The Definitive Guide for LEATHER CARE - Including Dye Transfer Removal
"So you think your paint looks good, eh?"...how many times have you said that to a friend or family member since you discovered Autogeek and became an educated expert on the art of detailing? If you answered "too many times to count" then you have an eye for perfect paint - Congratulations.
Looking at the "big picture," the condition of your paint - perfect or imperfect - is the one aspect of detailing you're obsessed with the most. While you obviously care about the cleanliness of your interior, you haven't spent as much time perfecting your technique for cleaning A/C vents, or holding the vacuum hose at a 78 degree angle for best suction, as you have learning how to properly fold a microfiber towel 4 ways so you can gently buff off your favorite wax.
Here's a question for those of you that have leather upholstery in your vehicle:
So you think your leather looks good, eh?
Take that as a challenge, if you will, but before you jump up from your computer chair and run outside to inspect your leather, sit back and relax for a minute - you might just learn a thing or two!
Check out the leather driver's seat in this Audi Q5.
It looks good, right?
Let's take a closer look....
See it yet?
What you're looking at is dye transfer from an article of clothing (jeans, blouse, shirt, etc) into the top layer of the leather. What happens is the dye of the fabric leaches into the top layer of the leather as you twist to get out of the vehicle, wiggle around to get comfortable, etc. This will happen on any type of leather, including coated and semi-aniline. The lighter the leather upholstery in your vehicle, the more noticeable it is. This is what I call an eyesore in what's otherwise a gorgeously crafted and well-maintained interior.
Where did I go wrong?....you say
You didn't protect the leather!
Leather cleaning and conditioning is a hot topic in interior care, and for good reason: There are a million-and-one different products to choose from, and everyone has their opinion on what's the best. The focus of this article is to show you a product that not only protects your leather upholstery better than anything else, but also helps prevent dye transfer from ruining your leather.
While you would normally associate the word "coating" with paint, glass, or wheels, Pinnacle Black Label Collection has a coating for interior surfaces - Black Label Leather & Vinyl Coating
Protect your leather BEFORE dye transfer happens
Much like you apply a coat of wax on your new vehicle before the clear coat starts to degrade, you want to coat your leather with Black Label Leather & Vinyl Coating before the dye from your clothing can leach into the top layer of the leather, creating an unsightly stain.
But my leather already suffers from dye transfer!
So did did the Audi Q5 that's featured in this article. Sit tight, because I'm going to show you how to properly remove dye transfer from leather upholstery.
I pumped a couple squirts of Hide-Soft Leather Cleaner directly onto a 6.5 inch microfiber bonnet and went to work!
A microfiber bonnet is a GREAT tool for cleaning leather because you can place part of your hand inside it, making it easy to hold on to. The stout microfiber strands provide excellent agitation for removing stubborn dirt and grime.
Once again I used a 6.5 inch microfiber bonnet to apply the Leather Master Dye Transfer Cleaner. I did not use the same bonnet that I used to apply Hide-Soft Leather Cleaner.
*NOTE* It's always a good idea to test colorfastness on a small, inconspicuous area first.
Removing dye transfer from leather: Step 3
At this point the leather was looking great - all signs of dye transfer had been successfully removed. The next step was to restore any essential oils that were removed during the 2nd cleaning step. If you do not hydrate the leather, it won't feel as soft or supple once you apply the coating. For this step you'll need to use Pinnacle Black Label Hide-Soft Leather Conditioner.
I like to apply Hide-Soft Leather Conditioner with my bare hands, as I can better massage the conditioner into the leather.
Removing dye transfer from leather: Step 4
To recap what I've done at this point:
1. Cleaned the leather with Black Label Hide-Soft Leather Cleaner.
2. Removed the dye transfer with Leather Master Dye Transfer Cleaner.
3. Conditioned the leather with Black Label Hide-Soft Leather Conditioner.
I used a microfiber applicator pad to apply Black Label Leather & Vinyl Coating . A couple sprays directly onto the microfiber applicator pad is all you need for an entire seat.
Black Label Leather & Vinyl Coating can also be applied to wood and aluminum trim, steering wheels, dashboards, and door panels.
Check out the results!
There you have it! Not only do you know how to properly clean and condition the leather upholstery in your vehicle, but also how to remove and prevent dye transfer. Now go ahead and ask your friends and family "So you think your leather looks good, eh?."