Top Ways You're Damaging Your Car's Leather

Top Ways You're Damaging Your Car's Leather

There's nothing quite like the feel of plush and well kept leather in your car. However, maintaining the condition of your car leather requires more than just the occasional light clean. Leather demands regular care and the right techniques as it's susceptible to a range of factors that cause it to degrade over time. 

Understanding what harms leather is the first step in protecting it and below we've outline the most common threats. We've also outlined how 303 products can ensure the longevity of your leather interior. 

1. Exposure to sunlight & UV rays

One of the most significant threats to the interior of your car, particularly the leather seats, is prolonged exposure to sunlight and its accompanying ultraviolet (UV) rays. Just as UV rays can damage your skin, they can also cause significant harm to leather, leading to fading, drying, and cracking over time.

Leather contains natural oils that keep it flexible and smooth, but when exposed to UV rays these oils can dissipate and cause the material to lose it's moisture and elasticity. The result is the leather becomes brittle and cracked.

How to protect leather form UV rays

Park in the shade: Whenever possible, avoid parking your car in bright sunlight. This simple step will significantly reduce exposure to UV rays. 

Use a protective cover: If parking in the sunshine is unavoidable that consider the use of sunshades, especially on the windscreen.

Add protectant: It's important to keep your leather conditioned and protected. A product like 303 Leather Complete Care is designed specifically to replenish and protect leather. This protectant not only restores essential oils to the leather but also offers additional UV protection to prevent future fading and cracking.

303 Automotive Leather 3-in-1 Complete Care (16oz/ 473ml)

2. Using improper cleaning products

Reaching for the wrong cleaning products can turn a routine upkeep into a disaster for your car’s leather.

Many common household cleaners contain harsh chemicals like bleach or ammonia that can do more harm than good. These aggressive substances can strip away the natural oils in leather, leading to premature aging, discolouration, and irreversible damage.

Leather is a delicate material that requires gentle handling to maintain its integrity and appearance. Using the wrong type of cleaner not only affects the surface but can penetrate deep into the leather, causing it to weaken and break down over time.

3. Ignoring spills and stains

A pristine leather interior is often just one accidental spill away from unsightly stains and lingering odors. Liquids and food substances can seep into the pores of leather, embedding stains and sometimes causing a breakdown of the material over time.

The porous nature of leather makes it particularly vulnerable to absorbing spills, which will likely lead to permanent staining if not addressed quickly. These absorbed substances can also deteriorate the leather’s structure, leading to a less comfortable and more brittle seat surface.

The key to preventing stains on leather is speed. Wipe up any spills immediately with a clean, absorbent cloth to prevent the liquid from soaking into the leather. Avoid rubbing the spill, as this can push the liquid deeper into the leather.

4. Exposing leather to high heat and humidity

The combination of high heat and humidity can be particularly harsh on car leather. They lead the dryness, stiffness and cracking. High temperatures cause the leather's natural oils to evaporate faster, leaving the material prone to damage.

High humidity leads to excessive moisture which can result in mold and mildew forming which not only damages the material but will also create unpleasant smells.

Keeping your car as cool as possible on warm days is important. Use sun shades when park, or if possible park in shaded areas or in underground facilities.

Regularly using a protectant like 303 Automotive Protectant can help safeguard your leather against the extreme effects of heat and humidity. This product creates a barrier that locks in moisture and prevents the leather from becoming overly dry or moldy.


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