7 Reasons Heated Seats Are Bad For Leather Seat Plus Fix

are heated seats bad for leather

Leather seats are luxurious and can add a touch of class to your vehicle. However, heated seats may have adverse effects on leather. In this article, I will discuss all the 7 reasons why heated seats or seat heaters are bad for the leather seats in your car, as well as how to prevent these seat heater features from damaging the leather upholstery.

Are heated seats bad for leather? The heated seat feature in cars is a great feature that allows your car seat to be heated and cooled in order to make the ride more comfortable. However, heated seats or seat heaters may not be a great idea if you have leather seats because they can cause damages to your leather seats over time. One of such damages is the leather seat drying over time.

To learn more about the effects of the heated seat on your leather, keep reading this article.

1. Risk Of Color Change On Leather Seats

The first risk heated seats pose to your leather is color change. When the heated seats are on, they can cause the original color of your leather car seats to change over time.

This is because of prolonged exposure of high temperatures. The heat that is generated from the seat affect the chemical such as dyes, tanning agents, oils, etc creating some discoloration.

The discoloration of the leather seat can be reduced if you use a water-based conditioner to keep it moisturized.

Conditioning the leather seats will help to ensure the car seats remains well lubricated and supple and the leather stays flexible.

Leather is a natural material so in order to maintain its quality, regular conditioning is necessary an no matter the condition the leather is in, it will help to ensure the leather car seats last long.

Silicone-based protectants can also be used to protect the leather car seats against color change caused by heated seats getting too close to the surface of the metal frame beneath them on your car seat coverings.

However, this alternative may not work as well as water-based oils when it’s time for replacement because silicone cannot penetrate deeper into the leather.

2. Mold And Mildew Growth

Another way the heated seat feature can also affect the leather seat is cause mold or mildew growth. This happens when the heat from the seats changes the temperature of the car interior when they are on.

Often times the temperature change can be so drastic that it changes the humidity levels of the car. Within a matter of minutes the humidity levels in the car gets increased.

The increased humidity levels in your vehicle could lead to mold or mildew growth. These growths are not only unsightly, but mold and mildew can be toxic.

Mold and Mildew growth can lead to your car leather seats also having a pretty bad smell. If you do have a heated seat in your vehicle it is important to leave the car windows slightly open when parked in order to keep the humidity levels from being too high.”

3. Dryness And Premature Aging

To better understand the leather material, leather is like human skin. It needs to remain rehydrated and moisturized to keep the skin from drying out and prematurely aging.

Leather requires a lot of care in order to maintain its softness, elasticity, and breathability. Moisture is important for these factors as well as preventing mold or mildew growth.”

“The problem with heated seats” “is that they can cause the leather on your car seats to dry from the prolonged exposure to heat which causes a lowering of the natural oils in your leather. This then will eventually lead to the leather drying, cracking and peeling – making a once new-looking leather, old and worn.

4. Sweat Or Water Stains

Another Reason why heated seats are bad for your leather is that it can cause sweat or water stains to appear on your leather. The way this happens is if you have sweaty skin that’s constantly touching your car seat over time, then it’ll make a big difference.

Leather absorbs moisture quite easily so any sweat left on them will absorb right into their pores. The sweat then dries, leaving an unsightly stain. This is due to the heat from the seats causing rapid evaporation of perspiration which leaves behind salt stains.”

Luckily there are some ways you can prevent these types of stains including wiping up any moisture with a dry cloth or towel as soon as possible in order to minimize contact time between your leather seats and your bodily fluids.

And always keep one spare pair of clean clothes, just for those days when you get sweaty at work! It’s also best not to wear dark colors as they tend to retain heat causing you to sweat more.

5. Wrinkles And Deformation

Another reason heated seat is bad for leather is that it can cause the leather seats to wrinkle and deform. Leather has been processed with chemicals to give it strength and flexibility when heated.

While this quality is great when it comes to using leather to form shapes, this also means that if you have leather seats they are going to shrink over time as soon as you start using your seat heater.

This is because when your seat heater is on it warms up the leather while you’re seated on it the leather stretches and when you get out of your car the leather will try to get back to its original form causing the leather to wrinkle or deform. This can particularly be worse if your leather seats are already wrinkled.

