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Care of Leather Seats

Leather is the classiest, most durable, most comfortable car seat material available. And as long as you clean and condition it regularly (every 2 or 3 months), it is also the longest lasting!

Do I really have to do anything to maintain my leather seats?

Yes! Otherwise they will dry out, crack, and tear.
Think about it. Leather is simply chemically tanned animal hide. When the hide was still on the animal, mother nature took care of repairing and replenishing the oils in the hide. Now that is your responsibility. Nothing looks better than quality leather, and nothing looks worse than dried cracked leather.

Fortunately, maintaining your leather seats is easy, and only takes a few minutes.

First, you need to remove dirt and grime from the surface. This is done with a "leather cleaner". Simply spray/wipe a small amount of leather cleaner onto your seats, and gently wash the leather with a damp cotton cloth. You dont have to rub hard, just gently bathe the leather. Rinse the wash cloth clean, and wipe any excess cleaner off the seats, then dry the seats with a towel.

The second step is to replenish the oils in the leather so that it will remain soft, flexible, and durable. Replenishing the oils is done with a leather conditioner. The best tool for applying conditioner is ... your bare hands. Simply spray a small amount of conditioner into the palm of your hand, and massage it into the entire leather seat. (The conditioner will actually soften your hands too!) Allow the oils in the conditioner to be absorbed into the seats for about 20 - 30 mintues, then simply rub down the leather with a clean towel to remove any excess conditioner.

What brands of cleaner and conditioner work well on leather car seats?

Most of the brand names that you recongnize work well. There are three that I specifically recommend:
Lexol-pH Leather Cleaner Lexol-pH Leather Conditioner Lexol-pH Leather Cleaner and Conditioner,
Available at Amazon.com and local auto supply stores.
Zymol Leather Cleaner Zymol Leather Conditioner Zymol Leather Cleaner and Conditioner,
Available at Amazon.com and local auto supply stores.
Just For Leather Cleaner ready to use towel Just For Leather Conditioner ready to use towel Just For Leather quick wipes,
Available from the Kutztown Car Wash big blue vending machine.

One last thing you need to know is what not to do!

Do not use the old-timer products such as mink oil, neetsfoot oil, or saddle soap. Leather products today have become specialized - there are different chemicals used in the tanning process based on what the leather will be used for. In other words, the leather in your car seats is not processed the same as the leather in your jacket or the leather on your sofa. To get the best life out of your leather seats, use only products designed specifically for cleaning and conditioning leather car seats.
And of course, the usual caveats about testing the cleaner/conditioner in a spot where any damage cannot be seen applies.

Thanks for reading, I hope this article was useful to you!
...Paul

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