How to Clean Perforated Leather Seats?

How to Clean Perforated Leather Seats?

There are many ways to clean your leather seats, but these methods have varying levels of success. The first thing you need to do is decide which type of leather you have on your seat.

There are two types of leather seats:

  • Perforated leather is the more common type found in cars today because it has a “breathable” feel to it;
  • Non-perforated leather is not as popular because it traps heat and moisture, which can lead to mold problems down the line;

In this blog post, we’ll explore how you can keep your perforated leather from looking dirty or from wearing out prematurely.

Steps on Cleaning Perforated Leather Car Seats:

1) Get rid of all the loose dirt with a vacuum cleaner

If the dirt is only on the surface, you can easily get rid of it using a vacuum cleaner. Make sure to use the crevice tool to clean in between the seats and around the edges [1].

Get rid of all the loose dirt with a vacuum cleaner

After removing any superficial dirt, take some time to vacuum clean under and around your seats – this will get rid of dust mites as well as other nasties that might have been lurking there for quite some time now!

2) Wipe the seats

If there is any dried-on mud or food, you can try to remove it with a damp cloth. Be careful not to saturate the leather though, as this could cause damage.

3) Test out your chosen leather cleaner

Leather is a delicate material, so it’s important to take great care when cleaning it. Before applying any cleaner to the seats, test it out on an inconspicuous area first. This will help you to gauge how harsh the cleaner is, and whether it will cause any damage or discoloration.

4) Apply the cleaner and scrub

If you have a leather cleaner that you know and trust, then go ahead and apply it according to the manufacturer’s directions. However, if you don’t have one or would rather not use one, there are plenty of natural alternatives that can be just as effective.

A mixture of vinegar and water is a good place to start – simply mix equal parts of each together in a spray bottle and give the seats a light spritz. Let the solution sit for a minute or two before wiping it off with a damp cloth.

For a more intensive clean, you can also make a paste out of baking soda and water. Apply this to the seats using a cloth or sponge, then leave it to work its magic for a few minutes before rinsing off with warm water.

Apply the cleaner and scrub

Alternatively, you could use olive oil – just dab some onto a soft cloth and massage into the leather. Leave it to soak in for a while before wiping off any excess.

5) Wipe the seats down with a microfiber towel

Once you’ve cleaned the seats, it’s important to dry them off properly. A good way of doing this is to use a microfiber towel – these are designed to absorb moisture quickly and without leaving any streaks behind.

Give the entire seat area a good rub down with the towel until it’s completely dry. If you notice any areas that are still damp, go over them again until they’re no longer wet.

6) Condition the leather to rehydrate it

Once you’ve cleaned and dried the seats, it’s a good idea to condition them as well. This will help to rehydrate the leather, which in turn can make your car interior look sleeker, healthier, and more luxurious than before!

A simple way of doing this is by using Vaseline or butter. Simply apply some onto a clean cloth and massage into the seating area until fully absorbed.

Leave on for an hour or two so that all of the moisture has time to soak through properly. After this point, simply wipe off any excess with another microfiber towel. You should find that your leather feels soft and supple once again!

Condition the leather to rehydrate it

7) Wipe and dry the leather seats again

Once you have conditioned the leather, it’s important to give them another wipe and dry afterward. This will help to lock in as much moisture as possible, which will make your seats feel soft and supple for longer!

Here are a few things that cleaning experts recommend:

  • Use a microfiber towel (or any other kind of cloth);
  • Don’t use paper towels or napkins, as they can leave behind streaks and lint;

8) Buff and polish with a new microfiber towel

The final stage of the cleaning process is to buff and polish your seats:

  • Get yourself another microfiber towel (or two if you want);
  • Fold it into quarters so that there are four separate sections;
  • Apply some leather conditioner onto one section only rub this very lightly over the entire seating area until it becomes fully absorbed;
  • Use another quarter of the cloth to wipe away any excess conditioning;
  • Repeat again using more fresh towels;
  • To finish off, use yet another clean towel to give everything a light buff. Once done, make sure that all areas have been properly dried;

Additional Tips For Cleaning Tiny Holes:

1) Use an air compressor

If you’re a car detailer, an air compressor is an excellent piece of equipment to have (both professional and hobbyist). It’s useful in a variety of situations, particularly when cleaning perforated leather seats [2].

