Will Rain Ruin Leather Car Seats?

Will Rain Ruin Leather Car Seats

We all know that rain can ruin our hair, clothes, and mood. But will rain ruin leather car seats? This blog post will show you how rain affects leather car seats. I’m also going to give you some tips on protecting your leather car seat from the rain and showing you what to do if your leather car seats have already got rain on them.

So will rain ruin leather car seats? Rain can ruin leather car seats by causing mold growth on them which can lead to bad odors on them. Also, rainwater can cause serious discoloration and watermarks on your leather car seats due to the rainwater containing salts and acids.

To learn more about how rain can ruin your leather car seats and some important tips on how to prevent this kind of damage, keep reading this article.

1. Leather Seats Will Develop Mold If Rain Gets On It

One of the first ways rainwater can ruin leather car seats is by creating mold. This is because the water will penetrate deeply through the leather and get inside where it can stay moist for a long time.

This can then lead to the fungus that becomes even more difficult to remove once set in. Mold developing on your leather car seats can lead to a musty odor as well.

It can also lead to the leather becoming brittle and fragile over time. More in these two effects later. With that said, you would want to avoid rainwater ruining your leather car seats.

Once rainwater has already gotten onto your leather car seat they must get dried off as soon as possible without letting any of the moisture seeping in again.

2. Rainwater Can Weaken The Seams Of The Leather Car Seats

If left long enough, rainwater can weaken the seams of leather car seats. This will lead to more seam-splits that then allow water and moisture to seep into the interior cushions and fabrics.

The effects on your leather car seats depend greatly on how often it rains in your area so this would be something you should consider when looking at buying a new vehicle with real leather seats.

No one wants their investments ruined by rain. So if you’re going to purchase a luxury vehicle with leather upholstery, I recommend taking measures like getting waterproof or waxed linings for both driver and passenger side carpets as well as trunk carpeting to protect against spills.

3. Rainwater Can Cause Leather Car Seats To Discolor

Rainwater can cause leather car seats to discolor. There is a reason you chose the color of the leather upholstery you have installed on your car seats and there’s no way you would want them discolored in any way.

The chemicals used in the tanning process could react with the rainwater which can cause discoloration or swelling of the leather material.

When you allow rainwater to dry over the surface of your leather car seats, it leaves behind a salt residue that breaks down the dye in your leather upholstery. This is what causes them to turn dull instead of the rich color or tan.

The more frequent rainfalls and finds their way on your leather car seats, the worse off your seats will be. As mentioned before, the mold that forms as a result of rainfall on leather car seats can also cause some discoloration to the leather surface by leaving a layer of white salt or other colored residues behind.

So if you’re looking at buying a new car make sure to do some research on how often it rains where you’ll be living before making any purchases.

4. Rainwater Can Cause A Musty Odor On Leather Car Seats

The leather seats in most cars are made of natural materials and these materials are usually porous. This means that it will easily absorb liquids, including water from raindrops or snow.

As mentioned before, this implies that there’s a chance for mold to form on your leather car seats when these liquids are made to sit long enough.

This can lead to some pretty nasty odors! How? Mold thrives in moist environments so if you’re noticing an odor coming from your leather car seats, chances are high that this may be the reason why.

Mold spores release musty smells as they feed off of organic matter like plants, wood, or dirt. But since we’ve primarily discussed how mold can grow on leather car seats as a result of rain falling on them let’s focus more on what this does to your expensive vehicle’s interior upholstery.

5. Rain Can Cause Watermarks On The Surface Of The Leather

Watermarks and streaks happen when the water sits on leather car seats long enough to soak into it. When this happens, you’ll notice that these liquids leave a mark or stain behind as they dry out.

This can be extremely frustrating when it happens because the watermark is permanent and you can’t simply clean it off.

The only way to get rid of this type of stain would be by having a professional detailer take care of your car’s leather upholstery for you. This can cost you a pretty large sum of money.

6. Rain Water On Your Leather Car Seats May Stretch It Out of Shape

Another way rainwater can ruin your leather car seats is by stretching them out of shape. After some time, the leather may lose its elasticity and start to crack.

This cracking can be caused by too much water or pressure being applied to this material over time.

If you see that your car seats are starting to get stretched out of shape from probably sitting on them when you’re soaking wet for extended periods of time, you should take them into professional upholstery cleaners who will know how best to fix the issue before they worsen.

7. Rain Can Ruin The Finish On The Surface Of The Leather Car Seats

Leather car seats are often finished with waterproofing treatments to make them resistant to extreme weather conditions.

However, one common way rain can ruin your leather car seats is that it will gradually weaken the finish deliberately placed on the surface of the leather car seats since they are highly hardwearing.

Rain can ruin the finish on the surface of your leather car seats if you do not take care of it immediately after. The water will dry into the material and cause permanent damage, so you need to make sure that you are handling this correctly as soon as possible.

By wiping away any excess rainwater from your seat before it dries up, you can keep the leathers’ protective layer intact and prevent any long-term damages from happening over time.

Here’s what I do! Try using a damp cloth or sponge to remove all moisture from the surface of the leather and avoid sitting in those areas while they are still wet.

This is so that you avoid your leather car seats from stretching out which can lead to deep cracks and lines than what was already present.

You should also be careful when cleaning with harsh chemicals like bleach in an attempt to remove rainwater stains because they could permanently ruin the finish of your leather car seats.

Tips On How To Protect Leather Car Seats From Rain

If you’re looking to protect your leather car seats from rain, there are a couple of easy tips that can help save your precious leather seats.

  • For starters, try and keep them as dry as possible by keeping the windows closed during heavy rains.
  • If your car has sunroof make sure there are no leakages. And if there are as a professional to take a look at it.
  • Keep an umbrella handy in case there is a sudden downpour. This will help shield you from getting wet while using your leather seats.
  • When you use an umbrella just before getting into your car make sure you put the umbrella in the trunk or carefully place it on the floor mat of the car without getting some of the rainwater on the leather seats. Never keep a wet umbrella on your leather car seats!
  • If any rainwater does get on there anyway, just take some paper towels and wipe away all traces of excess moisture. This should help minimize or lift off any salt or acid residue left behind too.
  • Get a protective cover for your leather car seats.
  • If there is any salt or acid residue left behind on your leather car seats, wash it off with water and mild soap. Make sure you do not let the water run into the seams of your leather car seat or more importantly seep into the cushion or the electronics in the seats.
  • Use only distilled or filtered water when cleaning your leather seats since tap water contain salts that can react negatively against the natural oils in leather materials underneath. While this may sound like an overkill it goes a long way.
  • Another important thing you need to do after your leather car seats have already been stained by rain is to use a dry towel to remove the water. Don’t rub as rubbing vigorously will only cause more damage and you may end up with permanent stains on your leather seats.
  • Lastly, if there is any kind of liquid residue left behind from rain or other substances that are not coming out easily, then it’s time to call in professional help for this one!


I hope that now you understand why and how rain can ruin leather car seats, how to keep them from getting wet in the first place, and what to do if they’re already soaked in liquid stains or moisture marks.

We have also included some helpful tips on keeping your leather interior looking new all year round! Cheers!


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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