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How to clean leather car seats, and everything you’ll need for the job

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Leather seats have been appearing in vehicles since the early 1900s. They offer many benefits, not the least of which being a luxurious ride, but they can sometimes be a pain to keep clean and conditioned. Have no fear, though, with a little knowledge and the right tools, you can get your seats looking great again. The video above features AMMONYC‘s Larry Kosilla as he goes through the step-by-step process for properly cleaning and conditioning your leather seats, addressing common mistakes and detailing exactly what you’ll need to take the project from start to finish. We’ve listed everything you might need for the project just below. Always remember, each car is different, which means the process may vary slightly from vehicle to vehicle. 

ThisWorx Portable Car Vacuum Cleaner w/ Flat Bottom Body – $32.99

First thing’s first: You’ll want to vacuum up any dust, dirt or crumbs that might be hiding in your seat before you start using a microfiber towel or detailing brush on the material. Failing to get rid of any particles can put you at risk of accidentally dragging debris over the leather, damaging it. If you need a good portable vac to get you started, the popular ThisWorx car vacuum is worth a look. It features a 110W and 9.17 amp motor, a built-in LED light, a washable double-HEPA filter, a flat bottom, a 16-foot power cable that connects to your car’s 12V lighter port and includes three different all-purpose nozzles, a carrying bag for easy storage and a filter cleaning brush.

Meguiar’s Leather Care Kit – $21.99

Of course, if you’re cleaning leather, you’ll need some leather cleaner and conditioner. Luckily, Meguiar’s has a 2-in-1 leather care kit that includes both. The cleaner is made to safely remove stains and generally clean “all leather and vinyl surfaces.” The conditioner, on the other hand, is made with aloe and moisturizing oils to help soften the material and prevent premature cracking. The kit also helps protect your leather against harmful UV rays that can damage it. Learn more about the kit right here

Amazon Basics Microfiber Cleaning Cloth 12″x16″ (Pack of 24) – $12.53

Microfiber towels are important for nearly any car cleaning job, and this one is no exception. One of the easiest and least aggressive techniques for cleaning leather seats is simply spraying cleaner onto a small section of the material and quickly wiping it away with a dry, clean microfiber towel. If you need some new microfiber towels, this AmazonBasics offering is a solid bang for your buck.

Detail Dudes Boars Hair Ultra Soft Car Detail Brushes (Set of 3) – $15.99 (6% off)

If a simple spray-and-wipe with a towel isn’t quite doing the trick, you can try working with a soft bristle brush to gently agitate and lift the dirt caught in the seat into the cleaning lather to more easily wipe it away. These brushes work great for this. They’re even specifically made for car detailing and have many uses beyond just seat cleaning. 

Autofiber Scrub Ninja Interior Scrubbing Sponge (5” x 3”) – $12.95

If gently wiping with a microfiber towel or a soft bristle brush still isn’t getting your seat as clean as you’d like, the next thing you could try is a scrub pad like this one. You’ll still only want to use light to medium pressure when scrubbing with a pad to avoid accidentally rubbing away the pigment or color of your leather. Be sure to check out the video at the top of this page to see all of professional car detailer Larry Kosilla’s tips and tricks to getting your leather seats looking great. 

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