WHAT YOU’LL NEED
First, you’ll need to make sure you have these supplies on hand:
- A bucket with warm water
- A blue dish sponge
- Microfiber towels
- Upholstery brush (you can purchase one from any auto parts store)
- A vacuum
- An air blower
- Lexol Deep Leather Cleaner
- Lexol Deep Leather Conditioner
Other products will work, but Lexol is widely available, affordable, and works very nicely.
Before doing anything, you need to make sure you get out all of the dirt, sand, and other crumbs from the creases in your seat. This is important because letting this build up allows these things to begin to act like sandpaper, and it will lead to your leather wearing away faster.
Vacuum out your seats, making sure to get into all of the creases. When vacuuming, be gentle and make sure you don’t scrape the leather. It’s best to hold it a bit away from the seat so the vacuum head doesn’t actually touch your leather and scratch it.
With any product, you should always do a spot test in an inconspicuous area prior to applying it to your entire interior. Using the back or bottom edge of one of your seats will allow you to make sure that the product you chose will work properly without having any sort of reaction. When cleaning you should start at the top and work your way down. It helps if you remove your headrest (which you can clean outside of the car) so you can get the top of your seats better.
Put some warm water into your bucket and then put your sponge, upholstery brush and one microfiber towel inside. You want one wet towel in the bucket and one dry towel that you can use to wipe. Use the damp towel to wet down one section of the seat.
Then spray some of your leather cleaner onto the damp towel. Using a damp towel will help you spread the cleaner around easier. You should not allow your seat to be soaking wet, but don’t worry about being too cautious about wetting the leather.
Work the cleaner in with the rag, focusing especially on the seams and hard to reach areas. When finished, spray your damp brush with a bit of leather cleaner and rub it across the leather to help clean out the grain. Apply a medium amount of pressure and make sure to rub the brush across the entire section.
When you’re done cleaning it, use your dry towel to wipe off the leather and pull off the remaining dirt and oil. Continue this process for the entire interior.
- Don’t let any spots dry while your cleaning.
- If you clean your leather regularly (two or more times a year), you won’t need to use the brush—reserve it for deep cleaning.
- Most car interiors use a mix of leather and vinyl. Luckily, leather cleaners are also safe to use on vinyl.
- However, do not use a vinyl cleaner on leather. Vinyl cleaners have harsher chemicals that can damage leather.
- If you notice a spot that isn’t getting clean, make sure it’s actually grime and not just an area where the finish is wearing down. Look closely!
- If there is something that’s tough to get off, use the rough side of your sponge and a spray of cleaner. Scrub lightly and be careful. Wipe the spot with your towel when done.
Conditioning is an important step because leather can get dried out, especially if your car sees a good amount of sunlight. Conditioning oils will moisturize your leather and help it stay looking good. It will also extend the life of your leather in the long run. Spray some of the leather conditioner onto your dry towel and work it in, focusing on one section at a time. How much you use depends on how dried out your leather is. You’ll notice how much conditioner your leather soaks up. You may have to do a couple coats if it seems that your leather is taking a lot.
When your leather is shiny, that spot is nice and conditioned. After letting your leather sit for a few minutes, come back with a clean and dry microfiber towel and work in a circular motion to remove all extra conditioner. If the conditioner leaves your seats feeling oily, you need to go through and buff it again with a clean dry microfiber towel to get off the excess.
Following these steps, the interior of your car can look like new again. Regular care and maintenance will extend the life of your car interior and keep your leather looking great. For more tips, go to www.TheLuckyNeedle.com