Car Care

Cleaning Perforated Leather Seats: Ultimate Car Detailing Guide

Cleaning the interior of a car is important to maintain its appearance and increase its lifespan. However, cleaning perforated leather in a car can be a bit of a challenge. Perforated leather seats are becoming increasingly popular, and keeping them clean can be a daunting and intimidating task if you’re unsure how to do it. In this article, we will provide you with a comprehensive guide on how to clean perforated leather seats in your car in a way you won’t damage them.

What is Perforated Leather?

Perforated leather is a type of leather used in car seats that features tiny holes or perforations throughout the material. The perforations are not only decorative, but they also serve a functional purpose by allowing air to circulate through the seats, keeping drivers and passengers cool and comfortable.

Perforated leather is a popular option in luxury and high-end vehicles, as it adds an extra touch of elegance and sophistication to the car’s interior. However, due to the tiny holes, cleaning perforated leather in a car can be a bit more challenging than regular leather seats.

How to Identify Perforated Leather Seats

To identify perforated leather seats, look closely at the surface of the leather. Perforated leather seats will have small holes or perforations that are evenly spaced across the surface of the material. These holes are typically circular, although other shapes such as squares or diamonds may also be used. The perforations should be uniform in size and spacing, and the edges of the holes should be clean and well-defined. Perforated leather seats may also be labelled as such by the manufacturer, either on the seat itself or in the vehicle’s owner’s manual.

What are the Benefits of Perforated Leather Seats?

One of the main benefits of perforated leather seats is increased comfort. The perforations in the leather allow air to circulate, which can help to prevent the seats from becoming too hot or sticky, particularly in warmer weather. This can help to keep the driver and passengers comfortable, even on long drives.

Other benefits:

  • Improved durability: The small holes in the leather can help to prevent cracking and other types of damage that can occur over time, making perforated leather seats more durable than non-perforated leather seats.
  • Aesthetically pleasing: The unique texture and visual appeal of perforated leather seats can add a touch of luxury and sophistication to the interior of the vehicle.
  • Easier to clean: The small holes in the leather can make cleaning and maintenance of perforated leather seats easier as dirt and debris is less likely to get trapped in the material.
  • Resale value: Cars with perforated leather seats often have a higher resale value due to the added comfort, durability, and luxury they provide.
The leather of the 1932 Desoto Custom Roadster during the Barrett-Jackson car auction at WestWorld of Scottsdale on Jan. 26, 2023. Feature Barrett-Jackson Car Auction

How to Change Your Cleaning Methods For Perforated Leather Seats

Because of the holes in the leather, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to remove all the products you use on your seats. Cleaners and conditioners can get stuck in the holes so it’s important to use high-quality products that won’t damage the leather if they’re left in contact with the material.

Best Car Leather Cleaners and Conditioners

With so many different leather cleaners available in the market, it can be challenging to choose the right one. In this list, we have compiled the top 5 best leather cleaners for car seats to make the decision process a little easier. These cleaners are known for their ability to clean, condition, and protect leather seats while also being safe to use on all types of leather. Whether you have a classic car or a new luxury model, these leather cleaners can help keep your seats looking like new.

  1. Leather Honey Leather Cleaner: This cleaner is known for its ability to remove even the toughest stains from leather. It’s made from natural ingredients and is safe to use on all types of leather, including car seats.
  2. Meguiar’s Gold Class Rich Leather Cleaner and Conditioner: This two-in-one product cleans and conditions leather, leaving it soft and supple. It’s formulated to clean without stripping the leather of its natural oils.
  3. Chemical Guys Leather Cleaner and Conditioner: This product is designed to clean and protect leather surfaces in two steps. They contain natural ingredients like aloe vera and vitamin E, which help to condition and protect the leather.
  4. Weiman Leather Cleaner and Conditioner: This cleaner is pH-balanced to protect the leather and can remove dirt, oil, and stains without drying out the leather. It’s safe to use on all types of leather and doesn’t leave any residue.
  5. Ammo Lather Interior Cleanser: this pH-balanced cleaner can be used throughout the car on plastics as well as leather and provides a safe but powerful clean on all types of leather. It doesn’t leave any residue but does leave a layer of UV protection.

