DIY Solutions: Best Leather Car Seat Cleaning Products

Close-up of dirty leather car seat

Cleaning and conditioning leather is notoriously difficult as it is a much more delicate fabric than any of the other synthetic materials typically used to cover car seats. Leather can easily be ruined if not treated with proper care. If all the necessary precautions aren’t taken before and during the cleansing process, you risk damaging your leather car seats permanently. Even though it is softer and more comfortable to sit on than other fabrics, leather is known for drawing in spillages and grime, thus requiring the most care and upkeep out of all car seat fabrics. If you’ve been putting off cleaning your leather car seats for a long time, an interior car cleaning service might be the right choice for you, unless you’ve got a lot of time on your hands and don’t mind scrubbing for long stretches.

If you do have the time and energy to tackle the task of cleaning your leather car seats, or if they’re not dirty enough to justify hiring a cleaning service, you should consider using one or more of the following organic ways to clean your leather car seats. These are all-natural, easy to make mixtures containing readily available household items; they will make cleaning and conditioning leather car seats easier and cheaper than ever before. Also, if you missed our last post on the best interior car cleaning products which you can make using household articles, be sure to check it out!

3 Cleaning Solutions You Can Make at Home That Are Perfect for Cleaning Leather Seats:

Olive Oil and Vinegar

An excellent home remedy for cleaning leather car seats is a solution made of a quarter cup of olive oil and half a cup of distilled white vinegar. No water base is needed for this concoction; just pour the two ingredients into a spray bottle and mix them together by shaking the bottle thoroughly.

Just spray the mixture onto your leather seats and wipe down with a cloth or towel (we’ll get into what towel you should use later on). Make sure that there aren’t any holes in the seat before you begin; liquid can seep through these and cause permanent damage to your seats. The vinegar smell shouldn’t linger too long but adding some essential oil to it will definitely overpower the vinegar smell.

Bottle of homemade vinegar solution used to clean leather car seats

Vinegar is a miracle product in terms of its cleaning properties:

  • It’s a solvent, dissolving other substances such as grease or dirt.
  • It’s a disinfectant; an extremely efficient one when it comes to killing germs.
  • It’s a great deodoriser; the pungent vinegar smell fades quickly, taking all unwanted scents along with it. 

Olive oil is not only a great leather conditioner, it also helps break down any stains and smudges on the surface of your seats.

When using this homemade leather car seat cleaning product, apply on seat and gently rub in the solution. You will need to let the mix soak in for about 30 minutes and then use a clean wipe to shine the leather.

Cream of Tartar and Lemon Juice Blend

The next mixture that will allow you to clean your leather car seats with household products is made from cream of tartar and lemon juice. This solution is equal parts lemon liquid and cream of tartar. Lemon juice is one of the best natural cleaners know to man due to:

  • Its high citric acid content
  • Its low PH
  • Its well-known antibacterial properties
Teaspoon of cream of tartar with cream of tartar jar in background

Teaming up with it is a largely overlooked substance in terms of its natural cleaning qualities: cream of tartar. Cream of tartar is a secondary product made from the residue which forms during the fermentation process of winemaking. The sediment which remains inside the barrels after the wine is extracted is purified into the chalky, powder-like white substance. Cream of tartar is typically used in baking although we’re trying to make use of its extraordinary cleaning attributes. 

Even though it will be quite a bit more viscous than the previous blend, for ease of use, we recommend using a spray bottle. The solution is particularly useful for cleaning stains off leather car seats. In order to get rid of those annoying stains marring your beautiful leather seats you need to apply the paste directly onto the stain and let it sit for 30 minutes. After that just use a moist sponge to wipe the blend away; the stain should come off along with it. An important caveat to note is that you should only use this homemade remedy on light-coloured seats since its bleaching effect can end up ruining darker-coloured leather.

White Vinegar and Linseed Oil Blend

Linseed oil bottle used to make DIY leather car seat cleaning product

Cleaning leather car seats with household products will feel like a walk in the park after you start using this compound made up of two-parts linseed oil and one-part white vinegar. While the cleaning properties of vinegar have been elucidated earlier, linseed oil might not enjoy the same notoriety. It is a natural oil that is extracted from flax seeds and can be used for conditioning leather car seats with great results. Linseed oil can act as a sealer for the leather, thus protecting it from mildew as well as softening it.

Apply this blend directly onto the surface of the seat and use either a cloth or a brush with soft bristles to scrub the seat thoroughly. Use a fresh cloth to wipe of any excess solution, making your seats clean and shiny.

A Final Leather Car Seat Cleaning Tip

Extreme close-up of microfiber cloth

Whether you want to use one of the seat cleaners we recommend or opt for a branded cleaning product, you should also put some thought into the type of cloth you use to clean your leather seats.

Many car buffs recommend chamois leather as the best material for cleaning and conditioning your car’s leather seats. However, a chamois cloth can do more harm than good. Because chamois cloths aren’t designed with the specific objective of cleaning leather car seats in mind, dirt particles often get trapped in between the seat and the cloth. This can cause potentially permanent damage to the leather covering your car seats. Instead, we recommend using micro fibre towels. These have been devised in such a way that any dirt particles which remain on the surface are captured by the towel’s fibres, eliminating the possibility of scratches or other damage.

The above DIY solutions will make cleaning and conditioning your leather car seats a much easier job, but they can also be used for regular domestic cleaning. Remember that leather is an extremely delicate fabric; you must clean your seats several times every year if you want them to look nice and shiny at all times!