Leather seats gives a touch luxe to the interior of your car so they don’t come cheap. Not only is it used for its luxurious look but more importantly for its durability. But the durability of leather is only subject to the proper care and maintenance it gets.
While a car interior detailing service is going to be your option if you have put off cleaning your car leather seats for a really long time, there a couple of home remedies you can use to definitely give you car leather seats the TLC it truly needs and deserves from time to time.
Here are 6 great home remedies you can use to clean your leather car seats.
- The Blotting Method
- The Water and Dish Soap Method
- The Baking Soda Method
- Lemon Juice and Cream of Tartar
- The Vinegar and Olive Oil Method
- The Toothpaste Method
While some of these remedies will be tailored towards specific kinds of stains, dirt or grease, others will be ideal for general leather cleaning.
First, you would always want to vacuum or use a soft brush your leather car seats to remove any kind of dirt and debris from the hard to reach crevices of the leather car seats before going ahead to try any of the remedies below.
1. The Blotting Method
Before you say “well that’s pretty obvious” hear me out! This is probably the most obvious method but it’s also the most over looked method.
Most people get very fancy very quickly when their leather items gets stained. But it’s important to know that the very first few seconds of a stain and what you do will go along way to save you a whole lot of trouble.
The blotting method is by far the simplest and one of the most effective home remedies for cleaning your leather car seats. The blotting method is one of the basic ways to deal with liquid stains.
However, it has a lot to do with the timing of your cleaning. This method works best when used as soon as the leather car seat gets stained.
Here’s What You Need:
- Warm water
- 2 Microfiber cloths or lint free rag or towel
Step 1: Start by blotting the liquid stain with a soft dry cloth or rag to remove as much of the moisture as possible.
Step 2: Dampen your microfiber cloth with warm water and dab the soiled area.
Step 3: Finally, blot one more time with a dry microfiber cloth or towel.
Step 4: Leave to air dry and the water stain should be gone.
2. The Water and Dish Soap Method
There a several things in our homes that makes for great cleaners on leather and a mixture of ordinary water and dish soap is certainly one of such helpful items you can use to do a general cleaning on your leather car seats. Here’s how you go about it!
Here’s What You Need:
- Warm water
- Castile soap or mild liquid dish washing soap
- 2 Microfiber cloths or any lint free towels
Step 1: Prepare a mixture of warm water and Castile soap or liquid dish washing soap in a container with a ratio of 5 parts warm water to 1 part soap.
Step 2: Dampen your microfiber cloth or rag with the soap and warm water solution. Emphasis on Dampen!
Step 3: Now wipe down the leather car seat surfaces thoroughly. You can rinse out the cloth and continue to give the seats a good wipe down.
Step 4: Finally, use a dry clean rag to thoroughly dry off the surface of the cleaned leather car seat.
3. The Baking Soda Method
The baking soda method is great for cleaning oily, greasy stains that will eventually make your leather sticky. One of the biggest issues we often have with our leather car seats is greasy stains from all the snacking and dinners we eat in our cars.
So more than you probably realize, these oily stains happen. And here’s a quick home remedy you can try that will save you some cash and a trip to a car interior detailer.
Here’s What You Need:
Step 1: Sprinkle a pinch of your baking soda over the oil stain. Make sure it’s enough to cover the entire stain.
Step 2: Allow the baking soda to sit for a couple of hours or overnight if you don’t have time to wait around. The baking soda will absorb the oil.
Step 3: Use a soft brush to dust off and collect the baking soda — the baking soda put on the leather to soak the grease and oil stains.
Step 4: Use a microfiber cloth to wipe away the remains of the baking soda from the leather car seat.
Step 5: Rinse out the microfiber cloth. Use the damp microfiber cloth to wipe off any excess baking soda residue from the leather car seats.
Step 6: Dry off the surface using a soft dry cloth, rag, or towel.
4. Vinegar and Olive Oil Method
A mixture of vinegar and olive oil is one of the best home remedies for cleaning leather. Vinegar is a solvent and so has an exceptional cleaning quality that allows it to reach deep down into the natural pores of leather to dissolve substances such as dirt and grease.
Vinegar also does a great job of disinfecting leather safely. It’s ironic to mention that vinegar is a good deodorizer, but what actually happens after it’s application is that the pungent vinegar smell vinegar is known to have dwindles quickly together with any kind of foul smell the leather might have had. What will be left behind is a nice natural smelling leather.
The role of the olive oil in this concoction is to nicely condition the leather car seat after the cleaning agents present in vinegar has done its work. While most people may use vinegar to clean first and condition with the olive oil, they miss out on the secret cleaning properties of olive oil.
The added advantage to olive oil is not only it’s conditioning prowess, but olive oil can also help to break down any kind of stains resulting in a better outcome for your leather car seats.
The downside to this method is the initial vinegar smell. But it should not be a deterrent as the smell, in fact, as stated above, does not linger too long provided your air out the car for a couple of minutes. Now let’s go through how this method is executed!
Here’s What You Need:
- Distilled White Vinegar (Half a Cup)
- Olive Oil (Quarter Cup)
- 2 Microfiber Cloths or Any Lint-Free Soft Clean Rag or towel
- A Spray Bottle
Step 1: Put 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar and 1/4 olive oil into the spray bottle.
Step 2: Shake the bottle thoroughly.
