While most leather interiors are not completely covered in leather, or are coated by the vehicle manufacturer for protection, finding the correct products to clean them can be difficult. When reading vehicle owners manuals, you may find that simply soap and water are all that is recommended. The intention of this is to preserve the coating applied by the factory to keep the leather protected. Using a specific leather feeding product may not be beneficial as it cannot penetrate into the material, or the product is simply attempting to soften vinyl. Using a diluted degreaser may work, but sometimes can be harsh.
I have been using Prestine Clean for years on many different manufacturers’ leather interiors. One thing is consistent with the product; it cleans oils and denim transfer with no apparent negative effects on the underlying leather.
I used a light colored interior to demonstrate how effective Prestine Clean is at removing oils from the areas that are regularly touched by your hands in the car. This 612 Scaglietti hand brake handle needs to be pulled every time the car is parked. As you can see, it has a dingy appearance.
In preparation to clean the above hand brake, I attach a sprayer directly to the Prestine Clean bottle and have a soft bristled brush with a few microfiber towels ready. I prefer to wear gloves with this product as it has a lotion like consistency to it. If this were a seat, I’d start at the headrest and work down to avoid spraying product all over a clean area. Also, I work one small (1’ x 1’) area at a time. To me, this not only helps in preventing the product from drying out, it helps me focus my attention to get better “micro-results”. I don’t let the product sit longer than ~30 seconds before I begin agitating with the soft bristled brush. As you work, you will see the oils dissolve and the original color of the leather will come through. Wipe the area dry with a microfiber towel and inspect. Repeat if necessary, the product is safe.
I’d highly recommend you clean your leather steering wheel with Prestine Clean. If it’s not damaged, the wheel will feel like it did the day you purchased the car.
To maintain the interior once clean, I prefer to use ready mixed products. I have bounced between two products over the years, Meguiar’s Quik Interior Detailer, and Einszett 1Z Cockpit Premium. Both have their highs and lows. Meguiars has a mild scent and a mid-level cleaning ability when compared to Einszett 1Z’s powerful scent and lower-mid level cleaning ability. The scent of Einszet 1Z gives you the feeling that a professional cleaning has taken place. But, it is not a scent that some prefer to have lingering when children are in the car. Both clean well and are safe on wood and LCD screens in my experience. I use a microfiber when using either of the products. A light mist on the mitt and a firm wipe and you are done.
With any combination of these products you can revive a mildly dirty interior safely and maintain it for years.