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what is the best leather cleaner product out there ?

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Old 03-04-12, 12:12 PM   #1
trippy
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Default what is the best leather cleaner product out there ?

wsup CL !

i have tan interior is250 i was reading on Lexol leather cleaner but just wanna make sure and ask the professionals out there =)

thanks
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Old 03-04-12, 01:37 PM   #2
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Meguiars All Purpose Cleaner. Not for use on dyed seats. I have found that when you use this to clean and condition with your favorite conditioner, it works wonders.
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Old 03-04-12, 05:06 PM   #3
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Meg's APC is ok for occasional cleaning of heavily soiled leather but it is un-neccessairly strong for routine cleaning. I'd suggest Woolite 10:1 or 20:1 as more appropriate for monthly routine cleaning. Another good cleaner is Leather Masters Soft Leather Cleaner.

Whatever cleaner you use, be sure to wipe all traces of the detergent from the leather with a wrung-out towel after cleaning. Leaving any detergent will cause the leather to soil faster and could even cause the stitching to deteriorate.

Don't be fooled into thinking you are really cleaning leather. You are actually cleaning paint. Your leather's appearance is painted on a split leather hyde with a urethane paint. This coating is what gives the uniform texture and color as well as some durability and long wear.

Products that were designed for unprotected leather are unsuitable for caring for modern protected (painted) leather. You'd never know it from the marketing malarky but if you take the time to verify this with professionals in the leather industry they will confirm it.

If you protect your leather with a water-based fluorocarbon protectant, future cleaning will be much, much easier, just as a recently waxed or sealed car is easier to clean. Another benefit of a fluorocarbon protectant that a conditioner will not give you is protection against dye transfer from jeans, belts and clothing as well as other stains.
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Old 03-04-12, 05:45 PM   #4
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Of course it's strong. That is why you dilute is enough for leather seats...
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Old 03-04-12, 05:54 PM   #5
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Yes diluted Woolite is a good cleaning solution.
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Old 03-04-12, 06:58 PM   #6
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Of course it's strong. That is why you dilute is enough for leather seats...
Just a FYI. The reason APC seems to clean so well is that it contains solvents. Solvents are great cleaners but also pose the possibility of compromising the leather topcoat if used frequently and not completely removed. Diluting the APC doesn't remove the solvents it just dilutes them, hence they may still cause damage over time. Meguiar's does state that their APC's are safe for use on leather but I'd still caution against their frequent long term use and especially would suggest a thorough wipedown to remove all traces of this cleaners solvents after cleaning.

Woolite and LM Soft Leather Cleaner contain no solvents and are safe for long term use. Both are high foaming cleaners which is very desirable in a leather cleaner. The high level of foam allows for longer dwell times and even agitation if needed without damage.

Use what you prefer but know what you are using and how it may affect the leather performance.
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Old 03-04-12, 07:18 PM   #7
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So for a cleaner like Lexol, will it be safe to be used monthly? Or what will be the best time frame to clean leather seats? Right now my leather cleaning plan is to use lexol (cleaner and conditioner) monthly and use leatherique once or twice a year.
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Old 03-05-12, 08:17 PM   #8
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Lexol is really good if you DON'T use the conditioner on coated seats. I feel like it makes the seat feel more natural without the conditioner because the conditioner doesn't do much for the top coat!
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Old 03-06-12, 05:46 AM   #9
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The best thing you can do to preserve your leather is to keep it clean. Wipe it down weekly and use a cleaner monthly.

Re: Using conditioners on modern protected leather.

Conditioners were designed for a different type of leather and are not a good choice for modern protected leather.

First, understand that you are not conditioning your leather, rather, you are applying an oily or waxy film to paint. Your leather is painted and anything you do to the leather is, in reality, just being done to the painted coating. Paint doesn't need feeding or conditioning.

Conditioners, in general, leave behind a film on that painted surface that attracts and holds dirt and dust which causes faster soiling and added abrasion wear as you slide in and out. If you have older, cracked or chipped leather, a conditioner will seep into the leather fibers and loosen the bond of the topcoat surrounding the crack which will make the crack worse. It will also hold dirt and dust in those cracks and make them more noticeable.

Some report how conditioners made their leather softer. Leather is made soft in the tanning process. Nothing you can lay on a painted topcoat will make the leather softer than it was originally. That said, leather that has dried out will be stiffer than properly hydrated leather. The missing ingredient that makes leather get stiffer is moisture, not oils, waxes, silicones or fats. I would suggest that if you think your leather feels softer after using a conditioner one of two things have occurred. The moisture level contained in the conditioner evaporated and was picked up by the leather fibers due to the higher relative humidity in the vicinity of the leather. A wipe down with a wrung out cotton towel would accomplish the same softening of dry leather. Secondly, if the hand of the leather feels softer after a conditioner, it most likely is due to the film deposited on the surface of the topcoat giving that feel. Leather should not feel grabby or slippery. Go to a new car dealership and feel the leather of a brand new showroom car. That is the way your leather should feel; soft, dry and silky smooth.

