- Posted by Sanderson Lincoln
- On July 4, 2016
Your car is one of your biggest investments and you want to do everything you can to keep it looking like a million bucks (or at least close to it). Part of that is cleaning and conditioning the leather seats and trim in your vehicle, so that they will continue looking brand-new for years to come.
Here is everything you need to know about properly cleaning and conditioning the leather in your car.
What Causes Leather to Wear Out?
You’ve probably seen dry, cracking, and heavily soiled leather in cars before. What causes leather to get to this point?
The single biggest culprit is the buildup of dirt. Allowing your leather to become heavily soiled causes it to become damaged. This can result in the rubbing off of the finish and leaving the leather vulnerable to UV damage, drying, and cracking. Even relatively clean leather can suffer damage over time, as the finish wears and leaves the leather vulnerable to the loss of oils during exposure to the sun.
To prevent a buildup of grime, it’s important to clean your leather regularly. There are many products on the market that you can use for the regular cleaning of your car’s leather, such as daily wipes and other light-duty cleaning products.
The key with these products is to use them frequently. They are not meant to remove heavy soil, but rather to preserve the look of your leather by keeping it clean on a regular basis.
Cleaning and Conditioning
Even if you clean your leather fairly regularly, you will still need to deep-clean and condition it periodically to maintain its appearance. Here are a few tips for cleaning and conditioning, which can be done every few months, give or take, depending on how good you are at keeping your interior clean.
Cleaning the Leather
You can’t just condition the leather without cleaning it first, especially if it is heavily soiled. Instead, you will need to first remove the accumulation of grime with a cleaning solution, a soft-bristled brush, and a microfiber cloth for wiping the seats clean afterward.
- Spray the cleaning solution on your leather. If you have perforated leather, spray the brush instead, as spraying the leather directly will causing cleaner and conditioner to build up in the little holes.
- Scrub the leather with the soft brush. Leather has enough texture that you won’t be able to get it clean without a soft brush for scrubbing.
- Wipe the leather with a soft cloth. Buff off the excess cleaner with your microfiber cloth.
Conditioning the Leather
Your car’s leather came from the factory with a finish to protect it from UV damage and drying out, but over time that finish will wear off, especially if you allow a buildup of grime. You can replace it by applying a high-quality leather conditioner.
- Look for a high-end conditioner. Better quality conditioners will leave your leather with a slight shine, but offer more balanced moisture and protection. Cheap conditioners will leave a high shine and greasy finish that offers little protection. For perforated leather, avoid lotions, and apply sprays directly to the cloth.
- Buff it out. After applying the conditioner, be sure to remove all excess by buffing the seats with a clean microfiber cloth.
At Sanderson Lincoln, we understand that modern automotive leather is better made than it was in the past, with a more substantial protective finish to retain oils and ward off UV rays, but regular maintenance is still important. Keeping your leather clean and conditioning it periodically will help it to retain its finish and flexibility over the long haul.