Leather car interiors have been popular for almost as long as the automobile has been popular. There are several things that make leather a great choice: it retains body heat well, making it a good choice for cold climates; it is resistant to soaking up stains and smells; it looks better with age, meaning that it will help keep the resale value of your car high, even years later. But like all good things, leather requires a little bit of care to keep in tip-top shape. It only needs to be cleaned two or three times a year, but it must be cleaned well, and with the right products. Here are some tips on cleaning and protecting the leather in your car.
What Type of Leather Are You Sitting On?
First, it’s important to know what kind of leather you have in your car. While most interiors are made solely from leather, some have leather that has been treated to be more resistant to stain and water. Newer cars are more likely to have treated leather, while vintage rides tend to have untreated leather. If you aren’t sure which you have, check your owner’s manual or the manufacturer’s website. And if you still aren’t sure, sprinkle a few drops of water on an out-of-the-way location. Untreated leather will gradually absorb the water; treated leather will not absorb the water. Once you have determined that, it’s time to make a pit stop at your local auto shop. Choose the right kind of cleaner for your leather, and also pick up a conditioner designed for treated or untreated leather, depending on what you’re working with. If you have stained leather, pick up a leather stain remover, but make sure to test this first in an inconspicuous area.
How to Clean Your Leather Seats
Spray the leather cleaner directly onto the seats of your car, making sure to give the whole surface a thin, even coat rather than spraying in one place. After a few minutes, use a soft cloth to wipe away the cleaner, and give it a few minutes to let everything dry. Once everything is clean and dry, it’s time to condition. Conditioning leather is as important as cleaning it, since dry leather can split, crack, peel, and lose its color and shine. Apply the conditioner onto a soft cloth or sponge, and work it into the leather, focusing on any areas that look particularly dry. Although it should absorb quite quickly, it is best to wait at least a few hours between conditioning the leather and taking your car for a spin. And thankfully, that is just about all the maintenance and care that leather interiors require! If after all of that you still have areas of concern it is recommended to call in a professional detailing specialist to address your needs and concerns.