How to Clean Leather Car Seats | Step by Step CleanerPicks Guide

The vast majority of people consider leather car seats as classy, comfy and lavish. Leather car seats give your car an upscale appearance as well as a premium luxurious feel that is undoubtedly impressive. However, the day-to-day sweat and grime buildup may render them dirtier than you would probably expect.

It is notoriously difficult to clean up and properly maintain leather car seats. Keeping them looking showroom perfect isn’t a walk in the park. Leather requires extra special care that will be handy when it comes to removing dust, grime and any other stains that may have occurred. Most car owners have no idea how to clean leather car seats and keep their pristine condition at peak.

how to clean leather car seats

Cleaning and maintaining car seats can be a hassle, especially if you are not ready for the job. Several cleaning products and techniques are in existence and you may end up damaging your expensive leather if you don’t follow the steps properly. In this article, we will provide a comprehensive guide revolving around unconventional stain-removing hacks for leather car seats. Our handy guide provides DIY methods with easy-to-follow steps so that you can keep any dirt at bay.

Caution: Before you try out any cleaning product, make sure to test it first on an inconspicuous area of your seats. Some cleaning products can result in several adverse effects including staining, color fading, and much more. Switch to an alternative cleaning product if you notice one or more of these effects. Avoid using oil-based products, wax and silicone as these are bound to damage leather.

1.    Vacuum Out the Seats

Vacuuming out your leather seats is the first thing you need to do before you move on to the steps that follow. Thoroughly vacuuming the car seats removes rubbish and gets rid of all sorts of dust and dirt. By so doing, you’re preparing the surface of your car seats before applying a cleaning product.

Vacuuming out car leather seats prior to application of any cleaning products makes the whole cleaning process effective. Worth noting, use an upholstery attachment on the nozzle to avoid damaging your leather. After vacuuming your seats move on to the next step.

2.    Apply a Cleaning Product of Your Choice

There are several household products that can be used to clean leather car seats. If you prefer household products or something devoid of chemicals, you can prepare your own cleaning solution. DIY cleaners such as a mixture of vinegar and olive oil will not only clean the seats but also polish them to give a beautiful shine.

Vinegar is one of the all-purpose cleaners that can work well on leather car seats. On the other hand, olive oil polishes leather and dissolves oil-based stains on the surface of car seats. You can also add lemon essential oil to this cleaner.

Lemon oil proves to be of help when it comes to cleaning and freshening up the leather surface. And because leather is a processed animal hide, lemon oils will moisturize and perk up the car seats. Let’s see how this solution is prepared below:

What You Need:

  • ½ cup white vinegar
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 8-10 drops lemon essential oil
  • Towel
  • Paper towels
  • Spray bottle

Steps on How to Prepare and Use a Cleaning Product

Step One: Mix the Ingredients in a Spray Bottle

Pour ½ cup white vinegar into a spray bottle and mix it with ¼ cup olive oil. Add about 8-10 drops of lemon essential oil to the solution and screw the spray nozzle tightly. Shake the ingredients thoroughly to form a cohesive solution. You may notice a little foam after giving a few shakes. 

Step Two: Use the Cleaner and Towel to Clean the Car Seats

Spray your DIY cleaner on the dirty or stained leather surface. Use a thin towel to rub the cleaner into the surface. Doing this allows the dirt to transfer from the seats to the towel. Using the spray cleaner and towel, clean the entire surface of your leather car seats.

Step Three: Wipe Off the Excess Cleaner Using Paper Towels

Once you are satisfied that your leather car seats are utterly clean, grab your paper towels and wipe off any excess spray cleaner. Leave the seats to dry completely before using your car again. You could also open the windows to allow air into your car and remove any vinegar smell out of your leather car seats.

Other Cleaners to Try:

Baking Soda

Baking soda proves effective for eliminating oil and grease stains from leather car seats. Sprinkle baking soda on the stained seats and use a damp cloth to rub it. Leave it to sit overnight or at least 2-3 hours if you are in a hurry.

The soda will help absorb any oils or stains on the leather seats. Use a soft cloth to wipe off the powder, and then follow up with a damp cloth to evacuate any residue. After that, dry your leather seats with a towel.

Cream of Tartar and Lemon Juice

You can use a mixture of lemon juice and cream of tartar on light upholstery. Make sure to use this strictly on light upholstery as it can lead to bleaching. Mix equal parts of cream of tartar and lemon juice to form a paste. Apply it on soiled seats and give at least 30 minutes to work. Remove the paste later with a damp sponge.

Final Thought


Taking a little time now to clean and maintain your car leather seats is more important than waiting until the problem gets out of hand. Remember, you may need to spend lots of money down the line getting new seats if you do not keep your seats in excellent condition. Leather seats are a luxurious addition to your car which can make it look and feel amazing.


Leather car seats can last for your car’s lifespan if they are given proper care and attention. I hope that this article snippet will be of help to anyone who needs to keep their car leather seats in pristine condition. Try these tips and give us your honest opinion in the comments section below.

How to Clean Leather Car Seats | Step by Step CleanerPicks Guide
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