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Why I will never used a Leather Care Product again!

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Why I will never used a Leather Care Product again!

 
Old 08-03-2018, 02:19 PM
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Ultra Male
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So last year I had a 2018 BMW M4 Convertible Competition Pack, the moment I got it, I purchased the BMW Leather Care from the BMW Dealership in anticipation of keeping the leather in pristine condition.

I followed the instructions to the dot on how to apply it putting a small amount on the supplied sponge, then rubbing it in a circular motion.

Well, after only a couple of weeks, the headrest leather looked so wrinkled as if it was a 5 year old car. I did treat it again but the wrinkles never went away. Even the leather on the seat itself didn't feel the same, felt kinda saggy.

I then sold the car as it had some serious quality issues where the paint was just peeling off from different parts of the car and was sick and tired of it.

I then bought a 2018 Audi RS3, Loved the car and loved the interior even more. It had the new car smell that the BMWs never had, even my wife's X5 didn't have that unique new car smell and neither did her previous 428i so I guess it's a BMW thing.

Anyway, I did the same mistake again thinking maybe the Audi Leather care products are better. I bought the Audi leather care kit from the dealership, applied it exactly as per the instructions and boom!! there goes my brand new car smell, it now smells like nothing!

Also, same thing like with the BMW, the seats were like very firm and right after applying that leather care, they just don't feel the same, the feel like they're old.

Both care had Nappa Leather by the way.

I will never again use any leather care product under ANY circumstance no matter what the reviews say about it. I'd rather let the leather age normally than have its new shiny look destroyed on the spot. It felt horrible on such expensive brand new cars.

On a side note, my wife's BMW X5 has the cheaper Dakota Leather which BMW offers not the Nappa leather, you know that leather which is kind of rough and feels like it was the same material that you'd see on a basketball. For her, nothing happened to her leather when I used the same BMW leather care. I guess it's too tough to be affected by anything it can take so much wear and tear.

Last edited by Steven Bell; 08-04-2018 at 01:34 PM. Reason: Merged Posts
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Old 08-04-2018, 12:17 AM
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16/C7Z
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the definition of insanity lol... we've all been there at some point... STOP TRYING TO PROTECT YOUR LEATHER... It'll be fine. and you won't own it long enough to notice any difference.
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Old 08-04-2018, 05:40 AM
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Originally Posted by 16/C7Z View Post
the definition of insanity lol... we've all been there at some point... STOP TRYING TO PROTECT YOUR LEATHER... It'll be fine. and you won't own it long enough to notice any difference.
I was about to cry when I treated the leather on the Audi RS3 as it instantly removed that awesome brand new car smell. There was no turning back...

Never again..
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Old 08-04-2018, 07:04 AM
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There is a video on line that shows you how to take wrinkles out and tighten up the leather on car seats by placing wet hot towels on them. looked like it worked great. might be worth a try.
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Old 08-04-2018, 07:59 AM
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Originally Posted by 16/C7Z View Post
the definition of insanity lol... we've all been there at some point... STOP TRYING TO PROTECT YOUR LEATHER... It'll be fine. and you won't own it long enough to notice any difference.
This.

I use CG leather care (cleaner and cream) since i first got my Z. 2 years later the passenger well looks flawless because hardly anyone ever rides with me. But my drivers side still looks good. I'm a thinner fit type guy so maybe that helps not crushing the leather seat but even though. I do the leather thing about twice a month.

The most important thing is actually taking care of it during the cold months.

But yeah like this guy said, you won't own your cars long enough to see the long term effect. Back in the day when before i bought my "toys" i would be like man i love this car soo much, i'm going to die with it lol.

Fast foward 15 years later i went through like 8 toys lol.

I love my Z now and i only had it 2 years but i already can't wait to upgrade. Whether it's to the manual ZR1, or the C8 platform, if it doesn't look entertaining.
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Old 08-04-2018, 01:33 PM
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b4i4getit
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Originally Posted by RobGZ06 View Post
This.

I use CG leather care (cleaner and cream) since i first got my Z. 2 years later the passenger well looks flawless because hardly anyone ever rides with me. But my drivers side still looks good. I'm a thinner fit type guy so maybe that helps not crushing the leather seat but even though. I do the leather thing about twice a month.

