Leather seats are among the most luxurious accessories that provide comfort and aesthetic value to your vehicle, but without proper care, you end up with cracked seat covers.
This is a common yet costly problem that car owners often face when keeping their leather covers in tip-top shape, as seat care is usually not part of your car wash trip unless you pay a few extra dollars to get it cleaned.
In this article, we explore the most effective and proper ways on how to prevent leather from cracking.
Table of Contents
- Ways to Prevent Leather From Cracking
- How to Clean and Condition to Stop Leather From Cracking
- Tools for Cleaning and Conditioning
- What Causes Leather to Crack?
- How to Repair and Get Cracks Out of Leather?
- Is It Worth Investing in Leather?
Ways to Prevent Leather From Cracking
Maintenance starts with you being mindful about your leather product, whether it’s your car seat, shoes, bag, jacket, or furniture.
Here are several practical tips to avoid costly leather cracking repairs;
1. Clean and condition regularly
Water, grime, grease, and dirt speed up the deterioration of leather, so clean and condition them regularly.
Also, make sure to use only high-quality leather cleaners and conditioners prescribed for your leather to keep them in great shape.
As a rule of thumb, you should condition your leather items once every 3 – 4 months to prevent drying and cracking.
2. Avoid direct sunlight or UV rays
Exposure to sunlight or heat causes leather to dry out, leading to discoloration and causing cracks.
So, you should park your car in shaded areas or use a sunshade for leather-covered seats or dashboards, also when leaving leather shoes and bags inside your car.
Furthermore, when leather accessories are not in use, store them in a cool and dry place or move leather furniture away from windows
3. Use leather protection
Use good quality leather protection formulated for spills or stain prevention. However, always check manufacturer instructions and see if it is suitable for your leather. Always use caution.
4. Stay away from harsh cleaning chemicals
Bleach, ammonia, alcohol, and acetone are common cleaning agents that can damage leather, so avoid them when cleaning your car’s leather interior.
5. Handle your leather products with care
Leather is a natural material prone to damage when not given due attention such as regular cleaning and conditioning to keep leather from cracking.
Therefore, make sure to handle your leather bags, shoes, or jackets with care and store them properly when not in use. Keep them in moisture-proof bags and store in a cool, dry place.
How to Clean and Condition to Stop Leather From Cracking
Some might think cleaning is all needed to treat dry leather furniture or restore a faded leather couch. Or worse, some only use common household cleanings agents such as nail polish removers and window cleaners that contain alcohol and acetone, which can harm the leather.
However, cleaning and conditioning must go together to protect the leather. First, you need to know what type of leather you have, as cleaning options vary by type.
Tools for Cleaning and Conditioning
- Prescribed leather soap or cleaner (i.e. saddle soap, hard soap, liquid soap)
- Soft cloth or sponge
- Fine-bristle brush (for interior detailing)
- Water-resistant gloves
- Prescribed good quality leather conditioner or cream
- Soft cloth or sponge
- Fine-bristle brush
- Water-resistant gloves
Before starting, check manufacturer labels on how to clean your leather products and avoid experimentingDIY remedies such as baking soda, or lime juice, especially on delicate leather.
Step 1: Prepare and set aside different clothes, and brushes for cleaning and conditioning.
Step 2: Wear your hand gloves then wet the cloth or sponge when applying the leather soap or cleaner.
When using a sprayer, apply the prescribed cleaning agent on the leather and use a cloth or sponge to clean the surface. Use the brush to clean the seams or folds.
Step 3: Remove the soap or cleaner by using a clean cloth or sponge, and allow it to dry.
Step 4: Apply leather conditioning cream on the cleaned surfaces using a separate set of cloths or sponges and brush gently to moisturize them.
What Causes Leather to Crack?
People often use water to clean leather shoes, leather bags, leather sofas, etc. After all, water is the universal solvent and all-in-one cleaning solution, right?
Well, not exactly. Natural oils that help maintain the moisture of leather to keep it supple get drawn to water molecules.
When water comes in contact with the leather surface the oils bind with the water until it dries out.
This reaction causes moisture loss, stiffens, and causes leather to become brittle, which is why you notice your leather jacket cracking.
How to Repair and Get Cracks Out of Leather?
Mending or fixing leather cracks can be tricky, but it is not an impossible task. Here are some very effective ways to get cracks out of leather.
Tools for fixing cracks:
- Leather cleaner
- Super-fine sandpaper preferably not less than 600-grit
- Soft cloth or sponge
- Good quality filler paste
- Small putty knife or spatula
- Leather dye (match the color of your product)
- Leather cream or conditioner
Step 1: Clean the affected area
Start your cracked leather repair by gently cleaning the damaged area. Remove any dirt or debris found on the crevices or cracks, as well as the surrounding areas.
Use a mild or any prescribed leather cleaner suitable for your leather and with a soft cloth, gently wipe the area clean.
Step 2: Apply a prescribed leather filler
Make sure to use only the prescribed leather filler to fix leather couch cracks or cracked leather car seat covers. Read user instructions carefully on how to apply the filler.
Scoop out the filler using a spatula or putty knife and carefully apply the material into the cracks until they are filled adequately and allow the material to dry.
Step 3: Sanding the excess filler
Using super-fine sandpaper, gently sand off the excess filler until the material is flush with the surface.
Avoid pressing hard when sanding as it could result in deeper scratches and more issues other than just the leather chair cracking.
Step 4: Dye the affected area
Apply the dye gently with the brush on the filled leather cracks and allow the dried filler paste to absorb it.
Let the dye colors dry before moving to the next and final step.
Step 5: Condition your leather
Apply your leather cream or conditioner on the repaired areas to maintain the moisture and suppleness to prolong its durability and prevent it from cracking.
Is It Worth Investing in Leather?
Yes! Because leather sourced naturally, tanned properly, and crafted with quality can last decades as long as it is well-maintained.
However, it should never be mistaken for synthetic or faux leather, which is used for mass-produced leather sofas, bags, and shoes.
Leather’s opulent and luxurious reputation has transcended the challenges of time and still remains a symbol of sophistication and quality.
Whether it’s genuine or synthetic, the same proper care should also be applied to prevent fake leather from cracking to avoid costly repairs in the long run.
Leather may be delicate, but when used and cared for properly, it can last for a long, long time, so be mindful of how to prevent leather from cracking.
Take action now by following the tips provided to prevent damage and enjoy your leather products for many years to come.