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How to Maintain Leather Upholstery<br>By Phil Meyers<p>Nothing adds a finishing touch to a classic or modern automobile like beautiful leather upholstery. When properly cared for, leather upholstery will last far longer than other upholstery materials and when premium hides are used will actually become more beautiful with age.<p>Cleaning and conditioning leather is very similar to caring for your own skin. Good skin care requires gentle cleaning and nourishment with moisturizers (oils) depending on your skin type. Similarly, to safely clean leather you will need a neutral pH cleaner (between 4.5 and 7.5 pH) and a leather conditioner suitable for upholstery. <p>To put this maintenance routine in perspective, keep this thought in mind. Cleaning and conditioning leather upholstery is very similar to bathing yourself out of a bucket on a camping trip. You need water to do the job, and you need to use the right amount of it. Soaking leather while cleaning it is not required any more than you would soak your face to wash it, and it can make drying time take much longer.<p>Cleaning your interior<br>Prior to cleaning, vacuum the car's complete interior to remove any dirt and dust. The small dirt that accumulates in upholstery stitch lines works on threads to cut them and shorten their life.<p>Using leather cleaner, clean one section of the interior at a time, such as a seat back on one side, then the other and so on. Using lukewarm water, leave as much water in your cloth or sponge if you were going to wash your face with soap and water and apply your cleaner to one section of the interior with a gentle scrubbing motion. After washing this section, rinse your cloth or sponge to clear it of cleaner and dirt, wring it out and wipe away the cleaner from the section you've cleaned, and towel it dry. Continue in this fashion, cleaning, rinsing and drying to finish the interior. An average size sedan usually takes about 15 to 20 minutes to clean.<p>The vinyl variation<br>The favorite cars and trucks of the '50s, '60s and early '70s often had vinyl interiors. While vinyl does not require as much maintenance as leather, a good care program will enhance its lifetime and its appearance.<p>Like the leather interior, always vacuum the interior first and again vacuum the stitch lines to remove the fine dirt that accumulates there. If you plan on using a silicone protectant, wash the seats first with a gentle detergent and towel them dry.<p>After drying, lightly apply the protectant and follow by lightly wiping the seats down to the desired finish. If using Vinylex Protectant, you will not need to wash the seats (unless they are very dirty) as this product has a cleaning system built into it.<p>These simple and easy steps should keep your clients' leather and/or vinyl interiors looking new for years to come and will add value to their vehicles. <p>Phil Meyers is Vice President/Sales Manager for Summit Industries in Atlanta, GA.<p><br>
 

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Re: How to Maintain Leather Upholstery (Spearzy)

I hope you dont mind, Im going to add to this a bit. I was using the recomended products for a while when I read that the leather conditioner actually only protects, it doesnt restore or really condition the leather. I was told from some to use Saddle soap, the old, if its good enough for those expensive saddles, its good enough for your leather seats. Well maybe, I wont argue that, but I have tried saddle soap, and it too is not enough, its basicly a good cleaner. I vacuum my seats out as is said, very careful to get all that grit off. Then I use a cleaner I got from Imperial Leather care, basicly the finest leather cleaner money can buy. Its pretty expensive too, and I wont say its far superior, but I figure what they hey, its not that much. I think it costs 30 dollars a bottle and has lasted me a little over a year now. I then allow this to dry. I apply it al by the way with microfiber application pads I got. The microfiber is pretty neat, they claim it will attract dirt into its fibers, I think it works just becase when I rub my hands on it it seems to stick to my hands. Its a wierd feeling. Anyway, once its dry, and I have gone over it with a dry microfiber towel, I use a suede microfiber applicator pad to apply the conditioner. Now this conditioner is a real conditioner, the leather will litteraly soak it up. This is the key product, I have found nothing that works even nearly as well, I would say that Connoly Hide Food and Zymol Leather Treat are the two closest things, but the Imperial is def better. It resembles Olive oil in color and consistency. I apply it to the seats, and then let them sit for as long as I can. Sometimes over night, but if Im in a hurry I will only let it sit for an hour or so. After this I then go over and basicly buff the seat with a cloth to remove any excess that is not absorbed. You can tell how organic leather really is by how unevenly it will absorb this stuff, something I never saw with other products. Now this product does not offer UV protection, but it also doesnt make the seats slippery or coat them with anything. Instead this stuff restores the natural fats in the leather that make it soft. It actually helps leather age properly. Leather can age in two ways, either dry out and crack, or soften and become better. Most cars I see have the dried out cracking leather, those creases are signs of dry leather. If you use Imperial from day one with the car, you will probably never see these creases in the leather, if you do they will be much diminshed. I have seen my Moms V70 do just this, I have been applying it to her seats since she got the car, She only lets me do it about 3 or 4 times a year, but her car has very few of those creases, instead it just has the natural leather grain. I have been applying it to my fathers BMW seats, his car is only 2 months old, but you can already feel the seats softening. The leather is actually nice now that it has been broken in with the help of this stuff. I do my seats once every two weeks or so, and they have become softer, more comfortable, hold me in better, and they look better. I recomend to all of you to atleast use the recomended products from the article, but for even better performance and enhanced comfort, use these imperial products, the 65 dollars is well worthwhile. Come one, you buy a 30-50 thousand dollar car, whats 65 dollars in leather care products.
 

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Re: How to Maintain Leather Upholstery (pj's 850)

<IMG NAME="icon" SRC="http://********************/smile/emthup.gif" BORDER="0"> Add all you want, that's what this is here for! <IMG NAME="icon" SRC="http://********************/smile/emsmile.gif" BORDER="0"> <br>I wish I had leather to play with these products, mines cloth <IMG NAME="icon" SRC="http://********************/smile/emsad.gif" BORDER="0"> Which not as nice in look or feel. My next Volvo will have the leather/sunroof combo, I just love that. I'll know how to care for it when the times come too! <IMG NAME="icon" SRC="http://********************/smile/emwink.gif" BORDER="0">
 

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Re: How to Maintain Leather Upholstery (xtremepsionic)

We'll see in the future, I'm not going to talk the talk until I can! <IMG NAME="icon" SRC="http://********************/smile/emwink.gif" BORDER="0">
 
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