Something I hear alot from my customers is that they would like me to recondition the leather in their vehicle. This is a common misunderstanding nowadays that people think that the seats that are in vehicles are actual leather. Truth be told there is very little in common with today’s leather seats and actual leather.
Now before you think to yourself ‘this guy has absolutely no idea what he’s talking about!’ think real quick to something that you have that you know is real leather. Whether that be a wallet or belt or something similar. have you ever noticed that after some time the leather starts to get some creases and discolored? This is called getting a patina and it comes from the fact that leather is actual skin thats just been tanned. Now go back to your seat. Ever wonder why your seat doesn’t do the same thing? Sure it will get creases and I will explain why that is.
Todays leather seats might have a very thin layer of leather or some synthetic material but it will then have a clear coat layer on top of it to protect the material under it. If your leather seat was actual leather it wouldn’t take very long for it to look terrible. It would be very discolored, scuffed and lots of wear.
So what do you do with today’s new leather? If you really want to stay on top of keeping them in great condition the best thing to do is to take a damp towel and wipe them down every two weeks or so. This will wipe away any body oils or dirt that is resting on the protective layer and since it is a porous surface it will slowly sink itself further into the material.
If your seat hasn’t been cleaned in a long time you will have to go a little bit more aggressive and get an all purpose cleaner (simple green) and dilute it 10:1 and spray it onto the seat and gently scrub it with a brush and then wipe clean.
Now when your seat is clean you can add a leather protectant if you wish. This is different from a conditioner in that it will just add an additional protective layer on top of the seat. Conditioners are full of oils (think of it as lotion for your skin) and won’t do anything for today’s modern leather seats.