How to clean leather car seats naturally | how to clean leather car seats

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Updated on:

June 5, 2023

Best for cleaning leather car seats | Cleaning leather car seats with steam

No matter if you drive a vintage vehicle or the newest, most advanced model, leather seats may add a touch of class to any vehicle. (Although fads and technology may come and go, leather is the material equivalent of taking off into the distance.)

The problem? Great style entails enormous responsibility. Your seats will inevitably become a little messy, whether it is because you spilt your drive-thru order or because you just returned from a very sand-filled beach excursion. Although while a single crumbs or stain may not seem like a big deal, they can substantially detract from the overall appearance of your motorcycle. And to further complicate matters, you can't simply use any cleaning to clean tough stains from your leather car seats.

Key Takeaways:

  • Regularly clean and maintain leather car seats to keep them looking new.
  • Remove debris and vacuum the seats. Test cleaning solutions before applying them.
  • Use a soft-bristled brush and minimal cleaner to dissolve stains.
  • Wipe away excess solution and dry the seats thoroughly.
  • Consider store-bought cleaners like Leather Honey or make DIY solutions with vinegar, baking soda, or rubbing alcohol.
  • Condition seats with products like Obenauf's Heavy Duty LP or use homemade options like coconut oil or beeswax.

Table of Contents (Show)

Table of Contents (Hide)

Why does leather car seats need maintenance?

When an animal's hide is made into leather (avoid your eyes, vegans...), your skin no longer has the ability to produce the natural oils that keep it supple and moisturized. We must wash and moisturize it by hand to keep it supple and silky. You need to establish a regular washing and conditioning practice if you want to keep the car and leather upholstery just as velvety as it would be right out of the showroom.

Yet, leather car seats aren't as difficult to clean as you may imagine. Knowing how to properly maintain the interior of your once dirty leather car seats can help it continue to look like the new automobile that originally captured your heart. Your car is undoubtedly one of your most valued assets.

What do I need to clean leather car seats?

In most cases, maintaining the exterior of our cars takes precedence over cleaning the interior. Your dirty windows and muddy wheels are visible to everyone, but the remnants of your McDonald's drive-thru trip can be kept out of sight for the most part.

We just need a sponge, a hose, and a pail of soapy water to clean the outside of our cars. Easy. The car inside, though, feels like a much greater project for some reason.

How to clean car's leather seats

It can be a little frightening to attempt to clean your leather seats on your own, especially if it's your first time. Not to worry, there are a few simple things you can do to help you get your seats ready for the royal treatment. You can follow these easy procedures to clean your seats regularly without leaving scuffs or debris behind:

using air blower to cleanfrom dust before vacuum

Step 1: Remove Debris

You probably have big items like a car or booster seat installed in your car if you have a youngster or a pet. You may effectively clean your chairs by getting rid of these things, as well as any trash or other significant obstructions. This can also assist you in spotting and removing any mud or filth that your children may have tracked in from their afternoon snack. You can also use this as an opportunity to clean these components before reinstalling them in your car. By doing this, you can extend the time that your leather seats will retain their pristine appearance and feel.

vacuum leather seats

Step 2: Use vacuum cleaner

You can get rid of those annoying crumbs and specks of filth by vacuuming your seats and the area around them. If your vacuum has a brush attachment, you can use it to clean your seats without damaging them by gouging or scratching them. To collect as much dirt as you can, make sure to get in all the nooks and crannies. You can use a cloth to remove any remaining dirt and dust from the seat's various crevices.

make test of cleaning solution

Step 3: Test Cleaning Solution

It's a good idea to test your leather cleaning solution on a tiny, concealed area of your seats before using it on the rest of the upholstery. This is particularly crucial if you're using a new leather cleaning products or product for the first time because it can help you avoid accidently damaging or staining your leather seats. Any fizzing or melting are a couple of reactions to watch out for because they mean you need to cease using that cleanser right away.

Consider reading your owner's manual before selecting a new cleaning product because the manufacturer of your car might have made recommendations for a particular cleaner. To avoid damaging or staining your seats upholstery when cleaning MB-Tex material, use a soft cleaning solution as opposed to a harsh leather cleaner.

extra vacuum of carpets

Step 4: Clean Additional Grime

Although the vacuum does a great job of collecting loose debris, dirt could still be present. If this is the case, you can remove this dirt by using a microfiber towel that has been sprayed with the cleanser. This is fantastic for any sticky residues left behind by your children's spilled juice or melted gummy candies, and you feel a certain level of deep satisfaction when they are removed. You can begin deep cleaning your seats after you've used clean microfiber towel and removed the top layer of dirt and grime.

brushing leather seats

Step 5: Apply cleaning Solution

Apply the cleaning solution to the remaining seats in your car after testing it on one area first. You can create a lather with the cleaning solution by working it with a soft-bristled brush. This can aid in dissolving stubborn stains, filth, and creases in the upholstery. Make sure to use a minimal amount of cleaner when cleaning the seat rather than soaking it. To avoid stains or discoloration from the cleaning solution, it's a good idea to work in small parts at a time.