6. Damage The Seams Of Leather Seats

One very common long term damage seat heater cause to leather is the seams.

The seat heater can cause the seam to melt and lead to some serious problems with your seats. For instance, if you have leather seats that are sewn together where one of them is heated by a separate heat source it will shrink more than the other which will lead to an uneven wear over time.

When the seams of the leather seats gets damaged it can be very hard to repair and in some cases you will need to get them replaced.

7. Difficulty Removing Any Dirt or Dust

Seat heaters can also be bad for leather because they can make it hard to remove dirt, stains, or dust from the leather seat. This is because heat can make stains and dirt somewhat permanent on the leather.

When the leather seat accummulate stains and dirt as you use your seat heater, it can make stains and dirt more difficult to remove.

You’ll find that the leather becomes less supple over time because of this as well.

In addition to making some stains permanent on the seats, heat from a heated seat also makes dust and dirt more tenacious than they would be otherwise because it will become permanently embedded in the crevices between the fibers of the material.

This means any scratches or tears left by sharp objects like nails scratching across fabric are going to get worse over time if there is a layer of stubborn grime sitting inside them.

It’s especially important for those with lighter colored car interiors not to have anything stuck in their upholstery so these damages do not occur.

How To Prevent Seat Heaters From Damaging Your Leather

There’s no denying that having some warmth on your ride is very appealing, especially when winter has come knocking at our doorsteps already!

As with anything, prevention goes a long way so make sure you do not have to spend a lot of time and money to solve or find a cure to something you could’ve prevented.

With that said, let’s take a look at some preventive measures so that your car leather seats remain in good condition as you enjoy the warmth of your car seats in those cold seasons.

  • Too much heat is bad for leather but leather can handle moderate heat. So my very first tip will be to make sure your heated seats are not set to the highest temperature.
  • Also, do well to fix faulty car seat heaters before they malfunction and cause some serious burns on your skin and the leather.
  • Try not to use the heat on your leather seats too often or for an extended period of time. If you feel like the temperature might be getting too high then unplug it immediately and find something else that will help with comforts such as a blanket or sweater.
  • You could also invest in some type of cover for your car seats if they’re already wrinkled since this would allow them to maintain their shape better while also protecting them from stains and dust particles.
  • If you decided that heated seats are beneficial for you then make sure they will work with your leather upholstery. One way this could happen is by testing out different models or brands of cars on which their features are offered before making any purchases.
  • The other thing would be to purchase custom covers for them as an alternative. This will help to protect the leather seats from any damages that may occur due to heated seat usage and can also preserve their quality condition.
  • The last suggestion I’ll offer here would be to use water-based oils periodically during warmer months so that the heat doesn’t cause any damage.
  • Another way to avoid heated seat damage on your is by going for fully-finished leather seats that have a protective topcoat. This is because leather damages resulting from heat-like discoloration are commonly seen in semi-aniline and aniline leathers. 
  • Another important precaution to take is too deep clean and protect your car leather seats about 2-3 times a year with a good leather cleaner, conditioner, and protector.
  • Make sure that when you get out of the car after using the seat heater feature you let air dry inside of the vehicle so that any moisture doesn’t stay on the leather seat.
  • Lastly, if the heated seat feature is too hot for you and it’s not adjustable then find out what other options are available with that particular model of vehicle. It could be an option that allows the driver to plug and regulate the seat heater.


The heated seats feature on cars is a growing fad with car manufacturers and buyers alike. It would be wise to know how it affects your leather seating before you make the decision whether or not to purchase that particular model of vehicle which has this option installed.

In this article, I shared 5 reasons why heated seats are bad for leather seat. The heated seats can cause mold, dry out the leather, make it hard to clean and remove any dirt or dust from your car’s interior as well as damage the seams of your vehicle’s upholstery if not properly cared for.

Lastly, I discussed how you can prevent these effects by taking certain precautions. I hope this article has been useful and informative.


Hi! I’m Kwabena, the owner and founder of Favored Leather. I’m a huge Leathercraft enthusiast and I’ve been that for almost 13 years now. I'm excited to share my experiences and all the new stuff I learn each day about leather craft, leather cleaning & care, and everything in-between!

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