Leather auto interiors lend a classy, sophisticated feel to any car. However, unlike upholstery, leather can be costly to maintain and replace.
Cleaning your car’s leather interior may seem like a tough challenge, but it’s actually a task that you can perform on your own. With the right tools and cleaning materials, you can easily revive the showroom shine and fresh scent of your leather panels and seats.
There are lots of cleaning products that you can buy on the market, yet sometimes it’s better to stick to your own homemade remedies. If properly formulated and applied, a homemade leather cleaner can take out stains, spots, and dirt on your leather just as effectively as a commercial product, but at a lower cost.
The first thing you have to do when cleaning your car interior is to determine the exact type of leather that you have. Each material requires a different set of cleaners and conditioners. Choosing the wrong product may ruin the leather and force you to have everything replaced. Consult the owner’s manual to find out what type of leather was used on your car.
If you’re still unsure, test a small surface of the interior with a few drops of water to find out what material is used. Traditional leather will absorb the water, vinyl-coated leather will repel it, and suede will take on the water as well.
Once you know what type leather you have, you will be able to concoct the right homemade cleaner for it. Be sure to stay away from acidic products such as glass cleaners, because these can damage the color and texture of your leather trimming.
For all-purpose cleaning, start by wiping the leather panels and car seats with a damp non-abrasive cloth to get rid of loose dust, surface dirt, and food particles. Afterwards, spray on a cleaning solution made from one part vinegar and two parts linseed oil. Use a different cloth to work the solution right into the leather, and allow it to sit for a few minutes to break down any stubborn grime that may have clung to the natural cracks of the material. Finish off the job with another set of clean, dry rags to wipe away the foam and bring out the gleam in your leather interior.
To get rid of grease stains on the leather seats, dust some talcum powder or cornstarch over the area and let it stay overnight to absorb the grease. You can simply wipe it off with a damp cloth the next day before you take the car out of the garage. For more stubborn stains, use a solution made from one part hot water and three parts vinegar. Gently but vigorously scrub the stained area with the solution until you eliminate the stain completely.
Knowing how to clean the leather in your car can help you maintain its beauty for the lifetime of the vehicle, but there may be moments when you will require professional help to restore your car’s good looks. Just be sure to do your share of the job in between detailing appointments to maintain the stylish appearance of your vehicle.