How to Clean Leather Car Seats: DIY + Professional Tips

Leather car seats are considered to be quite lavish, comfortable and very classy by the vast majority of people. Having them in your car gives its appearance a very premium luxurious look that is strongly impressive. At the same time, leather car seats are notoriously difficult to properly manage in order to keep them looking as good as they did when you first bought your car.

How to Clean Leather Car Seats

You need to continually give them extra special care in order to maintain them with a regular cleaning process that removes dust and dirt and any stains that have occurred. Here are some basic suggestions that will help make it easy for you to clean your leather car seats effectively without a lot of hassle. You basically have two main options, which include cleaning products for leather car seats and DIY methods.

Quick Solution Available On Amazon

PricingProductAvailable Sizes FeaturesAverage Rating
Chamberlain’s Leather Cleaner, Conditioner and Water protector6 oz, 12 ozTop leather restoration kit
to strengthen leather and
protect it from water using
natural oils and waxes.

Leather Honey Multipurpose Cleaner and Conditioner
8 oz, 16 oz,
32 oz, 64 oz,
Best for cleaning car interior,
shoes and leather jackets.

Leather Nova Conditioner & Cleaner (For Car & Home Use)8 ozPremium Cleaner
for all leather types

Meguiar’s Gold Class Leather Cleaner & Conditioner64 oz, 1 GallonMeguiars leather
care kit with
microfiber cloth

Chemical Guys Leather Cleaner and Conditioner16 oz (2 Items)Best deep cleaner. Penetrates
pores to remote dirt.

Armor Leather cleaning Gel19.2 ozBest for restoring leather and
its natural beauty

Weiman Leather Cleaner and Conditioner16.48 ozMade from natural
oils to protect
leather of all types.





Specialized Products

For cleaning the leather seats of your car, several effective products are widely available on the market, so you can easily pick one up at most any department store or automotive goods store. As mentioned, these special cleaners are generally more expensive than regular household cleaning products as they have been specifically formulated to clean leather items. The most important thing that you first need to do is to choose the one that suits your leather type. For example, pure leather’s perfect texture and look come with a matte finish, unlike faux leather bright sheen, so they each need a different kind of leather cleaner. Read the packaging on the products to help you choose the best one. Once you have selected the most appropriate leather cleaner, simply follow the easy steps below to give your leather car seats a fresh new fresh look:

a) Vacuum the Seats:

First of all, remove any rubbish and then get rid of all types of dirt and dust  by thoroughly vacuuming the car seats. By doing this, you prepare the surface of your leather car seats before applying any cleaning products so that the whole cleaning process will be more efficient and effective. Additionally, you need to use an upholstery attachment on the nozzle in order to avoid any damage to your leather.

Vacuum the Seatsb) Apply the Product:

Apply the specialized leather cleaner that you have chosen on your seats by following the instructions that are written on the package. Read these very carefully as there is some possibility of damaging your car’s leather. At the very least, you may not receive the full benefit of the product if don’t apply and use it correctly.

 Apply the Productc) Wipe the Product off:

The next step involves using a chamois leather cloth, which you will use to wipe down the seats, but be careful while using water because extra water will damage the leather of your car seats, so use only as much as you need.

Wipe the Product offd) Let the Seats Dry:

The last step is extremely easy, just let the leather seats that you have cleaned dry completely on their own while you wait awhile before your next ride. Obviously, this is a good time to sit down, relax and reward yourself with your favorite beverage for a job well done.

Let the Seats Dry


Household Cleaning Products

Although there’s a wide variety of special leather cleaning products available on the market, like those described above, that can be used to make your leather car seats shiny, sleek and spotless, you can also simply use things like  laundry detergent and various other household products. These common items can serve as cheap alternatives to expensive leather cleaning products.

Vinegar Cleaning Solution

As mentioned above, you can also choose to use a number of simple household products such as vinegar for cleaning your leather car seats. These kinds of products are much cheaper, more mild and more convenient than the specialized leather cleaner products. You probably already have them somewhere in your house or apartment. This is one reason why some people use them to clean their leather car seats.

