The Best Leather Cleaner And Conditioner
Leather is everywhere; it adorns our car seats and provides the comfortable feeling to our furniture, we wear it as leather jackets and carry it as fashion accessories like purses and wallets.
Despite being a naturally durable material, leather does have its flaws: it needs constant care if one wishes to see it last and it can get dirty quite easily. But thanks to the plethora of leather cleaners available in the market, cleaning any leather product that you own is now easier than ever.
The variety of leather cleaning products that is available at our fingertips makes it all the more important to know which is the best leather cleaner.
But before we can dive down into the top five leather cleaners that I have mentioned here (and eventually pick out the winner) there is something that every leather enthusiast and shopper needs to know: why using leather cleaners and conditioners is actually beneficial.
Why is using a leather cleaner and conditioner a good idea?
If you have the burning question of how a leather cleaner or conditioner works and are they actually worth the price (however minimal) then this is, without a doubt, a very good question.
However, if you don’t know why using them is a must then fret not because it’s not really rocket science and I am here to explain exactly that. So just read on.
Like everything else that is used regularly, leather gets dirty too. The dirt and the grime stick to it and it loses it strength along with its colour, overtime. That means that all the money you spent on it can go down the drain rather quickly. That’s why leather needs to be cleaned. But the trouble with leather is that it can’t be cleaned like most other materials.
The reason? Well, leather is actually the skin of an animal and that’s why it requires extra care. That’s where the leather cleaners come in.
Cleaners like leather sofa cleaner or leather shoe cleaner remove the dust, oils and layers of other material that get deposited on the leather during every day use. This stuff needs to be removed carefully as to not damage the surface of the leather.
You may think that you can live with a thin layer of dust on your shoes or your furniture but the truth is that this will, ultimately, reduce the life of the leather.
What could have lasted a decade will only last a couple of years. Not only that, the appearance will be marred and that too, very quickly. But not all leather cleaners do the job in a perfect manner. Unsuitable pH of the cleaner can have a disastrous effect on the surface of the leather.
Similarly, a cleaner might leave a layer of residue behind which can become the breeding ground for bacteria or fungi which will also harm the leather. That’s why you need to be extra careful while choosing the right cleaner (More on this later).
You may have never thought of it this way but leather is a skin. And just like our skin needs nourishment, nutrition is required to keep it in a good shape and leather conditioners do exactly that.
Leather has it its natural oils and moisture which keep it from turning brittle or losing its colour drastically. But with time, these oils evaporate to a great extent and the moisture content reduces. It’s the job of a conditioner to restore the moisture and the oils to the leather so that it can remain in a near new shape.
You may think that cleaning the leather is enough and while in some cases that may be true, conditioning the leather after it has been thoroughly cleaned will always give better results. Think of it as the dynamic duo that works better together than separately.
A good conditioner has the ability to revitalize all the layers of the leather instead of just staying on the topmost layer. That’s why a good conditioner is just as necessary as a good cleaner. While there are some products that do both the jobs i.e. cleaning and conditioning, it is better to get separate cleaners and conditioners.
Remember, there is no hard and fast rule whether or not to use separate cleaner or conditioner or whether use whether use a single product. It all boils down to the end result that you get. If a leather item is cleaned and conditioned properly and regularly it may last several decades and that is something that can’t be said of other materials.
Cleaning Leather: An art form
Now that you know why cleaning leather using a professional leather cleaner is necessary, you need to understand how you should do it because it doesn’t matter what tools you have unless you use them in the right manner.
So, all you need to do is to follow the simple steps and you shouldn’t have a problem:
- Cleaning your leather car seat with a car leather cleaner or your leather jacket with a similar product is never a good idea. First, you need to clean it with water (you can even vacuum your sofa). But be careful. Excess water can be very damaging for the leather. The best way to do it is by damping a clean piece of cloth lightly and then cleaning the leather with it by gently rubbing it over the entire length of the leather.
- Once you have cleaned the leather with the damp cloth, you should dry it with a piece of preferably soft cloth. Don’t rub the cloth forcefully on the surface to remove the water. Instead, pat the leather surface with the cloth.
- Now it’s time to bring out the leather cleaner. Take another piece of clean cloth and use the soak it with the leather cleaner. Be careful not to go overboard. Once there is a reasonable amount, you should clean the leather surface with this piece of cloth. Make sure that you clean every surface. If once isn’t enough then you can repeat the process again.
- Once you are satisfied with the results, it’s time to condition the leather. Just like with the cleaner, use an appropriate amount. Rub the conditioner gently on the surface and let it sit there for a while. Within no time, your sofa, seat, jacket or belt will be good as new.
Top 5 Leather Cleaners:
Now it’s time for the showdown that you have been waiting for. Mentioned here are top 5 picks from numerous cleaners available online. So without further ado, let’s take a look.
1. Leather Cleaner by Leather Honey
Leather Honey has been in the business of making leather cleaners for over 45 years and due to that reason, this leather cleaner is such a great pick. It has been created with ease of use in mind and it definitely delivers on that promise without any compromises.
- Made from all natural material without lethal chemicals and is therefore completely non-toxic
- Quite inexpensive
- Comes in concentrated form which can be diluted as per the needs of the user. Makes it easy to store and carry
- The quick acting formula doesn’t require much time for the cleaner to work and cleanses the leather surface almost instantly
- A companion Leather Honey Leather Conditioner makes it easy to condition the leather after it has been cleaned
- 100 percent money back guarantee. If the results are unsatisfactory, the cleaner can be returned to the company for a complete refund
- This leather cleaner doesn’t work on suede leather
- The concentrated formula can be a problem if the user is unaware of it and applies it directly to the leather surface without diluting it
2. Meguiar's G10916 Gold Class Rich Leather Cleaner & Conditioner
Meguiar’s G10916 Gold Class Rich Leather Cleaner and Conditioner has a number of excellent features that are hard to beat. Like any good leather cleaner, it provides the essential protection that is needed for leather surfaces along with a number of other benefits.
