How to Deep Clean Leather Seats
Alien Enclosures is all about emphasizing the importance of a finished trunk. If you’re going to put any effort into making you classic look new again, you’re going to have to deep clean your seats.
We previously shared our step-by-step on how to deep clean fabric seats. Now, we’re letting you in on how we best keep our leather interiors clean. All you’ll need is the same products you used before, plus leather cleaner, conditioner, and a steamer.
What You Need
- A powerful vacuum
- Brush set (toothbrushes work well)
- Several microfibers towel
- Extractor vacuum
- Leather and Vinyl Cleaner
- Leather and Vinyl Conditioner
Understanding Your Leather
Before you start, understand the secret to properly cleaning leather seats is that they’re not pure leather. To protect your seats from wear and tear, car companies added a coating to them. Raw leather is tough to take care of, so the additives act as a protective barrier to scratches, stains, wrinkles, and UV light.
Therefore, when you search for a cleaning product, be sure it mentioned the protective material such as plastic or vinyl. You will use both the cleaner and conditioner as well.
Start with a Vacuum
Start by vacuuming the seats to get rid of all the loose dirt and crumbs. Push the vacuum tip into stitches to get the majority of the debris.
A vacuum is useful for larger pieces of dirt. However, you’re far from finished. To get all of the smaller crumbs that have been stuck there for decades, use the toothbrush. Add some of your leather and vinyl cleaner to the brush and start lightly scrubbing in between the stitching. Once you soak up the suds with a microfiber towel, use the vacuum again to suck up whatever remains.
A trick we found over the years is to push the vacuum tip directly into the crevices. Instead of dragging it, push it into the leather again and again until you see no dirt. This helps open up the stitching. Once you finished with a section, move on to the next.
Lastly, spray some leather and vinyl cleaner on a microfiber towel to wipe down the flat services with medium to heavy pressure to remove any more dirt.
Keep Leather Protected with Conditioner
Even though seats may appear much cleaner, you can do better. Not only can you have your seats looking good as new, but you can also protect them.
To both clean and protect your seats, we recommend using a steamer. This way, the heat opens up the pores of the leather allowing the conditioner to sink in. A conditioner that better seeps into the leather means your seats will appear new and protected.
After steaming the seats, dry them off completely with a towel. The seats should feel dry but warm. Take your conditioner, spray it into the bristles of your paint brush, and paint the seat with it. Don’t be afraid to use a lot as you want total coverage while you work it into the seat.
Next, let it sit for a minute. You don’t want it to dry, just for it to soak. Grab a clean microfiber towel and buff the rest of the conditioner off.
Improving Worn Leather
When it comes to classics, time serves as both a friend and an enemy. If you take care of the car, over time, it will keep increasing in value. However, keeping it maintained and protected over long periods of time can be difficult.
Over time, leather can deteriorate. Much of the time this occurs on the sides of the seats where people get in and out. However, if you clean and protect it as we described, it’s less likely to get damaged.
With spots that already formed on the leather, you can’t fix it with cleaner and conditioner. However, you can still make it look better. To do so, spray your cleaner on a microfiber towel and rub it into the spot. Let it dry. Get the towel with some conditioner and also wipe that down.
When you do this, it helps the spot blend back into the original leather a bit more. Work the conditioner into the spot as best you can, then take a clean towel and remove whatever remains. You might need to apply it a couple of times so the leather can absorb the conditioner. Cleaning and conditioning seats about every six months can help keep the vinyl intact and help reduce the creasing, wear, and tear.