Maintaining Vinyl and Leather Car Interiors

Leather seats are comfortable to sit on because they wick away your sweat. Vinyl seats, on the other hand, give you a clammy feeling because they trap your sweat between your body and seat.

The trapped sweat superheats around you and causes you to feel clammy. Leather is capable of breathing more than vinyl despite their similar appearances and composition.

This is because it has tiny pores that allow moisture through tiny pores. The porous leather absorbs the perspiration while water evaporates, which leaves salts that absorb the leather's essential oils.

In order to maintain your leather, you need to clean the accumulation of salts and grunge. This should be done at least twice a year or more if the seats get their share of leftover sweat.

Loss of Oils in the Leather versus Nonporous Vinyl

  • Preventing Leather Hardening: You should condition your leather to replenish its lost oils. This will keep your leather from shrinking, cracking, and hardening. Dashboards made of leather are prone to the hardening problem. This is because your dash is subjected to not only human oils and sweat but also to exposure to ultraviolet rays and heat concentrated by the windshield like a magnifying lens.
  • Like Oil in a Frying Pan: The vinyl or leather of your dashboard rests upon the metal backing that acts like a frying pan. The frying sensation drives the oils off the leather, causing the fabric to harden, crack, and shrink like a potato chip. Your dash should be cleaned and condition as often as or more often than your door panels and seats with vinyl or leather cleaner.
  • Leather and Vinyl Cleanup: When dealing with leather cleanup, you should use a specially designed, quality leather cleaner like the KevianClean Leather Cleaner. Ditto when it comes to vinyl; it should have its own specific cleaner for it instead of using Leather Cleaner as an all-around substitute (and vice-versa). You specifically want a cleaner that's effective yet gentle, having just the right pH balance to make it work.
  • What to Look for in Interior Cleaners: Your leather cleaner shouldn't only clean up the salts and dirt on your upholstery. It should also rehydrate the leather while removing the grime and salts. There are also times when you can avail of separate products for leather cleaning and conditioning. This ensures you're not providing watered-down leather conditioning.
  • Why You Can Get Away with Using All-Purpose Cleaners on Vinyl: Vinyl is more synthetic than leather so it's less prone to degradation. While vinyl-specific cleaners do exist and you can err on the side of caution by using them instead, you're likelier to get away with cleaning your vinyl upholstery with KevianClean Interior Defense and the like because of its manmade nature. To be more specific, it's synthesized to specifically survive products that are normally too harsh for leather to take.

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