How to Clean Leather Car Seats? (Instructions & Tips)

car seats cleaning

Leather automobile seats have a premium look and feel to them. However, if it is ignored, the elegance and comfort it gives will deteriorate. Failure to clean and condition them on a regular basis can result in an ugly and unpleasant interior due to accumulated grime, dryness, and cracking.

If you believe it’s time to give your car’s leather seats some TLC but don’t know how to clean leather car seats, this article will teach you how.

In a word, cleaning would entail looking for perforations or damage, vacuuming, wiping and scouring with cleaner, wiping dry, and conditioning. It’s as easy as that.

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Preparation for cleaning 

The proper equipment can assist you in achieving the greatest cleaning results and gorgeous leather seats. Prepare the following equipment for cleaning leather seats:

1. Cleaner Vacuum

Dirt and debris on the car seats must be removed before wiping and washing to avoid dragging them on the seats, which might be detrimental. You might complete the task more quickly if you used a vacuum cleaner.

2. Air Compressor

If there are tenacious particles in hard-to-reach regions, an air compressor will come in useful. Simply blast them out using an air compressor.

3. Car Seat Leather Cleaner

A professional cleaner for leather upholstery, which is designed for cleaning leather vehicle seats, would perform great on your car’s leather seats. However, leather cleaning agents containing bleach and ammonia should be avoided since they might harm the leather.

4. Microfiber Towel

A microfiber towel is a soft cloth that may be used to clean leather surfaces. It is not abrasive but can cause dirt to adhere to its surface. You will need two microfiber cloths: one sprayed with the cleaner to remove dirt and grime from the vehicle seats and another dry cloth to remove the cleaner and dirt from the car seats.

5. Brush with Soft Bristles

Deep-seated filth on leather seats would necessitate brushing. As a result, a soft-bristled brush would be required. Its delicate bristles would be gentle but excellent for cleaning leather.

6. Leather Conditioner

Leather tends to dry up and crack as it loses some of its natural oils over time. To keep their leather vehicle seats from drying and cracking, automobile owners should apply a conditioner to keep the vital oils and moisture in them. A conditioner can also be used as a temporary heat and abrasion barrier.

Instructions for cleaning 

Step 1: Looking For Damages

Check for perforations or defects such as holes, rips, scratches, and frays before washing leather vehicle seats. Because perforated or damaged leather must be handled with caution.

The cleaning chemical may accidentally soak through the wear and tear on the leather vehicle seats, causing harm to the interior foam.

If you see any on the seats, avoid spraying cleaning solution directly on them. The cleaning solution should be applied to the leather seats by spraying it on a bristle brush and brushing it on. After that, wipe them down with a microfiber towel.

If the cleaning solution does unintentionally leak in, dry it immediately with a hairdryer and a clean towel.

Step 2: Vacuuming Your Seats

In case you missed it, detergent and water will not do those food crumbs or dirt sprinkling any favors. Before you go for the leather cleaner, take a dust buster.

“Try cleaning the entire area before trying to remove a stain from your leather seat,” recommends Alicia Sokolowski, president, and co-CEO of AspenClean. “Leather provides a wonderful surface that prevents liquids from fast absorbing into the cushions themselves; nevertheless, dust and debris can be rubbed into the leather grain, creating abrasions and surface damage.”

car seats cleaning
car seats cleaning

Step 3: Lathering on a Cleaner

Once your leather vehicle seats are clear of dust and dirt, you’ll want to eliminate stains and spills. You know you’ll need a cleaner, but how do you pick one? It all depends. Dallas Maids’ general manager, Alex Varela, favors store-bought cleaners.

“Even though I like organic and do-it-yourself items, I prefer to use manufactured cleaning agents on organic surfaces,” he explains. “As a result, I would recommend purchasing a leather cleaning.”

While a pre-made leather cleaner is precisely designed to preserve your seat in pristine condition, it is critical to use the solution sparingly.

“It’s critical to test your cleaning solutions in a tiny, inconspicuous area,” explains Varela. “You never know how different materials will respond.”

