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How to Clean and Mend Leather Seats

By Charles Hopkins Published 07/6/2006 | Auto and Trucks

If your vehicle has leather seats, then you must do a few things to maintain them in a condition that will ensure that they are comfortable to sit on, kept clean, and have no holes or tears. What are the best methods of doing this? To begin with, make the repairs after cleaning.

Leather must be cared for regularly to prevent drying, cracking, and other damage. To clean the leather, you should use a soft cloth, a mild soap and water or a cleaner that is made specifically for leather car seats. There will be many of these to choose from. Make sure whatever cleaner is used is thoroughly rinsed out of the leather; otherwise, it can cause damage to the material.

Once the seats are clean, they should be conditioned. This will help protect the leather from body oils, ultraviolet rays, or heat. When choosing the right conditioner, it is recommended by many that you try to avoid a silicone based one. A petroleum based conditioner may be good for your seats, especially if its an American vehicle. Also be sure that what you use on your leather car seats is specifically for leather, not for vinyl or any other material. Conditioning should be done every three months if you can.

Next you should turn your attention to repair alternatives. You can take your vehicle, with its leather seats, to a professional upholstery repair company/person. There are many such places available to do the job. This could be costly, depending on the shop, but they will do a professional job, making the seats look like new without the repair being obvious to the eye. These people will match the color of the repaired spot carefully to the seat. This route should leave you completely satisfied with the look of your repaired seats. Unfortunately, you may find that it could cost you up to two hundred dollars per seat to repair, depending on how bad the damage is. Finding a used seat cushion, which may not even be the right color, could cost about fifty dollars. These are hefty prices to pay. 

So, it may be better for you to try to do it yourself; its easy to arrange. There are many places where you can purchase a leather repair kit that not only has the repair compound, but the color mixes as well. The repair kit will contain a repair compound that will repair your car seat in minutes whether the damage is a burn hole, tear, or other small hole. First, you mix the color to match your leather seat. The kit will have all the current popular colors. Then you apply the compound to the spot, leaving it for two minutes before removing the grain paper that must cover it as it sets. Thats all you need to do and the seat looks like new.

For many, based on cost and the desire to have the job done to perfection, both cleaning and repairing leather car seats may be better done by the vehicle's owner.