Cleaning Leather Car Seats Pays Off
Posted on February 18 2022
Cleaning leather car seats not only keeps them looking good but helps them last longer. So, it’s important to make time to keep them maintained. Most people go to an auto parts store or a chain store for leather care cleaners and conditioners, however, there are homemade solutions that work great and are more economical.
Homemade Cleaning Solutions
There are many homemade solutions for cleaning leather car seats and conditioning them. These include cleaning with soap and water, baking soda, vinegar and olive oil, lemon juice and cream of tartar, and toothpaste. There are some that work well and others that don’t. It’s important to be sure the method used won’t damage the leather during cleaning or speed up its deterioration in the long run. For example, it is popular to use vinegar and olive oil mixed in a spray bottle to clean and condition leather. Vinegar is great for cleaning as it works as a natural solvent to clean deep into the leather and dissolve dirt and grease. It will also neutralize many unwanted odors and not leave a lingering vinegar smell. However, while the olive oil conditions the leather nicely and leaves it feeling supple, there are arguments that it speeds up leather deterioration. It seems olive oil is healthy for your body but maybe not so much for your leather seats.
Cleaning with Baby Shampoo
The homemade solution we prefer for cleaning leather car seats and conditioning them is baby shampoo. The formulation is designed to be very mild and gentle on skin, which makes it perfect for leather. It won’t strip the leather of its natural oils and when mixed properly won’t leave residue that can plug the pores of the leather. It’s important to use a good quality brand with no dyes that might stain the leather.
Preparation and use are simple:
- Mix one quart of warm water with one tablespoon of baby shampoo and put in a couple drops of vinegar.
- A sponge, microfiber towel or a soft lint free cloth towel can be used for the scrubbing process. Be careful not to use a scrub pad or an abrasive sponge or cloth that can scratch or mar the leather.
- Dip the sponge, towel or cloth into the mixture and wring it out a little so it doesn’t oversaturate and flood the surface.
- Scrub the entire surface of the leather seat.
- Wipe off with a microfiber towel or an absorbent and soft lint free cloth then allow the leather to air-dry.
- Use a dry microfiber towel to buff up the leather if desired.
If commercial products are used for cleaning leather car seats and conditioning them it is important to choose those that are specifically designed for leather and won’t cause damage. Some cleaners are harsh and will strip the natural oils from the leather causing it to dry out. Chemicals in some spray protectants can damage leather in the long run. Time should be taken to research the best automotive leather cleaners and leather conditioners.
Of note, for those who wish to condition surfaces that have been painted with ColorBond LVP Refinisher, ColorBond offers the LeatherPro Leather Conditioning Sponge which is infused with a conditioner. The sponge is absorbent and can also be used for application of leather protectants and conditioners.