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How To Restore A Leather Car Interior


This guide will show you how to restore the color of a leather car interior. Because we can match the color of leather exactly, you can use our leather colorant kit to restore the full interior, or one car seat, or even just a worn panel.


Pictorial Guide


How to restore a leather car interior guide - Seat Before Leather Restoration
 

This photo shows a worn leather car seat. We will restore the color to the two front seats.

Products Required


Leather Colorant Kit - Used to restore the leather.


Flexifil - To fill cracks (where needed)


Leather Binder - To strengthen the leather



How to restore a leather car interior - Car seat getting prepped
 

Step 1. Prep the Leather


Apply some prep onto the leather by lining the cotton buds included in the kit, along the centre of the abrasive pad and pouring on some Leather Prep. Fold the abrasive pad over to cover the wet buds and use this to apply to the leather. This allows a controlled release of prep and helps to make the product last longer.


This process will remove the manufactured finish and also some of the color, which you can see in the photo. After rubbing a small area, wipe it down with a cotton cloth to remove any excess color from the leather. The leather is correctly prepped when you start to see color transfer from the leather onto the abrasive pad or cloth.



How to restore a leather car interior - Car seat getting cleaned with alcohol cleaner
 

Step 2. Clean thoroughly with Alchohol Cleaner


The above process will have removed the manufacturers finish and any silicones that are soluble in solvents. There are however some silicones like spray on polish and waxes that aren't soluble in solvents, and so to remove these we need to use the alcohol cleaner (included in the Leather Colorant Kit).


Simply wipe the leather down with a cloth dampened in the alcohol cleaner, taking care to treat the entire surface. Now wait approximately 30 minutes for the cleaners to evaporate.



How to restore a leather car interior - repairing damage to leather
 

Step 3. Apply Binder & Fill remaining cracks with Flexifil


Once the leather is dry, it is important, particularly for old or worn leather, to strengthen it with Leather Binder. To do this, simply take a sponge and pour on a small amount of Leather Binder, then use this to work it into the surface of the leather. After applying a full coat, leave to dry. Any build up of binder in crevaces or stitching areas should be wiped away before it can dry. Once dry, apply another coat of Binder in the same manner and repeat this process for approximately 8-10 coats.


To smooth over any areas of cracking, the Flexifil is applied using a palette knife and wiped on in a thin layer so that it only goes into the cracks. The filler is then left to dry for about 5-10 minutes, The filler can then be sanded down with very fine sandpaper (1200) to make it smooth. This process can be repeated until all cracking is level with the surface of the leather.



How to restore a leather car interior - Sponge the colour onto the leather

Step 4. Sponge on the first coat of Leather Colorant


When you are satisfied all cracking is filled and the Flexifill has had ample time to completely dry, shake the bottle of Leather Colorant for about 3 minutes to make sure it is well mixed. Pour a small amount onto a sponge and rub into the leather. The idea is to sponge on a thin coat of color working it into any gaps, creases and hard to reach areas.


Also notice the on the photo above, after applying the colorant by sponge, we have applied another coat of filler. Sometimes your repair looks perfect until you put the color on, and then it shows the cracks very lightly. So, if this happens, just re-fill and apply the color again. There is no need to take the color off; both products work perfectly with each other.



How to restore a leather car interior - Fully restored leather car interior

Step 5. Spray on the Leather Colorant & Finish


Once one full coat of color has been sponged onto the car seat, set up the airbrush and spray a fine coat of color onto the leather and leave to dry. When dry apply another coat, then repeat this process, building up the colorant in a series of thin coats. There are no hard and fast rules for how many coats should be used, simply apply as many as it takes to sufficiently cover any base color or repairs made.

When you are satisifed that you have applied sufficient colorant, the Super-Seal and Leather Finish should be applied. Spray on 2 coats of Super-Seal to form a robust, durable base. Then apply the Leather Finish in the same manner, using 2 coats. Always remember to leave sufficient time for each coat to dry before applying the next.


 



 


Before After
leather car seat before restoration Leather car seat after restoration
 

 



ALL COMMENTS

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1 year ago

LE ROY TOPOLSKI

I have white leather in my 1994 lincoln which has never been cared for consequently the drivers seat 's leather is severely split in two or three places. What should I do ? Try to fix it with products or have it redone to look much better. The padding of the seat is visible in the cracked portions

1 year ago

Furniture Clinic

Hello Le Roy,

Thank you for your inquiry. We would be happy to help you restore your leather car interior but we require some more information from you to advise you correctly. Would it be possible to email us a couple of photos to help@furnitureclinic.com so we can ascertain the damage, and so we may provide you with the proper products to restore.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Best,
Furniture Clinic
Customer Service

3 years ago

I Mega

How does one care for a car seat restored as above? The flexible filler will not absorb leather care products the way leather will, correct? If leather-only cleaning products are used, will it loosen or eventually remove the flexible filler?

Also, how does the restored seat wear? That is, if a new leather seat would last x years with proper care, how long would a restored seat last with proper care for it? Half of x?

3 years ago

Furniture Clinic

Hello I Mega,
Thank you for your response. Regarding caring for a restored leather car seat we recommend using our Leather Ultra Clean and Leather Protection Cream every two to three months for maintaining your leather. Our Flexifil is an immensely elastic filler, once applied to leather it will never crack or flake and binds to your leather. You will need to re-apply color to the area after making repairs with our Flexifil. When using our Ultra Clean this will not loosen the Flexifil or remove it. Regarding the lenghth of time that a restored leather seat will last, using our Leather Colorant Kit you will expect to get the same amount of years out of it that it originally took for it to deteriorate before restoring. We would like to help you further with your leather restoration needs, would it be possible to send us a couple of photos to help@furnitureclinic.com so we may advise you on the proper products for your leather restoration needs. We look forward to hearing from you.
Best Regards,