Leather car interiors can be a pain to keep clean. If it isn’t maintained on the regular, peeling, discoloration, and fading can set in quickly. And while dark leathers tend to be the most sensitive to these issues, lighter varieties can also succumb to premature aging. The easiest way to prevent these annoyances from happening is to use a cleaner or moisturizer for your automobile. Reviewed below are ten leather cleaners and conditioners that are available online (and offline), chosen for their strength, longevity, and items included with the main product. After you’re finished reading the reviews, don’t forget about the Buyer’s Guide, which includes helpful advice to help you zero in on the best choice for your car. At the conclusion, the top two choices are announced.
1. Leather Honey Leather Conditioner – Best Leather Cleaner and Conditioner For Car
Virtually no preparation is needed, so you can get started immediately when the product arrives at your door. If you want something that will last a long time and won’t have you cleaning your leather multiple times every month, then the Leather Honey is recommended.
|When used in cars, the formula will fully restore and slow down the leather aging process||When working the cleaner into leather, the content doesn’t apply in an even manner and must be thoroughly absorbed by the user|
|Ideal for quick cleaning and long term storage (for alternative purposes)||–|
|The formula requires no preparation before usage; doesn’t need to be blended||–|
2. TriNova Leather Conditioner and Restorer – Best Leather Cleaner and Conditioner For Restoration (Editor’s Choice)
In fact, just a small amount on the cleaning pad included should be enough to cover one-half of your vehicle alone. And once it touches your leather, it will soften almost immediately. If you have patches in the leather that appear to be faded, TriNova will also blend these areas back to the color it once was.
|Applies in only one session; doesn’t necessitate large quantities of solution to clean||An odd smell emanates from the conditioner|
|Moisturizes quickly||Frustrating to use without hand protection; hard to wash from hands|
|Safe to use on leather that has already been damaged from discoloration||–|
3. Leather Milk Conditioner and Cleaner – Best Leather Cleaner and Conditioner For Smell (People’s Choice)
There’s also a cleaning pad included with this, so there’s no need to go out and purchase additional items to get the job done.
|Very pleasant smell that isn’t strong or overbearing||The bottle and small and will be finished fast (two may be needed)|
|A cleaning pad and sponge are included with the bottle||–|
|Doesn’t overtly moisturize the leather; no “slippery” feeling to the final result||–|
4. Chemical Guys Leather Cleaner and Conditioner – Best Leather Cleaner and Conditioner For Separate Bottles
They are housed in a spray and squeeze bottle, but come out smoothly and don’t run off. When you’re done, you might need to do a reapplication in a short amount of time, especially if your leather is worn down. But overall, the Chemical Guys is a great product and a good choice for people that want separate containers for cleaner and conditioner solution.
|The cleaner and conditioner are sold in their own individual bottles||Reapplication is likely after one or two weeks; shine doesn’t last long|
|Fast spray and squeeze application||Denser surfaces will feel stickier to the touch after application (dashboards, steering wheels)|
|The resulting look glistens but won’t appear artificial||–|
5. Bick 4 Leather Conditioner and Leather Cleaner – Best Leather Cleaner and Conditioner For High-Quality Leather
For darker leathers, the colors will come back without the gray residue that’s common among low-quality cleaners. Use this formula if you have black leather that’s soft and delicate.
|Works well in cars with high quality interior leather; won’t cause damages to the surface||Although it’s not strong, has a slight acidic smell|
|The solution goes deep into the leather’s crevices and pores; lasts a long time||–|
|No discoloration or fading||–|
6. Chamberlain’s Leather Milk Leather Conditioner – Best Leather Conditioner For Moisturizing
And no fading will occur, even after the layer of conditioner wears off over time. But if you have leather that’s scratched, don’t expect the nicks to smoothen out with this brand. If you don’t mind that, then the Chamberlain will make a great addition to another cleaning product.