The most important thing is actually taking care of it during the cold months.

But yeah like this guy said, you won't own your cars long enough to see the long term effect. Back in the day when before i bought my "toys" i would be like man i love this car soo much, i'm going to die with it lol.

Fast foward 15 years later i went through like 8 toys lol.

I love my Z now and i only had it 2 years but i already can't wait to upgrade. Whether it's to the manual ZR1, or the C8 platform, if it doesn't look entertaining.
Don't bother using anything but a damp cloth on domestic car leather. It is coated. Nothing will sink into it.
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Old 08-04-2018, 03:42 PM
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Rob..... so true.....so true lol
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Old 08-04-2018, 07:13 PM
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I can't speak for BMW leather, but the vast majority of leather material used in cars has a synthetic coating on the surface. I never use old-school traditional leather "conditioners" any more. I use synthetic protectants/conditioners made specifically for modern materials. In both my C5Z and my Infiniti G37X, the product I use on my seats and steering wheels is "Rejuvenation Nation" from Honest Wash. It is safe for leather, vinyl, and any combo of both. Smells amazingly like new leather, sprays and spreads nicely (very liquid), and buffs to a deep satin sheen. It is all I use. I highly recommend it. Been using it for over a year and have experienced no problems of any kind. Honest Wash always has great products in generous quantities for a good price. 32oz bottle is just over $14.

http://www.washyourcar.com/collectio...nditioner-32oz
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Old 08-04-2018, 09:09 PM
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Info how to care for your leather seats, dashboard and door panels.

The three most common types of automotive leather are:

Aniline: Leather that has been dyed and coated with a pigment (colored urethane paint) to yield uniform color and then clear coated. This type of leather does not reveal scars, pores and blemishes and has an artificial uniform grain pattern embossed. It is typically the only real leather in the seat and located only in the center inserts of the seat. The sides, bolsters, etc., are vinyl painted with the same colored urethane paint so it matches the leather inserts perfectly giving the entire seat a "leather" look. This is what 99% of cars have including Corvette, Escalade, newer Ferrari and Lamborghini. To demonstrate this just put a drop of water on your seat and see if it soaks in. It will not soak in as the leather has a painted on urethane coating on it. If water can't penetrate the coating how can "conditioners" and "protectants?" Read on.....

Semi-Aniline: Leather that has been dyed and coated with a semi-transparent pigment then clear coated This type of leather may reveal some of the underlying scars and blemishes of the hide as well as some color and grain changes. Almost never seen in the past twenty years.

Synthetic (aka vinyl): Much of the leather, and in some, all of the leather in many of today's vehicles is entirely synthetic or engineered leather. It looks like real leather but is really entirely synthetic. This is in use in some high ticket brands like Lexus, MB and Infinity for example. It is often difficult to tell what is real leather and what is engineered leather.

The bottom line is 99.9% of cars sold today have leather only on the middle insert of the seat bottom and back. The sides are completely 100% vinyl. The color and texture of the vinyl matches the leather inserts perfectly as they are all sprayed with a colored urethane coating. A perfect way to demonstrate they are vinyl is the water drop test outlined above. Another way is pull some of the seat siding out from underneath the seat. Notice there is a very thin foam or cloth backing? Real leather (from real cows) doesn't have foam backing on it.

Have you noticed the change in new car window stickers when referring to the seats? They now call the interior "leather lined," or "leather trim." Just take a look at a new C7 Corvette window sticker. They don't say "leather seats" like they used to. Now the C7 window sticker says, "Trim, Leather." This is because only the center inserts are actually leather! The remainder of the seat is vinyl. Remember, vinyl has a thin foam or cloth backing on it.

Everyone seems to like the term "conditioner," but just what is conditioning? When leather professionals speak of “conditioning leather” they are usually speaking about leather hydration. Properly hydrated leather will be soft, plump and flexible making it resistant to creasing and cracking. Most traditional conditioners are typically oily or contain silicone, wax or things like Aloe or Neat's-foot or Mink oil. No protected, urethane coated, leather needs or benefits from these things. Conditioning products were initially designed for a much different type of leather like car seat who were 100% uncoated leather back in the 60's and 70's. Remember, none of these conditioners can absorb through the urethane coating making them useless.

