How to Clean Leather Upholstery

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When it comes to fashion and home décor, leather is considered luxe and timeless. The same could be said about leather upholstery in vehicles. Nothing can rival the look and feel of genuine leather, which delivers suppleness and softness along with strength and durability. Cleaning and conditioning leather, however, can scare some people away from owning it because they're unsure about the best products out there to take care of their favourite leather upholstery. Experts are sharing tips on proper cleaning.

Why is Leather Such a Fab Fabric?

Leather appeals to most people for a number of good reasons. For one, leather is a natural material, so no two hides will appear exactly alike, but that is the beauty of leather in all of its richness, smoothness, and imperfections.

Aesthetically speaking, leather can look modern or vintage and never goes out of style whether it's an outfit, a piece of furniture, or car upholstery. It's a wonderful investment and can last just about forever.

Leather upholstery can be easily wiped clean, but there are some key points to remember.

Watch for Sun Exposure

You really enjoy driving your car with its beautiful interior of leather upholstery right down to your vehicle's handsome shifter boot. All of these leather details are sumptuous and give your car that refinement and modern edge.

The UV rays of the sun, however, can fade the leather's color if the fabric dries out from heavy sun exposure and heat. It can actually crack, too. Professional upholsterers recommend applying a UV protectant with silicone dioxide for your leather interior. Think of it as "vehicle sunscreen" if you will.

Vacuum Out Everyday Debris

Your vehicle will pick up unwanted, little things every time you step behind the wheel. It's not just dirt and dust particles that accumulate, but food particles can be absorbed into the leather material and remain there in the form of stains. Your best cause of action is to vacuum out the interior often to remove the debris.

Even liquid droplets that dry into the leather fabric from the strong UV rays can result in nasty stains on your upholstery.

Apply a Homemade Solution

Some people prefer caring for their leather luxe items by avoiding chemical cleaning formulas. Instead, they maintain their leather upholstery with a do-it-yourself cleaning solution that is both gentle to the material and safe for the environment.

For instance, this kitchen cupboard recipe is very simple and according to home design experts, excellent for all types of leather.

Prepare a 50/50 vinegar and water solution in a small, plastic, spray bottle. Shake the contents well, spritz some onto a microfiber cloth, and apply it to your leather upholstery. Rub the cloth on the leather in circles to remove the dirt from its natural fibers.

Squeeze out the cloth, and repeat the steps above. The pros advise never soaking the leather; simply spritz enough cleaner on the cloth to dampen it, lift the grime and remove it.

Make a Gentle Conditioner

To help maintain your vehicle's leather interior, condition the upholstery to keep the fabric supple. Again, you can make a homemade solution that is approved by home design experts for all leather upholstery.

This recipe appeared online: In a small bowl, mix together 2 cups of warm water, a tablespoon of organic baby soap, and a little vinegar. Dip a microfiber cloth into the conditioning mixture, and gently rub it into the leather. Don't saturate the area. Just dampen the leather, and leave the conditioner to dry.

After about 15 minutes, buff the area with a soft cloth a few times to bring rejuvenation to the leather's surface.

This conditioning recipe will allow your car's leather interior to feel smooth, soft, and protected from day-to-day use and the elements.

You could also get the job done with commercial leather conditioning products that are sold just for vehicle upholstery. Home improvement expert Bob Villa recommends Leather Honey Leather Conditioner, Lexol Conditioner Cleaner Kit, and Meguiar's Gold Class Rich Leather Conditioning Spray.



Leather upholstery has an incredible look and timeless style. It's an awesome investment. Your leather stuff deserves the finest. Treat it right for the perfect ride.

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