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Cleaning Leather/Cloth Interiors



  • ekcoekco Posts: 1
    I have a 1997 Explorer and after a trip to Walmart where I bought some laundry detergent, I now have a huge ugly stain on the back seat where the detergent leaked. My seats are a light tan colored leather. Is there any way to inexpensively remove this without having to re upholster my seat? :cry:
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 60,676
    Hmmm....does not sound good...detergent is nasty stuff and may have attacked the dye.

    BUT.......Okay you might try this but PLEASE try it first on some hidden inconspicuous part of the leather seat.

    First take a wringed out cloth dipped in lukewarm water and go over the stain lightly. Then sponge off the excess water and let the whole thing dry.

    Then get some Murphy's Oil Soap, apply it lightly, sponge off, then apply again. Don't rub the beejeezus out of it!

    Might help.

    Never used anything "silicone based" on your leather.

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  • I suggest you rewash all the seats again and let it air dry...use a interior shampoo and vacuum out most of the water...then let it air dry for a day or two. It should solve the problem.
  • smithdrgssmithdrgs Posts: 22
    Have an 05 acura TL with dark charcoal leather seats. they were flat and not glossy. had a spot to clean on one so I use turtle wax 2001 cleaner and conditioner with UV protection. Should have spot tested it first. so the seat got all shiney, so i had to do the whole interior to match. Will this fade? How can i reverse it? what is a good cleaner/protectant with a flat finish. ? thanks
  • toyotabotoyotabo Posts: 13
    Hi Everyone
    I have a stain on my seat back about belt high seems to be from blue jeans . tried all types of leather cleaner , no luck . called dealer said may need to be redyed. is this my only option? thanks Bo
  • nyinjanyinja Posts: 10
    Hi All,

    My wife has a 2004 BMW 3-Series w/ leather interior. This morning as I was getting in my truck I accidentally (and unknowingly) pushed the remote for her car and rolled down all the windows. About 6 hours later my wife discovered this; unfortunately we live in Tokyo and are being hit by a Typhoon today! The car was completely soaked inside (the pockets in the door were filled to the top! :cry:

    She put towels on the seats and carpets to soak up what she could, but there is still plenty of water absorbed into the leather seats. It is evening now, and by morning the typhoon will pass; which means I can't do anything more until then. Tomorrow will be hot, sunny and humid so I hope to get started on drying out the car as much as possible.

    Any suggestions/recommendations/warnings you may have are greatly appreciated!

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 60,676
    Well cows get wet after all. This isn't a great situation but you have to really dry the car out first of all and then treat the entire with leather conditioner. You may have to pull the carpets up as well! Perhaps a professional service should do all this for you, and you may be able to work this out with your car insurance.

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  • taxesquiretaxesquire Posts: 681
    I agree with SHiftright that this is a job for professionals. You can try a wet-dry vac, but the pros would have more heavy duty stuff for the carpets and the seats. The unfortunate fact is that you may need to have your seat coverings removed to dry the cushioning underneath. Step 1 would be to remove whatever pieces you can (ex - floor mats) that might be trapping water underneath - you'll also want to keep the car ventilated (windows open, at least a little) to avoid humidity & mildew as much as possible.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 60,676
    If you let the car mildew, you are really screwed, he's right.

    We can't see the car, so we can't tell you how bad it really is...but if the seat cushions are soaked through, at the very least the seats might have to come out and be exposed to sunlight after being turned upside down. If things in there are just "damp" and don't squish out water when you press on them, maybe you got lucky.

    But I agree, I'd have a professional detailer clean the car up.

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  • Thanks for all the help. To follow up.... In the morning I took it to a local detailer who pulled the back seat and placed it upside down to drain/dry (I don't think they pulled the fronts - though they may have and something was lost in translation - they don't speak English) . They also worked on the carpets and leather for two days (they ran the heater @ 32C - 92F with the windows up rather than open the windows and expose it to the high post-typhoon humidity). The also kept conditioning the leather as they worked on the car, and recommended I continue to condition every 2 weeks.

