As someone who owns and cares about your car, you likely know firsthand just how easy it is for dirt, clutter, and grime to build up without much notice. Whether you have children, own pets, or simply spend a lot of time in your car, keeping it clean and tidy can feel like a full-time job.
Due to the easily-dirtied nature of cars, many drivers opt for models with leather interior. Not only does leather add an element of luxury and class to any vehicle, but it’s also much easier to clean than upholstered models. If your leather car seats are in need of some TLC, check out these quick and easy cleaning tips. You’ll be surprised at just how easy it is to give your car the care it needs look good and last a lifetime.
Tip #1: Know what type of leather your seats are made from
Generally speaking, there are two types of leather car seats: those with perforated holes and those without. Look closely at your seats before beginning any cleaning process or check your car’s manual for specific cleaning instructions and products you should avoid. As a rule, perforated leather should not be cleaned with water, cleanser, or conditioner, as these products can soak into the material and cause mold, rotting, and deterioration.
Tip #2: Break out the vacuum
Just as you don’t mop a floor covered in dirt, you shouldn’t use cleaning products on your leather seats before first vacuuming them down. Using your household vacuum hose with either a soft-bristled head or extension wand, or a wet-dry vac, carefully groom each of your leather car seats to eliminate large pieces of debris, trash, crumbs, fine dirt and dust.
Tip #3: Massage with a microfiber
Regardless of how clean your leather seats may look after vacuuming, chances are high that there’s still a layer of surface dirt and grime that needs to be removed. Spray a soft microfiber towel with either leather cleaner, saddle soap, or other mild leather soap and gently rub down each seat, making sure to get all the surfaces including the sides and the back. Do not apply the cleaner directly to the leather. You can also make your own at-home leather seat cleaner by combining one part white vinegar and two parts linseed oil in a bowl or spray bottle. Again, apply your at-home cleaner to the microfiber towel before using on your seats.
Tip #4: Deep clean for sheen
While the previous three tips can (and should be) done multiple times throughout the year, once or twice a year you should go the extra mile to deep clean your leather seats and get them back to that like-new stage.
Once your seats have been vacuumed and wiped down with a leather-friendly cleanser, spray a soft-bristled toothbrush with the same cleanser and gently scrub the leather in circular motions. This process will agitate any deep-rooted dirt, causing it to come to the surface. After scrubbing, wipe your seats down with a clean, dry microfiber cloth to remove agitated dirt. You’ll likely notice a layer of grime on your cloth after completing this step.
Tip #5: Going the extra mile
Your car takes you miles and miles around this earth, why not go the extra mile to care for it? Once or twice a year, consider conditioning your leather seats. Not only does conditioning further clean the leather, but it also replenishes the fabric with the natural oil it needs to stay strong, soft, and shiny. There are a few things to remember when looking for leather seat conditioners:
- Ensure the conditioner is free from petroleum distillates, silicone, or waxes.
- Spend the extra money when shopping for conditioners. Look for a product that has high-quality ingredients, and won’t leave a greasy residue that’s hard to get rid of.
- Before going full-bore conditioning your seats, test your product on a small, inconspicuous area of your car seat with a microfiber cloth or sponge. If any damage or discoloration occurs, stop using the product immediately.
After finding the right conditioner for your car, gently massage the product into each seat, using a microfiber cloth or sponge and small, circular motions. Along with following the directions outlined on the bottle, apply only a small amount of conditioner at a time to avoid overloading the leather with product.
Let your car sit in the garage or shaded area for at least one hour in order to give the conditioner plenty of time to soak in without being subjected to harmful UV light.
Before using your car, use a clean microfiber cloth to gently buff and polish your leather seats. Again, be sure to use circular motions (preferably counterclockwise to the direction you applied the conditioner) and wipe away any excess conditioner that may remain. Once you’ve completed this process, you’ll be able to see a noticeable difference in the shine and quality of the leather.
Rely on the auto experts
If you’re interested in learning more about taking quality care of your vehicle, or learning how floor mats can keep the floor as clean and luxurious as the seats, visit the auto pros at AutoPreme, today.