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How to Clean Leather Car Seats? Simple Tips and Tricks!

how to clean leather car seats

Here's how to clean leather car seats:

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  1. Inspect the seats
  2. Suck up any large particles using a vacuum cleaner
  3. Take away any surface dirt
  4. Deep clean the leather
  5. Wipe off the entire seat
  6. Make cleaning your car seats a habit

Your vehicle's interior is one of the first things passengers notice once they step into the car. If you're driving a luxury vehicle, you might be enjoying some of the untreated leather that adds a sleek luxury look to your vehicle’s interior.

While having leather upholstery is a great thing and might mean a lot to your vehicle's value, it requires specific care and cautiousness when cleaning, especially if you're driving with kids or pets. Unfortunately, there are many stories where people use the wrong products to clean their leather upholstery and end up with catastrophic outcomes that cost them thousands of dollars to get resolved.

This article provides you with a step-by-step procedure on how to clean leather car seats without damaging them. In addition, it highlights some of the do's and don'ts on your leather car seats, so you achieve a final clean look without causing any issues.

How to clean leather car seats?

Clearing leather car seats can be a little tricky, but if you perform the following steps, you should achieve the best results without any issues:

  1. Inspect the seats

Before you move any step further and cleaning your leather upholstery, you must perform a thorough visual inspection looking for any perforated areas. For example, there might be a tiny, small hole somewhere around the corner of your vehicle’s car seat. If that's the case, it's very critical to consult your vehicle's owner’s manual to get an idea about what exactly you should do so you don't let any cleaning products or water get inside the perforated areas.

  1. Suck up any large particles using a vacuum cleaner

The next step is to use a small vacuum cleaner to suck up any larger particles ordered. This step is critical because if you started the cleaning process and applied any product, there's a very high chance that these large particles might now melt and get stuck to the upholstery.

  1. Take away any surface dirt

Depending on how bad the dirt on your vehicle’s car seats is, you might see some layers of grim or grease on top of the seats. If that's the case, you must take out any surface dirt by spraying a specific cleaner and wipe it off with a microfiber towel.

It's important to select the cleaner carefully and ensure that it works with your vehicle's upholstery. For example, certain cleaners work for leather car seats but not for others.

A pro tip is to apply a small amount of this spray cleaner on a small area around your vehicle's car seat. This way, if anything goes wrong, you can catch it immediately before applying the whole thing on the entire car seat.

  1. Deep clean the leather

In some scenarios, applying the cleaner on a cloth towel and then wiping off the leather won't work because the dirt is too much. Therefore, you might need to spray the cleaner directly on the car seats and then allow it to sit for a couple of minutes before wiping it off using a microfiber towel.

  1. Wipe off the entire seat

After taking care of small areas with most of the dirt, the next step is to apply some spray on a cloth towel and give you a quick wipe-off. This way, if some small dirt got to the remaining areas of your car seats, it's been taken care of.

Some dirt and grease might not be visible to you, and once you wipe off the leather seat, you'll see the dirt accumulating on the microfiber cloth. Therefore, even if it looks clean to you, give it a quick wipe off to ensure that it's fully clean.

  1. Make cleaning your car seats a habit

Some people wait until they see grease or grime on their vehicle's car seats until they clean it up. However, that should not be the case. Instead, automotive experts recommend that you make cleaning your car seats a habit and added to your to-do lists of regular cleanups, and not only focus on your vehicle's exterior to have the best-looking car. Then, you take off when you perform regular car seat clean-ups; you won't end up in a situation where the dirt is deep and hard to get rid of.

What are the common dos and don'ts for leather car seat clean-up?

While we provided you with a step-by-step procedure on cleaning leather car seats, there are some common dos and don'ts that you need to keep in mind to prevent dealing with major issues that could cost you thousands of dollars on repair.

Let's take a closer look at what automotive experts recommend below:

