Restore your Fozzy's leather seats... a step by step tutorial. - Subaru Forester Owners Forum
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-07-2009, 06:36 PM Thread Starter
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Thumbs up Restore your Fozzy's leather seats... a step by step tutorial.

Alrighty, I'm in a 'helpful' mood today, so I decided to put this together for my fellow Foz owners.

I have 3 high mileage vehicles in my stable, two of which have leather interiors. The Foz currently has 135,000 miles, and while the exterior is impeccable, all of those miles really show on my tan leather. The fact that my 325lb stepdad has done most of the driving doesn't help... at all. Good looking (and feeling) leather can be a big benefit when trying to sell any car, and taking care of it prolongs the life of the seats.

I've been swiping down the seats with those little Black Magic leather care wipes every time I wash the car, but that didn't stop my seats from getting cracked, drity, and grimy. Today my friends, it's time for a change!

Supplies used:

-Fiebing's Saddle Soap, and two wash clothes (one soaked with warm water, one dry). The soap is available at most farm/western supply stores, I already had it sitting around since I actually live on a farm. Here's a pic so that you know what you're looking for:



-Lexol NF Neatsfoot Leather Dressing, and one dry wash cloth. Also available at farm/western supply places. Pic:



Process:

Ok, first thing's first. You'll want to vacuum the crevices of the seat to remove any loose debris (those little pieces of lettuce from your big-mac, and the obligatory french-fry crumbs and salt ). I didn't take a picture of that, I figured you guys could figure it out on your own. If not, take your car back to the dealer, and leave it there (if you opt for that, feel free to skip the rest of this). lol

After that, grab the saddle soap and the damp cloth. Following the directions on the back of the can, work the soap into the leather. LOTS of elbow grease, and alternate your scrubbing directions. Once you get the bottom of the seat clean, wipe it down with the dry cloth to remove the excess water/soap mixture, and move on to the seatback. Here I've got about half of the bottom seat cushion done (you can already see the clean areas, at the front and right side of the seat):


Once you've got the seatback done, you can wipe it down as well. I let the leather dry for 10 minutes or so before moving on to the next step.

Grab the Lexol dressing and shake it up! Spray a few squirts onto your soft, dry wash cloth and begin rubbing it into the leather. Yes, it will be shiny and slick at first, but don't worry, it won't stay that way (for those of you who like you seat as slick as a greased skillet, use Armor-All liberally, and ignore the rest of this!). Let it soak in for a few minutes, and apply another coat. I did about three on mine, since my seats were pretty dried out and cracking.

Before and afters on the passenger seat, since I forgot to take a "Before" on the driver's side. Really a shame since it was the biggest improvement.


Before:



After:





There ya go, hopefully someone can use this. You may want to clean the inside of your windshield a couple days after you do this, since it will probably get a little cloudy from the chemicals gassing.


Helpful stuff from Kean! Check it out when you get a chance.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kean View Post
....if you have time, there was a huge discussion going on over at Autopia among some of the heavies on leather care. JudyB (consultant. ...previously(?) a Leather Masters reseller), Roger Koh (Leather Doctor), George LRP (George Pavlisko of Leatherique), a few detailers and others were all chiming in. It's a long read but definitely worth checking out if you're interested in this topic:

Autopia.org Car Detailing Forum :: #1 in Auto Detailing Discussion!

While they may disagree on points, there is still some valuable info nestled in some of their responses.

DavidB (of Autopia) also had this to say about saddle soap years ago:
The Myth of Saddle Soap - Autopia.org

-Zach
MY'06 Volvo V50 T5 6MT SportWagon
I miss my Subaru.

Last edited by MudRunner; 09-19-2009 at 06:18 PM. Reason: grammarz
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-07-2009, 06:52 PM
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Congrats.

You are the first person I have used the rep button on. Very good post. It should be pinned to the top of the car care section.
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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-07-2009, 07:03 PM Thread Starter
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Congrats.

You are the first person I have used the rep button on. Very good post. It should be pinned to the top of the car care section.

Thank you, sir!

-Zach
MY'06 Volvo V50 T5 6MT SportWagon
I miss my Subaru.
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-07-2009, 07:33 PM
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You can buy all good stuffs from tandy leather store
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-08-2009, 05:48 AM
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Really good write-up Mudrunner. I (when I was younger) owned a detail shop and only worked on high end vehicles. I have used several products over the years. I agree with your using the saddle soap as a cleaner but for the final step you should use this: Pinnacle Leather Conditioner restores moisture to dry leather seats, protects leather, makes leather soft, condition leather, leather protectant, leather treatment, protect leather. Pinnacle IMHO, has some of the best products available. I would put the leather conditioner on by hand (using my bare hands to apply, its that safe) rubbing it into the leather. Leave it on your hands (rub it in) to condition your skin.....especially after wash, waxing and cleaning your vehicle. I would do this as the very last step in detailing! Great stuff....pricey, but as they say "you get what you pay for".