Step 3: Spray the mixture onto your microfiber cloth or rag and use it to wipe down the leather car seats.
Step 4: Allow the mixture you applied on the leather to set for about 10 – 15 minutes.
Step 5: Use a dry microfiber cloth to clean and buff off the surface of the leather seat to bring it to a nice natural soft shine.
5. Lemon Juice and Cream of Tartar
This is a fairly robust approach to tough stains on leather car seats and so must be limited to only light colored leather car seats.
First off, a bit about lemon juice and the cream of tartar! Lemon juice and cream of tartar when put together will perform some magic for you leather car seats. What’s interesting is that the cream of tartar is a white, odorless powder that is a byproduct of the winemaking process.
This substance forms on the inside of wine barrels during its fermentation process, acts as a preservative, and at the same time controls the pH levels of the wine. It’s extracted and purified into a chalky white substance. The Cream of tartar is mostly used for baking but it’s extraordinary cleaning attributes is awesome on leather.
We’re all familiar with the cleaning prowess of lemon juice and here’s why it’s such an awesome ingredient for cleaning:
- Lemon contains antibacterial properties.
- Lemon has a high citric acid content that’s gentle on skin or leather but tough enough to remove stains, scuff, and grease.
- Lemon also has a fairly low pH suitable for auto leather accessories.
Although combining the cream of tartar and lemon juicy will work as a good cleaning substance, the pH balance is above what’s required for car leather seats (that is a pH neutral 5). So this remedy will be best for light colored upholstery as it has some level of bleaching effect. So how do you use this remedy?
Here’s What You Need:
- Cream of tartar
- A Bowl and a stirrer
- Microfiber Cloths or Towels (2)
Step 1: Add one part of Lemon juice and one part of cream of tartar into a bowl or container. Mix by stirring it together until you get a paste consistency.
Step 2: Apply the cream of tartar and lemon juice paste directly to the soiled area and let sit for 5-10 minutes.
Step 3: Take your cloth and dampen it with clean water and use it to remove the paste. Repeat this till there’s no paste residue.
Step 4: Use a dry cloth or towel to dry off the surface.
6. The Toothpaste Method
The magic of the toothpaste has been seen in a lot of DIYs from cleaning stubborn stains, scuffs, and dirt around the kitchen, bathrooms, bedrooms, to mention a few. It’s no surprise it’s also useful generally on leather.
Toothpastes are mild abrasives usually made from baking soda, that help to remove dental plaque. It’s the same abrasive action that you will find useful and going to work wonders on removing scuffs and stains from your leather car seats.
One important thing I must reiterate is that you will be using the toothpaste method to take care of stains and scuffs. When you have scuffs or stains on your smooth natural leather, patent leather, or vinyl leather car seats, the toothpaste method is one of the effective ways to go.
The toothpaste method will not work very well on suede leather as it will distort the matte fibers of the leather seat. It’s also very important to work small portions of the stained leather at a time and then buff away the residue before moving on to other affected parts of the leather car seats.
Here’s What You Need:
- Non-Gel Toothpaste
- Soft Tooth brush
- Lint free rag, towel, or microfiber cloth
Step 1: Dab your toothpaste on the stained area of the leather car seat.
Step 2: You now use a soft regular toothbrush to gently scrub away the stain. Scrub on the stain in a circular motion.
Step 3: Wipe off the toothpaste residue with a soft clean cloth, rag, or towel.
Tips For Using Home Remedies For Cleaning Leather Car Seats
When it comes to leather as a material, you’re better off using specially formulated cleaning products or water to clean it. However, here are some helpful tips to help you go through using home remedies to clean your leather car seats.
- Always use a microfiber cloth because they are very soft and will not scratch your leather surface.
- Never spray your cleaning substances directly on your leather car seats. Doing that can oversaturate the leather surface.
- Always check to see if your car seats have some perforations on them. If there happen to be perforation on the leather seat, ensure non of the liquid cleaning agents gets in there. The best way to work around perforations on leather when cleaning is to dampen your microfiber cloth and make sure it’s not soaking wet. This way you will be able to dry clean the leather seat without seeping water into its perforations.
- The wrong application of some of the very common home remedies such as the white vinegar method, baking soda method, cream of tartar and lemon juice can be particularly harsh on delicate leathers and create a new problems and make the existing ones worse.
- To avoid causing any damage to your leather car seats, it’s important to know the type of leather your car seat is covered with. Knowing this will help determine which type of home remedies will be more suitable and safe.
- Generally, finished leather, a.k.a treated leather are used for leather car seats and these types of leather will fair well with all of the home remedies highlighted in this article. If you’re not sure how your leather will react to the above cleaning remedies, you can first test out the cleaning substance on an inconspicuous area of the leather car seat.
- While there are some good home remedies for cleaning leather, NEVER use bleach or ammonia-based cleaners on your leather because they can damage the leather.
- DON’T over saturate the surface of the leather car seats with either of the home remedies. This is because too much water or cleaning substances could stain, or more importantly weaken the leather seat seams and seep into the car seat cushions.
- Always ensure no wet cleaning solution dries on your leather car seats. Make sure to massage all liquid substances with your microfiber cloth until it has been totally absorbed.
- Work only small sections at a time to minimize any chance of discoloration.
- Never use hard bristles brushes for cleaning stains. Instead, use a soft sable toothbrush to clean or a brush specifically made for cleaning car leather.