How To Fix Water Damaged Leather Car Seats Step-By-Step

Every car owner knows that leaving a car unattended could mean serious trouble. There’s one thing, though, that can’t help but be a huge bummer no matter what. And that’s the combination of water and leather seats. Have you ever found your car with an open window on a rainy night? Or maybe your friends or little kids weren’t careful enough with their bottle of water, so now there’s a little ocean in there? Don’t worry! Your leather car seats might look ruined, but they’re not. We’ve got the answers!

Man cleaning leather car seat using gloves and a cloth

Since it was an expensive purchase, cleaning your car’s interior should be done regularly. Just imagine how much more relaxed you’ll feel on your way to work if your car seats are shiny as new! Or the satisfaction you’ll get when you get rid of the last stain! And since water accidents can be a common problem, we’ve prepared for you a complete guide on how to fix your water damaged leather car seats. Check it out! 

Does water ruin leather?

The answer heavily depends on the quantity of water that was being spilt. Generally, a little water won’t ruin your seats, especially if you clean the water spills quickly before leather soaks it up. As a matter of fact, most leather products have a protective layer that prevents instant damage while giving you enough time to take action. 

But what about more extensive water damage? Unfortunately, in this case, you may face some persistent problems with your seats. If leather car seats are wet for quite some time without being properly cleaned, the leather can become stiff when dried, leading to some stubborn water stains.

How to fix water damaged leather seats step-by-step

It’s time for some DIY cleaning solutions, shall we? Don’t worry; car care can be an easy and everyday task to do in most cases!

When the stain is fresh

If you see one of your kids spilling water on the backseats, then don’t panic! Here’s what you can do:

1. Act Fast

As simple as it may seem, it’s the easiest and most efficient way to take care of your car’s leather. Grab a clean, dry cloth and dab it in the water spills. Don’t try to wipe the stains, as this would only push the water into the leather. A microfiber cloth can work wonders, so we would recommend always have one around in your car! 

Man cleaning car seat with a cloth

2. Avoid Heat

You want to absorb as much water as possible rather than drying the leather surfaces, as we mentioned above. So when you’re done with absorbing with the clean cloth, make sure they are kept out of direct sunlight. The sun will dry your leather and remove any natural oils, making the decomposition process even easier.

3. Apply leather conditioner

Once your clean leather seats are well-dried, apply your favourite leather conditioner to a foam pad. Make sure you’ve evenly distributed the moisturizer over the pad to avoid leather blotching. Using medium pressure, start with one section of the seat and massage it into the leather. Once you’ve allowed two to three minutes of dwell time, you can use a microfiber towel to remove any excess conditioner.

Woman cleaning car seat with a pad

When the stain has dried

If the stain has dried, the process might be more difficult but not an impossible one. Here is what’ll you need to do:

1. Use warm water

Wet the damaged leather with some warm water and a lint-free cloth. Be careful! You’ll need little water, just enough to wet the seat. Alternatively, you can use leather cleaner instead of water and apply it to any water stains.

2. Let it dry

Once you are done scrubbing, let the car interior naturally dry without direct sunlight. Be patient and don’t try to speed the drying process with heat.

3. Moisturize the sofa

Once the drying process is over, you can follow step 3 mentioned above with moisturizing. Using a pad, apply the leather conditioner to all parts of the car’s sofa and let it dwell for some time before wiping any excess conditioner to restore the leather to a matte finish.

Red leather car seats

How to dry your leather car seats after it rains

Many of us can relate to this; You’ve just parked your car outside of your home after a long day at work but didn’t notice that a tiny part of your window is open. While sleeping comfortably in your bed, it’s raining heavily overnight, soaking your car’s interior. Don’t worry, and your next morning isn’t ruined:

1. Soak up the water

Use a towel or a rag to soak up any excess water you might find on your seats. There is a chance that any old conditioner you might have used in the past has surfaced from the rain. In this case, you can use a dry cloth and a cleaning product designed for leather to remove any grime or grease.

2. Leave the leather damp

Like we mentioned above, avoid exposing your car to sunlight. Let the windows wide open and use fans to circulate the air around the wet leather. Make sure all leather surfaces are damp but not dried.

3. Apply conditioner

While the leather is still damp, apply the conditioner to properly penetrate the leather with the above methods. It is often recommended to use neutral pH moisturizers and apply them in circular motions to prevent spotting.

4. Dry the leather

Let your seats absorb the conditioner for about 30 minutes, and use a microfiber cloth or towel to wipe any excess moisture. We would recommend letting the clean leather seats dry entirely before letting anyone sit on them.

Man cleaning leather car seat with a microfiber cloth

How to remove wrinkles on your leather car seats

One of the biggest enemies of car lovers; wrinkles! If you are concerned about your car care, here’s how you can get rid of them in few simple steps:

1. Apply leather cleaner

Using a spray bottle, apply the cleaner to a lint-free towel or a clean cloth. Proceed with wiping the seats down from the top to bottom to soften the leather. It’s good to condition your leather upholstery regularly, so apply the cleaning solution even to areas with no visible wrinkling.

2. Let the cleaner sit

Let the car’s leather absorb the cleaner for about 2 hours. In the meantime, avoid using the car or letting anyone sit on the seats. If you are in a hurry, you can let the cleaner sit for half an hour, but we can’t guarantee you the results would be the same.

3. Use your heat gun

As you may understand, you’ll need to be near an open electrical outlet for this step to be complete. Plug the heat gun and wave it back and forth over the wrinkled section while keeping a reasonable distance from the seat (about 15 cm should be enough). You may see the leather changing shapes as it heats. Don’t stay at one spot for too long to avoid any burns or damages to the leather seats.

4. Wipe with a damp cloth

Dip a dry cloth into the water and leave it damp. Use it to wipe the seats for 30 seconds to make them smooth and deal with stubborn inconsistencies.

5. Repeat the process

Repeat all of the above steps, especially the heating and wiping parts, as many times as necessary. Carefully examine the seats to find any wrinkled parts you’ve might missed. Be patient, and your car will look as fresh as the first day you bought it!

Wrinkles on leather car seat

Can you make your car seat waterproof?

Now that you know how to get rid of water stains or wrinkles, it’s time for some precaution measures! Here’s how you can make your seat waterproof to prevent any potential water damage:

1. Create a mixture of olive oil and bee wax

Strange, isn’t it? Although highly effective in protecting your leather seats! Pour olive into a glass jar and add broken pieces of wax.

2. Heat the mixture

Put the jar into the microwave for 30-40 seconds. Stir and repeat until the mixture is liquid. Wait for it to be cooled and stiffened.

3. Apply the solution

Test your mixture on inconspicuous areas of the leather. You should be good to go and apply it to the rest of the regions!

Microfiber cloth and wax spray bottle on leather car seat

It can happen to all of us; one window left open during a rainy day or kids spilling water during our ride to school. With our complete guide, you’ll have everything you need to deal with any water stains or wrinkles on leather car seats effortlessly and effectively in DIY style! Find out next: How to get scratches out of your car for a neat look!

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