What works better than conditioners on protected leather is a water-based fluorocarbon leather protectant. Also, conditioners won't prevent dye transfer while protectants excel at this. Protectants leave the surface looking like new with no added sheen, or grabbiness so often left by conditioning products.

If you have not tried a protectant for your leather give it a try. I believe you and your leather will love it.
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Old 03-07-12, 05:19 AM   #10
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this is what we use on about 90% of the jobs that come in to our shop.

Leather Master Plus Kit

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Old 03-19-12, 05:31 AM   #11
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jfelbab, what are your thoughts on those products that are all in one?

(leather cleaner + conditioner, all in 1 step!)
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Old 03-19-12, 05:55 AM   #12
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If you're going to buy something, I too can recommend Leather Masters. Great water based kit.
Leatherique is a great kit too, but prefer the Leather Masters.
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Old 03-19-12, 05:57 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chargerfan View Post
jfelbab, what are your thoughts on those products that are all in one?

(leather cleaner + conditioner, all in 1 step!)
the Optimum Protectant Plus is a good one if your leather is in pretty good condition.
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Old 03-19-12, 02:02 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chargerfan View Post
jfelbab, what are your thoughts on those products that are all in one?

(leather cleaner + conditioner, all in 1 step!)
I don't like them.

Few appreciate or understand protected leather, especially that used in automobiles. When you are looking at your protected leather you are looking at paint. When you attempt to condition your protected leather you are really attempting to condition paint. Paint doesn't benefit from conditioners.

I've mentioned here in the forum, more than a few times, that conditioning products were designed for a different type of leather. Conditioners leave a film on protected leather that only hastens the accumulation of dirt. Conditioners do not penetrate the urethane painted top coat. True, some of the H2O in these conditioners evaporates and raises the relative humidity surrounding the leather which is good but a damp wipedown will do this as well and not leave that dirt grabbing film.

Leather conditioners do nothing to prevent stains and dye transfers. If your leather has developed cracks, using an oily conditioner will degrade the adhesion of the painted surface around the crack and make the damage worse.

The oils, silicones, or waxes contained in conditioners are not beneficial to protected leather.

Conditioners are in many ways like a glaze for your car's paint. They are oily and leave a film that looks nice for a couple days until it evaporates. They do not penetrate the paint. The steel fender under the paint is not somehow conditioned. You wouldn't just apply a glaze to your paint for protection. You'd apply a sealant or a wax for that. In the case of protected leather, you want to protect it and wax would make it shiny, slippery and would wear off quickly as you slide in and out, so you are left with a sealant type of protection. Sealants for leather are called leather protectors and are a water-based fluorocarbon products. These protectants do just what you would expect. They dry after application, leave no oily film and don't rub off easily. They don't make the leather shiny, grabby or slippery. They do protect against stains and dye transfer.

Many people like the term conditioner and think that their leather must either be fed or need conditioning. This is false concept based on older leather types. Protected leather has been tanned and treated in the manufacturing process to be soft and supple. These painted split hides have received in the tanning process, all the conditioning, fat liquoring and collagens they need at the fiber level to remain soft throughout their life. The hide is painted to provide a uniform color and grain pattern. If your leather seems to have become hard, it is due to moisture loss and moisture will replenish the softness. Not oils or fat liquors, neither of which could penetrate the topcoat.

In any case, an oily conditioner will;
1. either not penetrate the painted topcoat and sit on the leather leaving a sticky or grabby film that attracts dirt which increases abrasion. In some cases conditioners contain wax or silicone making your seats shiny and slippery.
2. if this oily mixture gets through cracks in the topcoat, it will negatively impact the bond the topcoat has with the leather causing a more rapid decline in the leather coating.

So how do you rehydrate painted leather? Through repeated and regular wipe-downs with a moist towel. Moisture will be re-absorbed by the leather fibers via higher humidity levels surrounding the leather. Water on the painted surface won't directly be absorbed through the topcoat into the leather but the raised humidity level will cause the leather to take up moisture. Moisture is the lifeblood of protected leather.

Lest you think this is just my opinion, let me suggest that you do your homework. Contact some leather industry restoration professionals and ask these questions. Don't just rely on my comments, verify these comments with other leather professionals. Try not to believe everything product sales hype tells you. Snake oil salesmen have been around for ever and you need to go to the source to find the truth.
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Old 11-23-12, 08:25 PM   #15
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some good, informative posts there jfelbab. my leather is disgusting, as is my interior and carpet. I'll try the woolite, as I'm sure that's my best cost-effective solution. a lot of these other products are expensive, and I agree there are a lot of snake oils claiming to do things they don't live up to.

what about carpet? I used to detail cars in the early 80s and we had stuff that took every ugly stain out of carpets. I'm sure they have better products now.
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Old 11-23-12, 08:25 PM
 
 
 
 
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