions on how to properly care for the leather upholstery and which products should be avoided
Step 2. Vacuum the seats
Use the hose of the vacuum cleaner with a suitable attachment or a wet and dry vacuum cleaner to vacuum away all larger dirt particles. Be especially careful not to scratch the leather. You could also use an air compressor to remove the debris in the cracks.
Step 3. Remove any surface dirt
When seats are really dirty, you can really see the layer of dirt on the leather. But even with clean-looking seats, soil and dirt have accumulated over time. Put detergent on a microfiber cloth and wipe the seats with it. Use a leather cleaner, saddle soap, or some other mild leather soap.
You can use commercially available leather seat cleaners or make your own. Mix one part vinegar and two parts linseed oil in a bowl or spray bottle
Step 4. Use a brush to thoroughly clean the leather as well
Spray the detergent directly on the seats and use a soft brush to gently rub the leather clean. This will loosen the dirt and bring it to the surface.
You should avoid spraying cleaning agents on perforated leather seats. Instead, spray it on the bristles of the brush and use it to scrub the leather. Then wipe it dry with a microfiber cloth
An expert trick:
Use a horsehair brush for a thorough clean. These type of brushes are best for leather as they can clean the pores of the material and remove stubborn stains.
Step 5. Wipe the seats
Use a clean, dry microfiber cloth to wipe off any detergent that you rubbed into the leather. You should notice grease and dirt on the rag.
Step 6. Clean your seats regularly
While you should clean the surface of your seats well every month, try to clean them properly three to four times a year. If you have light-colored leather seats or if you notice build-up of dirt, you may want to clean them more frequently.
Part 2 of 2: Maintaining the seats
Step 1. Use a pH-neutral, water-based maintenance product
Find a high-quality leather care product that does not contain petroleum distillates, silicone or wax. The aim of the care product is to replenish the natural fats in the leather, so choose one with first-class ingredients. Cheaper leather care products can lay on the leather and make it look greasy.
Step 2. Pre-test the remedy
Choose an inconspicuous area and apply some care product there. Rub it gently with a microfiber cloth or sponge. Make sure the agent doesn't damage or discolor the seats.
Step 3. Take care of your seats
Apply the care product to the seats with a microfiber cloth or sponge and massage or rub it gently into the leather. Be careful not to apply too much care product, otherwise a greasy or slippery layer will form on the leather. If in doubt, you can take a clean, dry microfiber cloth and gently wipe it over the treated seats to remove excess care products.
Observe and follow the product instructions
Step 4. Park your car in a sheltered place or in your garage at night
Protect the care product from the sun for a while so that it has a chance to work without being bombarded by UV light. Let the care product sit for at least an hour.
Step 5. Use a microfiber cloth to polish the seats
Once the conditioner has had time to take effect, take a clean, dry microfiber cloth and use it to buff the seats. Use circular motions and be sure to wipe off any excess conditioner.
Don't overdo it with the leather care of your seats. Most seats only need to be treated with a care product a few times a year
Cleaning and maintaining your car seats doesn't take long and should be repeated at least every three months
- Avoid applying household cleaners to your leather seats, even if it's diluted. The chemicals in such detergents dry out the leather, which can crack or even tear. It can remove the protective layer from the leather so that it fades and absorbs dirt more easily.
- Be careful not to let certain cleaners come into contact with other parts of your car. Depending on the chemical agent and the auto part, the chemical can cause damage.