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Old 14-09-2017, 12:02 PM   #1
Mark@PD
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Thumbs up How To Care For Leather

Intro
Leather upholstery like everything else gets dirty, it also suffers from dye transfer from jeans, scratches on it tend to be more visible and the air con will dry it out and make it crack. So with all this said how do you clean and care for your leather interior and keep it healthy and looking great?

Understanding Leather
Modern leather tanning techniques have greatly improved the speed at which we can produce leather goods but the smell is gone. Your new car which you specked with a leather interior smells just like any other new car. Plus if you scratch the leather you will find that the colour does not go all the way through the hide. The factory process is basically to spray the colour on the tanned hide then spray on a lacquer on top in much the same way as they paint the exterior.

Factors effecting the leather or making it dirty are due to us driving the car. Dust and dirt getting into the car when the door is opened or coming in on our clothes, oils from our skin can also be harmful, and dye transfer from our clothing all add up. Also wear from the seat belt and on the bolsters from people getting in and out, these are areas that tend to get more abuse and may need a bit more of a clean than others.

You should aim to clean and condition your leather 2 or 3 times a year to keep it looking its best.

N.B. Never use household detergents, soap, shoe dubbin, beeswax, polishes or leather conditioners that tell you to polish the residue of, as this means it hasn’t soaked in and is sitting on top and will attract dust and dirt.

How to Safely Clean Leather
Ok so what should you use? I use a few products from dodo, glyptone and LTT. If the leather is really dirty I go with the dodo supernatural cleaner otherwise it’s LTT leather cleaner. The dodo product is expensive but very good, LTT is adequate to tackle the rest. Then if you are wondering about glyptone they make a product called ‘Leather Conditioner’ this conditions and leaves the smell of the leather behind.

So now you know how it gets dirty and what products to use let’s talk about how to clean the leather. You should clean it one section at a time, if it is very dirty use a soft leather cleaning brush to work the cleaner in before wiping it off. After you have cleaned it you can now use a small amount of conditioner to keep the leather soft and smelling nice. Glyptone also sell leather air fresheners so that will save you the bother of hiding your grandfather’s old briefcase under the back seat!

So go ahead and get your leather upholstery cleaned and looking like new again. As always if you need any further information or advice on how to use any of these products please get in touch. Leather can also crack and wear resulting in it needing to be re coloured, these are both issues that can be corrected.
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Old 14-09-2017, 03:28 PM   #2
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How To Care For Leather

Great post Barry, also nice to see a full explanation of the products and techniques required.
Is it worth as you mention applying a conditioner with the leather being sealed with a lacquer type product? I ask this as the front of my passenger seat feels quite dry and could do with a product to soften the leather to stop it cracking, been thinking of purchasing the LTT kit.


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Old 14-09-2017, 04:12 PM   #3
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Thanks for the post Barry.
I was under the impression that you should not/do not need to condition automotive leather ? Have I got this wrong ?
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Old 14-09-2017, 04:55 PM   #4
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Good post bud. One thing I always disagree with however is the term "modern leather" it's far to vague and ambiguous. Is it modern compared to a model t or something made this millennium? Leather is still tanned in different ways and finished in different ways too. I feel there is risk in inferring that all leather is the same simply since it's new.
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Old 14-09-2017, 05:27 PM   #5
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I suspect unless you just bought a Bentley or a Rolls Royce, what Barry is saying is accurate.

That said, I found this page on LTT's site very useful.
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Old 14-09-2017, 06:01 PM   #6
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I took advice from @Judyb at LTT Leather. Her advice was to clean, and protect the leather on my 3 series. It is saddle brown, which is essentially a primer and colour sprayed into the surface of the leather. There's no need to condition this type of leather as the conditioner will not soak in (and condition the leather) but will sit on the surface, serving simply to attract dirt.

The kit from LTT provided a foam cleaner, waterbased Auto Leather Protect, and an Auto Maintain. So far it's kept the leather in great condition.

Older style, aniline leather, where the leather is dyed, will need conditioning though.

Cheers.

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Old 14-09-2017, 06:03 PM   #7
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To be honest on my own car I only clean it I put nothing else on it but for a customer I will use Glyptone Leather Conditioner as the smell is nice. The reason I dont use anything is it is slightly greasy and I'm a bit paranoid it will attract dirt.

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Old 14-09-2017, 08:19 PM   #8
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So as I asked earlier, what do you do if the seats are drying/hardening in certain areas to attempt to bring back the softness of the leather?
Seems to me like a dark art properly maintaining leather seats, fine if properly maintained from new but very few cars are!


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Old 14-09-2017, 10:00 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rockhopper View Post
So as I asked earlier, what do you do if the seats are drying/hardening in certain areas to attempt to bring back the softness of the leather?
Seems to me like a dark art properly maintaining leather seats, fine if properly maintained from new but very few cars are!


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Really just give it a good clean and see how it looks, air con can dry out your leather. If you have a mobern car putting a conditioner on it may attract dirt I use it sparingly. If your leather is cracked you will see that the colour is only on the surface you will have to recolour it. Ultimate finish will sell you a dye kit matched from your VIN number if you need it.

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