Most conditioners leave a film on protected leather that can hasten the accumulation of soil. Dirt is attracted to the oil as it sits on top of the urethane coating and in the stitching. Your butt rubbing back and forth across this dirt acts like sandpaper and actually buffs the colored urethane coating off. This is frequently the cause of early bolster wear!

Conditioners do not penetrate the urethane painted top coat to condition the leather. True, some of the H2o in these conditioners evaporates and raises the relative humidity in the car cockpit which is beneficial as the leather will pick up the molecular H2o through the process of transpiration. Transpiration is the process by which moisture is carried through humidity to small pores on the underside of the leather/vinyl, where it changes to vapor and is released to the atmosphere. The leather/vinyl can absorb this through the untreated, underside of the material. However, a damp wipe down with a towel will do this as well and not leave that soil grabbing film.

Keep in mind that the colored urethane topcoat was added to the leather for the purpose of preventing spills and liquids from getting to the leather, as well as hiding the leather’s underlying scars, and blemishes, while making the leather more abrasion resistant. The urethane topcoat is colored so all of the surfaces of the seat match the door panels, dashboard, etc. If they did not contain coloring, every single piece of "leather" in your car would not match.

Leather conditioners do nothing to prevent stains or dye transfer. If your leather has developed cracks, using an oily conditioner may further degrade the adhesion of the painted topcoat around the crack and make the damage worse. Doesn't wet paper tear much easier than dry paper?

So how does this painted on protective urethane coating work and still allow the leather to stay hydrated? Much the same way as a rain coat would protect you from a driving rain. At the same time the rain is being repelled, you will begin to notice that your clothing is becoming damp due to the 100% humidity level. That's basically how your leather stays hydrated, at the molecular level. If you want to test this put a drop of water on your protected leather in an inconspicuous place and leave for 15-20 minutes and you will see that it does not soak in. That is the urethane top coat preventing the absorption of the liquid as it was designed to do. H2o is a small molecule when compared to an oily conditioner so if water is not being absorbed by the leather, the larger molecules of a conditioner certainly are not.

Ok, so for those who insist that their leather feels softer after using a conditioner I can suggest three reasons for this. The first is that the conditioner has left an oily film on the leather and it altered the "hand" or feel of the leather. It has not really done anything to the leather, as it can't get to the leather, but it makes the hand feel nice for a short time until it is rubbed off or evaporates.

The other reason is that the conditioner likely contains a good deal of water and that it is raising the humidity level in the proximity of the leather. If this happens, the leather may absorb the water molecules and plump up and feel softer. The thing about this is that a wipe down with a wrung out watered cotton towel would accomplish the exact same thing.

The third reason is that the term conditioner has no defined meaning. Who knows what is in the bottle labeled Leather Conditioner? What one company calls a conditioner another might call a protectant. Whatever your "conditioner" is will just give you the impression the leather is softer when you touch it since it is slick. It is certainly not "conditioned" since it cannot absorb into the leather or vinyl portion of your seats. Bottom line is the industry has too many vague definitions as to exactly what "conditioning" is.

Leather is made soft in the tanning process and then sealed. You cannot add oils back through the urethane topcoat of protected leather. Leather becomes hard if it loses its needed hydration. Dry leather shrinks and feels hard. Much the same way a chamois gets hard when it is dry. Rehydrate the chamois and it becomes soft again. Rehydrate unprotected leather seats and they should soften to the degree designed in the original tanning process. Think about it.

I never use products that contain neat's-foot, mink, or other oils, silicone, aloe, or any other odd, useless item, but often the labels doesn't tell you what is in the bottle. This includes Leatherique, Lexol, 303 Protectant, Armor All, Zaino, etc., etc. In my experience, these products do nothing but sit on top of the urethane top coating until your clothing wipes them off. In the meantime, they collect dust and dirt which is then ground into your seats and stitching as you slide across the seat getting in and out much like sandpaper. 90% of your seat damage comes from this!