perfectly clean leather seats

Step 6: Wipe Clean

You can remove the excess cleaning solution or agent from the seats now that they have been thoroughly cleaned. Start by removing the extra cleaning solution from the seats with a towel that is just a little damp. By picking up any dirt or grime you might have missed during cleaning with a damp towel, you can stop the debris from falling to the floor of your automobile. While considering your car's floor, you might also think about investing in floor mats to make cleanup easier when crumbs from your seats eventually find their way to the floor.

use microfiber cloths to clean leather seats

Step 7: Finishing touch with microfiber cloth

You can continue cleaning after your initial wipe down by using a dry microfiber towel to clean leather seats. By removing any excess moisture from the seat's surface, this can assist in preventing the growth of mold or mildew. To avoid the seats creasing or splitting, make sure you wipe them until they are totally dry.

Learn how to proper wash microfiber towel to reuse.

Best Leather Cleaner Products

Everyone, as we are aware, has different tastes and spending limits. For your leather cleaning requirements, we wish to give you a few store-bought and do-it-yourself, cleaning solutions.

Store bought leather cleaner

leather honey cleaning products

Leather Honey

The non-toxic, water-repellent leather honey cleanser has a texture similar to honey. This product works well for restoration because of its thick honey feel. If your leather seats have seen years of wear and tear, you need this product.

Chemical guys sprayable leather cleaner and leather conditioner

Chemical guys sprayable leather cleaner and leather conditioner

The sprayable leather cleaner's distinct PH balance makes it perfect for cleaning leather while maintaining its toughness, tenacity, and aesthetic appeal. Hence, while the cleaner extracts dirt and oils from the pores of your car's leather, it also serves as a conditioner, obviating the need for a separate conditioning solution to be used after cleaning your car air out.

Carfidant ultimate leather cleaner

Carfidant ultimate leather cleaner

A less potent chemical composition makes up the best leather cleaning. This indicates that the product does not include color dyes and does not leave behind any odors after cleaning. If you have allergies or simply dislike using items with any kind of smell, this might be the best option in leather cleaners for you.

DIY Leather Cleaning Solution


Vinegar has antimicrobial qualities and won't harm your chairs in any way. Just spray the area of the seat that needs cleaning, and then wipe it off with a fresh, dry cloth.

Baking soda

During cleaning, baking soda draws dirt and moisture from the seat. For this reason, if you choose to use baking soda, you must use a conditioner after cleaning.

Rubbing alcohol

The leather seat can be cleaned up by blotting spots with rubbing alcohol. Apply the alcohol to the area, then wipe it down with a dry, lint-free cloth or a ball of cotton wool. Use a liquid dish washing solution diluted in warm water after removing soft cloth from the stain to remove the alcohol.

Best Leather Conditioners

Maintaining the appearance of your seats while avoiding cracking and tearing is made possible by leather treatment. To get you started, here are some store-bought and homemade conditioners we suggest:

Store Bought Leather Conditioner

Obenauf's heavy duty lp

Obenauf's heavy duty lp

Your vehicle seats will be safeguarded from numerous fractures and seam tears thanks to the natural oils in the Heavy Duty LP. This is the choice you should make if you want to ensure that you only use natural chemicals to clean your used car interior.

Bick 4 leather conditioner

Bick 4 leather conditioner

If you a high quality leather conditioner are especially worried about preserving the color of your leather seats, this Bick 4 conditioner is the best choice because it does not darken your leather after application. Also, it is wax-free, preventing the leather pores from closing.

Meguiar's g18616 gold class leather conditioner

Meguiar's g18616 gold class leather conditioner

Aloe and hydrating oils are combined in the Gold Class conditioner to keep your seat's original appearance. If you reside in a region with a lot of sunshine, it also offers UV protection to ward off aging and fading.

DIY Leather Conditioners

coconut oil

Not only is coconut oil beneficial for your skin and hair, but it also works wonders for leather furniture. Your automobile seats' smooth appearance is restored when it seeps into the fissures light colored leather. It functions well as a conditioner while not being a cleaning agent.

beeswax leather conditioner

An antifungal substance, beeswax can shield leather surfaces of your chairs from mildew, bacteria, and other unwelcome critters. Your leather seats' inherent water resistance is also restored, which prolongs their appearance. With your fingertips, rub a thick balm into the leather. Massage it in and use a microfiber towel to wipe away any extra.

flaxseed oil

Your leather seats acquire a lovely shine after being treated with flaxseed oil, which is absorbed into their pores. Moreover, it guards against humidity-related seat degradation. Flaxseed oil is a great substitute for commercial conditioners because it is unlikely to cause allergies.

About the Authors

Sergey "Serg" Paskevich
Panama-based detailing pro, proud owner of Car Care Performance Detailing studio in Panama-City. Specializing in Paint Correction, Ceramic Coating, and comprehensive Car Detailing services
Kristina Tretyakova
Distinguished as a South Florida Top-10 student in 2021. Studying Marketing and Business Administration at FIU. Proficient in daily operations and skilled in cleaning, auto detailing and copywriting.

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