Interior Care

How to Clean Leatherette Car Seats? (Do & Don’t)

Written by Howell Crist / Fact checked by Sam Howard

how to clean leatherette car seats

Leatherette is a perfect substitution for real leather. This material requires low maintenance. Yet, you should learn how to clean leatherette car seats to have a comfortable feeling in the car. Leatherette is long-lasting, it still can be corroded or stained if you ignore tidying it up.

Grime, dust, and dirt will accumulate in leatherette pores over time. They can cause scratches on the seats. If you eat and drink in the car, the spills and food residue can leave tough stains. Hence, the more frequently you care for leatherette car seats, the longer they can last.

Steps to Clean Leatherette Car Seats

What to prepare

The things you need to prepare for cleaning leatherette car seats are simple to buy. Even if you cannot purchase them, there are many ways to create homemade remedies.

  • A vacuum cleaner
  • Soft brush attachments
  • Leatherette cleaner
  • Leather conditioner
  • Microfiber cloths/sponge
  • Mild soap/detergents
  • Chamois
  • Water
  • Linseed oil
  • Vinegar

Basically, you will go through several steps to clean synthetic leather car seats at home. However, you still should be cautious to use leatherette cleaning products.

Step 1: Tidy Up Leatherette With Vacuum


Before vacuuming the fake leather seats, you can remove the floor mat. You don’t want to add spills or dirt to the mat.

You need to attach a brush to the vacuum and remove as much dust and dirt as possible from your faux leather seat.

You also do this step for car seats Mazda and in VW leatherette care since these seats are made from imitation leather.

The soft-brush attachment helps you to reach the corners and cracks to capture debris. If you don’t clean dust properly, it can scratch your seats.

Don’t suck up debris once. Ensure dirt doesn’t threaten leatherette. You can place your finger at the base of the nozzle. The fake material has a matte finish so scratches are noticeable.

Then, you can pick up dust from crevices, cracks, above and underneath the seats easily. The vacuum can support you in removing loose dust. You can use a dry brush to get rid of debris.

Step 2: Apply Leatherette Cleaners And Clean The Seats


Use leather cleaner on leatherette

There are various kinds of debris on car seats: grease, sweat, body oils, and more. Yet, you cannot wash this material, so a leather cleaner is a good choice.

This gentle cleaner will eliminate grime effectively. Squeeze the cleaner little by little. Each cleaner has different features. Read the instructions in advance to avoid damaging the seats.

Avoid scrubbing the seats hard. If not, your car seats will be stripped away. You can use a horsehair brush, spray the cleaner on it and mildly scrub the surface.

You shouldn’t apply the commercial products directly onto seats. Spraying 5-6 times is enough for a seat. Scrub until the foam appears to break down and lift off stains.

Water/linseed oil and vinegar

You can mix 1 cup of water and 3 cups of vinegar to create a leatherette cleaner at home.

Moreover, combining 1 cup of vinegar and 2 cups of linseed oil is a good idea. You can apply this formula and wipe the seats with a clean and soft cloth.

Mild soap and warm water

This is a classic mixture for clean leatherette. You can also use baby shampoo, mild dish soap, hand soap, or upholstery cleaning agents. You can combine water with 1 tablespoon of soap.

Spray the solution onto the car seats, then use a microfiber towel or sponge to clean them.

Step 3: Rinse The Leatherette Seats


Now, your car seats are covered with cleaning agents, and you need to rinse them. Soak a clean towel in warm water. Ensure to squeeze excessive water in advance.

Wipe the foam with a damp towel or chamois to remove the foam from the seats completely. You should dip the cloth frequently to avoid bringing debris back to the seats.

For tough stains, you can wait for several minutes before wiping the seat.

Step 4: Dry The Car Seats


You shouldn’t leave moisture on the leatherette seats for a long time. If not, the seats will become hardened or shrink. Use a new dry cloth to dry the seats. Repeat until the seats are dry.

You can park your car in well-ventilated areas to dry your seats. But never place it under the sun.

You can vacuum the interior car again to ensure your car is dust-free.

Step 5: Apply Conditioner


To protect synthetic leather car seats, using a cleaner and conditioner is necessary. Pick a protector or conditioner that suits the seat’s shade.

They will restore the soft and supple feel of leatherette. You just need to squeeze several drops of condition on a microfiber cloth or a soft brush. Spread it with your fingers.

This way guarantees the product is distributed evenly on the leatherette surface. The conditioner will leave a satin finish and dry touch on the seats. Remove excessive conditioner with a dry cloth.

Do’s and Don’ts When Cleaning Faux Leather Car Seats


You want to extend the leatherette’s durability? Shouldn’t skip these tips.

  • Never use harsh and abrasive products including bleach, alcohol, or benzene on leatherette seats to avoid fading.
  • Always test commercial or homemade cleaners on small and hidden spots to ensure they don’t damage the seats.
  • Use soft brushes and terry cloth to wipe the seats
  • Clean the spills immediately when you see the to avoid leaving stains
  • Scrub the seat in circular motions
  • Maintain leatherette seats twice a year


Follow the don’ts list to save your budget and time for repairing leatherette seats

  • Try not to park your car under direct sunlight, the sun can discolor your seats
  • Never bring sharp tools in the cars to prevent scratches and damages


Are leatherette seats easy to clean?

Leatherette consists of 2 parts. The base is made from fabric and covered with plastic. The surface is water-resistant and easy to wipe off stains. Hence, you can simply clean the leatherette seats in a wink.

Can leather cleaner be used on leatherette seats?

The short answer is yes. You can use leather-and-vinyl cleaner to clean the leatherette seats. Leatherette is a non-washable, non-breathable, and non-porous material.

It is advisable to apply a good leather cleaner to it. Remember to follow the instructions above for a smooth process.


Don’t want to damage leatherette seats? That’s why you need to know how to clean leatherette car seats. Most manufacturers use leatherette for car seats. Its price is affordable but still gives you a leather-like feel while sitting.

However, it is less durable than actual leather. So, you need to care for it often to keep it in good condition. Prepare materials and roll up sleeves to clean your leatherette now.

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Our chief editor is Sam Howard. The vast market of car care necessitates extensive research. He entered the market, experienced the service, and reported customer feedback in order to provide the best advice and content to car owners. We have faith in him to turn our website into a reliable resource for all car owners.

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