|Sold in a small can that’s easy to store anywhere in a vehicle, if needed||Oily consistency|
|Takes out the fading and restores back to the leather’s original hue||The conditioner isn’t very effective in leather that’s moderately or heavily scratched|
|Cleaning sponge included||–|
7. Lexol Leather Cleaner and Conditioner – Best Leather Cleaner and Conditioner For Dirty Car Interiors
You also won’t have to work very hard to get in worked into the leather; just a gentle application in a circular motion is all that’s needed. While it can get a little smelly, the odor should dissipate after a few hours.
|Rids hard leather surfaces of grime but won’t result in the sticky feeling that’s commonly found among other leather cleaners||Contains a strong synthetic smell to both cleaner and conditioner|
|Moisturizes without the need to press down hard on the material||The conditioner along won’t do much do wipe away dirt|
|A small but durable cleaning pad is included, which doesn’t break or wear down after the first time it’s used||–|
8. Chemical Guys HOL303 Leather Cleaner and Conditioner – Best Leather Cleaner and Conditioner Kit
A smaller bottle of detailer is featured, which accents the cleaner well and will touch up the areas that require more attention. You’ll probably go through each of the bottles very quickly, so make this your choice if you don’t own a large vehicle (such as an SUV).
|A full kit that contains everything needed to complete a detailed and quick interior restoration||The cleaner and conditioner itself won’t last very long, particularly in regions with a dry climate|
|No additional appliances required||–|
|A small detailer is also featured with the kit, which will help eliminate small scratches and bruises that the cleaner/conditioner misses||–|
9. Lexol Leather Cleaner – Best Leather Cleaner For Bright Colors
Say goodbye to the lingering a grayish residue that’s commonly found after cleaning dark leather over a long period of time. It’s also non-toxic, so settle on the Lexol if you have small children or pets.
|Great on leathers with odd colors||Sticky and does not wipe away from fabric easily|
|When used on black leather, the result will turn out black, not smokey||–|
|Nontoxic and non-skin irritating; safe to use without hand protection, if preferred||–|
10. Armor All 18781 Cleaning and Leather Care Wipes – Best Leather Cleaner For Fast Cleaning
This is primarily for anyone that wants to clean their car fast, and won’t leave the same restoration results found on the products reviewed already. And you may not want to store in your vehicle; the liquid inside dries quite fast. Regardless, try out the Armor All Wipes if you need to clean with haste, or just want something to touch-up on an already completed detailing.
|The cleaning wipes are easy to store, apply, and dispose of||May result in streaking, especially on dark leathers, unless rubbed in vigorously|
|Has a “new car smell” to the solution in the wipes||–|
|Great for fast, temporary cleans for people that don’t have enough time to detail||–|
You should use care when choosing which leather cleaner/conditioner you want. Brands have become notorious for their differences in results, scent, and effectiveness at cleaning. On top of this, different leather materials can also play a big part in how well any given product will restore the interior. And while that doesn’t mean that you will have to be overtly picky, knowing a thing or two will go a long way in determining how well you will like a brand. Nevertheless, here are some tips that will make the choices above easier for you to decide on.
Type of Vehicle/Interior
If you’ve glanced at the links shown in each of the product’s reviews, you may have noticed that some of the brands recommended that you specify the make and model of your car before you purchase. This is mostly due to car interior differences, and some products may work better or some models than others. But truthfully, you should pick whichever is advised, regardless of what the manufacturer may say. For example, if you have dark leather and you’re afraid that one product’s ingredients might be too harsh on the material, it’s perfectly fine that you switch to a brand that you know is lighter. This can apply no matter what the brand suggests. In any case, consider the sensitivity and strength of elements found in the cleaner before you check out.
Separate or Combined?