In fact, page 212 of the C7 Corvette owner's manual makes it clear that the only way to clean and treat the seats or other "leather" areas is with water and a mild soap - no cleaners or conditioners! This includes dashboard, door inserts, etc. More specifically, the manual states, "Use a soft microfiber cloth dampened with water to remove dust and loose dirt. For a more thorough cleaning, use a soft microfiber cloth dampened with a mild soap solution. Wipe excess moisture from these surfaces after cleaning and allow them to dry naturally. Never use heat, steam, or spot removers. Do not use cleaners that contain silicone or wax-based products. Cleaners containing solvents can permanently change the appearance and feel of leather or soft trim, and are not recommended. Soaking or saturating leather, especially perforated leather, as well as other interior surfaces, may cause permanent damage."

Don't you think GM would recommend leather cleaners and conditioners if the material was in fact all leather?

The only real, non-coated leather I have seen in a non-exotic car in the past 20 years is a Ford "Big Ranch" Truck. That is it! Take a look at one someday that is a year or more old. The seats will be a complete mess! Being uncoated everything soaks into them such as beer, soda, spew, jizz, body oil, urine, grease, dirt, etc. You will be happy the leather in your car is "coated" after seeing this. Remember, the reason this stuff doesn't soak into your seat is the same reason "conditioners" will not soak in so don't use them!

I vacuum the leather in my C6, Ferrari 360 and Lambo Gallardo and wipe it down with a wrung out watered (damp) towel weekly. This includes dashboard, door inserts, etc. When they get dirty, I clean them with delicate soap like Woolite (20 to 1 ratio) or a highly diluted all-purpose cleaner, A very nice, gentle product is Leathermasters Foam Cleaner. You can buy it at AutoGeek, Amazon, EBay, etc. Leather Master Foam Cleaner is suitable for all leather types including Aniline, Protected, Synthetic (vinyl), Nubuck and Suede Leather.

After cleaning, and before the seats dry, get the cleaning product out/off the seats with a wet towel. Not a damp towel, a wet, but not dripping wet, towel. Finish by wiping off and sucking up the moisture from the wet towel with a dry towel. Use several dry towels if necessary. The key is to absorb as much of the cleaner as possible. This ensures all of the cleaner was removed. Just a damp towel for normal maintenance and cleaning. That is it! Your leather will look like brand new for many years to come! My C6 is ten years old and the seats still look like brand new!

You are going to read a lot of people who make comments disagreeing with me. Just conduct the two above tests and make your own decisions. Does a drop of water soak into the seat or just sit on top until it evaporates? Does the backing of your seat material on the side pieces (bolster) have foam or cloth on the back? Remember, your seats may feel softer after applying a "conditioner," but go back in a day or two and see if they still feel that way. Once the conditioner dries on the seats and on your hands, this softness is gone!

If Corvette seats are 100% leather, why has GM changed their description on MSRP window sticker as "Trim, Leather" and why do they recommend against use of leather cleaners and conditioners? Always keep in mind that you’re dealing with the finished coating on the leather and not with the leather hide itself.

Last example how leather needs nothing more than a simple wipe with a damp cloth. You know that fine leather and recliner couch you own? When was the last time you conditioned it with Lexol, Leatherique, Zaino, etc.? Never! And I bet it still looks like brand new. How could this be if you need to smear leather conditioner and cleaners all over it all the time? Truth be known....do nothing and it will last forever!!!! Enuf said!
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Old 08-05-2018, 10:38 PM
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BMW, Audi . . .

Welcome to the CORVETTE website
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Old 08-06-2018, 03:35 AM
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Originally Posted by b4i4getit View Post
Don't bother using anything but a damp cloth on domestic car leather. It is coated. Nothing will sink into it.
Today's leather is not. At my shop we used Zaino's Z-10 Leather Conditioner, not because it really did much(Not knocking it as Zaino products they are the best of the best), but the smell was simply overwhelming and customers loved it. Albiet the Z-9 Leather Cleaner simply was the absolute best cleaner I have ever used, and darlinks, I have tried a ton of them.
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Old 08-06-2018, 02:20 PM
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Keep it clean, wipe off the body oils that make it shiny.....

A good safe once a week application is Woolite and water with a microfiber towel.....

(10 parts water to one part Woolite)
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Old 09-07-2018, 04:40 AM
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And whatever you do NEVER use those Mr. Clean sponges aka very fine grit sandpaper on your leather!
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