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-   -   HOW TO: Maintain your leather seats so they never crack or age. (http://www.hotrodders.com/forum/how-maintain-your-leather-seats-so-they-never-crack-age-220517.html)

Graham M 06-13-2012 09:12 PM

HOW TO: Maintain your leather seats so they never crack or age.
 
Hey guys, I originally wrote this up as a "HOW TO" to maintain car seats. This write up works on all types of leather, asides from "Pleather" I mean to say.
Long story is, is that back shortly after high school I was detailer, so I learned this technique from an industry "guru" I guess you can call him.

Basically using this technique, you can prevent leather seats from aging/cracking. This way the seats will always shine like new. This can be applied to *anything* leather, even jackets.

Keep in mind; Leather is just cow skin. Unfortunately since there is no cow there to keep the leather moisturized: the responsibility is entirely on you.

Now as a disclaimer: to my knowledge there is no way to repair cracking. So if the seats are already cracked there isn't any way to repair them, short of replacing the section thats cracked/worn.

All this technique will do is prevent the cracks from spreading, and to keep new ones from forming. It will also keep the seats looking new just so long as you do this. For regular use this should be done at least twice a year. Ideally 4 times a year would be good. You dont have to do ALL the seats, but if your like me and are pretty much the only occupant in the car, its best you at least do the drivers seat (& steering wheel if leather wrapped) this many times. I'd do the rest of the seats maybe once or twice a year.

Anyway, a very dirty seat will look like this.

(First off I apologize for the ****ty Iphone pics)
http://i267.photobucket.com/albums/i...M/e15fb572.jpg

(I bought the car used with seats looking like this if you're wondering)
Note its shiny appearance; thats exactly what you dont want. That means the seat is covered in dirt & grease. A seat should never look like this unless you put interior shine or whatever on it.
The thing is; nothing should be put on it short of the moisturizing cream/lotion. Chemicals just hurt the leather, so always keep things like Armor all (and the like) the hell away from leather.

Keep in mind that leather has pores, just like human skin. When dirt & filth fills them they cant breath, and thus the leather begins to dry out.
Also, by just gooping on the leather moisturizer onto a dirty seat; it has really no way of getting into the seats to do its job.

Which brings us to the first step.
Grab a scrub brush and some mild (non-acidic) cleaner. Obviously, dont use engine degreaser or anything of that sort (Yes I've seen people do that). I personally used Simple green as its quite good for this. If you're worried the stuff you have is bad for leather, try it on a wallet or something that you dont really care about before trying it on your car seats.

http://i267.photobucket.com/albums/i...M/197253d5.jpg

Just do a small section at a time, then quickly wipe it off. Almost all cleaners are harmful to leather so its best you get the cleaner off it as soon as you can. Also, this will prevent the dirt & chemicals from seeping back into the pores. So dont do the WHOLE seat then wipe it off. Do perhaps the bottom of the seat, then the sides, then the back (etc etc). Dont worry about using a fair bit of cloths/clean rags. Its better to use a lot (then wash them if you're using re-usable rags/cloths) then to be wiping the seats down with filthy rags, which basically doesn't do much of anything.

After your done, it should look like this.
http://i267.photobucket.com/albums/i...M/f082d128.jpg

Note its dull appearance, thats what you're looking for as leather shouldn't shine at all.

After all the seats (& steering wheel or whatever other leather bits you may have in your car) are clean we'll start moisturizing them.

For that, you can use a typical household sponge.
For moisturizers to use; the ones that are best have something called Lanolin oil in them. This oil is important as its the best moisturizing agent you can put on your seats. Dont bother with these "cleaner and moisturizer" types. You need to PROPERLY clean the seats, then moisturize the leather. These companies that try to combine them offer pretty bad stuff that doesn't work nearly as well as it should.
I really like "Production Detail supply" products. I find they're very good and always do a great job. Here is one product thats a cleaner & conditioner in one package.[************************************************** ******************************

Or if you want they also have this. It would take a LONG time to go through all this though, so if you have friends that would need this for their cars/trucks, I'd split this up with them.
*********************************************

And this
*******************************************

another one
******************************

and yes, Lexol is great, use that as well. Same with Connelly's Hide food.

here in Calgary we have these guys as a supplier for the products.
************************************************** ******************
They also do deliveries, with a mobile supply van. Call the number regarding that.

So once you have the lotion, apply it fairly thick.
http://i267.photobucket.com/albums/i...M/0df72d50.jpg
^ Even thicker then that. Plan it out so that after you coat the seats, you can leave it sit for at least a few hours so the lotion can absorb. Dont wipe it down, as it needs time to be absorbed which at a bare minimum will be at least 4 hours. Basically if you leave the seat like this over night it should all be absorbed, and the leather will be fairly dry/non-greasy in the morning.

So like I say, do this at least a couple times a year, or whenever your seat gets that shine as the one in the pic had.
Doing this properly, the seats should never age, or at least minimally.

EDIT: If anybody is on any other car forums, please copy & paste this link so others can benefit from it. I dont mind answering questions or helping out people from all over the place.


Any questions or whatever, just PM me, or email me at ************************************************** *********

DanTwoLakes 06-14-2012 10:38 PM

What you need to know about leather car seats is that unless you have a really high end car, the leather they use to make the seat covers is not very good quality. You are correct that really good quality leather breathes, but low quality leather has been processed on the outside and doesn't breathe at all. For the average leather car seat, anything you do to get the dirt and body oils off of the surface is good, but putting lanolin and other moisturizers on leather that doesn't breathe is a waste of time and money.

BarryK 06-16-2012 05:09 AM

Good info as, I have never cleaned my leather or pleather seats but go through Lexsol by the gallons since all 5 cars have so called leather seats.

