How to Clean Leather Car Seats

Learn how to clean leather car seats for spotless, hydrated, supple leather that's protected from cracks and dryness.

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Introduction

Cleaning leather car seats is actually a two-step process — leather also needs conditioning to keep it hydrated and prevent cracks and wrinkles. Some cleaners do both. But if your leather is in tough shape to begin with, applying cleaner and conditioner separately can give it an extra boost.

Tools Required

  1. Vacuum

Materials Required

  1. Leather cleaner
  2. Leather conditioner
  3. Microfiber towel

Watch this video to learn even more car detailing tips:

Project step-by-step (3)

Step 1

Vacuum the Seats

  • Remove all trash and debris from the seats.
  • Vacuum the seats front, back and sides, pressing hard and into the seams and crevices to grab all the dirt.
  • Make note of any tears or holes in the leather so that when you're cleaning, you don't press cleaner or conditioner into the foam.

Vacuuming seatsVeronica Graham for Family Handyman

Step 2

Apply the Cleaner

  • Apply a small amount of leather cleaner (about the size of a quarter) to a microfiber cloth.
    • Note: Apply even less cleaner for perforated leather and build up as needed.
  • Rub the cleaner into the seat, one section at a time, until the seat has absorbed all the cleaner. Work on sections with obvious stains first.
    • Optional: Agitate the cleaner with a soft-bristle brush.
  • Dry wipe the section with a microfiber cloth to remove any excess product.
  • Repeat these steps for the next section until all the seats are cleaned.
  • Allow seats to dry completely.

Applying cleanerVeronica Graham for Family Handyman

Step 3

Apply the Conditioner

  • Apply a small amount of leather conditioner (about the size of a dime) to a microfiber cloth.
    • Note: Apply even less conditioner for perforated leather and build up as needed.
  • Rub the conditioner into the seats until all of the conditioner is absorbed.
  • Allow the seats to dry completely. This may take 12 hours.
  • Dry wipe the seats with a microfiber cloth to mop up any excess conditioner and create shine.

Applying conditioner