Leather seats have been installed in luxury cars for nearly over a hundred years. They are attractive to look at and very comfortable to sit in. Not only that, during hot weather, the seats absorb perspiration whereas vinyl seats trap the perspiration and get wet and sticky – gross.
But, leather requires maintenance to remain in good shape, certainly more than vinyl seats do. The problem is that leather is organic and can deteriorate over time because it loses it’s natural oils. As a result, if you have leather seats, it is recommended you clean and condition them frequently. Here’s what you should know:
It is best if you clean leather with a brand name leather cleaner. There are many that exist and you can find them at hardware stores and auto parts stores among others. The way they work is that they first gently re-hydrate whatever grime and gunk accumulate on the seating. Then, after everything is loose, you can wipe it off.
The actual procedure for applying leather cleaner is easy: Apply a small amount of your chosen cleaner to a wet cloth and lather up all your leather surfaces good. After sitting for a few minutes, remove the excess lather. Then give the surfaces a good cleaning with clean water and a sponge.
Once your leather is good and clean, you should restore the lost oils with a quality leather conditioner. Also available at hardware stores and autoparts stores, get a conditioner that is water based and a PH neutral. There are many good ones on the market.
Here’s what to do: put a little bit of the conditioner of it on an applicator pad or cotton cloth and rub gently onto the surface. Do not be afraid to really saturate the leather with this stuff. Then allow it to absorb for several minutes and then wipe off the excess.
The majority of people don’t treat their leather enough. This is why you see so many older cars with stiff, cracked leather seats. If your leather hardened or needs a good deal of softening, there are several products available to help you with this. The products are paste-like and are designed to really penetrate into the leather surface. You usually coat the old leather surfaces with a great thick coat of the product and let it sink in for 24 hours or so. Depending upon the condition of the leather, the seats may require numerous additional applications too. With luck, you should pull through with resurrecting the old leather you started with and have softer, more appealing surfaces to use.
Article Courtesy of: Thompson Chrysler