If you’re anything like us, then you love to take pride in your cars and trucks. Whether it’s making sure that your car’s body looks its absolute best, or meticulously choosing tires to get the smoothest ride possible, you’re the type of person who wants their vehicle to look factory-fresh at all times.

Part of being factory-fresh means taking care of the different types of interiors your car has. Of course, whether your vehicle has a leather or a cloth interior, your focus should be on the comfort and style provided by your car seating. If you have chosen to opt-out of cloth seats in favor of their leather counterparts, you have also probably chosen to purchase a luxury model truck, SUV, or car at the dealership. As part of its luxury care, you also need to learn how to take care of its leather seats!

Proper care of your leather seating will not only increase the comfort of your car, but it can also help raise its value! Take good care of your seats by following these care and cleaning notes.

Leather Seat Care Notes

The first step in caring for your leather seating is to learn some of the basic care requirements for leather. There are over 120 different leather colors available, and not all of them have the same cleaning requirements. For example, lighter colors like tans and greys are susceptible to showing more dirt and stains.

In order to combat this, your lighter-color car seats need to be cleaned more frequently, and all stains need to be cleaned up before they can set. Darker-color seats need to be thoroughly cleaned at least 2-3 times a year as well.

If your car has a leather interior, you are probably all-too-familiar with the scorching hot state the upholstery goes through during the summer. Not only is this a pain to deal with, but it’s actually harmful to the interior of your car. While leather seating is made to withstand the sun, too much direct exposure can still be quite harmful.

We recommend investing in a set of window covers that cast the entire cabin in shade and protect the seating from the harsh rays of the sun. Not only will this reduce wear and fading, but it will keep your cabin nice and cool. Cracking your windows and parking in the shade will also provide another way to keep your car’s temperature more moderate.

The cooling sensation that these window covers provide is also beneficial to your leather, as too much heat can harm, crack, or dry the material. When temperatures outside are ranging anywhere from 80 to 100 degrees, the inside of your car can rise to be a scorching 130 to 180 degrees! Similarly, cold weather can chill your car as well.

Protect your seating against cracks by moisturizing it every three months. Always take into account the weather in your area, and never leave home without your window shades.


General Cleaning

As part of proper care, the leather interior of your vehicle should be cleaned regularly. Make it a regular habit to dust the upholstery, steering wheel, and dashboard with a clean microfiber cloth. Do not use paper towels, as they have a tendency to shed particles and will not gather the dust as easily.

Did you know that doing simple spot-cleaning can completely transform your leather seating? Spot cleaning allows you to return unsightly stains on your upholstery back to normal. Simply dip a cotton swab into some rubbing alcohol and blot the site of the stain. Be sure to use alcohol sparingly, as it can dry out the leather. When the stain has been lifted, gently clean the area with a mixture of mild dish soap and water. Be sure to dry the stain sites with a microfiber cloth to prevent water stains. Once again, do not use paper towels, as they can disintegrate and embed themselves within the leather fibers.

Deep Cleaning

Every few months you should deep clean the interior of your vehicle. You can purchase an upholstery kit for a reasonable price that includes leather cleaner, conditioner, and cloth to make this process easier. Follow these steps to properly clean the leather upholstery of your front and rear seats.

  1. Vacuum the leather seat to get rid of any crumbs, dirt, and debris that may be sitting on its surface. Doing this will help you avoid dragging particles across the leather, which could damage it. Pay close attention to the stitching of any patterns, as debris love to get trapped there.
  2. Following the directions on your upholstery kit, clean the seat with leather cleaner using a microfiber cloth. You can also clean your seats with a 5/1 mix of water and gentle dish washing soap. Be sure to not saturate your cleaning cloth with either cleaning material.
  3. If there are stubborn stains or deep-set dirt, you may need a soft-bristled brush to clean them. Spray cleaner on the seat, and gently scrub with your brush to agitate the debris.
  4. Wipe your seat clean with a microfiber cloth. Make sure it is completely dry to prevent warping or cracking.

To ensure maximum comfort and prevent cracking, be sure to condition your leather after each deep cleaning. Repeat this process approximately every three months to protect the leather properly.

When to Repair and Replace

Sometimes a leather seat may be so old, faded, or cracked that it is worth it to completely replace it. Other times, you might just be interested in upgrading to a higher quality upholstery or a different color. Whatever the reason, you should seek out a qualified leather installation company to do your upgrade.

At McDowells, we specialize in leather replacement and installing Katzkin leather conversions. Katzkin has been the industry leader for over 30 years. They offer over 120 colors, meaning you can match the original leather colors, or pick something new entirely. A fully transformed katzkin leather interior increases your car’s resale value while being both durable and long-lasting!

The experts at McDowells can also fix scuffs, cracks, holes, and fading in your auto upholstery! We deliver quality repairs and installations to make it like those defects never happened, and we’ll deep clean the area for you! For top-notch leather care and replacement, contact McDowells Specialty Repairs today!

Upholstery and Vinyl

If you boat regularly, you may be familiar with the fact that constantly stepping in and out of your boat can lead to damaged upholstery and ripped seats. The constant contact that these seats receive can reduce their lifespan. Properly maintain them by washing them regularly with dish soap and water, and wiping them down until they are fully dry.

We also suggest applying a protective sealant and conditioning the upholstery once the seats are dry.

If your upholstery and vinyl have been torn or ripped, however, you should schedule an appointment with a qualified boat repair professional to either repair or replace the damaged item.

Carpet and Stains

First, vacuum the carpet to remove any dust and let over sand particles. Then, wash the boat’s carpet by applying dish soap to a large sponge and blotting it around. Scrub the carpet to remove old stains, and rinse with clean water until no soap is left.

If your carpet is old and worn, or too heavily stained for washing to fix, it may be time to replace your carpet entirely.

Continued Maintenance

To continually maintain your boat, we recommend that you wash it every two weeks, or more often if you are an active boater. Simply hose the boat down and scrub it gently with a soft-bristle brush and mild soap to remove salt residue and prevent salt buildup.

Every three to four months we also suggest applying a gel coat wax/sealant to your boat. This acts as a waterproof barrier that will protect the fiberglass from UV damage and strengthen the boat’s structural integrity.

If you’ve run into larger rips, tears, damage, or holes during your boat inspection, don’t hesitate to contact the experts at McDowells! We specialize in vinyl repair, panel placement, carpet installment, stain removal, and bimini covers. We’ll make sure that your boat is all prepped and ready for the summer season, so you can get out there and have a great time in the waves!

Make sure to connect with McDowells on Facebook for updates, before & after photos, and contests @mcdowellsrepair

(208) 378-1530