5 Reason Leather Seats Get Shiny & How To Remove The Shine

why do leather seats get shiny

Have you noticed the leather seats whether in your car or living room get shiny and wonder why this happens? Well, you’re in luck as in this article, I’m going to share with you 5 reasons why this happens.

So why do leather seats get shiny? Leather seats will get shiny by;

  1. Our Body Oils Can Make Leather Seats Shiny
  2. Leather Seats Will Be Shiny Due To The Finish
  3. Leather Seats May Also Be Shiny From The Leather Care Products Used On It
  4. Leather Can Develop A Shine From Wear
  5. Leather Seats That Are Old Can Have A Shine – Patina

Keep reading to find out more!

1. Our Body Oils Can Make Leather Seats Shiny

One of the reasons why leather seats get shiny is because our body oils seep in and make them look glossy. This happens when your leather seats have direct contact with your skin – especially if you sweat a lot.

This can result from stepping behind the wheel or constantly throwing yourself onto your leather couch right after a gym session.

If you want to know for sure if this is what is causing the shine on your leather seat is to take a look at the drivers’ side of your car leather seats since that’s the spot that will often see a lot of use.

Or take a lot at the side of the leather couch you often hang out with. You’re most likely to see a prominent shine on those areas of the leather seats.

2. Leather Seats Will Be Shiny Due To The Finishing

One of the reasons why your leather seats may get shiny is usually because of the type of finishing done on its surface.

Some leather seats are deliberately finished with a gloss or sheen on their surface by manufacturers as an added layer of protection from moisture.

This is often done by applying a coat of sealant containing synthetic resins to the leather’s surface, though some manufacturers will use natural oils.

The purpose of these finishes is not just cosmetic but also functional as they can help protect the leather seats from water damage and stains.

This means that when it rains or there are spills on your leather seats, you’ll find that the moisture beads up on the surface of the leather and can be easily wiped off.

In some cases, if given enough time, the spill evaporates. This ultimately means that your seats will dry out faster. In addition to the protection they provide from moisture, these finishes are also less likely to scratch or scuff as well as make it easier to clean and polish.

3. Leather Seats May Also Be Shiny From The Leather Care Products Used On It

Another possible reason why leather seats get shiny can be due to the type of leather care products that are used on them.

This leather care product such as leather conditioners, leather protectors, or polishes will come rich in oils and waxes that cause the leather to shine.

If you are looking for a shiny finish, then this is probably what you want! However, if you do not want a shiny feel or appearance on your leather seats, then you want to make sure to use these products sparingly as they can leave behind an oily residue that will not only make your leather shiny by also attract dirt in time.

The oily residue may also rub off onto clothes and other items which can be problematic as well. So in addition to using these products sparingly, you also want to thoroughly buff the application with a microfiber cloth before use to help reduce any chances of spotting or the application rubbing off on other surfaces.

Another way of dealing with this is by simply using leather cleaners with silicone ingredients instead because these types of cleaners don’t contain oils or fats that would leave or make your leather seats shiny.

“It’s also important to know that not all products are created equal! Some products can keep their shine for longer periods while others will not.”

4. Leather Can Develop A Shine From Wear

Leather is a very durable material, but it can also be worn down over time. When that happens, the leather may develop a shine that reflects light from where wear has occurred.

This means when your skin constantly rubs the surface of your leather seats it will eventually cause the surface to burnish making it look shiny.

The constant rubbing of the leather creates friction which causes the leather surface to look glossy.

One of the best ways to combat this is by using seat covers. Using seat covers is a great way to prevent the constant rubbing of leather seat surfaces.

Seat covers are made of a durable material that will not wear down as fast and they also have added features to make your leather seats safe from direct contact.

5. Leather Seats That Are Old Can Have A Shine – Patina

When leather seats are new, it usually has a matte surface. The surface of the leather is shiny when it has been used for a while and this causes the surface to burnish making it look glossy.

This is often known as patina which is a thin overlay of shine that gradually develops over the surface of leather. Patina is generally an accumulation or combination of stains, scuffs, scratches, body oils, and a host of other things that might end up on the surface of the leather over time.

While a lot of leather enthusiasts will appreciate this quality of leather, which is the development of patina, others may also find this quality pretty much undesirable.

All in all, patina is a way all-natural or real leather seats get their shine and the more time it is exposed to use and weather elements the shinier they become.

How To Remove The Shine From Your Leather Seats

It is a well-known fact that leather seats get shiny and over time, they may become more or less desirable to the point where it’s not fun anymore.

In the remaining part of this article, we will talk about how you can remove the shine from your leather seats in order for them to look more natural again.

There are so many ways to remove the shine from the surface of your leather seats such as;

  1. Using Cleaning Wipes
  2. Using Distilled Water and Microfiber Cloth
  3. Using Leather Cleaner and Conditioner
  4. Using Rubbing Alcohol
  5. Using Magic Eraser

You can check out an article I wrote earlier on how to use all the above-mentioned methods to make leather matte and natural-looking in a few steps.

One of the easiest ways of removing the shine from your leather seats no matter what might have caused the shine is using the magic eraser.

For the purpose of this article, I will show you how to use the magic eraser to remove the shine from your leather seats.

Things Needed:

  • Mild Dish Soap
  • Magic Eraser
  • Microfiber Cloth
  • Leather Conditioner


Step 1

  • Put 2-3 drops of mild dish soap into a bowl of warm water.
  • Bring the solution to lather and soak your magic eraser into the warm soapy solution.

Step 2

  • Take out the magic eraser and wring it out.

Step 3

  • Now use the damp magic eraser to scrub gently over the shiny leather surface. Be as gentle as possible and maintain the same pressure.
  • Doing this will help to remove the shiny build-up from the surface of the leather seat making it have a natural matte.
  • Repeat this step if necessary.

Step 4 

  • Next, dampen your microfiber cloth with clean water and wipe off any soapy residue from the surface of the leather seat.
  • Make sure to rinse out the microfiber cloth again if necessary and wipe the surface of the leather seat to ensure all soap residue is completely removed.

Step 5 

  • With the help of a dry lint-free towel or microfiber cloth pat the surface of the leather for any excess moisture.
  • The main reason why this is done is to remove any moisture that may have been collected in certain spots of the leather seat to prevent watermarks from forming.
  • This is also to give the leather seat a great head start to drying a lot quicker.

Step 6

  • Leave the leather seat to gradually air-dry. Make sure not to apply any heat source to fasten the drying time.

Step 7

  • Once the leather seats are dry, condition the surface of your leather seats

Step 8

  • Leave it again to air-dry before putting it to use.

Tips On How To Keep Your Leather Seats From Becoming Shiny

  • Keep your leather seats clean at all times. Use a mild soap and damp sponge to gently clean the leather seat.
  • Use leather conditioners that do not leave a shine or gloss on your leather seats.
  • Avoid using a pressure washer or any other form of harsh cleaning product.
  • Apply vinyl protectant for added protection from liquid damage such as food spilled during travel.
  • If you own an SUV, pickup truck, or another type of vehicle that gets exposed to mud and dirt more often than usual, make sure that they are cleaned up as soon as possible so as not to let moisture collect on the surface of the leather seats.


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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