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Suppliers of Leather Hides and Automotive Car Upholstery South Africa


No doubt that when opting for leather car upholstery, you are doing it for two major reasons. The first is that leather just looks really good when compared to other materials like fabric or vinyl, and the other is that leather, more so than just about any other fabric, is extremely durable and long-lasting.

While this is true, the latter shouldn’t be taken as a matter of permanence. While leather is remarkably durable, it is also subject to damage and age over time, which will rob it of its quality, crispness, and elegant sheen.

But cleaning leather car upholstery is not the same as doing it with any other fabric. Leather requires a little more love and attention than other types of materials, which is why a lot of people tend to just ignore the need for cleaning, accepting rather the gradual degradation of its style, value, and sheen.

It is understandable, and to be honest there isn’t a whole lot of advice out there on how to effectively clean leather interiors. But doing it is very important, almost as important as knowing how to do it.

Here we will go over a few of the reasons why you should stay up to date with cleaning as a matter of maintenance, how to go about doing it, and what you definitely should avoid doing to ensure that your leather lasts the way it ought to.


If you have opted to ignore the need for cleaning (maybe you don’t want to cause damage; maybe you just don’t feel like it…) then you have likely noticed a gradual lessening of the condition of your leather seats and upholstery.

The bad news is that this is going to happen wherever cleaning is ignored. The good news is that you would be surprised at how much of a restoration a good cleaning will do.

True, leather is one of those things that kind of gets better with age, it gets softer, more comfortable, lighter to the touch, but this is assuming that it is aging in an ideal environment, not one that is regularly soaked in sun or often gets dirty and dusty. Leather in these environments, like those found in car upholstery, are constantly struggling against elements, use, and dirt, and need a little extra care if they are going to last longer.

Grease & Stains Won’t Come Out Easily

A common worry for car owners with leather upholstery is what happens with spills, particularly those that don’t typically come out easily.

Unfortunately, leather tends to soak in certain types of stains in a way that a simple spot cleaning won’t be able to rectify, and a more rigorous (but leather safe approach might be needed).

Of course this gives us an opportunity to point out one of the best things about leather, and that is that these kind of stains tend to become absorbed altogether by leather so that it becomes less visible, but that can take months to happen.

When needed, however, a professional clean can be an excellent way to remove these types of stains.

Conditioning as Part of Cleaning

Regular cleaning is important for keeping things looking new and fresh (with the recommended frequency of cleans being about once every month). But more important than that is one of the things that should be included with every clean, and that is conditioning the leather.

Applying leather conditioner will keep your leather looking newer for longer by refreshing its appearance with natural oils. This leaves it looking smooth and hydrated, much in the way that moisturiser does to our skin.

Leather protection conditioners are fairly affordable and make all the difference to the condition of leather car upholstery in the long run.

Dirt Scratches Leather

Beyond the dirt that builds up on leather seats over time, neglecting to clean can actually have an overall negative impact on the leather itself, and there are two reasons for this.

Firstly, wed dirt (mud) will seep into and stain leather with relative ease (consider using seat protectors to avoid this), which can be difficult to clean once it happens.

Secondly, dirt tends to create friction on the leather when people sit in the seats, or even during cleaning, which means that a significant build-up of it can actually cause unsightly and permanent damage to your seats.

Being more regular with your cleaning tasks will go a long way to helping avoid this.


Now that we have gotten the importance of regular cleaning out of the way, lets go over a few simple tips for correctly cleaning leather products. We will start with something that you should never do…

Don’t Use Household Cleaning Products

When cleaning leather car upholstery it might be tempting to get some soapy water, maybe some detergent and a brush, and going to town on your seats. This is generally NOT a good idea, not at all.

Most household cleaning products are far too harsh to be used to clean leather and will likely cause more damage to the hides than good.

There are numerous specialised leather care products out there that should rather be used because they are gentle and will leave your upholstery looking new and revitalised.

Use Soapy Water if You Must

If getting a specialised leather care product for cleaning sounds a little out of your way, and you must use things around the house to do it, then opt for nothing stronger than a simple bucket of warm soapy water and a damp cloth.

However, there are specialised leather soaps out there (often called saddle soaps) which are far more effective, especially for darker stains.

Use Professionals for Tough Jobs

Some stains are just not going to come out easily, and when this happens it is often better for you to step back and let someone with a bit of expert knowledge handle it instead.

Various commercial car wash stations are a good bet since they often use market leading leather care products and are veteran stain removers.

Avoid Getting Stains in the First Place

It is often said that the best offense is a good defence, which is true in the case of leather seats (not that they will be offending anyone).

The best way, then, to keep leather car upholstery clean is by getting seat covers that keep dust, dirt, and stains away from the fabrics, and can be removed and washed at a moment’s notice.

If you really want your leather car seats to last, then investing in a quality seat protector for your car is probably the best way of doing that.

Make Sure to Clean Regularly

Another good way to ensure that your leather seats are not only easy to clean but also look better for longer, is to make sure that cleaning happens on a fairy regular basis. Don’t overdo it of course, there is no point in cleaning every single day, but cleaning at least once a month is advisable.

Of course this also depends on the kind of challenges faced by your upholstery. Do you live or work in a particularly dusty environment? Do you have kids or animals in your car often? Do you smoke in your car?

All these things are factors that might have you needing to clean your leather car upholstery more frequently.


Here at Philton Leather we offer a range of exceptional deals on leather car upholstery. If you would like to know more about our offers and deals, be sure to get in contact with one of our representatives, or feel free to browse our website to find out everything you need to know about our products.


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At your service

South Africa’s premier manufacturer and fitter of leather upholstery


All Philton Autotrim products come with our standard 12- month warranty against all and any manufacturing defects.

Normally, orders are dispatched within 48 hours either by road or air (C.I.F) to the customer’s nearest airport, or if the customer so wishes, to an alternative address of their choice. Our extremely fast response time is due to the consistently high level of co-operation that we achieve with our customers.


All Philton Autotrim products are available in a variety of leather and thread colours. All standard colours are available, and for those who want to personalise their products, other colours are available on request.


Philton Autotrim also manufactures non-automotive products that make use of the precision of the cutting machine and sewing operation.