    These past few days I have kept the windows up w/ the car parked in the hot sun and some closet dehumidifiers (pellet type) on the floors. My thought process was it would be best to leave the windows up in this high humidity. At this time the leather looks like it will recover - but I guess only time will tell.

    My biggest concern now is mildew under the carpet. I talked to a BMW dealer (not the one I bought from) who recommended pulling the carpets up. I then talked to the detail shop again who said they believe they got all the water, but will pull up the corners of the carpet today to make sure. They suggested I not take it to BMW if at all possible as it would most likely void the warranty on most of my interior parts.

    Any continued recommendations/advice are appreciated....
  • Sounds like you're doing what you can - keep in mind that if, all-in-all, your efforts and the detailers' fail, the problem is going to be mold & mildew. This same problem arises with homes (I'm in FLA and may be more sensitive to this issue than most). WHen it does happen with homes, we have special mold remediation teams that come in and get rid of the mold b/c, unlike cars, you can't easily just junk a home.

    Anyway, if you wind up with mold, it might be worth finding a mold remediation company to see what they could do and what they'd charge.

    Lastly, I really appreciate the update, and would very much like to hear how things turn out in the end. Please continue to post.
  • I had the exact same problem. The guy that details my car came to the conclusion that the stain came from my leather belt. The detailer told me that he can't get the stain off, because it's actually the dye from the leather belt that has worn into the leather on the seat. He told me the only option I had was to have the seat re-dyed.

    If anyone has any other suggestions, please let us know.

    Also, does anyone have any idea how much it costs to re-dye a portion of a seat?
  • bolivarbolivar Posts: 2,316
    I know nothing about BMWs.

    But there may be several other possible problem areas in the future.

    Do you have power seats? If so, there are 2,3, or 4 electric motors under each seat.

    A Cadallic has several 'modules' under the seats also. The sensor that 'fires' the side impact air bags. Modules that runs the 'memory' seats and mirrors.

    If there are modules, and they are sealed well enough that water did not get into it, there could be various electrical connectors under there that may have future corrision problems.

    If you do not have electrical modules under there, and manual seats, if it was my car I would pull the front and rear seats and the carpets. And get them dried out somehow. There is possibly a thick sound deading pad under the carpet. You could still have lots of water in the car.
    You said the side pockets filled up with water. That seems like several inches of water. This car is bordering on being a 'flood' car.
  • Thanks for the info. I am concerned about the electrical components; the front seats are memory power seats and are heated - plenty of things to go wrong! Also, the guys that worked on it mentioned that these components could give me problems later on. Based on your comments, do you recommend pulling the front seats if they have all these components attached? Not sure if you are saying to "pull them if they are manual seats" or not...

    It's been 2 humid weeks (and now 2 typhoons) since this has happened. On outward appearances the car interior looks like it has recovered, and when I pulled the sides of the carpets (near the door jams) the padding beneath was dry. The dehumidifying pellets have not picked up very much water (placed in trays under the front seats) so that's encouraging.

    That said, I plan to spend some more time on it this weekend - maybe pulling the front seats out. Not sure I want to tackle the carpets if I can avoid it; it's going to be very expensive no matter what they find, and all replacement parts will have to be ordered from Germany (2-3 weeks). BMW is not the most cost-effective car to drive in Japan. Makes me appreciate my Toyota Harrier (Lexus RX-300)!

    Thanks again.
  • I had a few detailers look at my seats and all said the same,needs a redye . all gave me a price of $80 to $100. haven't had it done yet. I will never buy light leather seats :( again
  • My wife and I are getting a great deal on a BMW 5-series, but the only problem is that the driver’s side seat has a bit of yellowish-brown discoloration. The owner seems to think it was from sunscreen. Has anyone heard of this? More importantly, how would you advise we go about cleaning it?

