Maintaining and cleaning the interior of our car is just as important as managing they exterior. When it comes to the outside layers, there are a plethora of great products, but what is the best leather cleaner for cars? Leather is a notoriously hard-to-maintain material, but fortunately, there are several excellent products to choose from when it comes to maintaining your car’s leather interior.
Types of Leather Cleaners
Dedicated Car Leather Cleaner – As you might expect, these cleaners are designed specifically for cars; and as a result, they tend to do a better job at cleaning car leather. Car leather has unique properties when compared to other types of leather, such as more exposure to fading UV light and larger extremes of temperature. As a general rule, when you purchase a car with a leather interior, you are actually cleaning the clear protective layer that the manufacturer coats the leather in. This means that dedicated car leather cleaners are formulated to clean this rather than the leather itself.
Generalized Leather Cleaner – Don’t get us wrong, generalized leather cleaner can still do a great job cleaning your car’s interior. These products really shine when the protective layer that is included on most car leather has begun to fade or when there is no protective layer. When this is the case, these cleaners can really rejuvenate the interior of your car. Since these products are designed to clear contaminants, you can definitely use the majority of them in your car as well, even with the water-based protective layer intact.
Some Additional Purchases to Make Cleaning Your Leather Easier
Leather and Upholstery Scrubber Brush – Which stiffness you pick for your brush will greatly depend on the texture of your leather interiors. If you find that there is a lot of rough texture, then we suggest you use a brush with stronger bristles that will get inside the valleys and bumps that are on the surface of your leather.
Rubber Gloves – Protecting your hands should be job number one. Leather cleaning chemical solutions can be harsh on your hands, so make sure that you are using some protective gloves when you do your leather cleaning.
Synthetic Scrub Pads – These are non-abrasive and won’t damage the leather or surfaces of your car. This is perfect for working off the top layer of grime from your car. That being said, don’t use this on many of the non-leather surfaces of your car, since it can leave small scratches.
Toothbrush – A regular toothbrush will help you apply your leather cleaning product to the seams of your leather interiors. The upholstery brush and pads may consistently miss these areas, but the small bristles of a toothbrush will get deep into and scrub those crevasses.
Best Design Feature
Chemical Guys SPI_109_16 Leather Cleaner and Conditioner Complete Leather Care Kit
This Chemical Guys product actually lifts and suspends dirt and residue and gets into the pores of the leather.
Leather Milk Leather Conditioner and Cleaner – Leather Care Liniment No. 1
This product not only cleans away contaminants, it also leaves a great scent.
Leather Cleaner by Leather Honey
This formula is concentrated so that you’ll get a lot with a small 32 ounce bottle.
Lexol Leather Cleaner, Conditioner, and Vinylex 16.9 oz. Combo Pack with Sponge
This product has a several-layer system that cleans and protects your leather surfaces.
TriNova Leather Conditioner & Cleaner
You’ll add vital nutrients back into your leather’s make up.
Wolfgang Leather Care Combo
You can both clean and condition your leather with this combo kit.
Pinnacle Leather Combo
This kit comes with everything that you’ll need for a thorough cleaning.
1) Chemical Guys SPI_109_16 Leather Cleaner and Conditioner Complete Leather Care Kit
Product Link: https://www.amazon.com/Chemical-Guys-SPI_109_16-Conditioner-Complete/dp/B001TJ3HUG/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&qid=1462825053&sr=8-1&keywords=Chemical+Guys+Leather+Conditioner+and+Cleaner&linkCode=sl1&tag=leathercaremcnt-20&linkId=aaf22577a41a2d55a00015b8e3823f8b
Chemical Guys is a brand that almost always provides excellence. As a matter of fact, the majority of their products work so well that they usually provide results that are on par with professional work. We really liked their leather cleaner because of its ability to get down into the pores of the leather upholstery and lift dirt so that it can be quickly wiped away.
The SPI_109_16 Leather Cleaner and Conditioner really has a premium feel to it that provided premium results in our tests. When we were finished cleaning our leather test vehicles, we noticed that the upholstery was shinier and also was clearly protected from additional debris and grime.
In addition to this, the product is also pH balanced to cut and remove oils from your leather, which we found to restore some of the lost “new leather look” in our test vehicles. We also liked the fact that when we wiped the cleaned surfaces, no oily or soapy residue was left on the upholstery.
2) Leather Milk Leather Conditioner and Cleaner – Leather Care Liniment No. 1
Product Link: https://www.amazon.com/Leather-Milk-Conditioner-All-Natural-Saddleback/dp/B007ZDDUCK/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&qid=1462826237&sr=8-1&keywords=Chamberlain%27s+Leather+Milk+Conditioner+and+Cleaner&linkCode=sl1&tag=leathercaremcnt-20&linkId=5c5b33d8d8086931476b16002fafe639
As the first product that wasn’t specifically designed for vehicles on this list, the Leather Milk Leather Conditioner and Cleaner does a great job restoring life to damaged and aged leather. As the name implies, this product is somewhat milky when you apply it to your leather interior upholstery. This solution will actually make torn and scratched leather look new again through a conditioning process.
Many similar products have a tendency to feel a bit greasy, especially in the first few days after a treatment, but since this Leather Milk doesn’t use chemicals, it seems to leave no oily residue. We really liked the crisp fragrance of this product; it even accomplishes this through natural solutions.
When we tested it out, we really thought the included reusable cotton terry applicator pad was a thoughtful addition from Chamberlain’s. This will definitely save you from having to buy a brush to apply the solution.
