Tips For Protecting Any Leather Upholstery


In this article you will learn:

  • Helpful tips for protecting your leather car seats and upholstery

  • The importance of cleaning and conditioning your leather

  • Simple ways to minimize damage to your leather upholstery

If you gave car owners the choice between cloth or leather upholstery, most would prefer leather. Why? Not only is leather easier to clean, but this natural material is plush and luxurious. Leather is often considered an upgrade, and it's a common selling point in most luxury model cars.

Your leather upholstery may look and feel great straight from the dealership, but without the proper care and maintenance, it can become a nightmare to deal with. Over time, it can become dry, brittle and cracked from hours of prolonged sun exposure. That’s why it’s important to protect your leather seats and upholstery regularly to prevent this sort of drastic wear and tear.

So, what can you do to protect your leather investment? Here are some pro tips for protecting all types of leather, including the leather upholstery in your car, truck or RV!

Keep it conditioned

The best way to protect your leather upholstery is to keep it clean and conditioned. You should treat your leather at least once every four months, even more frequently if you live in a harsh climate. If you live in an area with particularly hot summers, we recommend conditioning your leather at least monthly until cool weather returns.

Additionally, tan or light gray leather tends to show more dirt and stains and should be treated more often than darker-colored upholstery in order to maintain its showroom condition. We recommend an all-in-one product like Luxe Leather Cleaner & Conditioner or Hybrid Solutions Leather Care to save time by cleaning and conditioning your leather in one, easy step! These products contain moisturizing agents, like aloe vera and neatsfoot oil, as well as UV inhibitors, to keep your leather soft and supple and replace the oils you strip away as you use your seats.

luxe leather cleaner & conditioner

Park in the shade

To shield your leather from harmful UV rays, look for parking spots in the shade and take advantage of indoor parking when you can. Much like our skin, leather becomes dry and brittle when exposed to the sun. Keeping your car in the shade significantly slows down this process and makes it easier to keep your leather looking new.

You can also purchase a sunshade for your windshield to block out as much of the sun as you can. This helps to protect not only your leather, but other surfaces inside your car, including your dashboard and plastic trim. Plus, it’ll make the temperature inside your car a lot more bearable as you get the A/C going!

Pro Tip: Consider tinting your windows. Window tint can reduce the sun’s ability to heat your car interior by as much as 35–45%, and it blocks up to 80% of UV rays. That’s a significant protective measure to safeguard your interior surfaces, including your leather upholstery.

Empty your pockets

Remove any sharp objects from your pockets before getting into your car or truck. Keys, money clips and other objects with sharp or pointy edges can scratch or tear your leather upholstery, resulting in permanent damage to your vehicle. The best practice is to simply empty your pockets and avoid the risk.

Invest in seat covers

If you have kids or pets, you might consider investing in seat covers to keep your leather safe when your little ones are in the car. They're bound to spill food or drinks at some point and make a mess all over the back seat, putting your leather upholstery at risk. A seat cover will work wonders to protect your leather from most of these stains and soils or to prevent sharp puppy claws from puncturing the leather.

If you don’t have seat covers, you can use a blanket to create a kid or pet-proof barrier around your leather upholstery!

Avoid using harsh chemicals

Most alcohol-based cleaners aren’t safe for leather upholstery. Using a window cleaner or a regular disinfectant will strip your leather it of its natural oils, drying and hardening these surfaces. That’s why you should always use a purpose-built leather cleaner to keep your upholstery plush and conditioned.

We also recommend using alcohol-free disinfectants, like our Multipurpose Cleaner & Disinfectant spray, to remove germs and bacteria from your car seats without damaging your leather interior. Without the alcohol, these products won’t dry out your upholstery—plus, they won’t emit any fumes that can be irritating to your eyes and lungs!

avoid using harsh chemicals

The bottom line

When it comes to leather upholstery, being proactive is a must. Sun-damaged leather is difficult to restore, Cracked and torn leather will never return to its original, showroom quality. But, with a few small adjustments, you can avoid this damage to your upholstery altogether and enjoy comfy, leather seats for years to come!

the bottom line


Subscribe for your newsletter and the rewards will be in your inbox before you even get there


News, events and insights from Turtle Wax® worldwide


Exclusive offers and discounts on Turtle Wax® products


Regular treats and surprises for all subscribers

Thanks! You should receive a confirmation email shortly.