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2020 Abarth 124 Brillante White Velleno package with Monza exhaust.
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First off I want to say I did not write this, but I found it very informative and wanted to share with my fellow enthusiasts.

Graham M's Avatar
Graham M 08:57 PM 06-27-2012

Hey guys, I originally wrote this up as a "HOW TO" to maintain car seats. This write up works on all types of leather, asides from "Pleather" I mean to say.
Long story is, is that back shortly after high school I was detailer, so I learned this technique from an industry "guru" I guess you can call him.

Basically using this technique, you can prevent leather seats from aging/cracking. This way the seats will always shine like new. This can be applied to anything leather, even jackets.

Keep in mind; Leather is just cow skin. Unfortunately since there is no cow there to keep the leather moisturized: the responsibility is entirely on you.

Now as a disclaimer: to my knowledge there is no way to repair cracking. So if the seats are already cracked there isn't any way to repair them, short of replacing the section thats cracked/worn.

All this technique will do is prevent the cracks from spreading, and to keep new ones from forming. It will also keep the seats looking new just so long as you do this. For regular use this should be done at least twice a year. Ideally 4 times a year would be good. You dont have to do ALL the seats, but if your like me and are pretty much the only occupant in the car, its best you at least do the drivers seat (& steering wheel if leather wrapped) this many times. I'd do the rest of the seats maybe once or twice a year.

Anyway, a very dirty seat will look like this.

(First off I apologize for the ****ty Iphone pics)

(I bought the car used with seats looking like this if you're wondering)
Note its shiny appearance; thats exactly what you dont want. That means the seat is covered in dirt & grease. A seat should never look like this unless you put interior shine or whatever on it.
The thing is; nothing should be put on it short of the moisturizing cream/lotion. Chemicals just hurt the leather, so always keep things like Armor all (and the like) the hell away from leather.

Keep in mind that leather has pores, just like human skin. When dirt & filth fills them they cant breath, and thus the leather begins to dry out.
Also, by just gooping on the leather moisturizer onto a dirty seat; it has really no way of getting into the seats to do its job.

Which brings us to the first step.
Grab a scrub brush and some mild (non-acidic) cleaner. Obviously, dont use engine degreaser or anything of that sort (Yes I've seen people do that). I personally used Simple green as its quite good for this, only I used it straight without diluting it. If you're worried the stuff you have is bad for leather, try it on a wallet or something that you dont really care about before trying it on your car seats.

Just do a small section at a time, then quickly wipe it off. Almost all cleaners are harmful to leather so its best you get the cleaner off it as soon as you can. Also, this will prevent the dirt & chemicals from seeping back into the pores. So dont do the WHOLE seat then wipe it off. Do perhaps the bottom of the seat, then the sides, then the back (etc etc). Dont worry about using a fair bit of cloths/clean rags. Its better to use a lot (then wash them if you're using re-usable rags/cloths) then to be wiping the seats down with filthy rags, which basically doesn't do much of anything.

After your done, it should look like this.

Note its dull appearance, thats what you're looking for as leather shouldn't shine at all.

After all the seats (& steering wheel or whatever other leather bits you may have in your car) are clean we'll start moisturizing them.

For that, you can use a typical household sponge.
For moisturizers to use; the ones that are best have something called Lanolin oil in them. This oil is important as its the best moisturizing agent you can put on your seats. Dont bother with these "cleaner and moisturizer" types. You need to PROPERLY clean the seats, then moisturize the leather. These companies that try to combine them offer pretty bad stuff that doesn't work nearly as well as it should.

So once you have the lotion, apply it fairly thick.

^ Even thicker then that. Plan it out so that after you coat the seats, you can leave it sit for at least a few hours so the lotion can absorb. Dont wipe it down, as it needs time to be absorbed which at a bare minimum will be at least 4 hours. Basically if you leave the seat like this over night it should all be absorbed, and the leather will be fairly dry/non-greasy in the morning.

So like I say, do this at least a couple times a year, or whenever your seat gets that shine as the one in the pic had.
Doing this properly, the seats should never age, or at least minimally.

EDIT: If anybody is on any other car forums, please copy & paste this link so others can benefit from it. I dont mind answering questions or helping out people from all over the place.

Any questions or whatever, just PM me

Some very good conditioners are these. They can be bought from any detailing supply store or any etailer.
  • Conolley's hide food
  • Lexol
  • Chemical guys - Leather conditioner
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