How to clean and care for your leather
Much like the rest of your interior, leather surfaces such as seats, steering wheels and gear knobs get used and abused on a daily basis. In fact when you think about it, these three surfaces are subject to the most use and wear inside your car and as such this means they will get the most dirty. When cleaned with the correct detailing products and techniques, leather cleaning is not a difficult task. In fact leather cleaning is in our opinion one of the most satisfying jobs as the transformation can be so dramatic, especially on lighter coloured leathers.
Assessing what your working with
Although modern leather finishes are very robust, its always worth checking over the surfaces you’re about to clean to check for any blemishes or tears that you may need to avoid or be less aggressive with. A prime example of this is on lower seat blusters. These get worn and brushed over, every time you get in or out of your car, meaning the protective layer applied to the leather can wear away. In turn heavier scrubbing on these worn areas can lead to colour being stripped away from the hide.
Next it’s time to remove any loose dirt from your seats with a vacuum cleaner. Using the crevasse attachment remove any dust or crumbs from the folds in your seat, using a finger to prise the folds apart. Although a small step, its crucial to remove this dirt as it may later get trapped under your cleaning brush and potentially cause damage.
Time to start the leather cleaning process
Now you have removed any light dirt that may have been kicking around your seat its time to grab a bottle of Hide leather cleanser, a leather brush and microfibre cloth, although for older, more delicate leather finishes you may not need/want a leather brush to scrub your upholstery.
As with most detailing processes it’s best to start at the top of the seat and work your way down, otherwise dirt will be running down your seat onto the area which you have just cleaned. Start by lightly misting some Hide leather cleanser onto your seat. Next using a leather cleaning brush or microfibre cloth begin to clean. Light agitation in back and forth motions is all it takes to loosen and remove the dirt thats trapped within your leather.
In most situations a leather cleaning brush or soft interior brush is perfect for cleaning leather. However, on older more delicate surfaces or worn areas its worth swapping your leather brush for a microfibre cloth. The microfibre cloth is a less aggressive way of cleaning your leather around worn or delicate surfaces, so will reduce the chances of stripping the colour from your hide.
After some light agitation your Hide leather cleanser will now lather up and carry away the dirt that will have been trapped in your leathers pores. Once an area such as a head rest, or bluster has been cleaned, grab a fresh microfibre cloth to wipe away the released dirt and move onto the next section down, continue this across the rest of your seats.
Conditioning your leather
Finally its time to protect your clean leather with Hide conditioner. Hide conditioner was developed along side Hide leather cleanser to offer the perfect cleaning and protecting duo. By using Hide conditioner after Hide leather cleanser you will add a protective barrier to your leather whilst maintaining a natural finish. Hide conditioner will help prevent your leather drying out and also acts as a barrier to help prevent dye-transfer staining lighter coloured finishes.
To use Hide leather conditioner simply grab yourself either a microfibre applicator or a foam applicator, then add a small amount to your applicator. Now slowly massage the Hide conditioner into your leather. At first it will look shiny, however don’t fear. Once you have completed your interior allow Hide conditioner to cure for a short period of time.
Top Tip: Whilst Hide conditioner is curing double check you haven’t missed any where. If you did you will notice a dry patch, simply add some more conditioner to that area..
Once the conditioner has cured (5-10min) grab yourself a fresh microfibre thats folded into four quarters and lightly buff away the excess like you would with a car polish or wax to relieve a factory fresh seat.
Steering wheels, gear knobs and other leather areas
Now onto the other leather surfaces you may have around your interior, i.e steering wheels, gear knobs, and door cards. Although you will use the same products on these, the approach and techniques may differ to effectively clean them.
With these surfaces we recommend that you spray your Hide leather cleanser directly onto your microfibre cloth to save any over spray that may land and dry out on surrounding plastics and other interior surfaces.
Next grip the steering wheel or gear knob and work the cleanser into the leather using the microfibre cloth. Using this method will ensure your reach right behind and under the steering wheel. Once you’ve worked a section, flip your microfibre over to buff away any last cleanser.
Every two months add a fresh layer of Hide conditioner to keep that protective barrier up. An easy way to remember this is, when you add a coat of wax to your car, add a coat of Hide conditioner to your leather.