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2020 Forester Touring
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Discussion Starter #1
What does everybody use for leather seat cleaning and protection?
My wife put on sunscreen before she got in the car and is worried about its effect on the seat.
2020 Forester Touring.
 

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2014 2.5i Limited CVT
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651 Posts
There are a lot of cleaners and protection kits out there... Best bet is one of the older, more established brands - like meguires and others....

But one thing to consider - where is she putting the sunscreen on and where is it coming in contact with the seating surfaces? Additionally, the sunscreen should not be slathered on too thickly where it leaves a residue on her skin that could cause issues on the seat materials.
 

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2020 Forester Touring
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Lexol and Meguiars are both easily available and work great. You can also use diluted all purpose cleaner and water with a microfiber towel for spot cleaning. Spot clean to test. I use simply green.
 

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I’d advise against using Mequiar’s leather wipes. They left a white residue on my brown leather seats. It wasn’t easy to remove either. I’ve had good experiences with Lexol in the past but am a bit anxious trying anything else now.
 

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2011 Forester X Limited, 2007 Impreza Outback Sport SE 5MT
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+1 for Lexol, cheap and used it on many makes of cars. If you end up not liking it you’re not out much $ and can always try something different. One of cleaner and then one of conditioner should last years. Or as a bare minimum a damp cloth can safely clean leather too. It can be a bit of a can of worms searching for leather care, but don’t overthink it: you have a pretty new car with leather in good condition, so you don’t need the nectar of Zeus to clean your seats, pretty much any cleaner will do fine. I always condition them after, but that itself is a whole other debate. I have heard that the vinyl sides of the seats in modern Subaru’s aren’t as durable as they used to be, so if anything that would be what I’d research the most
 

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2020 Forester Touring
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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for the responses, looks like Lexol is worth looking into.
thatgarret; "nectar of Zeus" i'm going to use that.
FozzieBalou; she's a redhead so lots of sunscreen is required.
 

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2020 Forester Prem
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I've only used Leather Master and I'm happy with the results.
Great products. Been using them for years and quite happy with the results as well.

@Leob1
Personally, I would first address the sunscreen issue. If this is something she wears occasionally, perhaps think about throwing a beach towel on the seat before her trip. If this is something more frequent, I'd suggest daily wipe downs might be in order.

Sunscreen can be really bad not just for leather seats but car paint and other materials in the vehicle. I've actually seen paintwork staining where someone left some sunscreen residue for a while without removing it. Honestly, I didn't know it could cause such issues but after discussions with other detailers, apparently this was a genuine concern.

The single most useful tip I can give you is vacuum often especially in the seams. This is where grit can accumulate and eventually abrade the stitching and material. Actually, @thatgarrett was spot on with his recommendation of using a dampened cloth. .....although I wouldn't say it's the bare minimum but actually something you should consider using most frequently. Leather seats these days are made with a coating that should last the life of the car. It's not like a bare leather saddle, hoster, belt, etc. that needs nourishing / conditioning.

Personally, I use white, terry cotton cloths moistened with water to wipe down automotive leather surfaces but most times, I prefer a mild cleaner like Meguiars Quik Interior Detailer. It's very similar to my all time favorite interior cleaner called Cockpit Premium INterior Cleaner by Einszett (1Z). It even has a similar citrus smell to it. ....but best of all is that the QID is a lot cheaper (I buy it by the gallon) and has the same, natural, bare finish as 1Z. It doesn't leave any kind of residue behind or sheen. That;s why I use it on just about all the surfaces including the dash, doors, center console, etc. The only caveat is that I wouldn't spray it directly on surfaces but rather on the cloth itself and then wipe.

....and although I think conditioners are really not necessary, protectants are another story as they can help protect the finish on the leather from dye transfer, residues, etc. I believe a lot of products marketed as "conditioners" are really protectants so they can be useful in this regard and in fact, they may help (at some level) protect the surfaces from your wife's sunscreen.

Anyhow, here's Subaru take on caring for the leather in their vehicles:

Leather seat materials
Subaru Legacy / Subaru Legacy Owners Manual / Appearance care / Cleaning the interior / Leather seat materials


The leather used by SUBARU is a high quality natural product which will retain its distinctive appearance and feel for many years with proper care.
Allowing dust or road dirt to build up on the surface can cause the material to become brittle and to wear prematurely. Regular cleaning with a soft, moist, natural fiber cloth should be performed monthly, taking care not to soak the leather or allow water to penetrate the stitched seams.
A mild detergent suitable for cleaning woolen fabrics may be used to remove difficult dirt spots, rubbing with a soft, dry cloth afterwards to restore the luster.
If your SUBARU is to be parked for a long time in bright sunlight, it is recommended that the seats and headrests be covered, or the windows shaded, to prevent fading or shrinkage.
Minor surface blemishes or bald patches may be treated with a commercial leather spray lacquer. You will discover that each leather seat section will develop soft folds or wrinkles, which is characteristic of genuine leather.
Note that the "mild detergent suitable for cleaning woolen fabrics" they speak of is essentially a product like Woolite. A well diluted solution of Woolite is a great, gentle cleaner for coated leather seats. Just make sure to thoroughly wipe down the areas afterward with a clean well wrung out, damp cloth to remove any residue. Personally, I would avoid any multipurpose cleaners and stick with those from car care brands you trust.

Hope this helps.
 
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