Simply attach the appropriate nozzle to the compressor and blast any dirt, dust, or debris out of the tiny holes. You can also use this method to remove any excess conditioner or polish from your seats after buffing them dry.

A word of caution – make sure that you don’t point the air compressor directly at your seats, as it could damage the leather over time. Angle it slightly so that the force of the air is directed downwards instead.

2) Use a toothpick, interdental brush, or gum stimulator

If you don’t have an air compressor, then there are a couple of other things that can be used to clean perforated leather seats.

For example, if you want to get into the really small holes (under 0.07 inches), a toothpick might do the trick – but only when conditions permit! Make sure that your seat isn’t brand new and has already been conditioned several times beforehand. Otherwise, it could cause tiny tears on the leather’s surface which will eventually become larger.

Similarly, interdental brushes or gum stimulators can also help to clear out any debris from hard-to-reach areas – although they’re not as effective at removing hardened dirt buildup like waxes and polishes.

Use a toothpick, interdental brush, or gum stimulator

3) Use a steam cleaner

If you have a steam cleaner, this can be used to blast out any dirt or grime that’s built up inside the tiny holes. Make sure that you use a gentle setting – and if possible, try not to hold the nozzle too close to the leather.

4) Use a very thin vacuum nozzle

If you have a vacuum cleaner with a very thin nozzle attachment, this can also be used to clean the perforated leather seats. Be careful not to put too much pressure on the seat though, or you might damage it.

How To Remove Odor From Perforated Leather Car Seats?

With leather cleaner alone, smells from vomit, urine, or forgotten food might be difficult to remove. If the leather cleaner doesn’t eliminate the noxious smell from your car after applying it once again, try mixing a solution of one part water and one part white vinegar in a spray bottle.

Spray the afflicted region of your seat with a fine spray and allow to sit for 5 minutes to soak into the holes. Wipe away any dampness using a clean cloth if necessary. If required, repeat until the stench is removed [3].

Alternatively, you can use a commercial odor eliminator. These products work to remove any malodors from the surface of your car seats and leave behind a pleasant scent. Simply follow the directions on the bottle to apply and allow it to dry. Once it is completely dry, your car will smell fresh once again!

If you’re looking for a more natural solution, baking soda can be used as an effective deodorizer. Sprinkle a liberal amount over the soiled area of your seat and let it sit overnight. The next morning, vacuum up the leftover baking soda and dispose of it in the trashcan outside. Baking soda is also great for removing tough stains from leather car seats – just make sure to test it in an inconspicuous spot first to ensure that it doesn’t cause any discoloration.

How To Remove Odor From Perforated Leather Car Seats?

If all else fails, you can always take your car seats to a professional leather cleaner. They will have the proper equipment and knowledge to get your seats looking and smelling like new again!

Regular Maintenance For Perforated Leather Car Seats

In order to keep your perforated leather car seats looking their best, it’s important to perform some regular maintenance. This includes cleaning them on a regular basis and conditioning them every few months.

To clean your car seats, use a soft cloth or sponge and a gentle cleaner made for leather. Be sure to read the instructions on the bottle carefully so that you don’t damage the surface of your seats.

If the seat is very dirty, you can also make a solution of water and vinegar (one part each) and apply it with a spray bottle. Wipe away any excess moisture with a dry cloth afterward.

Conditioning your car seats is an important step in keeping them looking new. There are many different types of leather conditioners available, so be sure to choose one that is specifically made for perforated leather. Apply it according to the directions on the bottle, and allow it to dry completely. This will help protect your seats from spills and dirt buildup, and will keep them looking like new for years to come!


