One of the best things about owning a nice car is stepping inside and being greeted with luxury leather seats. Leather seating can offer a sleek aesthetic and premium feel to your car’s interior.
However, these seats cannot stay in pristine condition for long without some regular upkeep.
Luckily, the methods on how to protect leather car seats from wear are straightforward and easy to understand. And with newer versions of leather seats being designed to be more stain-resistant, proper maintenance has never been easier. Read on to find out more.
Causes of Leather Car Seats Wear
Here are some factors that can cause the leather of your car’s upholstery to wear out. With this knowledge you can take steps to prevent the premature aging of your seats. Causes of leather seat wear include:
As you sit on the leather seats in your car and move around, you unintentionally stretch out the leather, and eventually, it will wear out. While this is a significant cause of wear and tear, there’s not much you can do about normal everyday use. So just enjoy your car and be gentle with your seating.
Exposure to Direct Sunlight
When you park your car in the sun, you expose both the car and its seats to direct sunlight. This exposure can lead to the leather losing its natural oils and color.
Exposure to Heat
Excess heat of any kind can negatively affect the leather. This could be from the sun or other sources. When leather is exposed to heat, it dries out and becomes tough or shrinks. In some cases, it does both.
Debris of all kinds, be it dirt, food crumbs, or others, can damage the leather. You might even find mold in crevices where food gets stuck.
We all love to crank up our air conditioner when it’s hot outside. However, air conditioners dry out the air and can dehydrate leather.
Certain Types of Clothing and Materials
Most clothing won’t damage the leather interior of your car. However, some clothing with studs or sequins can cause scratches. Also, sharp objects like keys can cause tears in your seat.
Lack of Regular Maintenance
If you do not care for your leather seats, you might end up with cracks, shrinkage, hardening, and scratches faster than you anticipated. Therefore, it is recommended that you use all the best practices to avoid this.
By cleaning and conditioning your car’s upholstery, you are removing items that could damage the leather and restoring the leather’s vitality. You are also protecting the leather from damage due to heat and air conditioning.
How to Protect Leather Car Seats from Wear
A leather seat will inevitably wear no matter how well you take care of it. However, there are ways to caretake your upholstery and prolong the life of your leather seating. To protect your car’s leather seats:
Vacuum the Seats Regularly
If left alone, materials like sand, crumbs, and other debris can cause scratches on the seats. To prevent this, ensure you vacuum your seats often. A handheld vacuum is enough to do the trick and not only removes large particles, but allergens you cannot see.
Try to vacuum at least once a month or more, depending on how fast your seats get dirty.
If you are short on cash or simply do not want to buy a vacuum, you can use car vacuum stations at a gas station for a small charge.
Use a Leather Cleaner
Just like any other leather item, leather seats have specialized cleaners. These cleaners will help remove dirt, as well as give your leather interior a shiny new look.
Leather cleaner is made using a specialized mixture of cleaner and moisturizers. A standard cleaner like dish soap, on the other hand, is not made to clean leather.
Dish soap might effectively clean your leather seats, but it will also remove the leather’s natural oil in the process. Without these oils, your seats are prone to splitting and cracking.
Purchase Car Seat Covers
If you prefer to use a car seat cover, we suggest you purchase covers made with materials like nylon or neoprene. These materials are low maintenance and easy to clean. They will absorb spills or stains, and you can easily take them off your seat and wash them.
Finding seat covers is relatively easy. Simply visit a home goods or auto body store. You can even check online to compare the products and their prices.
Remember that car seat covers come in several sizes. Make sure you find the right size for your car. For extra protection, the covers should fit snug and secure.
Another factor to consider is style. You want to make sure the seat covers match your style and the design of your car. Accessorizing your car seat covers is a great way to make a statement and ride in style.
Open Your Car Windows
Because heat is one way your car seats can get damaged, you should try to keep your windows open to reduce your car’s internal temperature, especially during summer.
Keep in mind that the temperature outside will not be the same as your car’s interior. This is because the temperature inside your vehicle tends to build up as there is nowhere for the heat to escape.
Condition the Seats
In order to protect your leather seats against potential damages (wear, shrinkage, or from UV rays) you must also condition them. A leather conditioner will soak into the leather to soften and rehydrate the material.
You should aim to condition your seats at least once every three months. You might need to condition more often during hotter seasons to prevent the leather from drying out due to high temperatures.
Also, when you are done conditioning, give your seats four to six hours to dry before you use them.
Protect your Car from UV Rays
UV rays from the sun are one of the main causes of aging leather quickly. You can prevent this by parking your car in shaded areas. You can also tint your car windows.
If you are aware of the factors that can damage your leather car seats, then you are that much closer to preventing the damage in the first place.
Tips for Purchasing Leather Cleaner or Conditioner
- When buying a cleaner or conditioner, make sure to purchase one with natural ingredients and without harsh chemicals. Also, do not use conditioners made with wax or petroleum because they can build up and dull your leather.
- You should purchase the best quality conditioner and cleaner that your budget allows. They work well to keep your leather as beautiful as possible.
- If you want to make your own cleaner, you can mix two parts vinegar and one part water and use this as a gentle cleaning solution.
- If you are not the first owner of your car, you should inquire about the leather. Make sure to ask the dealer or previous owner what type of leather the car has or if it has had work done (e.g. re-dyed).
Tips for Cleaning Leather Car Seats
- Before you use any leather cleaner on your seats, test it by applying a little to a hidden spot and making sure it is suitable.
- Thoroughly vacuum your seats before wiping them down to avoid scratching the surface.
- Clean slowly. Also, clean in smaller sections so the cleaner is evenly distributed to reduce the chances of discoloration.
- Use a microfiber towel to clean because they are soft and allow you to clean without scratching your leather seats.
- Do not apply the cleaner or conditioner directly onto the leather surfaces. Instead, you should apply the solution to the microfiber cloth first and then wipe the fabric.
- Hard bristles are not advisable as they can cause damage. Instead, you should opt for a brush with soft bristles or a brush made specifically for cleaning cars.
- Ensure you buff your seats dry. To do this, massage the solution into the seats thoroughly to make sure it is completely absorbed. By doing so, you will notice your leather is a lot shinier.
- Start cleaning your seats gently and increase force if need be to avoid scrubbing too hard.
- Clean your seats at least once a month and condition them every three months.
Maintaining the leather of your car seats is not a difficult task and doing so will provide you with many benefits in the long run. All you have to do is use the right materials and follow the best cleaning and conditioning practices.
With this article, you should know how to protect leather car seats from wear and hopefully prevent your leather seats from aging for as long as possible.
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