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Old 12-12-2009, 08:39 PM   #1
OCD Sufferer (Obsessive Car Detailer)
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Autoglym Leather Care Balm

The Product:
Autoglym Leather Care Balm (500ml)

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From the Autoglym website:
Leather upholstery is very durable providing the essential oils and preservatives are regularly replenished as they get eroded by evaporation and general wear and tear.

Leather Care Balm is a carefully blended emulsion containing soaps, natural oils and polymeric surface proofing agents which nourish, moisturise and provide protection from marks and staining. Regular light treatment will preserve the natural appearance and characteristics of automotive and motorcycle leather, with the added benefit of easy cleaning and ongoing spill protection.

Leather Care Balm is primarily a feeder and protectant for use on clean or pre-cleaned leather. Soiled leather should first be cleaned with Autoglym Leather Cleaner.

Leather Care Balm is also suitable for use on motorcycle leathers. Soiled leather should first be cleaned with Autoglym Motorcycle Leather Cleaner.

Price and Availability:
RRP unknown - a quick search reveals £9.99 to be the price at which this product is surfacing at for the 500ml bottle.
As part of Autoglym's Retail Range, this product will be available from the usual outletters.

Used on:
Previously untreated leather sofa.

From the back of the bottle:
Shake well (the bottle, I presume).

Always test a small inconspicuous area first to check for water staining and colour fastness. Apply Leather Care Balm to a soft cotton cloth, Autoglym Polishing Cloth is ideal, or an Autoglym Perfect Palm Applicator. Gently massage into the surface of the leather and continue massaging until the creaminess disappears.

Allow a few minutes for absorbtion to take place then buff briskly with a clean soft cotton cloth, turning the cloth frequently until any surplus balm disappears.

The optimum proofing benefits will be achieved after approximately 48 hours when the protectant will have fully cured.
The product comes packaged in Autoglym's usual 500ml rectangular bottle with a flip-top lid.

Appearance & Fragrance:
The product is a white lotion, quite thick in texture and much akin to a skin moisturising lotion. There is a subtle leather scent present upon flipping the top of the bottle which is ever present throughout use and lingers afterwards.

It is difficult to speak about leather fragrances without using the words "pleasant" or "unpleasant" and that itself is a very emotive word when it comes to automotive leather fragrances.

The fragrance is by no means strong, nor "characterful" in the way that the Gliptone conditioner might be described. That itself might be disappointing to some and yet to others, exactly the reason for selecting this product. Personally, I like a stronger scent.

Compared to the older Leather Cream, I think the scent might be slightly less powerful in the new Leather Care Balm product.

This is a leather conditioner and protector - there is no mention, nor recommendation from Autoglym that this product can be used on other materials, such as vinyl.

As a leather care product, there is mention on the website (although not on the bottle) that this product is suitable for motorcycle leathers, given the new protective properties of the balm. By inference, it is suitable for leather that will be directly exposed to the elements, such as motorcycle seats and convertible car leather.

Ease of use:
I often apply leather care products by massaging the lotion into the leather by hand and wear latex gloves so that the product does not soak into my skin but the warmth of my hands will go through the glove into the leather.

This product was applied to our hitherto untreated sofa using a microfibre pad. A small blob of product not much larger than a Smartie was applied to the pad and then worked into an area about 18" square. That was quite sufficient to adequately cover the area without having to be worked thin and did not clump up anywhere on the surface.

The amount of product shown in the picture would be sufficient to treat about half a seat panel, so, the main section in the seat or back of the seat in a car. A further application would be required to go around the outside of the seat panel.

Apply too much and you simply need to spread out the product over a larger area. Apply too little and you simply need to apply a little more. There is no evidence of the product treating the immediate area of contact more than the rest of the surface that it was spread over.

In a word, fool-proof.

The product makes the surface noticeably more lively - initially, glossy but once the product has been buffed with a clean cloth that glossiness is slightly reduced leaving leather that appears revived.

Left for a few minutes and then buffed with a clean microfibre cloth, the glossingess is reduced but not removed, as shown in the upper half of this picture versus the lower half which has yet to be buffed:

At no stage is the surface tacky, something that is present with a water-proofing product from an immediate competitor. It certainly does have this on its side. Buffing is very easy and once done, there is no transference to hands or clothes. The leather that is left is soft, supple and looks good.

Autoglym state that the protective qualities will become most apparent after 48 hours. Even after only a short period, the leather is hydrophobic and water let stand for a few minutes shows no sign whatsoever of having gone into the leather - puffiness and a slight discolouration would be apparent if so. Once wiped off, again, there appeared to be no transference of product onto a towel used to remove the water.

Autoglym claim on the back of the bottle that two to three applications per year should be adequate. This sounds about right, having maintained two cars worth of leather for a good few years now.

The price pitch would appear to be about right, given around £6.95 for 250ml being an average price for product from competitors. Given the ease of use, the finish that is left and the amount that is included in the bottle it cannot be faulted for value - simply, it works and it's priced right.

Overall DW Rating:

I give this product an 80% rating.
Clearly the two areas that this product has on its side is the non-tacky finish and the protection that is offered once the product cures, although I was left disappointed by the lack of "characterful" leather scent.

Many thanks indeed to Autoglym for providing a bottle of this new product for me to try - I will certainly continue to use it over the coming year, or so on our two cars. I normally switch between Autoglym and Gliptone for my leather care, covering a three piece suite, a two seater sofa, a single chair and two cars worth of automotive leather.

If you like the sound of this product, do look out for it in the usual outlets.

Last edited by Orca; 12-12-2009 at 10:43 PM. Reason: Minor correction to replace the word "clean" with "treat" ... slip of the tongue ... my apologies.
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