Leather Care

Caring and conditioning your cars leather will keep it new for years

Leather is Very Expensive in a Car so Lets Protect it

No serious car nut like me could ever live with leather that doesn’t look perfect. It’s one of my OCD obsessions. Proper leather cleaning and conditioning is key to its long life. In this article I will go over all the steps needed to insure your leather looks new for years. Leather is an expensive option on a car so lets’ learn how to keep it up.


Leather Care

There are two basic steps needed to maintain your cars’ leather seats. They are leather cleaning and conditioning. To properly take care of your cars skins you will need to put together a leather care kit. Over the years running my auto detail shop I have found that the following items are necessary for proper leather care:

1. Soft sponge

2. Leather cleaner – this can be diluted Simple Green (a very versatile all-purpose cleaner and a favorite at my detail shop) or one of the many cleaner available at your local auto parts store

3. Soft bristled tooth brush

4. Clean terry cloth towels

5. Spray bottle filled with clean water

6. Leather conditioner (there are dozens of brands out there to condition leather but I prefer one called Connelly Hide Food)

The Process of Caring for Leather

To start the process of caring for your cars’ leather mix up the diluted mixture of Simple Green or grab your store purchased cleaner in a pail of warm water. Now, take your soft sponge and soak it in the mixture. The first thing you want to do is clean a test spot in an unnoticeable area. You want to insure that your cleaner does not remove any dye from the leather. Once this step is done, you can begin your work. With the sponge filled with your cleaner begin gently wiping down the seats with it. Work each section of the seat gently. Use your toothbrush on seat piping and folds – use very light pressure.

The next step is to re-spray the seat with your bottle of clean water. By doing this you are lifting the soap residue off the hide. The next step is to take one of your clean towels and blot the leather dry. I have found that it is best to then re-wet the seat with another coat of clean water and repeat the drying step with yet another clean towel. Repeat these steps on all of the car seats.

Leather Conditioner

At this point it is time to treat the cleaned leather with the conditioner. As I mentioned before I like the brand Connolly Hide Food the best. It is a little hard to find but in this day of internet shopping you should be able to find it with ease.

The Connolly Hide Food is a thick cream that you gently work into the leather with a soft cotton towel. It is important to really rub this stuff into the seat. It is best to do this step on one seat at a time. Once the conditioner has had about five to ten minutes to absorb into the leather it is time to hand buff the residue off. Take another clean terry cloth towel and gently rub off the excess conditioner. Repeat these steps on all of the cars’ seats.

One thing to note; some seats have little perforated holes in them. You don’t want to gum these up with excess conditioner. In these cases use just a little conditioner on your towel at a time. Use just enough to cover the leather but not to fill the holes. If you do fill the perforations you can clean it out with your toothbrush.

By following these easy steps you will keep your leather free of dirt and skin oils that can make the surface look soiled. Also, by regularly conditioning the leather you will help prevent it from cracking or drying out. I have been asked repeatedly just how often this needs to be done. Over the years I found that doing this four times a year really keeps things clean and soft. However, if you’re one of those people who let fido loose inside the car you may need to do it a little more often. Just keep that dogs’ nails short. The last thing you want is puncture holes or scratches on the seats. Yours truly could never live with himself with a filthy dog riding in the car. Just the dog smell is enough to drive me crazy. I do love dogs just as long they are left at home!

Well there you have it. I have explained the steps I take to keep my cars’ leather looking almost new. One last thing to consider – no matter what amount of cleaning and conditioning you do leather will develop what I call character wrinkles. The idea is to keep the leather soft so that these wrinkles do not turn into cracks. Follow my steps and you will maintain your expensive leather for as long as you own your car. Now get busy.

PS; if you take the pup in the car at least put a towel or blanket down on the seat. Just say’n.



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