4 Home Remedies For Cleaning Salt From Leather Car Seats

Salt is a pesky substance that can be difficult to clean off of anything. Not only are salt stains hard to get out, but the residue leftover from dried salt will also damage your car’s leather upholstery if not treated on time.

But before we get into the details on how to remove salt from leather car seats, we need to understand why you should be concerned about it in the first place.

How Does Salt Get On Leather Car Seats

De-iced Roads Or Snow

This is no mystery as the most common way salts get onto leather car seats is by things like road salt.

During the winter season, the roads and walkways are covered with salt to help melt ice. This makes it safer for people to walk and drive.

The downside, however, is that those salt tend to get everywhere. One common way it gets to our leather car seats is when we track them onto the seats with our shoes or jackets.

Another way is when the road snow is splashed onto the leather seats when your doors are opened or when you drive through a puddle.

Body Perspirations

Another way salt can get onto your leather car seats is through body perspirations.

When you sit in your car and there is skin contact with the leather car seats, the salt on your body can rub off onto the upholstery.

If you sweat a lot, then some of that salt will be absorbed into the leather car seats.

Also, sweaty palms can also get salt onto your leather car seats. This is one of the reasons why salt stains on leather seats are very common as the salt can get onto the seat and then leave a mark behind.

Beach

Last but not the least, you may also notice salt on your leather seats when you go to the beach.

The salt on your skin and in the air can then settle onto the leather car seats or onto your clothing.

Then, when you get in the car and everything gets all mixed up together, it can leave a mark on your leather upholstery as well.

Effects Of Salt On Leather Car Seats

Salt has a lot of unseen effects when it comes to your car’s leather upholstery.

Salt Can Corrode The Leather

First, salt is a corrosive substance that can eat away at leather car seats. This will leave it with many visible damages such as cracks, stretch marks, and even holes.

Causes The Leather To Dry Faster

The other thing is salt has a property that will attract moisture to it. This means if your leather car seats are left in the sun, they will dry out faster because of salt. This can cause them to break apart even quicker than they should.

Salt Will Leave A Residue On The Leather

Salt can also leave a white residue behind, which may be difficult to get rid of completely.

Unpleasant Smells

Another effect of salt on leather is that it can cause unpleasant or musty smells. The leather car seats will start to smell weird and this can be difficult to remove.

Promote Mold Growth

Finally, it can promote mold growth on the car seats. This can be very unsanitary, especially if you have children in your family who are always getting back into the car.

This is why it’s important to get rid of the salt as quickly as possible so the residue doesn’t have a chance to stick around.

How To Clean Salt Off Leather Car Seats

Now that we know how salt gets onto our leather car seats and its effects, this is how you can remove salt stains.

Follow these steps below for how to remove salt quickly, safely, and easily from your leather car seats.

1. Using White Vinegar

White vinegar is an all-around cleaner that can be used for several purposes including removing salt residue from leather car seats.

The thing about using white vinegar is that it is cheap and chances are you already have it sitting on your kitchen shelves at home.

To use white vinegar for cleaning the salt off leather, below are the things you need and the steps you need to follow;

Things Needed:

  • White Vinegar
  • Microfiber Cloth
  • Warm Water
  • Leather Conditioner

Procedure:

Step 1:

  • Add 2 parts white vinegar to one part warm water in a spray bottle. Shake it up gently so the mixture is well blended.
  • You can also mix equal parts of the salt stains has been on the surface of your leather car seats for some time.

Step 2:

  • Put the solution to the test on an inconspicuous part of the leather car seats to be sure that it doesn’t harm the surface.

Step 3: 

  • Spray the vinegar mixture on a microfiber cloth and apply it to the surface of the leather car seats where the salt stains were.
  • Leave it on for about 3 minutes. This will give the solution sufficient time to break down the crystallized salt.

Step 4:

  • Now wipe away all visible salt from your leather car seats.
  • Once the visible salt seems to be gone, use a damp microfiber cloth with just water to wipe the area once again.

Step 5:

Allow your leather car seats to dry completely before using a leather conditioner so that you can prevent salt residue from reappearing.

2. Using Mild Dish Soap

Mild dish soap also has many uses apart from its primary use of washing dishes. In fact, dish soap has been proven to be an effective cleaner for car leather as well as other surfaces around the house.

The good thing about using dish soap is that it is great for removing even the toughest salt stains on leather.

It also won’t cost you a lot of money plus it is very safe and gentle on both natural and artificial leather. It’s readily available at your local grocery stores and supermarkets.

To use dish soap for cleaning the salt off leather, below are the things you need and the steps you need to follow;

Things Needed:

  • Warm Water
  • Mild Dish Soap or Saddle Soap
  • Microfiber Cloth
  • Old Toothbrush

Procedure:

Step 1:

  • Put 4-5 drops of dish soap in a bowl of warm water. Mix it until the solution is mixed thoroughly.

Step 2:

  • Test out the solution on an inconspicuous part of the leather car seats to be sure that it doesn’t harm the surface.

Step 3:

  • Start by dampening the surface of the leather where the salt is stuck and wait a few seconds for the salt to start dissolving.

Step ​​4:

  • Dip a toothbrush in the soapy water and scrub away at any visible salt residue on your leather car seats.
  • Repeat this process until the salt comes off completely.

Step ​​​5:

  • Dip a microfiber cloth into a bowl of water and wipe away any remaining soap from your leather car seats.
  • Rinse the microfiber cloth with clean water and wipe the area one last time.