One thing I have always wondered is I was taught as a kid when I got a new ball glove to soak the thing in "neats foot oil" then put a ball in the glove and tie the glove with a rope tight and let it set for a few days, still have my last new glove from 10th grade and it is still soft as can be.

Would neats foot oil be better on a car seat then the Lexsol?
Always wondered but scared to try.

Does it matter for treatment if the seats are leather or pleather?

Any way to tell what the seat is made of?

DanTwoLakes 06-16-2012 07:15 AM

We used to use Vaseline to form a pocket in a ball glove, and the object was not to soften the glove, but to create a hard "pocket" to catch the ball in. Don't use neetsfoot oil on your leather seats, or any other kind of oil. Oil won't evaporate, so you'll be getting it all over your clothes.

The only way to tell if your seats are leather or something else with some of the imitation leathers is to see the back of the leather or whatever.

Most leather car seats from the factory are not 100% leather. The "seating areas", in other words the parts that touch your body like the seat bottom and seat back, are leather, and the rest is matching vinyl.

painted jester 06-16-2012 11:29 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BarryK
Good info as, I have never cleaned my leather or pleather seats but go through Lexsol by the gallons since all 5 cars have so called leather seats.

One thing I have always wondered is I was taught as a kid when I got a new ball glove to soak the thing in "neats foot oil" then put a ball in the glove and tie the glove with a rope tight and let it set for a few days, still have my last new glove from 10th grade and it is still soft as can be.

Would neats foot oil be better on a car seat then the Lexsol?
Always wondered but scared to try.

Does it matter for treatment if the seats are leather or pleather?

Any way to tell what the seat is made of?

Barry :welcome: Neatsfoot oil is good for saddles, ball gloves or any other leathers that are in the weather but it should be applied hot! so it soaks into the leather and it stinks, LOL dont use it on car interiors :drunk: !!!!! Oils also darken leather!!


Chris

BarryK 06-16-2012 06:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by painted jester
Barry :welcome: Neatsfoot oil is good for saddles, ball gloves or any other leathers that are in the weather but it should be applied hot! so it soaks into the leather and it stinks, LOL dont use it on car interiors :drunk: !!!!! Oils also darken leather!! Chris

Yea forgot about it darkening, that would be a mess for sure.
That glove was never retreated but is was a good glove at the time and last played on a league when I was about 45-47 and the glove still is like new and you can still tell the oil is in it.
There is a possibility that when I went from hardball to softball I retreated it and tied a softball inside to make the glove pocket bigger but I just don't remember for sure.

When I get new work boots I treat with the neats foot before wearing and next time I will treat with it hot, did not know that, as In past i just would slop on.
Thanks for the info.

painted jester 06-17-2012 10:36 AM

Barry: :welcome: Dont heat it over open flame!!!!!!!!!!! :pain: its flammable! Boil water in a big pot remove it from the stove and put a smaller container with the oil in it in the hot boiled water , or use a microwave not used for food! You probebly already knew that Barry but some reading this might try to heat it on a stove LOL :D !!!

Chris :thumbup:

Graham M 06-17-2012 10:06 PM

Thanks to that well placed rule of "commercial advertising" :rolleyes:
The links I had for products were deleted, despite having absolutely no affiliation to any of them nor the companies that sell them. I was just trying point out good products that work.

Anyway, I'll list the good products to use here, and you guys can find them on any etailers website.

- Conolley's hide food
- Lexol
- Chemical guys - Leather conditioner
- PRO S - 44 LEATHER LOTION

^ I have experience with all of them, and they work excellent for what were doing here.

BarryK 06-18-2012 06:06 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Graham M
Thanks to that well placed rule of "commercial advertising" :rolleyes:
The links I had for products were deleted, despite having absolutely no affiliation to any of them nor the companies that sell them. I was just trying point out good products that work.

Anyway, I'll list the good products to use here, and you guys can find them on any etailers website.

- Conolley's hide food
- Lexol
- Chemical guys - Leather conditioner
- PRO S - 44 LEATHER LOTION

^ I have experience with all of them, and they work excellent for what were doing here.

Thanks, personally it helped me a lot and thought it was very educational.

DanTwoLakes 06-18-2012 07:28 AM

Your post was edited because you put links, your phone number/and/or your e-mail address in your post.
The moderator who edited your post had no way of knowing if you were soliciting to sell products, offering a service, or both. Listing the products you recommend is fine, but you still can't put your phone number or e-mail address in your post.

Graham M 06-18-2012 04:08 PM

^ The reason I did put my email is for other non-members on here. That way if they have questions they can just email them to me rather then sign up JUST to ask me about it.

No biggie there, but I've had a few people email me questions and whatnot that aren't necessarily on this forum, so I was just trying to save them time.

DanTwoLakes 06-18-2012 08:04 PM

This site is run differently than a lot of the others. All you have to do is put your e-mail address and phone number in your profile and then refer people to your profile for that info. That is allowed by the rules.

The idea is to keep the tech forums clear of any clutter and anything that could be construed as advertising.

BarryK 07-17-2012 09:55 AM

1 Attachment(s)
Dan 2 lakes,

Do you know if this is real leather or fake??

When I redid this corvette it had what they called the leather option, so I ordered the seat covers from ecklers, as you can see, I have about three thousand miles on this car since I redone and the seats are very soft and you can see where it wants to wrinkle.

Never thought to look at the backside, just ***-u-med they were real leather as not real cheap.

DanTwoLakes 07-17-2012 10:36 AM

2 Attachment(s)
Barry: I have the same seat covers in my '77 Vette, but mine are blue. They are all real leather except for the cording, which is vinyl.

BarryK 07-17-2012 04:42 PM

Thank you Dan, I had my doubts.


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