how to clean the leather seats in my toyota highlander
July 28, 2013 6:58 AM   Subscribe

i have a 7 year old and a 9 year old and the backseat of my highlander has gotten filthy. i took it to get detailed and i was surprised at how little effect it had on the leather seats ... the grime is gone but they still look dirty. i want to get to work on it myself this week... any suggestions on how to clean leather car seats?
posted by alcahofa to Home & Garden (4 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Leather cleaner and a leather brush.
posted by sevensnowflakes at 7:35 AM on July 28, 2013

Best answer: Saddle soap to clean it, followed by leather cream, then followed a few days later by polish. Saddle soap will dry the leather a little bit, and leather cream will fix that. Shoe/leather polish/wax really helps protect leather.
posted by theora55 at 8:07 AM on July 28, 2013

A lot of automobile seat leather is chrome tanned, a process that tends to make the leather fibers a dark grey to pale blue color (hides tanned this way are even called "blues" before further finishing), and then finished with dyes and top coats, to the desired color and grain pattern. If your kids have worn through the top coat of the leather, further "cleaning" isn't going to replenish the color, and might even make the current problem a lot worse.

There are various DIY type products that you can buy to try to recolor and recoat leather seats with this wear condition, but your best bet for getting a job that will look right and last may be to find a professional leather restoration service in your area. The risk you take with DIY products is that if you do the job incorrectly, the products you apply may further change/damage the leather surface, making subsequent professional restoration more difficult, and less likely to eventually match the rest of your vehicle interior.

One other option is to check local junk yards for a rear seat for your vehicle in the same trim color, and swap it for your worn seat. Because of natural variation of leather color in production runs, and wear and sun aging since production, its unlikely you'll get a perfect match for the rest of your interior, but it might be the cheapest way to get an acceptable result if your existing seat is very deeply scuffed, beyond what simple top recoat and color matching can accomplish.
posted by paulsc at 9:47 AM on July 28, 2013

Response by poster: saddle soap, followed by leather cream worked great.

looking for some polish...
posted by alcahofa at 5:25 PM on August 25, 2013

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