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Leather Conditioner And Cleaner


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What do you guys recommended I use to condition the leather for the IS? Is it harmful to use "Armour All" products on the leather? I think the leather in the IS is a thinner type of leather compared to the thicker kinds found in other vehicles.

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My favorite is lexol conditioner. It has a wood/leather like smell that smells natural. I bought mine at pep boys for around $10, and others have said it is at target. If you buy it, spray a small amount on a damp microfiber towell and rub it into the seat. Use it sparingly. Then buff it with a clean towell. If you apply too much you tend to get a slimy look on the seats.

I used to use the armor all leather wipes and found them to be too slimy. Meguiars 2 in 1 leather wipes were WAY too slimy for me also.

Oh, and don't forget to clean the leather first. Try mixing 1 part woolite to 5-10 parts of water. It works great.

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My favorite is lexol conditioner. It has a wood/leather like smell that smells natural. I bought mine at pep boys for around $10, and others have said it is at target. If you buy it, spray a small amount on a damp microfiber towell and rub it into the seat. Use it sparingly. Then buff it with a clean towell. If you apply too much you tend to get a slimy look on the seats.

I used to use the armor all leather wipes and found them to be too slimy. Meguiars 2 in 1 leather wipes were WAY too slimy for me also.

Oh, and don't forget to clean the leather first. Try mixing 1 part woolite to 5-10 parts of water. It works great.

Lexol is what I use. ;)

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Leather Care 101

1. Cleaning 2. Conditioning 3. Ultra Violet Radiation protection

1. Cleaning- use a soft horse hair brush (Groit's Leather & Interior Brush) and/or a vacuum to remove any dust, apply a cleaning solution (Water /Woolite® or Dreft® 6:1 ratio or stronger) on to an applicator pad and apply to one area at a time (i.e. a seat back). To remove stubborn dirt or grime gently agitate the surface with a boar's hair cleaning brush (this will not harm the leather) then use a clean, damp Microfiber towel to rinse.

Maintenance cleaning- use a cleaning solution (Water /Woolite® or Dreft® 10:1 ratio) on to an applicator pad and apply to one area at a time

Stubborn stains- dependent upon the leathers condition or how dirty it is consider using a leather-cleaning product. (Leatherique's Prestine Clean, Zaino Leather in a bottle, Groit's Leather Cleaner or Autoglym Leather Cleaner)

2. Initial conditioning - for the initial conditioning of uncoated leather, and/or if you are cleaning it for the first time use a Leather Rejuvenator. (http://www.Leatherique.com) [use Zaino Z-10 Leather in a bottle on coated leather] paying particular attention to area that are exposed to the most UV radiation, i.e. backs of headrests, seat shoulders, and then apply to the rest of the seating surfaces starting at he top and working your way down.

Allow the product to be absorbed into the hides for several hours on a sunny day, or overnight. Warmth makes the leather fibres pores open allowing the proteins and collagens to be absorbed readily. Park the car in direct sunlight, cover seats with black plastic trash bags, and roll up the windows to create a steam room to allow the Rejuvenator to fully penetrate into the hides.

2a. Conditioning- recommend a preventative maintenance routine three to four times a year, once prior to the winter season to prevent cold temperatures cracking the leather, and once before the heat of the summer to prevent deterioration and shrinkage by heat, which result in continued cracking of leather. In addition to regular cleaning, leather requires replacement of natural oils; Collagen-based products like Leatherique restore the lost moisture and maintain its natural flexibility. The smell of leather comes from oils evaporating out of the hide.

Conditioners are for leather which is porous, vinyl is not, do not use a vinyl product as a conditioner on leather as vinyl requires much stronger cleaning agents than leather and above all try to avoid raw silicone oil based products, as the silicone oil will dissolve the leather's natural oils and tend to make the leather sticky, silicone oils also have a very high electrostatic (static) attraction to dust and dirt particle.

1.Conditioning products should be applied to a warm surface to help the oils penetrate the coating (warm with the suns heat or a hairdryer) allow sufficient time (preferably overnight) for the oils to permeate the coating and reach the leather underneath.

2.It is possible to over-condition leather once the hide has absorbed the product it will saturate the foam and the hides stitching and may cause it to fray /disintegrate or over-clean your leather as this may lead to premature cracking and discoloration. Most leathers are treated at the tannery with a protective coating to help protect against staining. Excessive cleaning and conditioning can remove some of the protective properties. Carry a small spray bottle of water and a clean micro fibre cloth so if you ever spill something onto your leather, spray the affected area and wipe it as soon as possible, you should then treat the affected area with leather conditioner.

3.Conditioning oils will penetrate the fibres more efficiently if they are warmed first; place the plastic container in a microwave before using. For best results warm the leather also before application (vehicle heating system, hairdryer, or the suns heat Allow sufficient permeation time (4-6 hours) or overnight if possible, especially with coated or spray-on dye leathers.)

Schedule: Once every 30-60 days, Arizona, Florida and Texas, especially in summer, for northern climates between 90-120 days, use a leather conditioner to restore these natural oils and keep the leather soft and supple. (Criot's Leather Care, Autoglym Leather Care Cream, Zanio Z10 Leather in a Bottle or Zymol Treat leather cleaners are all good maintenance products)

3. Ultraviolet Radiation (UVR) Protection - you should consider additional sunscreen protection (especially if you own a convertible) leather conditioners typically do not offer any UV screening. The best solution is to alternate between a leather conditioner and a, ultra violet radiation (UVR) protection (303™ Aerospace Protectant). One month use a conditioner to keep the leather healthy and supple. On alternate months mist and wipe the leather with a UVR protection. After application allow 60 minutes for product to cure, then using a 100% cotton cloth to lightly buff surface

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 1 year later...

Try the Zaino Leather protectant and you WILL be ammazed. There are two kinds of leather protectants on the market: Zaino and everybody else. The fragrance will make your car smell new. Please trust me, it IS the best.

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Thanks TOGWT! Great writeup...does this apply to perforated leather also? On the Zaino product, I don't know but I just bought the Sonus products from autopia-carcare.com (no, I don't own stock or not paid by them..just use this site alot). I will post once I get them and try them out.

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  • 2 weeks later...
TOGWT,

You replied in my other thread that conditioning is not needed and now you are saying that it is.

Before using a leather care product a detailer needs to know the material they are working on, and wither the product chosen is compatible with the material and will not damage it. Diagnosis is the key, not guess work. Before deciding on what products to use you need to ascertain what type of leather finish you have and wither the pigmented leather has a polyurethane covering, or is (un-coated) finished natural leather, as the cleaning / maintenance varies as to type; although they all require a water-based product to maintain hydration (a suede type leather like Nubuck is the exception).

Automotive leather care is a subject surrounded with misinformation and myth, products such as leather (Saddle) soaps, oil-based Conditioners, Neats-foot oil, and Hide Food still prevail as top sellers, albeit most are made for equestrian tack, Leatherequi, an oil-based product is also a very popular, that is used in a market that is dominated by pigmented leather with an acrylic water-based polythene protective covering; which are very different leathers with completely differing care requirements. The exact reason why this is the case is unclear. It’s possible that there is an association with old world quality (i.e. European automobiles with leather upholstery and real burl wood interiors) with these types of products, despite the fact that the automotive industry has been using water-based polyurethane covered pigmented leather for many years

See also Leather Care article DetailingWiki

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