  1. Dos for leather car seat cleaning
  • Test any leather cleaning product on a small hidden area around your car seat before applying it to the entire car seat. This way, you can confirm if the product works properly or not.
  • Vacuuming should be the first step in any other car seat clean-up, so you don't deal with major complications because of scratches or other issues.
  • Clean up your car seats slowly to avoid discoloration issues
  • Choose the right type of microfiber towel that doesn't cause any scratches or damages to the leather car seat
  • When shopping for a commercial cleaner or conditioner, consider choosing a cleaner that includes natural material without toxic chemicals.
  • Consider cleaning your car seats at least once a month but do not condition the seats regularly. Some experts recommend performing car seat conditioning once or twice a year
  1. Don’ts leather car seat cleaning
  • Never sprays products directly at your car seat, especially if it has perforated areas. Instead, use a microfiber towel, damp it with a cleaner, and then apply it to the car seat. If grease and dirt are extremely hard to take out, you might need to spray the cleaner in that specific area.
  • Never use petroleum or waxes on your vehicles leather car seats because the product can build up and make your leather look more like a dull finish
  • When spraying any product in your leather car seat, it's important that you wipe it off and never let it dry on that leather. Otherwise, it will make some layers of product building up on your seat, which could cause discoloration.
  • Consult your mechanic whenever you're not sure about which product to use for your leather car seat. Also, refer to your vehicle's owner’s manual to get an idea about what products work for your specific type of leather because not every leather is the same.
  • Avoid using any bristles or harsh brushes to clean your leather because it could cause scratches
  • When choosing another cleaner, it is important to consider investment and going with a higher quality rather than with the cheapest product because most low-quality products can lead to catastrophic outcomes that you would never want to deal with.
  • Do not use too much cleaning solution on your Leathers, and never soak the seeds with this solution because it might cause leather damages or mold buildup inside your vehicle's leather seats.

How to choose the best leather cleaner and conditioner?

Choosing the right leather cleaner and conditioner for your vehicle's upholstery is extremely critical to avoid dealing with issues. Therefore, we advise that you go through some articles highlighting the main pros and cons of each product before you go with your final decision.

For example, thedrive.com performed a thorough review of all available leather cleaners and conditioners in the market and provided you with the 2021 best list of products that you should consider:

  1. Mothers VLR
  2. Armor All Leather Care Wipes
  3. Lexol Leather Cleaner and Conditioner
  4. Meguiars Gold Class
  5. Aero Cosmetics Leather Care
  6. Chemical Guys Leather Cleaner and Conditioner
  7. Aero Cosmetics Leather Care Kit
  8. Carfidant Ultimate Leather Conditioner
  9. Mothers

What are the benefits of leather conditioners?

We all heard about car seats cleaning materials, but not everybody heard about the leather conditioners. Therefore, it's critical to understand the benefits you'll get from using leather conditioners to convince yourself to apply some of these products to your next leather seat clean up:

  1. Achieve cleaning and conditioning results

Many leather conditioners available in the market do not only condition your vehicle but also provide you with an extra layer of conditioning, so you don't have to deal with dried areas among your car seats. These dry areas might look extremely odd, and when applying the conditioner, they won't stand out, and your vehicle's car seat will look even.

  1. Save on your investment

As we might already know, vehicles equipped with leather car seats are more expensive than others. Therefore, to install and new full coverage to your car seats will cost you a lot of money. Therefore, performing the right leather cleanup is extremely critical to protect your investment and prevent any cracks or discoloration on your vehicle's leather car seat.

  1. Enjoy the ride

When applying leather conditioners and cleaning material, you maintain the breathable car seats and achieve better car comfort whenever you write your vehicle. However, when the leather upholstery gets extremely dirty, you won't feel comfortable every time sitting on the seats, and you'll feel that they're not readable anymore.

  1. Get a better fragrance

When applying any high-quality leather cleaner, you most likely achieve a better fragrance, and you will enjoy the new smell of your car seat. On the other hand, if the current seats are very dirty, they will start smelling oily, which you never want to deal with.

How much do leather conditioners cost?

If you've never bought a leather conditioner before, it's a good idea to understand the costs range you might encounter when shopping. Typically, leather conditioners pricing falls into one of the following three categories:

  1. Leather conditioners under $10

In this category, you can achieve small amounts of quick wipes that are useful for wiping off any small amount of dirt, but they're not suitable for deep cleanups.

  1. Leather containers between $10 and $20

Under this category, you will achieve a good quality leather cleaning material, but it will still be in small amounts that are not suitable for major deep cleaning.

  1. Leather conditioners more than $20

In this category, you'll find great kits that provide you with everything you'll need to perform a deep leather cleanup for your vehicle without needing a specialist. However, you must evaluate your situation carefully before purchasing an expensive leather cleaning material that might not work for your vehicle’s upholstery.


Many of us enjoy riding vehicles with leather upholstery as it provides a luxury look to our vehicle’s interior. However, if you're driving a car with a leather interior, you must clean it up in a certain way because many people have made common mistakes that damaged the entire upholstery and cost them a lot of money.

This article provided you with a step-by-step procedure on how to clean leather car seats. By following this procedure, you won't need a professional mechanic or a detailed professional carwash to claim your vehicle's interior, and he would risk damaging the upholstery.

Keep in mind that if your car has major issues and a lot of mechanical problems, it might not be worth your time and effort performing a detailed clean up to your vehicle's leather seats. Instead, you might want to evaluate whether it's worth selling your car and using its money towards a better vehicle.

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  • Describe your car’s type and condition
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