How to clean leather car seats

No matter what vintage car you drive, a set of leather seats will give your car an elegant edge. Leather is the equivalent of driving off into the sunset, despite technology and trends.

But here’s the catch. The catch? Great style is also a responsibility. Your seats will get messy, no matter if you spill your drive-thru order accidentally or return from a sandy beach vacation. Although a tiny stain or crumb might not seem big, it can severely affect your car’s appeal. To make things even more difficult, you cannot clean your leather car seats with any cleaner. Your leather could be permanently damaged if you make a mistake.

What you’ll need

Equipment / Tools

  • Use a soft brush to vacuum
  • Microfiber cloth


  • Leather cleaner
  • Conditioner for leather
  • Water
  • Soap
  • Vinegar


Vacuum Your Seats

If you haven’t figured it out, soap and water will not do your food crumbs and bits of dirt any favours. You’ll need a dustbuster before you reach for the leather cleaner.


You don’t need a dustbuster, but you can use a regular vacuum dust brush. The soft bristles won’t scratch the leather.

Use a cleaner to clean your skin.

  1. You’ll want to remove any stains or spills on your leather car seats once they are clean and free from dust and debris. You will need a cleaner. But which one should be chosen?
  2. Pre-made leather cleaners are designed to maintain your seat in top condition. However, it is important to use this solution in moderation.
  3. Once you have tested the cleaner, apply the cleaner to the car seats, following the manufacturer’s directions.

You can also opt for a DIY alternative.

However, some cleaning professionals prefer a homemade solution.


You may not want your pets exposed to citrus while riding in the car. 

Use a microfiber cloth to wipe the area.

After cleaning your car seat with a cleaner, you will need to clean it with a microfiber cloth. Be careful not to make your car seats stained by too much water. You can dry excess moisture with another microfiber fabric.

Leather Conditioner

A leather conditioner can protect leather seats from future stains or damage. Varela suggests using a store-bought leather conditioner. Sokolowski recommends one part vinegar to two parts flaxseed or linseed oils.

Tips to Clean Leather Car Seats

Although it may seem daunting, cleaning leather car seats can be done easily. These expert tips will make your car’s interior sparkle.

Keep Still and Scrub Down: Varela suggests letting your leather cleaner sit for a while and then using a soft bristle brush to scrub. Here’s the trick: Use a circular motion to move your brush.

Don’t Use Leather Conditioner Every Time You Clean Your Seats. Varela suggests that leather conditioners should be used once every quarter.

What should a driver do if leather cleaner and conditioner don’t make their car seat shine? But don’t worry, Sokolowski said that there are many other options. You can remove permanent marker marks with aerosol hairspray. However, mould and mildew are easily eliminated with equal amounts of warm water and alcohol. Baking soda can be used to cut through grease.

What about those dark stains? Sokolowski states that red wine and fruit juice can be removed with lemon juice or cream of tartar. You can leave the stain on for 10 minutes, then wipe it off with a damp sponge. Use lemon juice to condition leather.

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