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Leather Cleaning Products

Updated on April 28, 2014
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Leather Products Need Careful Maintenance

We all have products made from leather around our home, whether they be furniture, décor, jackets and other apparel, tack, athletic equipment, or even the upholstery in our cars and trucks. These include leathers of a variety of types, from softer to more durable ones, and of a variety of colors and finishes, some of which will be more likely to degrade over time. As different as they may be, all of these leathers require a certain amount of care, conditioning, and cleaning over time. However, when faced with buying leather cleaning products, most consumers will be at a loss.

There are some general rules of thumb to choosing your leather cleaning products. While some only clean surfaces, others combine cleaners and conditioners to both remove grime and enrich the leather. Your choice will also depend on the kind of leathers you want to clean or condition; more delicate leathers will be darkened or damaged more easily and so more difficult to clean. Finally, some leather cleaning products can be harmful to breathe in or have contact your skin, so be sure to read and follow the manufacturer’s directions. Those listed below received positive reviews for their scent and lack of chemical fumes, but some consumers may be sensitive to some of the oils and other ingredients. Still, there is such a wide variety of potential leather cleaning products, and it can be difficult to know which ones will work best, which are best suited to specific leathers, or even how many products to buy. While some cleaners include conditioner, others require a separate treatment, and there are even some that require multiple steps and separate products for cleaning leather. Even worse, some leather cleaning products are more likely to stain, damage, or cause sticky build-up on the very surfaces they were meant to clean and condition.

Whether you are dealing with scratches, stains, discoloration, or even damage caused by other leather cleaning products, here is a list of the top-rated, best-selling cleaners on Amazon right now.

Zymol Z507 Leather Cleaner

This ph-balanced, biodegradable leather cleaning spray is suited to both automotive and home use and is designed to gently get rid of oils and grime on both leathers and vinyl. With over 40 reviews, Zymol is generally well-received at 4.5 stars. While most reviews note that this mild spray soaks in quickly and may even darken or damage the grain of leathers, Zymol is good for everyday leather cleaning. It comes in a comparatively small 8 ounce container, with a rather inexpensive Amazon price of $7.99.

Lexol 1115 Leather ph Cleaner Spray

In a less expensive and larger 16.9 ounce package, this orange-scented spray does much of the same work as Zymol, providing gentle leather cleaning with foaming action. Most reviewers found that Lexol worked well for regular cleaning and the removal of light grime from new products, but that it did little for stains and could damage more delicate leathers. Yet, with more than 100 reviews, this spray has maintained an overall 4 stars, possibly because of its thrifty Amazon price of $6.97.

WhooHoo-Clean Leather Cleaner and Conditioner

This American-made lotion combines the cleaning, polishing, and protection of a cleaner and conditioner in one leather cleaning product. In addition, it can be used on a wide variety of leathers, from smooth nubuck to more exotic ones, vinyl, and patent. As one of the newer leather cleaning products out there, WhooHoo-Clean has far fewer reviews; although it ranks in at 5 stars, there are only 9 reviews on Amazon. However, reviewers emphasize this lotion’s ability to simultaneously penetrate deeply, leave little residue, and prevent water damage without wax or chemicals. On top of that, even though WhooHoo-Clean is a bit pricey at 27.95, you get 15 ounces, enough for a larger project.

European Leather Restorer

This cleaner and conditioner comes highly recommend; with 200+ reviews, European Leather Restorer is ranked at 4.5 stars. This is one of the stronger leather cleaning products on the list, and several reviewers point out the need to use a non-abrasive pad rather than directly applying it to your leathers. While not as thick as other lotions, European Leather Restorer removes oil and grime, enlivens leathers rather than drying them out, and combines a great product with excellent customer service. For some older leathers and deeper stains, though, this product may require multiple applications, which should be easy enough given the 16 ounces you receive for $19.95.

Chamberlain’s Leather Milk

This combined cleaner and conditioner is well-reviewed and well-known for its ability to revitalize color and heal scratches and other marks. There is also an included applicator pad to help you apply the strong liquid, which can pool quickly and so darken areas. With no chemicals, rich conditioning agents, and a mild cleaner, Chamberlain’s Leather Milk works best when used regularly to clean and revive leathers. In the 130+ reviews, which average 5 stars, reviewers appreciate its ability to clean while softening and improving overall texture. Due to its revivifying power and overall strength, a little Chamberlain’s goes a long way, so even at an Amazon price of $18.95, 9.6 ounces seems well-worth the cost.

Check the Instructions Carefully

Whichever product(s) you choose, make sure that you follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Some may require multiple applications or specific instructions for use. Always be careful what you use to apply your chosen leather cleaning products as some may not work as well with certain cloths or applicators. In general, avoid allowing the cleaner to pool or soak into concentrated areas, which can cause staining or discoloration. For cleaners that also contain conditioners, be sure to give your leathers time to absorb the product, so that the enriching lotion or oils can do their job. Handling leathers before dry can prevent them from having a full effect and may even leave dull spots on an overall shiny and rejuvenated surface. Finally, it is always a good idea to do a test application to ensure any given leather cleaning product will not damage your leather décor, furniture, apparel, or otherwise.

Once you have applied your chosen leather cleaning products, let us know how they did. Whether you were dissatisfied or absolutely stunned by how well they cleaned or conditioned your leathers, we would love to hear from you!

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