Leather Preservation

Leather Preservation

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As anyone who's ever been to Palm Springs realizes, skin preservation is big business. Chemical peels, Botox, moisturizers and wrinkle creams are apparently making a lot of dermatologists and washed-up-actresses-turned-infomercial-hostesses a lot of money. But, just as your skin needs care and moisture, so does your leather upholstery.

Applying

First, the upholstery should be clean, cool and dry. Some leather preservers have mild cleaning agents, but spots and grime should first be attacked with the proper product.

Unfortunately, cows aren't privy to modern advances in cosmetics technology. If they were, leather upholstery might look like the top of a tom-tom drum and be as smooth as Joan Rivers' cheeks. Instead, leather-preserver products function as kind of youth serum for upscale upholstery. While these dressings don't act like Botox for seat coverings, they will slow down the clock and keep leather upholstery looking and feeling its best longer.

Cleaning leather upholstery is covered elsewhere on this site. Obviously, the surface should be cleaned before it can be preserved/protected. But don't get frustrated if the upholstery won't come squeaky-clean: Cows tend to roll in dirt, which becomes deeply imbedded in their hides. The industry term for this perma-dirt is "patina."

Preserving

Apply the preserver to a clean, soft terrycloth towel. Generously but gently massage the product into the leather. Let the dressing penetrate for a few minutes, then buff with a clean towel.

Also realize that many leather preservers are only intended to be used as needed (instead of as part of a regularly scheduled car-care regime). Just as too much Botox can apparently cause partial paralysis, over-protecting leather upholstery can actually backfire. Regular cleaning is good (especially for die-hard drive-through diners), but leather protectors/preservers should generally be used only when the upholstery begins to feel dry.

The bottom line: supplementing the suppleness. Using leather conditioners will help your upholstery age gracefully. Look at it as sunscreen for your seat skins.

Resources

Armor All, www.armorall.com

Blue Coral/Black Magic/Westley's, www.bluecoral.com

Eagle One, www.eagle.one.com

Lexol, www.lexol.com

Meguiar's, www.meguiars.com

Mothers, www.mothers.com

303 Products, www.303-products.com

3M Co., www.3m.com

Turtle Wax/Formula 2001, www.turtlewax.com

Zymol, www.zymol.com

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