Winter Jobs: car seat leather restoration

The drivers seat desperately needed attention. Each time I would sit in the drivers car seat, the seat cushion, seat back and bolster would discolour – it was an absolute headache keeping on top of cleaning it. With a liberal dose of elbow grease, I was always able to bring it back to looking good, but it was a lot of hard work, and I started to notice my cleaning efforts were having a lesser impact.

TVR Cerbera car seat leather restoration - before

Here is a before and after photo.

The lighting in my garage is a little misleading, as it looks like I re-coloured the whole seat, whereas what I actually did was to deep clean the whole seat, and then re-colour just the seat cushion, seat back and bolsters.

Regardless of my dodgy lighting, the ingrained dirt/dye is plain to see.

TVR Cerbera car seat leather restoration - after

Why does the seat discolour ?

There’s two things going on. Dye transfer from jeans and other coloured fabric are being left on the seat, plus the leather has lost its protective layer to repel that dye transfer and day-to-day dirt.

In extreme cases, the layer of leather colouring might have been partially removed through years of cleaning, resulting in a grey-ish tone.

Car seat restoration – what you need

With the right products, it’s fairly straight forward.

Furniture Clinic products

My go to place is furniture clinic.

  • The Leather Alcohol Cleaner is good stuff, it will strip the leather of it’s top coat of lacquer, and get all the grime out.
  • By sending Furniture Clinic a swatch of your leather they can colour match the Leather Colourant. I prefer to apply this with a sponge, and dry with a hair-dryer between coats.
  • The Leather Finish, which I prefer to apply with an air-gun, will give it the gloss/satin or matt finish.
  • The final step is the Leather Protection Cream, this is that important barrier that was missing, that now will protect the leather from further discolouring.
  • The final product, what Furniture Clinic call Leather Ultra Clean, is what you use to periodically clean the leather, and is safe to use such that it won’t remove the other layers you applied.

A point worth noting. From the factory, the leather was coloured. This layer of colouring means you need to choose wisely what you use for day-to-day cleaning & protection of the leather. Applying something that is designed to be absorbed into the leather won’t work, as due to the layer of colour, it won’t.

The final result, plus a photo under proper lighting conditions (outside in the sun), with the car seat reinstalled in the car.

I’m quite happy with that!

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