May 18, 2010 Brad Will

Butter Soft Leather

Those of you who have leather upholstery in their car, know how soft and beautiful the leather was when the car was new.  With improper care, however, this beautiful material can quickly look tired and worn.  Modern automotive leather is actually coated with a vinyl based dye.  This coating not only gives the leather its color, but is a protective layer for the leather itself.  This coating can be quickly degraded if it is not cared for properly.  Dirt and body oils are acidic and quickly start to break down the vinyl coating.  You may notice this as small lines or cracks on the surface of the leather.  In addition, UV rays from the sun fade the dye, and further degrade the coating.  Cleaning your car’s leather upholstery often, is the single most important thing you can do to preserve it.  Regular cleaning removes the harmful dirt before it has a chance to break done the leather’s coating.   Protecting your car’s leather with a water based UV protector should be done a few times a year to prevent soiling and protect against UV damage.  Oily conditioners can actually do more harm than good, because they are intended for non-coated leather, and can attract soils quickly.  Remember, if you want your car’s leather to look good indefinitely, clean it often with a mild detergent and protect with a quality UV protector several times a year.