Almost forgot................It will actually make your car smell like you got a new leather interior again!

MY09 XT Limited AT
Satin White Pearl

Last edited by Hot09XT; 04-08-2009 at 05:54 AM.
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-08-2009, 08:07 AM
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Thanks, MudRunner and Hot09XT !

This will help my '05 Legacy quite a bit!

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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-08-2009, 10:24 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hot09XT View Post
Really good write-up Mudrunner. I (when I was younger) owned a detail shop and only worked on high end vehicles. I have used several products over the years. I agree with your using the saddle soap as a cleaner but for the final step you should use this: Pinnacle Leather Conditioner restores moisture to dry leather seats, protects leather, makes leather soft, condition leather, leather protectant, leather treatment, protect leather. Pinnacle IMHO, has some of the best products available. I would put the leather conditioner on by hand (using my bare hands to apply, its that safe) rubbing it into the leather. Leave it on your hands (rub it in) to condition your skin.....especially after wash, waxing and cleaning your vehicle. I would do this as the very last step in detailing! Great stuff....pricey, but as they say "you get what you pay for".

Almost forgot................It will actually make your car smell like you got a new leather interior again!

Oh my, I'll have to try that stuff! I never mind paying more for a better product. Thanks for the link.

I need to do our Suburban as well... all three rows need it.

-Zach
MY'06 Volvo V50 T5 6MT SportWagon
I miss my Subaru.
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-17-2009, 01:06 PM Thread Starter
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Bumping this for the new folks!

-Zach
MY'06 Volvo V50 T5 6MT SportWagon
I miss my Subaru.
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-17-2009, 01:14 PM
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I have the black leather interior, and been wanting to do this for a while now, but I keep hearing that the leather in my car has a "vinyl coating" over it? Would this stuff still work properly if it does have a vinyl coating? I'm not even sure if the vinyl coating is true or not.

2004 XT - RIP
2005 XT - 5MT - 2" LIFT JOURNAL
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-17-2009, 07:55 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
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I have the black leather interior, and been wanting to do this for a while now, but I keep hearing that the leather in my car has a "vinyl coating" over it? Would this stuff still work properly if it does have a vinyl coating? I'm not even sure if the vinyl coating is true or not.
I didn't have any issues, and I think the leather is the same, so you should be fine. My dad's '07 BMW ///M has some sort of coating on the leather, and it worked okay on them too.

-Zach
MY'06 Volvo V50 T5 6MT SportWagon
I miss my Subaru.
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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-17-2009, 07:57 PM
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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-18-2009, 09:47 PM
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....if you have time, there was a huge discussion going on over at Autopia among some of the heavies on leather care. JudyB (consultant. ...previously(?) a Leather Masters reseller), Roger Koh (Leather Doctor), George LRP (George Pavlisko of Leatherique), a few detailers and others were all chiming in. It's a long read but definitely worth checking out if you're interested in this topic:

Autopia.org Car Detailing Forum :: #1 in Auto Detailing Discussion!

While they may disagree on points, there is still some valuable info nestled in some of their responses.

DavidB (of Autopia) also had this to say about saddle soap years ago:
The Myth of Saddle Soap - Autopia.org
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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-19-2009, 06:11 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kean View Post
....if you have time, there was a huge discussion going on over at Autopia among some of the heavies on leather care. JudyB (consultant. ...previously(?) a Leather Masters reseller), Roger Koh (Leather Doctor), George LRP (George Pavlisko of Leatherique), a few detailers and others were all chiming in. It's a long read but definitely worth checking out if you're interested in this topic:

Autopia.org Car Detailing Forum :: #1 in Auto Detailing Discussion!

While they may disagree on points, there is still some valuable info nestled in some of their responses.

DavidB (of Autopia) also had this to say about saddle soap years ago:
The Myth of Saddle Soap - Autopia.org
Thanks Kean, helpful stuff there! I'm gonna add this to the original post...

-Zach
MY'06 Volvo V50 T5 6MT SportWagon
I miss my Subaru.
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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-20-2009, 04:04 AM
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I remember that discussion. I'm not gonna bother with it again bc I don't have leather. But its a must read if you have leather.

Be careful what you wish for.
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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-30-2009, 11:28 PM
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I am going to restore my thoroughly used seats following these instructions. Thank you!
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