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.
This photo shows a worn leather car seat. We will restore the color to the two front seats.
- Leather Colorant Kit - Used to restore the leather.
- Flexifil- To fill cracks (where needed)
- Leather Binder - To strengthen the leather
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.