Professional tips for do-it-yourselfers! Part I
Caution: please spot test all products used on exterior and interior of your car. These days, many products are imported and you may be tempted to use them because of price factors and company claims. However, a spot test (use a spot that is hidden somewhere and not the middle of your hood or truck, the back of seats, somewhere that is not noticeable, please?) prevents ruining your paint job and surfaces.
Does you car have perforated areas? Is there stitching in your upholstery? Use great caution about NOT getting water, cleanser or conditioner into the holes left by stitches in your leather, sewing puts holes in whatever is
stitched. Always check with your owner's manual for manufacturer's suggestions before you clean or apply any products. Usually, there is specific advice on how to properly care for the leather upholstery, as well as products to avoid. Google your make, model and year along with the words owners manual and you can find yours online.
Vacuum the seats. Do this for your car rugs as well as the seats otherwise you are scrubbing dirt and debris into your surfaces as you are trying to clean them! Use a vacuum hose and attachment or wet/dry vacuum to rid yourself of any large particles of dirt. Leather can easily scratch so use the maximum amount of caution possible. Use of an air compressor to blow out dirt from in between the seat cracks is very helpful.
Remove surface dirt. Really dirty seats have surface dirt and deep down dirt. Spray a micro-fiber towel (dollar store item, folks!) with cleaner and wipe over the seats. Use leather cleaner, saddle soap, or another mild leather soap....remember to spot check first to avoid a big, big issue. Reminder: DO NOT spray cleaner on to the seats that have perforated holes as either decorative designs or sewing. You will never get the cleaner out of those holes!!!
Deep cleaning leather: Use a brush after you spot check! Spray the cleaner directly onto your seats and use a soft-bristled brush to gently scrub the leather. This will agitate the dirt and bring it to the surface. Then, wipe dry with a micro-fiber cloth.
Wipe the seats clean. Use a clean and dry micro-fiber cloth to wipe off the excess cleanser that you scrubbed into the leather. There should be dirt, oil, and grime on the cloth. Wash the micro-fiber cleaning clothes for next time.
Clean your car seats regularly:It's a good idea to lightly clean your seats once a month. Deep cleaning your seats 3 to 4 times a year is probably the best course of action. If you have light-colored leather, kids, pets, etc or notice grime building up, do it more often and spot check each time you open a new can of cleanser just to be sure.
part 2 tomorrow...conditioning leather seats