Leather Car Upholstery Care: Myths and Facts

When it comes to leather car interior care information, there are plenty of myths and very few good facts. I hope to clear up some of those myths, so you can give your car’s leather interior the care it needs to look great for many years to come.

Car Leather Myth 1: My new car leather doesn’t need care

Not only is this not true, but the myth is costing new car owners a lot of money! This is a serious misconception many people have, including car sales professionals.

Modern car leather upholstery has a super thin vinyl coating for protection. This does not negate the need for regular care.

It’s true that modern leather interiors are more durable than leather finishes prior to 1990. This is due to new technology in leather upholstery manufacturing. That said, automotive leather upholstery still needs regular cleaning and treatment.

Car Leather Myth 2: Once the new car leather smell is gone you can’t get it back

The fresh scent of fine leather is very alluring. It does not have to go away. If you properly maintain your car’s leather interior, the scent will remain naturally for many years. If your car looses the leather scent, you can partially restore it by hydrating the leather. There are also leather scent car fresheners that are really nice.

Car Leather Myth 3: I was told that a cream leather conditioner is best

If your car was produced before 1990, this may be true. However, if your car’s leather has a vinyl coating (95% of all cars manufactured after 1997 do), a cream-based conditioner can’t get through the micro perforations in the vinyl coating to treat the leather.

In other words, all the cream treats is the vinyl coating. What’s needed is a liquid leather conditioner that can reach the leather to hydrate and condition.

Car Leather Myth 4: Water will stain leather, so don’t get your leather wet

Plain water will not hurt leather. In fact, leather is tanned and cured using water. What’s damaging to leather (stain wise) is stuff in water. You can wipe your leather upholstery with a damp cloth with no problems. You can even scrub your leather with a bucket of soapy water.

Be sure to dry your leather after it gets wet to avoid any chance of discoloration.

Car Leather Car Tips

The best advice you can follow is to give your car’s interior regular care. That means regular cleaning and regular conditioning. If you do it regularly, it will never require heavy cleaning and conditioning, saving you time and money.

There are many good leather cleaning and conditioning products available. The oldest and most respected name in leather care is Lexol.

Here are the Lexol products I highly recommend for regular use in your car:

  • Lexol Leather pH Cleaner Spray (gentle cleaner for regular care)
  • Lexol Leather Conditioner Spray (for regular conditioning)
  • Lexol 3-in-1 Leather Care (New!)
  • Lexol wipes (super fast and easy wipes!)
  • Vinylex Protectant (for treating all plastic and vinyl surfaces)
  • Lexol Kit (for savings, if you are serious about it)

I also recommend cleaning and conditioning your vehicle at least four times each year. Monthly is more ideal. To make the task as easy as possible, try a combination of the wipes and sprays. Use the wipes when time is of the essence. Use the sprays for deeper cleaning and conditioning.

Be sure to check out How to Clean a Car Interior the right way!