How to Clean Leather Car Seats the Right Way

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How to clean leather seats the right way

Leather spells luxury, and its luxurious look and feel make it a perfect material for car seats. To retain this luxurious look, it is best practice to clean and condition your leather seats every two to three months

While it is best practice to clean your leather seats regularly, it is easy to get it wrong. You do not want to damage your beautiful leather by using the wrong cleaning agent or cleaning tool. 

What do you do when your leather seats begin looking dull?  How can you make leather seats last longer? Are you currently cleaning leather the right way? We have the answers to your questions. Dig in! 

What Is The Best Way To Clean Your Leather Seats?

Clean leather seats

The items you need to clean leather seats the right way include clean microfiber towels, a leather cleaning solution, a vacuum cleaner, and a leather conditioner. Steps to cleaning your leather seat include.

  • First, apply your preferred cleaning agent to the seat.
  • Next, scrub with a detailing brush and wipe dry with a microfiber towel. 
  • Next, protect the leather with a conditioner.
  • Finally, leave it to cure. 

Following this process step-by-step will ensure that your seat is clean, protected, and ready to last. This article discusses the detailed process of cleaning your leather seat without discoloring, causing wrinkles, or cracking the leather. 

1. Apply Cleaning Solution

Apply car leather seats cleaning solutions

Once you’ve confirmed the cleaning solution that works best for your car, apply it directly to the leather seats. You should also put it on the other leather areas of the vehicle’s interior (e.g., center console and dashboard). Let the solution sit for about 30-60 seconds in order to break up any contaminants on the leather.

When spraying on leather dashboards and door panels, it’s best to apply the solution in small sections or even directly onto a microfiber towel or applicator pad. This will help avoid overspray and ensure that the solution doesn’t end up on your windshield or any other windows. If you do happen to have overspray, you can use a damp towel to wipe it off. 

2. Scrub With Detailing Brush Until Foamy

Scrub with a detailing brush until foamy

Dip your detailing brush into water, then lightly scrub the cleaning solution in order to form a sudsy lather on the seat. This will soften tough and old stains on the seat and help you wipe them off easily later.  

If the detailing brush is ineffective in cleaning the seats, you can use a power drill with a soft white bristle head. It should be used to scrub the seats and hard plastics lightly.

3. Let It Cure and Wipe Off Excess

Cure and wipe off excess

Once the seats are clean, wipe off the solution with a microfiber towel, so they don’t stay damp for long. Use a clean damp towel that removes the excess cleaning solution and picks up the remaining dirt. 

Now that your seats are clean and dry, you can begin conditioning them. Start by applying your leather conditioner to the leather directly (just like with the leather cleaner above). 

4. Condition the Leather Seats

Condition leather seats

Once you have applied your conditioner, let it cure for a few minutes. After it has cured, use a clean microfiber towel to wipe off any excess conditioner. Once that’s done, your leather should feel supple and not have a greasy look. 

If any parts of the leather are still dry, you can repeat these conditioning steps to ensure that it is fully moisturized and protected. This is common with old vehicles that have very dry and neglected leather.

Products to Clean Your Leather Seats

We know that everyone has their own preferences and budgets. This is why we want to provide you with a few store-bought options and DIY options for your leather cleaning needs. 

Store Bought Leather Cleaners

Leather Honey

Leather honey care kit

The leather honey cleaner has a honey texture that is non-toxic and water-repellant. This thick honey texture makes it a good product for restoration. This is the product you want if you have leather seats that have years of wear and tear.  

Chemical Guys Sprayable Leather Cleaner and Conditioner

Chemical guys sprayable leather cleaner

The sprayable leather cleaner has a unique PH balance which makes it ideal for cleaning leather while preserving its strength, durability, and appearance. So while the cleaner penetrates the pores in your car leather to remove dirt and oils, it also acts as a conditioner and eliminates the need to apply a separate conditioning product after cleaning.

Carfidant Ultimate Leather Cleaner

Carfidant ultimate leather cleaner

The ultimate leather cleaner has a less aggressive chemical mixture. This means that there are no color dyes used in the product and that it leaves no scents after cleaning. This may be ideal if you have allergies or simply don’t like to use products with any type of smell.

DIY Leather Cleaners

Diy leather cleaners


Vinegar has antibacterial properties and will not cause any damage to your seats. Simply spray on the part of the seat that you wish to clean,  and wipe away with a clean, dry cloth. 

Baking Soda

Baking soda sucks out dirt and dampness from the seat while cleaning. For this reason, applying a conditioner after cleaning is necessary if you decide to use baking soda. 

Rubbing alcohol

Rubbing alcohol works well for blotting stains out of the leather seat. Use a ball of cotton wool or a dry, lint-free cloth to apply the alcohol and clean the area. After cleaning the stain, apply a liquid dish soap solution with warm water to clean off the alcohol. 

Products to Condition Your Leather Seats

Leather conditioning helps you maintain the look of your seats while preventing cracking and tearing. We’ve recommended some store-bought and DIY conditioners to help you get started:

Store Bought Leather Conditioners

Obenauf’s Heavy Duty LP

Obenauf's heavy duty lp

The Heavy Duty LP’s natural oils ensure your car seats are protected from multiple cracks and stitch tears. If you like to make sure that you are using all-natural products on your car, this is the option that you will want to go with. 

Bick 4 Leather Conditioner

Bick 4 leather conditioner

This Bick 4 conditioner does not darken your leather after its application, making it ideal if you are specifically concerned about maintaining the color of your leather seats. It’s also wax free, which ensures the leather pores don’t seal up.

Meguiar’s G18616 Gold Class Leather Conditioner

Meguiars gold class leather conditioner

The Gold Class conditioner combines moisturizing oils and aloe to maintain your seat’s original look. It also provides UV protection to prevent aging and fading, making it a great choice if you live in a climate with lots of sunshine. 

DIY Leather Conditioners

Diy leather conditioners

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is not only good for your hair and skin but also works wonders on your leather seats. It soaks into the cracks of your car seats and restores its smooth appearance. It is not a cleaning agent but works well as a conditioner. 

Beeswax Leather Condition

Beeswax is an antifungal agent and can protect your seats from mold, bacteria, and other unwanted organisms. It also restores the natural water-resistant qualities in your leather seats and keeps them looking better for longer. Apply thick balm into the leather using your fingers. Rub it in and remove any excess with a microfiber towel.

Flaxseed oil

Flaxseed oil gets absorbed into the pores of your leather seats and leaves them with a beautiful shine. It also protects your seats from humidity damage. Flaxseed oil is unlikely to cause allergies, making it an excellent alternative to store-bought conditioners.


Any leather seat will undoubtedly age and crack if not properly maintained. To recap, you can keep your leather seats healthy by following the steps below:

  1. Apply a cleaning solution
  2. Scrub the seat with a detailing brush and wipe off excess with a microfiber towel
  3. Apply a conditioner of your choice

As you can see, taking care of leather seats will require time, expertise, and resources. If doing this all yourself is not your cup of tea, you can always call a professional! Here at Big’s Mobile Detailing, we would be happy to take care of your seats for you, as well as any other car detailing needs. Our cleaning and conditioning services are the best on the west coast. You can rest assured that your leather seats will receive the best treatment using the finest materials.

If you ever need us, you can give us a call at 425-243-9155 or simply schedule online, and we will come to you. Hope to see you soon!


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These blogs are meant purely for education and demonstration purposes. It contains only general information and may not account for specific issues related to your particular vehicle or situation. All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. Read full disclaimer.

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