Step 6:

  • Let the leather car seats dry for several hours before using a leather conditioner so that you can prevent the leather car seat surface from drying out.
  • Finally, allow the leather conditioner application to air-dry and you’re all set for your next ride.

3. Using Baking Soda

Another household ingredient that this the James Bond of all DIY cleaners is baking soda. It can be used to remove a wide range of different stains from all kinds of surfaces.

It can be used to safely remove salt residue from leather car seats in the same way it can be used to remove salt stains on the carpet, laundry, and even your prized shoes.

Baking soda is also very common in most homes as it is a major ingredient for baking. It’s also very inexpensive and widely available in grocery stores, supermarkets, and online shops.

To use baking soda for cleaning the salt off your leather car seats, below are the things you need and the steps to follow;

Things Needed:

  • Baking Soda
  • Water (warm)
  • Microfiber Cloth
  • Old Toothbrush

Procedure:

Step 1​:  

  • Mix one part of baking soda to three parts of water and stir until the baking soda is fully dissolved.

Step ​​​2:

  • Test out the solution on an inconspicuous part of your leather car seats and make sure it has no adverse effect on your type of leather before continuing with your cleaning.

Step ​​​3:  

  • Dip a toothbrush in the baking soda solution and scrub away any visible salt residue on your leather car seats.
  • Do not scrub too hard in order not to damage your leather car seats.
  • Repeat this process until the salt comes off completely.

Step ​​​​4:

  • Dip a microfiber cloth into a bowl of water and wipe away any remaining baking soda from your leather car seats.

Step 5:

  • Rinse the microfiber cloth with clean water and wipe the area again one last time.
  • You can also add a few drops of lemon juice to your baking soda solution for an extra spark.

Step 6​​:

  • Allow the leather car seats to dry for a few hours.

Step 7:

  • Apply a leather conditioner. This will help to restore all the moisture that the salt and baking soda solution had taken away from your leather car seats during the cleaning process.

Step 8:

  • Finally, allow the conditioner to air-dry for several hours. Enjoy your newly cleaned car seats!

4. Using A Steam Cleaner

During the last winter, my son tracked some salt from the sidewalks onto my leather car seats. The salt had left a white residue on the leather which I discovered while steam cleaning my car seats.

While feeling lazy not to get a leather cleaner or some form of cleaning solution from inside the house, I simply decided to steam clean the salt stains and to much surprise, the marks came off.

This was one of those days of laziness that led to an awesome discovery. While I felt like a genius at that moment, apparently, a lot of people have tried this method and has worked for them too.

I later found out this method was actually one of the easiest ways of removing salt from leather car seats and then I was thinking I had discovered something special! 😀

So if you have a steamer or a steam cleaner you use for cleaning, you can use it to remove salt from your leather car seats as well. Here’s how you go about it;

Things Needed:

  • Steamer with a triangle brush
  • Terry Cloth
  • Rubber Band
  • Microfiber Cloth
  • Distilled Water

Procedure:

Step 1:

  • Fix the triangle brush to the steamer and wrap the terry cloth around the brush.
  • The terry cloth acts as a cushion between the brush and the leather surface to prevent scratching the surface of the leather car seats.
  • Use a rubber band to secure the terry cloth around the brush.

Step 2:

  • Prime the wrapped terry cloth by turning on the steamer for a few seconds.
  • This will help moisten and warm up the terry cloth.

Step 3:

  • Once it is nice and warm, begin to rub the steamer over the salt-stained areas and you should see immediate results.
  • Repeat this process until the salt comes off completely.

Step ​​4:   

  • Clean any leftover residue with a damp microfiber cloth and follow up with a dry microfiber cloth.

Step ​​5​:

  • Apply a leather conditioner. This will help to restore all the moisture that the salt and steam had taken away from your leather car seats during the cleaning process.
  • Step ​​​:
  • Finally, allow the conditioner to air-dry for several hours. Enjoy your newly cleaned car seats!

The best part of using the steaming method to remove salt from leather car seats is that it does not require the use of any cleaners especially chemical cleaners for that matter.

It also disinfects the leather seats which is not something you can not say for other methods.

The steaming method also leaves no residue behind and the leather car seats do not develop any odor.

All in all, it is also a green method of cleaning since it does not produce any waste, unlike the cleaners that you would have used to clean your car seats.

How To Prevent Salt Stains On Leather

As the old saying goes, prevention is better than cure and that is exactly what you should be doing to prevent salt stains from ruining your leather car seats.

So here are a few tips on how to prevent salt stains on leather car seats.

  • Clean and conditioner your leather car seats regularly during the winter season.
  • You can use seat covers to protect your car seats from salt during winter.
  • Install a mat on your car interior floors to help you wipe off your shoes properly when you get into your car.
  • Keep all doors and windows shut to prevent salts from the roads and sidewalks from entering your car.
  • Clean any salt stains immediately or as soon as you get home from a day out in the winter season with some water, soap, and a damp cloth.
  • Leaving seawater and salt from road slush can harden over the surface of the leather which can lead to discoloration and cracking of the leather car seats over time.

Final Thoughts

This article set out to explain how you can get rid of salt stains on your leather car seats.

The article also touched on some other methods that have been discovered to be effective in cleaning salt stains from your leather car seats.

Now that you know how to clean the salt off leather car seats, keep your car’s interiors neat and tidy especially during the winter.

Macwilliam K. Appianing

Hi! I’m Macwilliam, the owner and founder of Favored Leather. I’m a huge Leatherwork 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!

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