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Best Way To Clean Leather Car Seats

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Best Way To Clean Leather Car Seats

The interior of your car matters as much as its exterior. It is not only about the functionality of the components, but also the aesthetics. Car seats are one of the most important interior components in the car that shapes your overall driving experience. Therefore, almost all car manufacturers are equipping the interiors with leather car seats for the ultimate experience of luxury. 

However, the luxury of leather car seats comes with conditions. Leather car seats are more durable than their synthetic or fabric counterpart. Of course, they are a little more expensive, but it’s worth the investment. That’s why you have to take good care of your leather car seats so that you can always roll in style!

Why Should I Clean Leather Car Seats?

This should not even be a question. But since you asked, cleaning leather car seats should be a part of your routine care and maintenance. A little effort goes a long way to keep the interior new and shining.

Since the car seats take up most of the space, you can expect to find all types of dust, dirt, debris, and stain on them. Even though the car seat leather goes through several treatments and procedures, it can absorb liquid spillage more than ordinary fabric.

Liquids like water, oil, and grease penetrate deep into the seat leather, which significantly reduces the leather’s life. Dirt will accumulate and stick to the layer, the surface will harden, and cracks will appear on it if you don’t clean leather car seats regularly. That’s the last thing you would want to happen in the car.

Be careful not to use a beach or ammonia-based household cleaning agent, as they can further damage the seat leather.

Now that we got the basics right, let’s clean some leather car seats.

Prepare The Surface For Cleaning

Start with vacuuming the leather surface to remove any dirt, debris, or crumbs. Run it around hard to reach cracks and cervices. Wiping the surface without getting rid of the dirt could scratch the seats and ruin the texture.

However, there is more than just dust and debris on the car seat leather. Oil Stains and grease are really stubborn that need specialized treatment.

Once you have prepared the surface by vacuuming it thoroughly, you can proceed with some simple yet effective DIY ways to clean leather car seats.

5 Best Ways To Clean Leather Car Seats

Using Toothpaste

Toothpaste can do more than just cleaning the teeth. You must have used toothpaste for cleaning scuffs, stains, and dirt in the bathroom, kitchen, and even your shoes. Well, it’s about time you added a leather car seat to that list.

If it can remove stains from your teeth, it can do the same for the leather. However, you should know the type of leather in your car seat. It works like magic for natural or vinyl leather car seats, but the results may vary with suede leather.

Items Required:

  • Non-Gel Toothpaste
  • Soft Regular Tooth Brush
  • Microfiber Towel or Cloth


  • Apply a small quantity of non-gel toothpaste to the stained area of the car seat leather.
  • Gently scrub the stain with a soft toothbrush. Use circular motion over the stained area.
  • Wipe off the lather residue of toothpaste with a clean and dry microfiber towel or cloth.

Do not overdo it as it might lead to frictional damage to the leather.

Baking Soda

Like toothpaste, baking soda is often used as a cleaning agent in the kitchen. It causes stubborn oil stains, dirt, and grease to dissolve easily in water for easy removal. Additionally, baking powder can be used as a deodorant in the refrigerator. There is no reason that you can’t use this magic product to clean leather car seats.

Items Required:

  • Baking Soda
  • Soft Brush
  • Microfiber Cloth


  • Sprinkle a small amount of baking soda over the entire stained area. 
  • Let the baking soda absorb the oil, from a couple of hours to overnight, depending on the nature of the stain.
  • Dust off the powder with a soft brush.
  • Wipe off the residue of baking soda from the leather car seat with a soft microfiber towel. Then use a damp microfiber towel to clean off remains from the surface.
  • Finally, use a soft, dry cloth to wipe the seat leather.

Vinegar and Olive Oil

Using vinegar and olive oil is one of the most effective ways to clean leather car seats at home. The virtue of vinegar lies in its solvency that allows it to go deep inside the pores in leather and dissolve the contaminants such as oil, dirt, and grease.

Like baking soda, vinegar can be used as a deodorizer and disinfectant. Of course, the seat will smell like vinegar for a while, but that should not be a problem once you let the airflow out of the car.

Once the vinegar has done its cleaning job, olive oil is used to condition the leather car seat. This helps to maintain the moisture and prevent the leather from drying up and cracking.

Items Required:

  • Pure Vinegar (¼ Cup)
  • Olive Oil (½ Cup)
  • Water (as required)
  • Microfiber Towel or Cloth
  • Spray Bottle


  • Create a solution of vinegar and olive oil in a spray bottle. Use water to dilute the solution as required. Mix it well.
  • Spray the solution onto the cloth and wipe it over the leather car seat. Direct spraying is not recommended.
  • Let the solution set in for 5-7 minutes to absorb the oil, dirt, and grease from the pores.
  • Wipe off the surface with a clean, dry microfiber cloth. Rub it gently to buff off the surface for a shining effect.
  • Use olive oil for conditioning the leather car seat.

Using Dish Soap and Water

By this time, you must be assuming that all household and kitchen items are used to clean leather car seats, and you are not wrong. Here’s one more for you: a dish soap. However, unlike other methods, using dish soap and water is only for general cleaning of the leather car seats.

Items Required:

  • A Container of Water
  • Liquid Dishwashing Soap
  • Microfiber Towel


  • Mix the liquid dishwashing soap with water in a container as required. In general, soap and water are mixed in the ratio of 1:5.
  • Take a microfiber towel and dampen it well in the soap and water solution.
  • Give a nice and thorough wipe over the leather car seat thoroughly. Squeeze the cloth, dampen it again, and wipe it down the seat.
  • Use a clean and dry microfiber towel or rag to absorb the residue from the surface.


We have saved the simplest yet most effective method for the last. Blotting is the best way to get rid of fresh stains from the leather car seat. Don’t waste time on chemistry labs experiments. Get down to the blotting within the few seconds of staining, and you will be surprised at how easy it is to clean leather car seats.

Items Required:

  • Cleaning Liquid (Water, Alcohol, or Spirit)
  • Microfiber Towel


  • Try to absorb as much moisture from the surface using a dry microfiber cloth.
  • Next, dampen the cloth with any cleaning liquid (water or alcohol)
  • Rub it over the stained area.
  • Use the dry cloth to blot it again.
  • Let the surface air dry.

Voilà! It’s clean as new.

Final Words

These methods are quite simple and effective to clean leather car seats without breaking a sweat. However, you have to consider a few things before you proceed with them.

The goal is to clean the interior of your car, not further damage it. Therefore, always use a soft microfiber cloth to prevent scratching the surface. Never spray the solution directly to the leather. Always know the type of leather on your car seat and use the cleaning agent accordingly. Stay away from bleach or ammonia-based solution.

When in doubt, it is always better to seek professional help.

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