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How to care for leather seats....my experiences!

29 August 2009
Phoenix, AZ
How to care for leather seats on You Tube:
Above is a great link to see how automotive leather seats should be cared for. They shouldn’t be "protected" by oils, creams, leather care products, etc. , anymore as automotive leather has changed. Many people think the leather needs to absorb these products to keep soft and reduce cracking. This is not the case with today's leather seats.
I have owned plenty of cars with leather "trimmed" seats. First off, they are no longer called "leather seats." They are now called "leather trimmed seats." Car manufacturers were forced to change the description of the seats since the majority of the seat is actually vinyl! On most cars, only the middle inserts are actually leather. The bolsters, head rests, seat backs, etc., are actually made of vinyl.
Today's leather seat cannot absorb conditioning products since the coloring of the leather is actually a urethane coating (paint, not dye as many think) that is sprayed over the raw leather. This coating will not allow any of the conditioners to absorb into the leather. Instead, these conditioners sit on the seats until it evaporates or is worn off by your clothing.
Ever notice how smeary, foggy and greasy the insides of your windows are soon after conditioning your leather? How difficult is it to get all the smearing off the windows while you clean them? This is actually the leather conditioner evaporating off the seats since it cannot soak into the leather. Stop conditioning your seats and your windows will clear up!
My experience has been putting a conditioner on the urethane coated seat actually is bad for the seat. The conditioner is greasy, and attracts and holds dirt. This dirt is then ground into the seat when you get in and out of your car causing more wear and tear.
I have a very simple process that keeps my leather seats looking like new! About twice a year, I use a very soft horse hair brush to clean the seats with water and Woolite soap for delicate garments. Woolite has a very low ph factor and will not harm the seats like most leather cleaners out there. I then use a very wet towel to wipe the Woolite solution off the seats. I follow upon with a dry towel. That is it! I have been very successful keeping my leather seats looking like new using this method! No leather cleaners, conditioners, etc., for me anymore! The best part is the windows inside my car are a snap to clean with very little effort!

This is how I cared for the leather seats in my past two NSX's and current C6 Corvette. They all look like new when I sold them!
Great write up! I never would of thought using woolite at all. I've spent so much money on leather cleaners and conditioners, trying to prevent the seats from cracking and hardening. I pretty much used all kinds of brand and method. In my opinion they don't really bring back that soft new leather feel and touch. So I gave up on trying to make it soft again. I'm just trying to prevent it from getting any harder...
This is interesting.
Anyone else not treat their seats?
I don't treat mine often, and I feel bad about it. Maybe I shouldn't feel bad?
So if I understand correctly, you can use Woolite on ALL (leather and vinyl sections) of the NSX seats, front, back and bolsters. Does this also mean anything else with vinyl/leather combo like the dash and doors?

I have always used the Lexol leather cleaner and conditioner and will switch if the above method is better for our NSX's. For full disclosure I use the Lexol vinyl conditioner on the the dash and doors (not the triangle sections), is this ok?

Thanks in advance.
My friend Craig (sold his years ago) brought back some seats from the dead by using a leather conditioner. They were hard as hell! I thought it was a waste of time, but in the end they looked 100% better. I ended up with the seats in my old NSX and forgot them being as trashed as they were.