The best car leather cleaner

Treat your leather interior to a new lease of life with one a brilliant leather cleaner

Cleaning down a leather car seat

by Ryan Gilmore |

Leather is a fantastic material to use in a car interior because it's very hard-wearing. Sadly, many take the robustness of the material as a reason to not properly care for it. You need to properly clean and condition leather interiors to keep them looking their best, as well as avoiding damage and premature wear.

RELATED: The best car carpet cleaners for carpet and fabric stains

We've put together a list of all you could need to keep your leather interior looking top-notch. From full kits to necessary equipment and even a quick-fix solution, there'll be something for everyone.

How to clean your leather interior:

  1. Check that your car uses natural leather (sounds silly, but some faux leather is very convincing). If your car uses real, then it's safe to start cleaning. Also, be wary of perforated leather, you'll need to be more cautious using cleaning products on a perforated surface.
  1. Give the areas a good vacuum before getting the leather cleaning products out. Remove larger bits of dirt and left-over food while being careful not to scratch the leather. We recommend using a proper car vacuum cleaner for this because it's simply less of a hassle.
  1. Apply some of the leather cleaner to a microfibre towel and begin removing the surface dirt from the leather. Be careful not to use too much in one go, you'll be left with a slippery, greasy mess.
  1. Using a brush with rigid bristles, begin to scrub more embedded dirt. After this, wipe down with a clean microfibre cloth, you'll be able to see the dirt and oil on the towel (there will be more than you think).

If you've chosen an all-in-one cleaner, so long as you've wiped it all down with a clean towel you'll be done and free to admire your immaculate leather interior. If you've chosen one of the sets, on the other hand, it's now time to condition.

  1. Do a spot test with your conditioner on a relatively hidden area, make sure the conditioner doesn't discolour or mark the leather.
  1. If it leaves no marks, use a microfibre towel and begin rub in the conditioner. It's best not to apply the conditioner directly to the leather because it's very easy to end up using too much and creating a greasy mess.
  1. Leave the conditioner to settle overnight before buffing with another microfibre towel.

What if my leather seats are damaged?

If your leather seats are flakier than a Cadbury Flake or cracked and torn then simple leather cleaner isn't going to be enough to get them looking good again. Thankfully there are plenty of options to fix this:

You can invest in some leather restorer that'll help soften your leather and prevent it from cracking. We recommend this natural leather conditioner that will restore and protect your leather upholstery and doesn't use any harsh chemicals or leave a nasty smell.

If your seats are very damaged you can use a recolouring balm to not only cover up scratches and nicks, but restore your original colour. We recommend using this balm from Furniture Clinic because it is well priced, effective and available in a wide range of colours.

And if all else fails, there is always the choice to buy a seat cover. We've written about the best seat covers already (including heated options) but if you still want the luxury feeling of leather, we've found the best leather seat covers too.


The best car vacuum cleaners

Parkers' paint protection guide for DIYers

How to properly clean your car's interior

Sign up to the Parkers Newsletter to keep up to date with more of the latest reviews, news, and recommendations from the Parkers team.

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us