How to Clean Your Perforated Leather Seats

Time needed: 1 hour

How to clean the perforated leather seats in your car from start to finish.

  1. Vacuum the Leather Seats

    The first step in cleaning perforated leather in a car is to vacuum the leather seats. This will help remove any loose dirt and debris that may have accumulated on the seats and prevent scratching.

    Use a soft brush attachment to gently clean the surface of the seats if necessary and make sure to pull the cracks and folds of the seats apart to remove any trapped debris. Be sure to use a vacuum with a HEPA filter to prevent allergens from being spread around the interior of your car.

  2. Test Your Leather Cleaner

    It’s highly likely that if you’re using a leather cleaner from a trusted brand, you’ll be completely fine. But it’s always a good idea to test your cleaner on a piece of leather you can’t see.

    Spray a tiny bit on a microfibre towel and rub it into the leather and watch to see if it discolours. If it does, stop and use another cleaner. If it does, continue.

  3. Begin the Cleaning Process: Use a Microfibre Towel

    This is the part where you’ll need to think about how much you’re going to attack your leather. It all depends on how dirty it is, so if you’re not sure, work your way through this guide until your seats are clean. If you know how much cleaning it will need from experience, skip ahead!

    A microfibre towel is the gentlest way of cleaning, but it won’t remove much dirt so it’s best on seats that have only recently been cleaned.

    Spray a couple of pumps of cleaner onto the microfibre towel and then onto your seat, then clean in circular motions. Once you’ve finished scrubbing, use a clean section of the towel to scoop up the remaining cleaner and dirt and dry your seat thoroughly.

  4. Use a Soft Brush

    If your seats are still dirty, use a soft-bristled brush to agitate the dirt further. Spray some cleaner into the brush and onto the leather, then scrub lightly creating a foam.

    This will help dirt release from the pores of the leather.

    Once you’re finished, use the towel to mop up leftover cleaner and dry thoroughly.

  5. Use a Scrub Pad

    A scrub pad can be used to remove bad staining, but there is a chance that you’ll damage the leather so be very careful and apply little pressure.

    Make sure you have plenty of cleaner in between the scrub pad and the leather to lubricate the scrubbing and check that you’re not damaging anything as you go.

    Once you’re happy, use the towel to mop up leftover cleaner and dry thoroughly.

  6. Use a Steamer

    A steamer is can be used to open the pores of the leather with heat for a more thorough clean.

    Use a brush head or even the microfibre towel wrapped around the steamer head and run it lightly over the leather. Then once the leather is warm and agitated, spray it with leather cleaner and agitate with a brush.

    While using the steamer, don’t put too much pressure on the leather and keep checking that you’re not doing any damage to the seat.

    Once you’re happy, use the towel to mop up leftover cleaner and dry thoroughly.

  7. Finish With a Conditioner

    When your seat leather is clean and dry, use a high-quality leather conditioner to add moisture back into the leather.

    Using a foam or microfibre pad, massage the conditioner into the leather in circular motions. You can leave the conditioner on the seat for as long as you want, but wipe off any excess when you’re ready and before you use the car.

  8. Ventilate Your Seats

    Keep the windows slightly open for a couple of hours after cleaning to allow everything to dry. And if your car has them, turn on any ventilated seats to aid the drying process and clear out any potentially blocked holes.

Deep Cleaning Perforated Leather Seats

If you’re cleaning extremely dirty leather you can use machines to speed up the cleaning. This will increase the likelihood of damaging the leather, though, so be warned.

Using a brush on the end of a drill and your favourite leather cleaner, you can speed up the cleaning process. Apply plenty of cleaner and use a slow rotation speed on the drill while maintaining even light pressure.

Keep checking the leather for any potential damage from over-cleaning, and when you’re finished, wipe the leather down with a microfibre towel and dry the leather.