3) Leather Cleaner by Leather Honey
Product Link: https://www.amazon.com/Leather-Cleaner-Honey-Accessories-Concentrated/dp/B00HU6N3LK/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&qid=1462825691&sr=8-2&keywords=Leather+Honey+Leather+Cleaner&linkCode=sl1&tag=leathercaremcnt-20&linkId=468965be9bc2a2ae73ba008b76bfa71a
Another generalized leather cleaner, Leather Honey’s leather cleaner is a concentrated leather cleaner that uses a gentle formulation to restore leather to its glory days. The solution, when diluted, will provide about 32 ounces of leather honey for your car’s leather interiors.
This product is completely non-toxic and doesn’t use harsh chemicals to clean the leather surfaces of your car. Even though most car upholstery has a protective water-based layer, this product will still remove dirt, oil, and even stains. During our research into this product, we noticed that you really don’t need a lot of the diluted solution to get a deep clean.
Once we applied it to our automotive surfaces, the difference was like night and day. The seats on our test vehicle, which was a 2003 Toyota Camry, were rejuvenated; what once were dull and matte leather seats quickly became shiny and soft again when we applied this product.
Unfortunately, the Leather Honey leather cleaner doesn’t come with any brushes or pads, so you’ll have to get those for yourself.
4) Lexol Leather Cleaner, Conditioner, and Vinylex 16.9 oz. Combo Pack with Sponge
Simply put, if you want a full performance product that doesn’t cost a lot, then this Lexol Combo pack works wonders. This all-in-one package definitively cleans your leather surfaces and uses a pH balanced formulation to lift additional grime and stains out of the pores of your leather interiors. After the cleaning is done, you can apply the Lexol conditioner, which we found does a great job of preserving leather surfaces.
As we mentioned previously, car leather tends to have a water-based protectant layer that helps defend against environmental factors. This kit also has a Vinylex protectant that does something very similar to leather surfaces that have become damaged over time. It even uses DH-60 UV sunscreen to augment the protectant that is already in your leather interior. We really liked this feature as it will prevent premature aging of the leather inside your vehicle.
5) TriNova Leather Conditioner & Cleaner
Not only does TriNova clean your leather surfaces, but it also does a great job at conditioning them so that they look better for a longer time. When we tested it on our test vehicle, which was a 2000 Toyota Celica, we noticed that the aging seats really regained a lot of their shine. According to TriNova, this is because the solution actually restores nutrients to the leather so that it is nourished and revitalized.
Once the cleaning and conditioning is complete, this product also protects the leather from additional damage while making it feel like new. It’s not in any way acidic; as a matter of fact, the pH of this product is a neutral seven, so you won’t have to worry about damaging your surfaces. Unfortunately, the solution doesn’t protect against UV rays, but if you use this on car leather seats, you should already have a layer of protection.
6) Wolfgang Leather Care Combo
The next product on our list is the Wolfgang Leather care combo. It is a combination of products that provide a deep cleaned surface on the leather interior of your vehicle as well as a conditioner that penetrates deep into the leather to keep it from aging. The shampoo is an all natural product that relies on natural citrus to create a cleaning power that will get deep into the crevices of the leather material to remove any debris that may have accumulated over the years.
We like the fact that the conditioner adds a level of protection to the leather. This conditioner seals all of the leather and other interior surfaces with a U/V protected that helps resist sun damage. It also protects the leather from stains and unwanted discoloration. If you dislike purchasing a lot of products to clean the interior of your vehicle, this Wolfgang leather care combo is also great for cleaning fabric, vinyl, rubber, and trim.
7) Pinnacle Leather Combo
The Pinnacle Leather Combo is a great option for cleaning the leather interior of your car. This set includes a shampoo, a conditioner, a microfiber cloth, and a foam applicator to make sure that you have everything that you need to clean the leather of your vehicle in one package. The shampoo can even be used on vinyl, so you will be able to clean most of your other surfaces as well.
The shampoo is made from natural citrus, which means that it will give you a deeply cleaned leather interior that smells great as well. It cleans so well that all of the dimples and pores in the leather will look virtually brand new. Dirt and oil are easily washed away, and then you simply need to apply a layer of conditioner to the leather to reintroduce some of the natural oils of the leather into the surface of your seats. The oils will absorb, so you will not find any greasy residue like that which can be left by some cleaners.
One of the best feelings in automotive maintenance is when you have a sparkling clean car that you can show off to your kids or even your neighbors. We’ve featured several great automotive care products that will get your leather interiors to a new level of clean. Each of these has unique attributes that we found to be very effective when cleaning the interior of most modern cars, and they will all add years to the life spans of leather car cockpits.
As usual, we have a best pick. Our favorite of the bunch is our final entry – the Pinnacle Leather Combo. This leather cleaning kit is the most expensive product of the bunch and this is for good reason. Pinnacle threw everything you need into this kit including a microfiber cloth and a foam applicator. This product also shines when it comes to overall gentleness; with it, you’ll know that your interior is being well-maintained and protected while it’s being cleaned.
The best bang for your buck, on the other hand, we feel is the Chemical Guys SPI_109_16 Leather Cleaner and Conditioner Complete Leather Care Kit. This kit goes for about $30 and it cleans and maintains at a very deep level. The fact that this cleaner actually lifts grime really made it one of our favorites during our research. Add to this the fact that it also protects, and you’ve got a great product for the money.