1. How do you clean vomit out of a perforated leather seat?

Vomit is a problem for any kind of leather and you need to act quickly. There are two big concerns when trying to clean vomit from perforated leather seats: the liquid/vomit getting into the cracks between the holes, or through small punctures in your seat’s surface.

And, it can be difficult to dry properly because air cannot get all the way down into those little holes where wetness has been deposited. Both situations lead to mold growth that ruins your car seat forever!

Follow these steps if there is only a minimal amount of puke on your upholstery:

  • First, try using paper towels and then soft rags soaked with soapy water (some people prefer dish soap);
  • Always keep cleaning material moving as you work to prevent cross-contamination;
  • After you’re satisfied that most of the liquid has been removed, use a soft brush or absorbent rags and wipe with clean water again;
  • Finally, blot dry your seats using paper towels first (to get up excess moisture) followed by microfiber cloths which will wick away any remaining wetness without leaving lint behind;

2. Are perforated leather seats better?

Most perforated leathers are higher-quality than solid hides and are both more durable (harder to tear) and softer in appearance.

Perforation can be made by many methods, but the primary goal is always uniform spacing of the holes from top to bottom.

Typically, thinner gauge material will have smaller diameter holes while thicker gauges may require larger hole diameters for achieving proper “breathability”. Oftentimes manufacturers use a combination of various sized openings as well: some small near your body for ventilation, others large enough so you don’t feel them when sitting on them. The seat cover shown here uses different size perforations at each end – what this means is that there’s less give along the edges versus in the center.

Leather is a natural material and as such, some areas may be more porous than others that will result in different rates of absorption.

Some people believe that perforated leather seats are cooler to sit on in hot weather because air circulates better around your body – this has yet to be proven scientifically. All things considered, it’s really up to personal preference whether you choose solid or perforated hide for your car seats. Whichever you decide, just make sure they’re well taken care of so they’ll last longer!

3. Can you steam clean perforated leather?

Yes, you can steam clean perforated leather but the same precautions need to be taken as with solid leather seats. Make sure that you use a very light touch and do not allow the steamer to sit in one place for too long – this could damage your seat cover. Go over the entire surface evenly and if there are any areas where the perforation is especially sparse, use a soft brush to help loosen any dirt or debris. Follow up by blotting dry with paper towels and then a microfiber cloth. Voilà! Your seats are looking like new again!

As an alternative method for getting up large chunks:

  • Place paper towels over the surface area and then gently press using your fingers followed by light pressure using clean cloths soaked in soapy water;
  • This way you won’t push crumbs or other types of dirt farther into the cracks;
  • When everything is dry, wipe off with a soft cloth to remove any residual moisture. If you can’t see dust particles on your seats anymore then they’re clean enough;

If there’s no way possible to avoid perforated leathers during renovation/construction work, try using an opaque plastic sheeting over your car seat as shown above – cover one side only and make sure it overlaps onto surrounding areas so that nothing falls through which could potentially get stuck inside the crevices.

Then use tape around every edge of said covering in order to keep it from falling down unexpectedly when someone sits on it. If you still see dust particles or residue after pulling the sheeting away, repeat this process until there’s nothing left!

4. Can you clean leather seats with vinegar?

Leather seats may be cleaned with any number of cleansers, but white vinegar works best. If you mix it incorrectly, white vinegar might dry out leather. Linseed oil and vinegar should both be combined in equal parts before being dabbed on and gently brushed away with a towel or a clean toothbrush or soft-bristled brush [4].

5. Is perforated leather waterproof?

No, perforated leather is not waterproof and should not be used in areas that may come into contact with water. If liquid seeps through the tiny holes, it could cause damage to the underlying material. Try using opaque plastic sheeting as mentioned earlier to protect your seats from accidental spills.

Maintaining proper ventilation is still important even if you’re using a cover; too much moisture will create an ideal environment for mold and other types of bacteria to grow.

Make sure that any cleaning products you use are specifically meant for leather – harsh chemicals or solvents can strip away the protective finish over time and leave your seats vulnerable to staining and fading.

Useful Video: Trick to cleaning perforated leather car seats