The Basics Of Achieving Better Looking Leather
When properly cared for, leather can last the entire life of your car. When maintained, leather can last up to 5 times longer than synthetic fibers due to its durability and natural composition. Over time, things such as body oils and dirt work their way into the leather, making it dirty. If treated incorrectly or left too long, cracking and fading can and will occur. Using proper products and techniques will help to prevent any blemishes and keep your leather soft, supple, and durable.
There are various types of leather in cars today; knowing which you have is the first step to properly care for your leather.
- Aniline – natural, pure, naked, or unprotected leather.
- Protected – everyday, pigmented, or painted leather.
- Nubuck – distressed, bomber, or suede leather.
Typically, most cars on the road today have what is known as protected leather. Aniline and nubuck, the more exotic leathers, need gentle care since they’re not protected. Always check with your manufacturer to verify which type your car has before using cleaning or nourishing the leather surface.
Why Should I Clean & Protect My Leather?
Truth is, most car owners will never clean or protect their leather, which is why most cars over 3 years are riddled with cracking, fading, and discoloration. There are many reasons to care for your leather, but in case you haven’t been sold on it, here are some of the biggest motivators to grab the cleaner and conditioner:
- Oils & grease are easily attracted to leather due to its porous finish. Oils from our skin and hair are easily transfered to leather and can damage any protective finishes that may be on the leather.
- Pets and leather tend to butt heads. Pet oil contributes significantly to dry rot and can tarnish a leather surface. Loose hair, dandruff, and their dirty paws aren’t the greatest compliment to leather either.
- Spills are common, and whether it’s coffee or soda, it’s going to do a number on your car’s leather.
- Dust is no stranger to your car. Just take a glance at your dashboard after a two-day driving drought and you’ll know what I’m talking about. Over time, dust sits on your car’s leather seats and weakens the surfaces ability to absorb nutrients.
- Weather does a lot of damage. UV rays penetrate leather, drying and fading the surface beyond repair. This is the #1 contributor to faded and cracked leather.
- Dyes and inks can cause permanent blemishes is left untreated. Everything from a ball-point pen to the blue dye on your denim jeans can stain leather.
How Often Should I Clean & Protect My Car’s Leather?
Luckily for car owners, if you keep up-to-date with your leather care routine, you won’t have to put much effort forth. Although you must clean inorder to protect, once your protect the leather it doesn’t have to be cleaned as much. In our cars, the driver’s seat obviously sees more attention than anything. It is recommended that this seat (along with any armrests and the steering wheel) be cleaned as needed and conditioned at least once every 3 months. Outside of the cockpit, the other seats and leather surfaces should be cleaned when issues arrise, and conditioned once ever 4 months. By following this easy schedule, your car will be protected from contaminants while remaining durable, lush, and clean.