This is our favourite brush head for doing this.

Maintaining Your Perforated Leather Seats

Regular maintenance of your perforated leather seats is essential to keep them in good condition. Over time, dirt, grime, and oils from your skin can accumulate on the surface, leading to discolouration, staining, and even mildew growth. Proper maintenance can prevent these problems, prolong the life of your seats, and maintain their value.

The best way to maintain the appearance of your perforated leather seats is to prevent stains and dirt from accumulating in the first place. This can be done by making sure your leather is protected with a high-quality conditioner that will repel stains and grime before they’re able to sink into the pores of the leather. Just like maintaining the skin on your face, it’s important to keep your leather seats conditioned.

Here are a few tips to help you maintain perforated leather seats:

  1. Avoid using harsh cleaning agents or chemicals that can damage the leather.
  2. Clean spills and stains as soon as possible to prevent them from setting in.
  3. Avoid sitting on the seats when you are sweaty or dirty, as this can leave oils and grime behind.
  4. Use a protective cover on the seats, especially if you have children or pets who are prone to spills and accidents.
  5. Park your car in a covered or shaded area to prevent sun damage to the leather.

By following these tips, you can keep your perforated leather seats looking their best and ensure that they last for years to come.

Common Mistakes

Unfortunately, many people make common mistakes while cleaning their perforated leather seats that can cause irreparable damage. One of the most common mistakes is using too much water or cleaning solution, which can seep into the perforations and cause the leather to crack or discolour. It is important to avoid making such mistakes to keep your leather seats in pristine condition.

These are other mistakes you could make:

  • Using harsh chemicals or cleaning solutions that can cause discolouration or cracking
  • Using a rough or abrasive cloth or brush that can scratch the leather surface
  • Not drying the seats completely after cleaning, which can allow moisture to seep into the perforations and cause damage
  • Cleaning the seats infrequently, which can cause dirt and grime to build up and make the cleaning process more difficult
  • Poking things into the leather perforations to ‘clean them’. Don’t push anything into the holes because this could cause damage and/or push dirt further into the leather

In conclusion, cleaning perforated leather in a car can be a bit of a challenge, but it is not impossible. By following these simple steps, you can keep your leather seats looking like new for years to come. Remember to always use high-quality leather cleaners and conditioners that are specially formulated for perforated leather to ensure the best results.


How often should I clean my perforated leather seats?

You should clean your perforated leather seats regularly, at least once every other month to prevent dirt and oils from building up and potentially damaging the leather.

Can I use any cleaning solution to clean perforated leather seats?

No, you should only use cleaning solutions specifically designed for use on leather seats, especially perforated leather seats. Using the wrong cleaning solution could damage the leather or cause discolouration.

Can I use a conditioner on perforated leather seats?

Yes, you can use a leather conditioner on perforated leather seats to keep them soft and supple. However, you should choose a conditioner that is pH balanced and of high quality, as some conditioners could potentially damage the leather.

What should I do if I accidentally spill something on my perforated leather seats?

If you accidentally spill something on your perforated leather seats, you should clean it up as soon as possible using a clean cloth or paper towel. Be careful not to rub the spill into the leather, as this could cause it to spread or become more deeply ingrained. Make sure to let the leather dry and clean as soon as possible.

Can I steam clean perforated leather seats?

Yes, just be gentle and don’t allow too much water to sit on the leather. You don’t want the leather to get too hot either, so make sure to move the steam around a lot to spread the heat out.

Can I use a brush to clean perforated leather seats?

Yes, you can use a soft-bristled brush to gently clean perforated leather seats. However, you should be careful not to rub too hard or use a brush with stiff bristles, as this could damage the leather or clog the perforations.

Alex Harrington

Alex started racing at a young age so certainly knows his way around a car and a track. He can just about put a sentence together too, which helps. He has a great interest in the latest models, but would throw all of his money at a rusty old French classic and a 300ZX. Contact: [email protected]

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