New leather seats are a luxury many car owners want to protect. To keep leather seats looking their best, proper maintenance is required. Leather seats require cleaning, conditioning and care to avoid premature cracking, ripping and wear. Heated leather seats require the same care as those without heaters. Heated leather seats, however, make it easier to warm the leather prior to cleaning. Warming is an important step that will make cleaning and conditioning more effective.
Select a high-quality leather cleaner and conditioner. Edmunds recommends brands such as Lexol and Mother's. These can be separate or combined into one product. Look for cleaners that are free of petroleum solvents, silicone oils and gloss agents to avoid stained clothing.
Warm the leather seats. Warming will cause the pores of the leather to open and better absorb the cleaner and conditioner. Warm the seats by turning the seat heaters on for a few minutes or by parking in a heated garage.
Prepare the leather seats by vacuuming and wiping with a clean, damp cloth.
Apply cleaner onto a clean, soft cloth. Rub leather seats with the cloth, moving in small circles with gentle but firm pressure.
Clean one panel at a time, making sure to clean the entire panel. Avoid getting cleaner into the seams, as it can be difficult to remove and may cause discolouration on the stitching.
Allow cleaner to set on seats for approximately 15 minutes.
Remove excess cleaner by rubbing a new cloth in small circular motions across the leather. Again, focus on one panel at a time to ensure you cover all areas.
Apply leather conditioner.
Keep your leather healthy and clean by wiping with a damp, clean cotton cloth every two weeks. For areas needing to be cleaned with soap, use a pure facial soap without exfoliants.
Don't use chemical leather cleaners or conditioners more than twice per year. Cleaning too often breaks down the surfactants, or protectors, applied to the leather at the tannery.