How to Clean Leather Car Seat
Your stuck in the past, time to move forward!

best-auto-detailing-tips tag line

Welcome to clean leather car seats where this professional detailer is going to show you what works as opposed to the bad results you are most likely used to getting with traditional car leather cleaners. We have been mislead as car owners and consumers by an industry simply wanting to sell us more and more products; convincing us that leather is a delicate and exotic material that requires specialized cleaners and conditioners.

What they have failed to communicate is that the car leather of today's automobiles, is very different than the car leathers used in the cars of the past. Car leather care and cleaning is much easier and simpler than most people realize due to the advances in car leather manufacturing. With an industry bent on selling us more and more products, it is no wonder why the vast majority of people remain in stuck in the past!

Cleaning Leather Car Seating Like a Pro

Getting professional results with cleaning your car leather is easier and simpler than most people think. With the right products and tools, applied with some strategic techniques, you too can enjoy the same results normally reserved to veteran detailers.

"Darren, I am tired of the frustrating results I get with every car leather cleaner I seem to use! I've got questions and need answers!"

clean leather car seat
  • How come these over the counter leather cleaners don't clean worth a darn?
  • Is there any leather cleaners that actually work?
  • What are the proper techniques for cleaning the leather in my car?

Car Leather of Today is Not the Car Leather of Yesterday

Most people like yourself are stuck in the past and the industry wants you to stay there so they can continue to sell you more and more products. But the car leathers of yesterday are not the same as the car leathers of present day cars.


clean leather car seat


clean leather car seat

Pictured Above: As you can see by the before and after pictures above that drastic results are indeed possible. But your every-day car leather cleaners are not going to produce these type of professional results.

Do You Feel Like Your Chasing Your Tail?

As consumers, we are forever at the mercy of advertising and marketing; all designed to sell you more and more products. So many voices, with so many opinions and all you want is clean leather car seats; but you're unsure as to where to start and how to do it. I will share with you some of what twenty years in the world of professional auto detailing has taught me regarding actual leather cleaning methods and leather cleaning products.

Car Leather is Car leather!

What do I mean by that? This is to remind you that we are filled with many leather items in our world: leather shoes, belts, gloves, equestrian tack, etc. And the point is this, "car leather is car leather", it is not any of these other forms of leathers. Leather car seats exist in many of the cars and trucks today, and no longer is it just a material reserved for the elite among us. Leather can be found in everything from sports cars, sedans, trucks, SUV's, vans, and even higher end RV's.

mercedes clean leather car seat

Darren, Can You Just Show Me What Works!

Glad you asked! Follow along as I break down the subject of your cars leather interior into the different levels of dirt including specific strategies of cleaning.

Since there will be endless situations and one man's dirt is another man's clean, I have broken this page into (3) areas based on level of car leather cleaning any of you will encounter. Simply find the area that meets your particular situation the best.

New Car Leather:
Cleaning, Conditioning, and Maintaining

new car leather cleaning conditioning

Most of you visiting this page will have missed the window of opportunity by learning the tips of cleaning and maintaining your car leather upholstery when it is brand new from the beginning.

But with that said, there are those of you out there who have just recently purchased that brand new car with leather upholstery looking to maintain your car's leather in show room condition.

You Don't Need to Over-think:

For those of you out there this is an area that doesn't have to be over-thought as you will not have excessive amounts of dirt on your car leather. Despite the endless opinions you will hear out there regarding how to clean leather car seats, due to the nature of modern-day car leather, keeping them clean from the beginning is far easier and simpler than ever. I suggest you lay the ground work first by reading my car leather care page first, then come back here.

Chemical Guys Car Leather Cleaner and Conditioner

Chemical Guys Leather Cleaner and Conditioner Complete Leather Care Kit (16 oz) (2 Items)

  • Well known industry leader in car leather care.
  • Suitable choice if you are cleaning and conditioning new car leather that has not been allowed to become excessively dirty.
  • Kit comes complete for all your leather and vinyl care.

Meguiar's Leather Cleaner/Conditioner

Meguiar's G10916 Gold Class Rich Leather Cleaner & Conditioner - 15.2 oz.

  • Another well known industry leader in car care.
  • Suitable for any new car leather if you stay on-top of your leather cleaning and conditioning.
  • All-in-one cleaner and conditioner.

If you are not willing to review my in-depth page on car leather and some important facts that will most likely completely change not only your understanding of car leather in general, but how you go about cleaning and maintaining it, then simply us the bullet point list below:

  • Virtually all car leathers of today (anything made in the last 15-20 years depending on manufacturer and car) will be finished with a clear protective coating for added durability and ease of care.
  • This means that you are not actually dealing with natural leather, but a natural leather that has been coated with a synthetic clear coating.
  • For this reason, I am of the professional opinion that keeping your car's leather upholstery clean is the most important factor in maintaining its original beauty and health. Most of you will, or have become overly concerned with conditioning your car leather at the expense of actually keeping it clean.
  • Any dressing or conditioner will be mostly superficial and temporary in nature, and will mostly be for cosmetic reasons to create added shine and an added level of smoothness to the touch.

