High-quality and well-maintained leather car seats can make your car interior look more elevated and luxurious. If you do not regularly clean and maintain them, they can start to fade and look unappealing.
However, with regular care, your leather car seats can remain supple and comfortable for years. Well-maintained leather car seats also fetch a higher resale value, which might be important for people who want to sell their cars at a high return.
The best way to protect your leather car seats from regular wear is to keep them cool and dry, avoid storing abrasive and heavy objects on them and condition them regularly.
Here’s an overview of methods that we’ll cover in our guide:
- Keep Your Leather Car Seats Cool
- Condition Your Leather Car Seats
- Keep Your Leather Car Seats Dry
- Avoid Storing Heavy & Abrasive Items on Them
- Use Covers For Your Leather Car Seats
As your car is likely a significant investment, you should clean, condition, and care for your leather car seats regularly. This guide will teach you how to properly protect your leather car seats from regular wear so that they retain their supple and shiny appearance.
1. Keep Your Leather Car Seats Cool
It is important to note that leather is made of animal skin that contains fats and natural oils. These natural substances provide leather the shine and suppleness it’s most well-known for.
The heat trapped in your car and ultraviolet rays from sunlight can cause leather to dry out. As a result, the lack of moisture and natural oils make it more vulnerable to damage, causing your leather seats to shrink, fade and crack over time.
UV rays from the sun can also cause leather seats to age prematurely. In some cases, the leather of your car seats may even begin to flake. Therefore, it’s important to avoid direct sunlight and warm environments, whenever possible.
Here are a few other things you should do:
- Park Under the Shade – A common mistake is that most people do not park their vehicles in the shade, leading to extensive UV light damage over time. By simply parking your car under the shade, you’ll be able to improve the longevity of your car seat leather.
- Turn On The AC Unit – Another reason leather car seats wear out considerably faster is when hot air circulates in the car over a longer period. This draws out the natural oils from the leather, as they evaporate. Turning on the air conditioning unit (AC) in your car allows the heat to escape and brings down the internal temperature. This not only ensures that your leather car seats remain well-protected, but it also allows for a much more comfortable ride.
Other methods to ensure that your car seats remain cool, are to use sunshades on sunny days, tint the windows of your car, or wind them down whenever you’re temporarily parked in the sun.
Want to learn more about this? Then, feel free to read our comprehensive guide on various methods to effectively keep your leather car seats cool to prevent long-term damage and ensure that they last for years to come.
2. Condition Your Leather Car Seats
To prevent your leather car seats from looking worn, we recommend conditioning them regularly. This allows you to restore their oils in the leather to maintain its supple feel.
We’ve had great success with Armor All’s Leather Car Care Gel, and have reviewed it extensively. While there are various other brands that you can choose from, it’s important that the one you choose is formulated to protect the leather against UV ray exposure to prevent fading.
We recommend conditioning your leather car seats at least 3 to 4 times annually so that you can protect them from sun and heat exposure. If you park in the sun frequently, you may want to condition them more regularly.
Conditioning them is straightforward and you’ll be able to follow our simple step-by-step guide below.
- Choose a gel or liquid leather conditioner that is formulated to protect against UV rays (dedicated leather car seat cleaners often work the best).
- Apply the conditioner on the car seats with a soft microfiber cloth.
- Use circular motions to rub in the conditioner and wipe away the excess.
- Allow the car seats to dry completely before use.
If your car seats have accumulated dirt, we recommend giving them a thorough clean before you start the conditioning process.
3. Keep Your Leather Car Seats Dry
Another thing you should keep in mind when it comes to preserving your leather car seats is to always keep them dry. Wet leather can get damaged over time and promote mold and mildew growth.
Prolonged exposure to water can cause undesirable effects on leather as the natural oils to evaporate, leading to brittleness, hardening, peeling, and in the worst cases even flaking.
The most common way leather car seats can get wet is through rain, wearing wet or sweaty clothes, or when liquids are accidentally spilled in your car. Therefore, you should always ensure to clean and dry your leather car seats as soon as possible.
To prevent water from ruining the appearance and durability of your car seats, you can use a dry microfiber cloth to wipe them, a hair dryer on a non-heated setting, or a fan.
4. Avoid Storing Heavy & Abrasive Items on Your Leather Car Seats
Another reason why your leather car seats may look worn or deformed is when you place abrasive heavy items on them. You should also avoid putting sharp objects on your leather seats as that can easily lead to accidental ripping and tearing.
You also need to avoid placing objects on them that can transfer color or dirt. This is because dye transference is often irreversible and can ruin the leather’s appearance.
A common method to removing dye from leather is to use dye removers, which may contain chemicals that could ultimately damage your car seats in the long run. In this case, we definitely recommend prevention over cure.
5. Use Covers For Your Leather Car Seats
If you have leather car seats and want to avoid marring the material’s surface with stains, debris, dirt, spills, and food spillage, you should consider investing in high-quality car seat covers.
Car seats covers can be installed by taking off the headrest and simply sliding them over. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and choose products that are compatible with leather.
Car seat covers can help you protect the leather, making them much easier to clean. It can also keep your original car seat covers in good condition so that they retain their naturally supple appearance and feel.
However, we still recommend removing your car seat covers from time to time to clean, condition, and ventilate your leather seats.