How to Keep Leather Seats From Cracking

by M.H. Dyer

Leather seats, luxurious and comfortable, are no longer limited to expensive, high-end sedans and sports cars. They are now available for family wagons, sport utility vehicles, and even pickup trucks. Without proper care, normal daily use, and exposure to sunlight and dry air, can leave your leather seats looking as dry and cracked as the Sahara desert. Proper cleaning and conditioning performed regularly will keep your leather seats looking and feeling like new.

Vacuum your leather seats to remove dust or crumbs. Use a brush attachment if you have trouble reaching into narrow spaces and seams.

Apply a good-quality leather cleaner to a soft rag, or use the applicator included with the leather cleaner. Rub the cleaner into an area of seating that measures about 2 to 3 square feet. Work the cleaner into a lather, then remove the lather with a soft, damp cloth. Wipe the leather until the detergent is removed, then buff the seats with a clean, soft towel.

Condition the leather one section at a time, using a good-quality leather conditioner. Rub the conditioner thoroughly into the leather, then allow the conditioner to remain on the leather for five to 10 minutes. Buff the leather seats again, using a clean towel.

Clean and condition your leather seats every month if you live in a climate with hot, dry summers or cold, dry winters. If you live in a humid climate, clean and condition your leather seats every 45 days.


  • check Always refer to your car manual for specific care guidelines for your vehicle.
  • check Vacuum your car regularly, as dirt can cause the leather to wear faster. Wipe the seats often with a damp cloth, especially if you have recently used skin care lotions or sun tan oil.
  • check Use of a sun shield on hot days will help preserve your leather seats.

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About the Author

M.H. Dyer began her writing career as a staff writer at a community newspaper and is now a full-time commercial writer. She writes about a variety of topics, with a focus on sustainable, pesticide- and herbicide-free gardening. She is an Oregon State University Master Gardener and Master Naturalist and holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative nonfiction writing.