You may have also noticed that some leather cleaners and conditioners are in separate bottles, while others are in a single. What’s best for you in this regard is ultimately your choice to make. How do you plan on cleaning your vehicle? If you have the time to detail, then a kit sold with individual bottles should suffice. Or maybe you just want the product to last longer, or don’t need to use both the cleaner and moisturizer simultaneously. But if you want to do everything in one go, without worrying about mixing anything together, a single is highly recommended. However, single bottle typically has fewer contents than dual bottles, so you may end up needing more than one if you anticipate going through it very quickly.
The smell is often a deciding factor for many people when choosing conditioners/cleaners, and rightly so. Scent can linger or leather for long periods of time, and even become annoying when it’s too strong. Overall, most leather cleaners sold today or odorless or contain a pleasant scent that’s similar to the smell of a new car. But some can get pretty strong, especially those with more ingredients. The best way to determine how long a cleaner’s smell will stay in your car is to simply look at what other reviewers say about the product. Still, you may want to consider that some people’s sense of smell is weaker or stronger than others. When in doubt, go with the brand that advertises little to no scent.
Detailing versus Fast Cleaning Jobs
Some people don’t have time to do long detailed work on their vehicles, and that can include interior leather. But leather tends to be to the portion of a car (inside) that needs to be maintained, in or for it to stay healthy. If you have found yourself strapped for time but urgently need to clean your leather, consider looking for a cleaning kit, or wipes. The advantage of the latter is zero preparation time, fast application, and easy disposal. Wipes are often non-toxic as well, and safe to use around small children. So go with these when you just want something that can make your leather look presentable without the need to spend hours in your car. Just make sure that you store wipes well since they have a tendency to dry fast.
Preparation and Common Annoyances
As mentioned, you should prepare your vehicle before you use any leather cleaner. Remove any items from your vehicles such as clothing, documents, or anything that you don’t want to get the cleaner on. They can leave a thin layer of film on anything it touches, which can be disastrous for some fabrics. Knowing this, cover or avoid the fabric areas of your car, if there are any. Getting it out is a nuisance. Speaking of annoyances, there are some other issues that you may run into with any leather cleaner, such as the sticky feeling that may appear on the leather immediately after you’re done wiping it down. It’s not a universal issue for all brands, but something that’s frequently described of multiple products. The easiest way to avoid this is to refrain from using too much of the solution at the same time.
How Long it Lasts
How long your leather cleaner/conditioner lasts depends on the size and amount you use. For heavily soiled and stained leather, get ready to go through your bottle(s) very quickly. Anyone that’s doing a brief cleaning job will typically see their product last anywhere from a few months to a year, especially if the product penetrates deeply into the crevices of the material. As stated before, you’ll probably go through the smaller and/or fewer bottles more quickly, so a dual set shouldn’t be out of the question if you want things to last longer than a month. The length of time a conditioner will stay on your vehicle may also change with the weather, or region in which you live. Drier climates will need to be moisturized more, especially if you run your car’s air conditioning unit a lot. The higher the humidity, the less you will find yourself running for the moisturizer.
Leather conditioners and cleaners can be used for all sorts of things other than your automobile’s interior. Have any old, beat up boots that you want to restore? Apply the solution to them and watch the material come back to the state it was in when you bought the product. Or maybe you’ve noticed your leather furniture or luggage pieces needing a once-over. Use both conditioner and cleaner, and make their original colors show in the material. The products above can be used for virtually anything that’s made of standard leather. If you own exotic leather such as alligator or camel, you can also use them. Just apply a small amount to an insignificant portion of the item, and if the result looks well, finish the entire piece off.
Do you have an idea of what leather cleaner you want to buy? Each product evaluated in the reviews is recommended for some purpose, although two from the list stand out above all others. If you want the best restoration job and will last long, put the Leather Honey and TriNova Leather Conditioner and Restorer first in line. They smell great, don’t flake or discolor dark leathers, and have finished that don’t appear too glossy. However, don’t take this as a negative to the other products shown, since could also be well-served for people with specific needs. But at the end of the day, you can’t go wrong with any of the ten that are featured, and you’ll be surprised just how well they all take away years of grime from your vehicle’s interior.