After testing the cleaner, apply it to the automobile seats as directed by the manufacturer.

Step 4: Deep Cleaning With Brush and Cleaner

If you have deeply ingrained stains on your vehicle seat, extensive cleaning will be required to remove the spots. Spray the cleaner directly on the vehicle seats and gently scrub them with a soft-bristled brush. This would stir the deep-seated filth or oil stains on the automobile seats, bringing them to the surface.

Scrub softly rather than violently. Excessive effort and pressure on the automobile seats might ruin them. Also, don’t use too much cleaning since too much liquid might saturate the seats, causing a bad odor and mold development.

Spraying and gently cleaning leather vehicle seats will efficiently and quickly clean them.

However, if the vehicle seats have perforated surfaces or have been worn with holes, tears, scratches, and frays, the best approach to clean leather car seats is with care.

Simply spray cleaner on a brush and apply the cleaner indirectly via scrubbing the seats to avoid the cleaner from soaking through and saturating the upholstery.

car seats cleaning
car seats cleaning

Step 5: Wiping With a Microfiber Cloth

After lathering your seat with a cleanser, remove the solution with a moist microfiber towel. But not too wet: too much water might discolor your expensive automobile seats. You may wish to dry any excess moisture with another microfiber towel for good measure.

Step 6: Applying Leather Conditioner

As with applying cleanser to leather vehicle seats, a spot test is required before applying conditioner. This would determine whether or not the conditioner is safe to use on your automobile seats.

Apply a tiny quantity of conditioner to an inconspicuous area of your skin and gently massage it in with a microfiber cloth. If the conditioner does not discolor or harm the leather, you can continue treating the car seats with it.

A sufficient amount of conditioner would be applied to a microfiber cloth. Don’t apply too much conditioner, as too much can leave the car seats damp and oily. Then, in circular motions, massage the product onto the leather.

Allow the conditioner to soak and cure the leather on the vehicle seats for at least one hour. It is advisable to park your car in the shade, with the sun’s heat out of the way, to avoid interfering with the absorption of the conditioner into the car seats.

After soaking and curing the leather, rub the seats with a microfiber towel to bring out their luster. This would also aid in the removal of any excess conditioner. When buffing them out, employ circular movements once again.

Step 7: Letting It Sit

One of the most critical aspects of utilizing a leather conditioner—and cleaning your treasured seats in general, according to Varela—is allowing them to set. Translation? You might not want to clean your car seats just before a long road trip. “You should let your automobile air dry for at least one hour, but three to four hours is preferable,” he advises.

Conclusion and Tips

Though it could seem like a major task, cleaning your leather vehicle seats is actually simple. But, if you truly want to make your car’s inside sparkle, keep this professional advice in mind.


  • Stay Still and Scrub Down: If you want to make your leather cleaner work its magic, Varela recommends letting your cleaner sit for a few minutes and then scrubbing with a soft bristle cleaning brush. What’s the catch? Work your brush in a very delicate, circular motion.
  • Use Leather Conditioner Sparingly: Sure, leather conditioner might keep your car’s interior nice and supple, but you shouldn’t use it every time you clean your seats. Varela recommends using a leather conditioner once every three months.
  • Explore the Alternatives: What’s a motorist to do if a mix of leather cleaning and conditioner doesn’t make their vehicle seats shine? Don’t worry: Sokolowski says there are plenty of other alternatives. Permanent marker markings might be eliminated using aerosol hairspray, while mold and mildew can be annihilated with equal parts warm water and rubbing alcohol. A little sprinkle of baking soda can cut through grease.
car seats cleaning
car seats cleaning

Don’t let the leather on your car seats deteriorate. Keep them looking and feeling luxurious by following these steps for cleaning and conditioning leather car seats. Also, bear in mind that they should be cleaned and conditioned on a regular basis. You may also learn how to clean different types of vehicle seats, such as clean cloth, suede car seats, and white leather. Like this article? Sharing any opinions is appreciated in the comments. Sharing this information is also recommended, especially if you know someone who would benefit from it.

Joyce He

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