DIY leather cleaning & treatment
Tools required for the process:
1) APC ( All Purpose Cleaner ) - Clean Green
2) Sprayer bottle
3) Soft brush ( Valet Pro Natural hair dash brush )
3) Microfiber towels ( 3 minimum )
4) Vacuum cleaner / air compressor
5) Leather care of your choice ( I prefer Meguires Gold Class Leather treatment )
Inspect the seats and make sure that there are no loose dirt/objects on them. If there are, either vacuum or blow them with compressed air.
Personally I prefer doing both, starting with compressed air in all the creases to remove dirt, followed by a vacuum.
Mix APC ( All Purpose Cleaner ) with water in your sprayer bottle, I prefer a 1:20 ratio here for average leather seats and 1:15 for heavy soiled leather. Spray your APC mix onto a small section of the seat ( I normally divide a front seat into about 10 smaller sections when cleaning depending on the design of the seat ), and start agitating the leather with your soft brush. After agitating the leather, use your MF towel ( folded in 4's ) and wipe the APC from the seat. Your towel should pick up the dirt and change color, prevent reusing the dirty side again. Once the solution is wiped off, try to gauge whether the leather is clean of not ( clean leather will have absolutely no shine to it and rather look matte ). If you are not yet happy with the outcome, spray and agitate some more till you reach the desired outcome. Continue until all the seats had been cleaned.
Agitation, not scrubbing, is the key. This agitation opens pores and allows dirt and body oils to rise to the surface of the leather where it can be wiped away.
On the steering wheel I spray my APC mix on my towel instead of on the steering wheel directly, thus preventing over spray on the cluster and dashboard. For extremely dirty steering wheels, soak your MF towel in lukewarm water and wring it out, MF should be lukewarm and damp before spraying APC solution. Use your towel and wipe down the wheel, lightly agitate with your towel to clean the stitching and all other hard to reach areas.
Apply a small amount of leather conditioner on a clean MF towel and wipe your leather, make sure to cover all areas. Once the entire seat is wiped with conditioner, use a clean side of your MF towel and buff off the excess leather treatment from the seat.
NB - If you have perforated leather, you'd want to start wiping the edges of the seats or the headrests first to ensure that your conditioner is worked into your MF towel before hitting the perforated sections, thus preventing conditioner buildup.
After wiping the excess conditioner, the leather should have a deep and rich matte look to it.
NB - There is absolutely no need to remove seats from your vehicle. These were taken out to wash the carpets inside the car. If you do feel the need to remove seats, don't forget about airbag wiring below the seats which might cause airbag light on your cluster.