Vinegar Cleaning Solution

On the other hand, they most likely don’t provide the same level of maintenance and they definitely aren’t equal to specialized leather cleaners in terms of deep cleaning and conditioning. Still, they will do a fairly good job of keeping the surface of your leather car seats clean and bright looking. Anyway, if you decide to try using a vinegar cleaning solution, you just need to follow these few easy steps:

a. Vacuum the Seats:

Before you start cleaning, you need to get the seats ready by thoroughly vacuuming them using the upholstery attachment on the nozzle. Removing all of the loose dirt and dust will make it much easier to clean them with the solution and will give you better results in the end.

b. Make the Solution:

The next thing that needs to be done is to mix up the cleaning solution in a handy spray bottle. Fill it three-quarters (75%) full with the vinegar and then add one-quarter (25%) of warm water. Finally, blend these two liquids together by stirring them up or by vigorously shaking the bottle for about half a minute.

c. Spray the Solution on:

Spray this solution on the car seats from a distance of about 20 cm. Be sure to hit all areas of the seats, but don’t go overboard and start soaking them down too liberally. Keep it light!

d. Rub the Solution in:

Now using a chamois leather cloth, gently but thoroughly rub the solution onto the seats. Make sure every square centimeter is covered by the solution so that you can be certain that every spot is squeaky clean when you’ve finished.

e. Rinse the Solution off:

The last step is to clean the vinegar solution off of the seats by using water (not too much), and after the entire cleaning process is complete, let the seats air dry. Once you’re done, you’ll definitely notice and appreciate how good your car seats look now!

Laundry Detergent Solution

Laundry detergent is another common household item that can also be quite helpful when you’re cleaning car seats. Just follow these simple steps, which are basically the same as the instructions when using the other types of cleaners:

Laundry detergent

a. Vacuum the Seats:

First of all, vacuum the car seats properly in order to remove all of the dust and dirt that has accumulated since the last time you cleaned them. You’ll probably be surprised by how much grit and grime build up in just a short period of time. Preparing your leather car seats in this way will make the task of cleaning them much easier and effective.

b. Make the Solution:

Once your car seats are dirt-free, you’re now ready to make the cleaning solution. Just fill a spray bottle with warm water, and then add a teaspoonful of laundry detergent. It’s that simple!

c. Spray the Solution on:

Spray the seats with the detergent solution and lightly rub it in using the chamois leather. Be sure not to miss any spots, so that your leather car seats are evenly clean.

d. Rinse the Solution off:

Rinse the seats off with some warm water and then have a rest while you wait for them to dry before taking a drive around town to show off your nice clean leather car seats to all your friends and neighbors.

Useful Tips

  • For an especially long-lasting leather finish, apply some leather conditioner or moisturizer once every three months for a soft factory-fresh feel.
  • Before conditioning, clean and dry the leather seats properly.
  • Whenever you are going to try a new product on your leather car seats, never apply it directly on the seat. Instead, test it first on a small side area and observe it to see if it causes any damage (for example, staining or color fading) to the leather, or not. Then, if the test results were positive, you can apply it to the main part of the seat, or if necessary, change to another product.
  • Leather wipes are easy to use and are widely available on the market. Two-in-One wipes come with both a cleaner and a conditioner, so you don’t need to apply them separately. This is conveniently time-saving for busy people.
  • If possible, park your vehicle in a garage or in the shade in order to avoid fading of your leather due to direct sunlight.
  • Don’t use silicone, wax or oil-based products because they can damage your leather seats. The best leather cleaning products will be free of these harsh additives.
  • Don’t overuse any of these cleaning products as this will likely cause damage to the leather by saturating your seats with a liquid chemical solution.

Leather car seats certainly look great and give a luxurious feel to your car. Although cleaning them is a bit of a hassle, it is always a better option than having to buy a completely new set of seats. Cleaning your leather seats properly with the right products once a month greatly increases the lifespan of the car seats and the value of your vehicle.



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