Sealing your leather car seats is very important if you want to make the leather last for a long time without cracking. But how do you actually do this? What products are best?
In this article I’ll be taking you through a complete guide to sealing the leather in your car’s interior. So let’s get started.
The Quick Answer
To seal the leather properly you first need to prepare it by cleaning it using a leather-specific cleaner, and then wipe it down with a damp microfiber towel. Apply the sealant using a microfiber towel or pad, leave to dry and then wipe again using a microfiber towel to remove the excess.
Check out this video on the Auto Care HQ YouTube channel, or read on for a detailed explanation.
Preparing the Leather
Before sealing the leather, it’s important to make sure the surface is protected properly. Otherwise, the leather sealant won’t last very long on the seats because it won’t be bound properly.
So how do you actually prepare the leather for sealing? It’s pretty simple really. Here are the three steps.
Step #1 Hoover the seats
You need to make sure the seats are super clean before sealing, and that starts with removing all the dust and dirty using a hoover. Make sure you pay attention to the grooves in the seat, and the stitching.
Step #2 Use a leather cleaner
Once the seats have been hoovered, you can move onto the cleaning step. Some people use an all-purpose-cleaner (APC), on leather, but I don’t think it’s the best approach.
Leather is one of the most sensitive surfaces in the interior of your car, so using a specific leather cleaner is a safer option.
Personally, I use Colourlock’s Mild Leather Cleaner. It’s a foam cleaner that you massage into the seats using either microfiber, or a soft bristle brush and then wipe away with a fresh microfiber cloth. I use this to give my leather seats a deep clean and remove all the oil and dirty build up.
Sealing the Leather
Once the leather is prepped and ready, you can actually start sealing your leather. The exact way to do this really depends on what leather sealant you’ve chosen. Always check the manufacturers instructions before using any product on your car.
Personally, I use The Leather Repair Company LRC4 Protection Cream. It’s very cheap for a small bottle, and it lasts a long time because you only need to use it sparingly.
I apply it by putting a small amount onto a cheap microfiber pad, then I massage it into the leather evenly, ensuring all the areas are covered. Then I wait around 15 minutes and then remove any excess with a fresh, dry microfiber cloth.
How Often Does Leather Need Sealing?
The frequency at which you need to seal your leather depends on a couple of factors:
- How often you drive the car
- What leather sealant you’re using
The LRC4 Protection Cream that I use lasts for roughly 3 months, but I usually apply it every 1-2 months. A little goes a long way so I don’t mind using it more often.
The best way to check if your leather needs sealing again is to test whether it’s still water repellent. Put a couple of drops of water (DO NOT ADD LOADS) on the leather, if it beads up, then you’re fine for a while. If the water doesn’t really bead up then it’s time to reapply.
Is Sealing the Leather Necessary?
I think that sealing leather seats, and the rest of your leather interior is pretty crucial if you want the leather to stay smooth, supple and cleaner for longer.
Sealants have several big advantages.
- It provides a hydrophobic coating so that water and dirt are repelled from the surface, instead of soaked in.
- Leather sealants protect the surface from UV rays to avoid fading.
- They keep the leather feeling soft and supple so it’s nice to sit on, and also prevents cracking over time.
- They reduce the friction on the leather so that the leather is less likely to get rubbed against, causing permanent damage.
- Leather sealants prevent dye transfer from jeans leading to discolouration.
What Happens if You Don’t Seal Leather?
If you don’t seal the leather in your car, then you won’t probably notice much of a difference straight away, except for the slippy properties.
However, it will reduce the overall life span of your leather. It can cause it to dry out faster, expose it to more friction so it scratches more easily, and allows it to fade over time.
Sealing your leather is important to preserve it. If you don’t plan on having your car this time next year, then it probably won’t make a huge difference.
But after a couple of years, you’ll definitely notice the difference between leather that has been properly treated using a sealant, and leather that’s been neglected.
Should I Seal or Condition the Leather?
This depends on what condition the leather in your car is in.
New leather does not need sealing, because it already has a “clear coat” protecting it. However, over time, this clear code wears away, exposing the leather more.
Using a sealant helps to delay the process, but it will still happen gradually over time. If you look after you leather and apply a sealant regularly, then the clear coat can last a few years.
However, once it’s worn away, you should also condition the leather. This will help keep it smooth and supply. There’s no point conditioning new leather seats because it won’t get through the clear coat.
So if your leather seats are less than 3 years old, then just apply a sealant.
If your leather seats are more than 3 years old, consider applying a leather conditioner, followed by a sealant.
The sealant should always be applied last to make sure you’re getting all the benefits.
Thanks for reading! I hope you’ve found this article helpful. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the blog to find out how to get your car looking it’s best.