- This leather “cleaner” combines three vital functions into a single product: it is a cleaner, a conditioner and also provides protection to a leather surface
- Works for all types of leather
- Unbelievably inexpensive
- Comes in an easy spray bottle that can be used right out of the box without having to dilute or mix with anything else
- Special aloe nourishment that actually works
- Doesn’t leave a greasy finish after it has been used on a leather surface
- Preserves the actual colour of the leather on which it is used unlike other products which can cause a whitening effect on the leather
- Takes a while to fully evaporate from the surface of the leather
- Works best with a companion microfiber cloth so that needs to be also bought
- Can make some leather surfaces extremely slippery which is an undesired side effect
- Can have unintended effects on the surrounding surfaces if it is mistakenly sprayed on them too while cleaning the leather seat or surface
3. Leather Cleaner by Leather Nova
Leather Nova has raised the bar when it comes to leather cleaners thanks to its very own Leather Cleaner. This cleaner makes it easy to clean most of the leather surfaces and makes the surface ready for a conditioner.
- Gets inside the pores in the leather to bring out the dust and the grime which can then be removed with ease
- Opens the pores in the leather for conditioner which improves the quality of the overall cleaning process
- The balanced pH of the formula makes it really good for most of the leather products
- Is free of strong detergents and other harmful toxics which makes it safe for both the leather and the users
- Increases the shine of the leather
- Leaves no undesired residue on the surface once the surface has been cleaned
- The spray bottle design makes it really easy to apply on the required surface
- Comes with a free microfiber towel
- Customer satisfaction guaranteed with 90 day money back guarantee
- Relatively expensive
- Can’t be used on suede and nubuck leather
- May take a while to dry
- Can’t be sprayed directly on the leather surface, microfiber cloth needs to be sprayed first and then the surface can only be cleaned with it
4. Mr. Leather Liquid Leather Cleaner
Mr. Leather Liquid Leather Cleaner by Northern Labs is another strong contender when it comes to car leather cleaners and conditioners. The company behind this cleaner has focused on the formula to create one of the best leather cleaners. Its price also makes it very desirable as a leather cleaner.
- Not only cleans but also adds a protective layer for further protection
- Also has some properties of a good leather cleaner such as adding a sheen to the leather surface that has been cleaned with it
- Leaves no unwanted residue
- Also provides protection against water damage thanks to a water repellent layer that it deposits
- The fast acting formula makes it unnecessary to scrub the leather surface or buff it vigorously
- Causes slight decolouration on leather items that have been repaired before
- If used abundantly, it can leave behind a sticky surface for a long time
- The bottle design makes it difficult to quickly clean large leather surfaces
- Doesn’t come with a microfiber cloth or anything similar that can be used to apply it to the leather
5. Chemical Guys SPI_109_16 Leather Cleaner and Conditioner Complete Leather Care Kit
Although it is not a standalone leather cleaner, the combination of the cleaner with the conditioner makes it a really great for those who, like me, want to keep their leather accessories in tip top shape.
- The formula of this leather cleaner makes it bind itself to the leather when it is applied so that it doesn’t stain easily
- Preserves and enhances the natural durability of the leather of the leather
- Works well with most types of leather
- Instead of just acting on the surface, it opens up the pores in the leather which make the whole leather much suppler
- pH balance makes it easy on any leather surface
- The cleaner and the conditioner work in perfect harmony to embellish the look of the leather products
- The cleaner isn’t sold separately and the combo of cleaner and conditioner make it expensive
- The different bottle designs can sometimes cause some confusion when applying the duo
- Conditioner may not work as well as the cleaner necessitating the need of another conditioner
So there you have it. My top five picks that can help you clean all your leather products ranging from leather bag to leather belt, from leather upholstery in your car to leather chairs or sofa in your home.
In fact, any leather surface that you can think of can be cleaned with one of the cleaners mentioned above. While you can’t go wrong with any cleaner in the list, there is one leather cleaner that still manages to stand out from the rest. And that is Meguiar’s G10916 Gold Class Rich Leather Cleaner and Conditioner.
"Why this particular conditioner deserves the title of the winner?"
Well for a couple of reasons.
For starters, it is very reasonably priced even compared to the other items on the list. Its price paired with its cleaning prowess is something hard to beat. In addition, its bottle makes it easy to spray. This means that you can clean the leather surface quickly and easily.
The spray also makes it easy to target a particular area or point on a leather surface if you aren’t in the mood to completely wipe the thing that you need to wipe. What’s more is that Meguiar’s G10916 combines the cleaner with the conditioner. As mentioned earlier in the article, the conditioning is just as important as cleaning.
Sometimes, even more so.
This means that while you may want to use this product to only clean a product, at the same time, you will be conditioning it too.
The inverse is also true: if you just want to condition a leather product, it will also be cleaned in the process. Despite a few flaws like taking a little longer to evaporate, this leather cleaner is still the best option that you can get.
During my extensive testing, there wasn’t a single leather surface that wasn’t cleaned and conditioned by this cleaner to an excellent degree. It is hands down the best cleaner that you can get and it’s near to the ground price tag makes it really easy to buy it in bulk quantities.
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