    We are likely going to buy the car, so if it can’t be cleaned, what other options do we have? Dye? Seat reupholstering or replacement? What would the costs likely be with each of these options?

    Thanks in advance,
  • if you can't clean the seats with a leather cleaner or a mix of woolite and water (1to 5) DONT RUB HARD most likey you'll need to get it redyed (which would be the next cheapest option) because the longer the stain sits the harder it is to remove . good luck with your BMW
  • davids1davids1 Posts: 411!!!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 60,676
    Turn your CAPS LOCK off...many of our members regard it like sHOUTING and won't speak to you :P

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  • After going through such an intro, why not just name the product? :confuse:
  • Hello All,

    I've been looking for leather car seat covers, and I was interested in knowing if any of you had come across any seat cover from Trimcar ?
    It looks good I think - but I'd like to hear if anyone else has tried it? :confuse:
    The link :


  • kyle8kyle8 Posts: 1
    My friend left a bottle of red wine on my back seat and it leaked. I'm wondering what I should try to clean it without damaging the leather.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 60,676
    that's going to be very tough...I think you should consult a professional on that one....

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  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    If I were in your position I'd be contemplating damaging your "friend".
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 60,676
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  • ahightowerahightower TXPosts: 539
    Just though I would share a positive product experience with y'all.

    I applied Lexol cleaner and conditioner to the light tan leather in my 2005 Yukon XL today. I have been reading the car care forums and some other websites, and this was recommended by a lot of people. I like it very much. Until now, I have only used Maguiar's quick wipes, and while they do remove a lot of dirt quickly, they tend to leave a slick residue even after drying. Not terribly greasy, but not ideal. In my opinion, the Lexol cleaner is not highly potent. The seats were not all that dirty to begin with, but I had to rub for quite a while to remove a few scuff marks. However, in combination with the conditioner, I am very pleased. The seats are left feeling very soft and supple, and not at all slick or greasy. Some other members in the car care forums have suggested that the Lexol conditioner may darken or discolor very light leather, in fact the back of the bottle says so too. So I tried just a spot on the back seat to be safe. No discoloration at all, as far as I can tell.

    BTW, I have not tried it before because I never saw it for sale. Bought it today inside a full service car wash (for my company car - of course I would never take my own new black vehicle into one of those things! Only hand washing for me!)

    The seats have started to develop "character lines" or "stretch marks" after 6 months and 8,000 miles. Not cracks or creases, but the type of "breaking in" you see on a leather jacket. I was hoping they would stay taught and smooth for life, but I have read elsewhere that this type of breaking in is normal. Not a problem, I guess, as long as the Lexol keeps them soft. I may still use the Maguair's now and then for intermediate cleanings, you could really see the dirt being picked up on the wipe. But I will continue to do the Lexol regimen every couple of months.

    My next project, maybe this weekend if it still feels like June outside, will be to wax it again and apply Rainex to the glass and get new wipers.

    Happy motoring to you all!
  • tallman1tallman1 Posts: 1,874
    I've been reading all the messages here, having just bought a new car w/leather. It has been a long time since I've had a leather interior and I was wondering about newer products.

    It looks like Leather Master and Lexol seem to be the high-end favorite. I'll have to do some searching for retail outlets now.
  • sam818sam818 Posts: 127
    Is there a leather cleaner and/or conditioner which stays MATT and does NOT leave a shiny or silky film?
    I want my leather, especially the steering wheel, to stay MATT finish and not become shiny.
    The top of my dash is also leather, and it is very important that it stay matt, but I want to add some UV protection.
  • royalhroyalh Posts: 4
    My new expedition has light tan leather seats and I wear black jeans which transfer color to the leather. I have cleaned the black (looks blue) color off several times with leather cleaner but within a short period of time more appears. Is there anything that will seal the leather so the jeans color will not transfer to the leather?. These are jeans that have been washed many times but the problem continues. :cry:
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