Over the weekend at my local detailer, a question popped up. The question was whether you could clean your car tires with the same leather cleaner you use on the seats. Unfortunately, no one seemed to have a definitive answer. So I set out to do some research, and I’m happy to share with you my findings.
Leather car seat cleaners are gentle and formulated to be safe but effective on car upholstery. However, while you can clean your car tire with car seat leather cleaner, it will not be able to cut through the grime and dirt that builds on the tires.
To effectively clean a car tire, you’ll need to use a tire cleaner designed to remove the brake dust, road grime, soil, harsh tire blooming, oxidation, and other buildups that can accumulate on tires.
The bottom line is that while you can technically clean your car tires with car seat leather cleaner, it’s not the best choice as it cannot effectively remove the buildups that occur on the rubber tires.
Reasons Not To Use Leather Car Seat Cleaner On Car Tire
Below are a few other reasons why using car seat leather cleaner on your car tire is such a bad idea.
1. Leather Cleaners Are Not Effective On Rubber
As mentioned above, leather cleaners are not effective on rubber. Therefore, although leather cleaners will not damage your car tires, they will not be able to clean them effectively.
Leather cleaners contain surfactants that help to break down dirt and grime. However, these surfactants will not be able to penetrate the surface of the rubber tires. As a result, they will not be able to clean the car tire effectively.
In addition, most leather cleaners contain conditioners that help to keep the leather soft and supple. Unfortunately, these conditioners can cause the rubber tires to become more brittle and susceptible to damage.
Therefore, it is not recommended that you use leather car seat cleaner on your car tires. If you want to clean your car tires effectively, you should use a tire cleaner specifically designed for rubber tires. These cleaners will be able to penetrate and remove the buildups that have accumulated on the tire.
2. Car Tires Need Alkaline Cleaners
Another reason why you should not use leather car seat cleaner on your car tires because car tires need alkaline cleaners. Alkaline cleaners are cleaners with pH levels over seven.
Alkaline cleaners can effectively remove the buildups that accumulate on car tires. In addition, alkaline cleaners will not damage the rubber tires as some acidic cleaners can.
Leather cleaners are usually either pH neutral or slightly acidic. As a result, they will not be able to effectively remove the buildups that have accumulated on the car tires. Therefore, you should not use leather car seat cleaner on your car tires as it is not worth it.
3. It’s Pricey Using Leather Cleaners On Car Tires
Car tire cleaners are formulated so that a little goes a long way. As a result, they are very cost-effective. On the other hand, leather cleaners are not as concentrated.
Meaning you will need to use a lot of leather cleaner to clean just a single tire of your car. Imagine how many bottles of leather cleaner you would have to go through if you were to clean all four tires of your vehicle! It would be costly and not worth it.
In addition, leather cleaners are usually more expensive than car tire cleaners. Therefore, it is not worth using leather car seat cleaner on your car tires when you can use a tire cleaner specifically designed for the job.
4. Leather Cleaners Are Meant For Porous Surfaces
Leather cleaners are great for leather because leather is a porous material. This means that the leather can absorb the cleaner and benefit from the cleaning and conditioning agents.
However, car tires are not porous. In fact, they are made of rubber which is a non-porous material. As a result, the leather cleaner will not be able to penetrate the surface of the car tire to break down the buildups.
In addition, the leather cleaner will not be able to condition the car tire as it does with leather. Therefore, it is not worth using leather car seat cleaner on your car tires.
To give a car tire the shine that it deserves, you will have to use a tire shine. Instead of conditioning oils, the tire shine contains polymers that form a protective barrier on the surface of the car tire.
This barrier will protect the car tire from UV rays, road grime, and other environmental hazards. In addition, the tire shine will give the car tire a nice glossy finish.
What Cleaners Can Be Used On Both Leather Seats And Car Tires?
If you cannot use leather car seat cleaner on your car tires and vice versa, are there any cleaners you can use for both?
Fortunately, there are a few cleaners that can be used on both leather car seats, car tires, and even other parts of the car. Continue reading to find out what these cleaners are;
- All-purpose Cleaners For Car Detailing
These cleaners are called all-purpose cleaners or multi-surface cleaners. All-purpose cleaners are designed to be mild yet effective. All-purpose cleaners are usually formulated with surfactants that can break down the buildups on various surfaces.
As a result, they will not damage the leather or the rubber. In addition, all-purpose cleaners are very versatile and can be used on various parts of the car, such as the dashboard, windows, floor mats, headlights, and even the engine.
All-purpose cleaners usually come in a spray bottle. To use, simply spray the all-purpose cleaner on the surface you want to clean and wipe it off with a microfiber cloth. It is that simple! One of the best all-purpose cleaners is the Meguiar’s D10101 Detailer All-Purpose Cleaner. You can check it out on Amazon by clicking the link!
- Mild Dish Soap
Another alternative you can use to clean both leather car seats and car tires is mild dish soap. Dish soap is designed to break down the buildups on various surfaces.
Dish soap is usually very mild and will not damage the leather or the rubber. In addition, dish soap is very versatile and can be used on various surfaces. The best part is that you already have dish soap at home.
To use dish soap to clean your car seats and tires, simply add a small amount of dish soap to a bucket of warm water. Then, use a sponge or cloth to scrub the surface of the leather or tire.
For leather seats, you would want to rinse them by using a damp clean microfiber cloth, while for your tires, you can simply rinse with a bucket of water.
- White Vinegar
Another cleaner that can clean both leather car seats and car tires is vinegar. Vinegar is a natural cleaning agent that has been around for many years. White vinegar is a versatile cleaning solution that can be used on various surfaces.
White vinegar is usually very mild and will not damage the leather or the rubber. In addition, white vinegar is very inexpensive, and you probably already have it at home.
The only caveat is that vinegar is acidic, so it has to be diluted with water so that it will not damage either surface. To dilute vinegar, simply add equal parts of water and vinegar to a spray bottle.
Then, use the solution to clean the surface of the leather or tire. For tough buildups, you may have to scrub with a sponge or brush. After cleaning with vinegar, rinse the surface with a clean damp cloth or water.
- Baking Soda
You can also use baking soda to clean car tires and leather car seats. Baking soda is a natural cleaning agent that has many uses. Baking soda is also very versatile and can be used on various surfaces.
Baking soda is usually very mild, so you can use baking soda on leather or rubber tires without causing any damage. In addition, baking soda is very inexpensive, and just like vinegar, you probably already have it at home.
To use baking soda on both surfaces, simply add baking soda to a bucket of water. Then, use a sponge or cloth to scrub the surface of the leather or tire.
For car tires, you can also use a toothbrush to get into the crevices and clean them thoroughly. After cleaning with baking soda, rinse the surface with a clean damp cloth or water.
As you can see, there are many reasons why you should not use leather car seat cleaner on your car tires. The most common reason is that leather cleaners are not effective on rubber, and they will not be able to clean your car tires effectively.
Suppose you want a versatile cleaner that you can use on both your car tires and leather seats so that you don’t have to purchase different cleaners for different parts of your car, then there are some options for you. Consider using an all-purpose cleaner, mild dish soap, white vinegar, or baking soda.
I hope you found this article helpful. If you did, kindly share it with your friends and family who might need this information. Thanks for reading!