Leather seats are a sign of luxury, as well as being comfortable. Over time, snacks and other things leave crumbs and residue. This is when it’s time to get out a car leather seat cleaner and give your car some TLC—maybe you’ve already got a favorite way of cleaning your car, but leather needs special care. We’ll show you what you need to care for leather car seats, how to clean them and how to care for leather car seats properly.
Genuine leather requires specific care and specialty products. Since car leather is usually smooth, it is somewhat easier to care for than suede, for example. However, when cleaning and caring for leather car seats, it is important to use the right products and follow the right routine. Less is more when it comes to a car leather seat cleaner.
A new car usually comes with freshly treated leather seats, so for quite a while you only need to clean the leather in the car once a year and then seal it again with a care product. With older leather, you can clean and care for it twice a year. Light-colored leather is an exception, however. Since dark clothing and other items are more likely to leave marks on it, it is worth cleaning this car leather about every three months. The easiest way is to combine leather care with an all-around cleaning of your car.
It is important that you gently clean the leather in your car before treating it. Carefully vacuum off loose dirt with a vacuum cleaner, or you can also use a hand brush. In either case, work carefully so you don't scratch the car leather. Then apply the cleaning agent—although you can use other detergents like dish soap for your car’s exterior, this is not advised for leather. Car leather seat cleaner is available as a spray or foam—the latter is particularly suitable for ventilated car seats where the leather is perforated with small holes. Foam does not settle in the holes as quickly as spray.
Apply the car leather cleaner according to the product’s use instructions, including the type of sponge, cloth or brush recommended. Then remove the excess foam from the leather with a dry microfiber cloth. If a damp film remains, wipe the surface again so that it is completely dry. If stains remain on the leather, put some stain remover for leather on a separate cloth and carefully work on the stain.
Clean only one seat at a time so that the cleaning agent does not dry up if you work slowly. Use the leather cleaning agent in the car very sparingly, as too much of it will leave stains and cleaning marks—the opposite of what you set out to do!
Once you have cleaned all the seats and other leather-covered surfaces in the car, the next step is to treat it for future protection. This is the step that helps keep your leather seats nice and shiny. You can prevent the leather from drying out and cracking by applying a few drops of car leather seat cleaner to a microfiber cloth and carefully polishing the cleaned seats. Make sure you buy the right leather care for your car as there are products for both matte and shiny leather. Always follow instructions on the product label and we recommend testing in an inconspicuous spot first.
Leave the product to work for about 30 minutes before wiping again with a clean microfiber cloth—this will remove any leather care residue that would otherwise dry and leave stains.
Tip: If cracks have already formed in the leather, it’s possible to repair superficial cracks with liquid leather. As a home remedy against cracks in the seats, shoe polish is sometimes suggested, but we’d advise you to steer clear—there will always be residue that will stain your clothes the next time you get into the car. Creams and body lotions are also not a good idea in place of professional leather care products. They are not intended to be used on leather interior or furniture.