General Car Leather Cleaning:
Mild to medium duty leather cleaning

This area will be where most of you find yourselves. Light to medium levels of dirt on your car leather. What you will find interesting is that I don't actually recommend any dedicated car leather cleaners, but an all purpose cleaner form Meguiar's. You can view my YouTube channel as I have many videos on the subject for your additional help and information: Auto Fetish Detail YouTube

For my dedicated page on this Meguiar's product, you can see the comprehensive review at all-purpose cleaner.

Chemical Guy's Nonsense Super Cleaner

Chemical Guys SPI_993_16 Nonsense Colorless and Odorless All Surface Cleaner (16 oz)

  • For the car enthusiast or driveway detailer looking for the convenience of a ready-to-use car interior cleaner.
  • Safe for use on all interior materials.
  • Carpeting, velour, leather, vinyl, rubber.
  • No sticky residue; no rinsing necessary.

Ultima Interior Shampoo Gel

Ultima Interior Shampoo & Cleaner Gel for Interior Finishes on Auto, Truck, RV, 22 fl. oz.

  • Another quality ready-to-use carpet cleaner that is suitable for use on coated car leather. (virtually every car leather in modern day cars is coated)
  • Perfect size for the enthusiast or driveway detailer.
  • Professional level results.
  • No sticky residue; no rinsing necessary.

Clean Leather Car Seat:
Helpful Tools to clean leather car seats

Car leather will last a life time if you are willing to simply keep it clean from the beginning. Most people race to see what the best car leather conditioners are and bypass the more critical factor of just keeping the leather in your car clean in the first place. Common dirt and skin oils combine to create damaging effects to your cars leather. The longer it is allowed to remain, the more damaging it becomes. For general leather cleaning including regular maintenance, use the following products and tips below:

Leather and Upholstery Scrub Brush

Vinyl & Leather Scrub Brush

  • Use scrub brush to get better results regardless of your choice in cleaners.
  • Use scrub brush to aggressively scrub and clean leather car seat after you have sprayed area with All-purpose cleaner.
  • Yes, it is completely safe to clean leather car seats with.

OXO Scrub Brush

OXO Good Grips Heavy Duty Scrub Brush

  • Simply another alternative to the scrub brush above.
  • Without the use of some form of scrub brush, you will never clean leather car seat with acceptable results unless of course your car leather isn't really dirty to begin with.
  • Most people think car leather is a very delicate and fragile. Trust me, your car leather can be scrubbed very aggressively with either of these brushes. If in doubt, simply go easy and work your way into it.

Darren's Professional Tips to Clean Leather Car Seat:

  • Follow dilution recommendations on product labeling.
  • Always, always, test in a hidden area first for color-fastness and results.
  • In my professional business, all I use is the APC (All-purpose-cleaner) and the Super Degreaser form Meguiar's for all cleaning needs. I simply dilute as needed based on cleaning duties.
  • Comes in a gallon size only (which may seem over-kill for some of you) but these products can be used in so many ways you will not be disappointed!
  • If your car leather is exceptionally dirty like the photos above, it is better to do a small section at a time, and do repeated steps until desired results are achieved.
  • I had to scrub each section of the leather seating from the pictures above 3-4 times before I got acceptable results.
  • If you have allowed your leather to go so long before you have decided to clean your leather car seats, you may have some permanently worn areas of your leather seating. Once you have cleaned them, these areas will be more visible once the dirt has been cleaned away.
  • If you are not the original owner of your car I would proceed with extra caution at first to verify that your seats have not been re-dyed in the past and therefore affect the ability to clean them with these types of methods.

Clean Leather Car Seat: Heavy Duty Leather Cleaning

If you have car leather upholstery that you know is excessively dirty, and you want to see what I use for excessively dirty car upholstery regardless of material, you can go to: heavy duty car leather cleaning

Darren's Video Demo: Clean Leather Car Seat in the $315K Rolls Royce Ghost

Don't Forget: Just wanted to let you know I spend a lot of time putting together my videos on my You Tube channel to bring the information to life so you can learn the actual techniques. Please make sure to subscribe to my channel as I will be constantly updated it with more and more instructional videos. Also, feel free to leave any comments or questions as this also helps me in producing the videos in a way where I deliver the exact information and tips you are looking for.

Thank you for visiting clean leather car seat!


> >> Clean Leather Car Seat