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Automakers have made countless advances over the years. Setting aside all the safety and mechanical innovations, just think for a moment about the changes to the driver’s seat alone. We no longer control our cars via dials and knobs, and, in many cases, buttons have been replaced by touchscreens. Even the seats themselves have evolved. You might think a natural, high quality material like leather would be immune to innovation, but that’s just not so. Car manufacturers keep finding new ways to treat leather to make it more livable, more durable and more beautiful. With that said, your leather seats still require some simple, but special treatment to help them look new again and to keep them looking that way. Buckle up as we share these simple tips on how to restore and maintain your leather car seats!
The single-most important thing you can do to make your leather seats look like new is simply to make sure they’re clean. Compared to cloth seats, leather tends to show a lot more dirt and stains. This is because soils and spills settle on the surface of the leather and have nowhere to go. They can’t hide in the weave of a fabric or disguise themselves in the pattern of the upholstery. They just sit there, on the solid color of the leather, staring back at you. That’s why it’s so important to clean up messes on your leather car seats and upholstery as soon as possible and to perform some regular cleaning to tidy up all the soils that come from everyday use.
The second thing you can do to keep your leather interior looking new or to return it to its showroom look is to keep it conditioned. As a natural material, leather contains moisture. Over time, as you get in and out of your car and move around in the seats, your skin and clothes incrementally absorb and rub away some of this moisture. The sun also dries out your leather as it beats down on your car on hot, summer days. If the leather loses too much of its moisture, it starts to lose its soft, supple qualities. It can look aged and become hard and brittle. If your seats reach this point, they become prone to punctures from any sharp, heavy items you place on the seat.
In order to make leather look like new, you need to replenish this moisture with an automotive leather conditioner. The frequency depends on your usage and the environmental conditions where you live, but, generally speaking, you can’t over-condition your leather, so we recommend conditioning your car seats every time you clean them, which brings us to our next point.
There are a number of good, dual-action products to help you clean and condition your automotive leather in one convenient pass. Luxe Leather and Hybrid Solutions Leather Mist Cleaner & Conditioner fit this bill. These products are both formulated for gentle, but effective cleaning, and they both contain neatsfoot oil and aloe vera, the two most-prized conditioning ingredients for leather upholstery.
Just as you would with cloth-upholstered seats, regular vacuuming will help you get the bulk of loose soils off your leather seats. Before using a vacuum cleaner on your leather upholstery, check for any sharp edges that could scratch the soft, leather material. Use the upholstery attachment to access soils that have settled into crevices and pay extra attention to seams in the leather. These are the areas where soils tend to collect most.
Another way to get soils out of crevices is to use compressed air. This option is the safest when cleaning your leather car seats and upholstery.
Many professional detailers use brushes to scrub leather, but we caution DIYers about that practice. Using a stiff brush or applying too much pressure with a brush may damage your leather material. Instead, we recommend using one or all of our Scrub Ninja products with a leather cleaner and conditioner. Scrub Ninja products come in three handy form factors, and each has been specially designed for different areas of your car interior. The mitt helps you get into tight spots, like the areas between your seats and center console. The pad works great on the seat facing. And the block is ideal for larger, flat surfaces, like your seat back and door panels. Our Scrub Ninja products have two surfaces, one for scrubbing and agitating and the other for polishing. Once you’re done scrubbing and polishing your leather car seats, just wipe any remaining cleaner with a microfiber towel and...presto…good as new!
Living with luxurious leather seats has never been easier. Making them look factory-fresh is as simple as vacuuming, cleaning and conditioning them every now and then. With so many easy-to-use leather care products available, it’s a snap!
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