Common ways to clean leather car seats

By Kijiji Autos
Leather car seats

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For many people, leather seats signify luxury. But they do require a certain amount of maintenance. Neglected leather car seats tend to look pretty sad with all their cracks, scratches and stains. Plus, dirty and damaged seats could impact the value of your vehicle. On the other hand, a well-maintained leather interior can keep your car looking fresh for many years.

Looking for your next car? For advice on how to clean leather seats in a car, Follow these five steps to clean, condition and protect your leather seats:

1. Vacuum the seats

Before you wash car seats, it's important to vacuum and dust them. Removing loose dirt, crumbs and debris helps prevent damage to the leather. Choose a vacuum nozzle that can get into tight crevices, but be sure to use a gentle touch to avoid scratching the leather. After vacuuming, wipe the seats with a soft dry cloth to remove any leftover dust. It's a good idea to dust and vacuum your leather interior regularly.

2. Apply a leather cleaner

Now that your seats are dust-free, it's time to clean them. Choose a high-quality, non-toxic leather cleaner. Avoid cleaners containing bleach or ammonia, as these could damage leather. When using a cleaning product for the first time, we recommend reviewing package instructions and warnings before applying it to your leather seats. You may want to do a spot test in an inconspicuous area first.

Apply a small amount of the leather cleaner onto a clean soft cloth. Microfibre is one of the most common choices. Then gently rub your seats with the dampened cloth, a small section at a time. You can reapply cleaner to the cloth as needed, but make sure not to saturate it. Never spray or pour a cleaning solution directly onto your leather seats, especially if they are perforated. You want to avoid moisture getting down into the seats, as this could contribute to cause mould or mildew.

3. Remove stains from car seats

After one application of the leather cleaner, you may notice some dirt or stains remaining. For these difficult spots, you may need to scrub a little harder. If a microfibre cloth isn't cutting it, try using a soft-bristled brush. Apply some of the cleaning solution to the brush, and then gently scrub at the trouble areas. Be careful not to scrub too hard—and never scrub perforated leather. To avoid future stains, always promptly and thoroughly blot any spills.

4. Dry thoroughly

Once your seats are clean and stain-free, it's important to dry them thoroughly. Take a clean dry cloth and wipe the surface of the seats, making sure that any excess cleaning solution is removed or absorbed. This simple but important step helps to prevent staining, cracking and mildew.

5. Apply a leather conditioner

Over time, leather loses some of its natural oils, making it less flexible and prone to cracking. To help replenish those oils, you could use a leather conditioner on your car seats a few times a year. Choose a high-quality conditioner, and try to avoid products containing petroleum or waxes. Apply the leather conditioner to clean dry seats with a soft cloth, allow to absorb for the time recommended on the package, then wipe dry. This will help protect your seats from sun damage, fading and cracking.

Looking to upgrade to a car with leather seats? Kijiji Autos offers a huge selection of new, used and dealer-certified vehicles for sale in your area and across Canada.

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