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How to Get Stains out of Leather Car Seats

  • How to Get Stains out of Leather Car Seats
    January 7, 2019

    Leather seats might cost more than fabric seats, but they add a luxurious look and feel to your vehicle. Cars with leather seats often have a higher resale value due to their silky smooth touch, pleasant smell, and plushness. Of course, the extra cost demands that you take good care of them, especially when they are accidentally stained. So how to get stains out of leather car seats? Read on.

    How to Get Stains out of Leather Car Seats

    Keeping the leather seats in great condition means keeping them clean from any stain and contaminant. Regular cleaning will keep your leather seats in pristine condition. But accidents do happen. A sudden stop at a red light might spill your morning coffee. A clumsy mechanic might drip some grease or oil while doing some maintenance work. If left untreated, these substances will leave stain marks.

    At first, glance, removing these stains might seem like an impossible task. But the stain removal steps are actually simple and when done correctly should completely get the stains out of your leather seats.

    Step-by-step Process on How to Get Stains out of Leather Car Seats

    Beer, soda, coffee, and tea are the most common beverages that can stain leather seats. Upon spilling, immediately wipe with a dry cloth. Since leather is not very absorbent, the dry cloth should remove all traces of liquid. However, if you missed cleaning the stains immediately, don’t despair. Below is a step-by-step process on how to get stains out of leather car seats.

    1. Vacuum

    Vacuum the seats to remove dirt and debris from the crevices. Be careful not to scratch the leather with the hose attachments. You could also use an air compressor to blow out dirt from in between the seat cracks.

    2. Apply Cleaning Solution

    Next, apply a cleaning solution to the affected areas. Check to see if your car seats have perforated areas, possibly along the stitch lines. Take care not to get water, leather cleaner or conditioner stuck down into the holes. You can buy an off the shelf cleaning agent or you can create your own homemade solution.

    Optional Step: Formulate your own leather seat cleaner

    • Mixture #1 – Mix 1 part white vinegar and 2 parts linseed oil
    • Mixture #2 – Mix 1 part liquid dishwashing soap and 5 parts water
    • Mixture #3 – Mix 1/2 cup olive oil with 1/4 cup of vinegar

    Choose any of these DIY mixtures. Place inside a spray bottle for easy application on leather seats.

    DO NOT use bleach or ammonia-based cleaners as they can damage and discolor the leather.

    DO NOT use too much water. Excess water can also stain the leather. Wipe clean with a dry or damp cloth. Dry thoroughly with a towel.

    3. Remove Stain

    Spray the cleaner directly onto the affected part of your seats. Test the mixture on a small affected area on the side or bottom. Use a soft-bristled brush if the stains prove difficult to remove. If this removes the stain and the leather looks fine, then you can safely apply the mixture to the rest of the affected areas. For more stubborn stains, let the mixture rest for a few minutes before brushing gently.

    4. Rub and Wipe

    Clean off the mixture off the seats by using a damp cloth and a little water. Rubbing off the mixture should also lift the stains. We recommend using a microfiber cloth when drying leather seats. Continue rubbing with until almost dry.

    For difficult-to-remove stains, repeat Steps 3 and 4. Some stains might take multiple spraying and brushing before being completely removed.

    DO NOT scrub. Just wipe gently. Use less mixture as you go along to prevent dampness. Dry with a microfiber cloth. Leave the car’s doors open for air drying.

    5. Condition the Leather

    Once your seats are dry and clean, apply a leather conditioner especially on the parts that you cleaned. This extra protection will add sheen, keep the leather from cracking and the colors fading. Conditioners also make the leather resistant to future stains and give it a nice shine. Knowing how to get stains out of leather car seats will extend their life and keep them looking new. Apply the conditioner evenly and rub it onto the leather. The aim is for the leather to absorb the conditioner oils. Place your car in a shaded area overnight.


    Our short 5-step process on how to get stains out of leather car seats is very easy to follow. But stains due to bleach, grease, ink, and food may be too hard to remove via the conventional method. In this case, it would be better to get professional help.

    Leather seats are not cheap, so if the situation calls for it, it is best to get professional help. Using the wrong cleaning agent or method might strip the leather of its natural oils and cause it to dry up and crack. Schedule an appointment with DetailXPerts to treat all types of upholstery stains with our patent-pending steam cleaning method.

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