How to Clean Perforated Leather Seats

By Jed Lehman •  Updated: 05/03/22 •  8 min read

Keeping your vehicle pristine doesn’t have to be a major chore. In this article, we are going to talk through how to clean perforated leather seats inside your car.

These days, leather seats have become a staple in many modern vehicles.

When a vehicle has leather seats it adds a touch of class to the interior and enhances comfort. While leather seats have grown in popularity, they aren’t without their flaws.

Leather has problems with flexibility and can make people feel uncomfortable in the summer and winter. The solution? Perforated leather seats

Automakers began introducing perforated leather seats to add more style and comfort to sports cars and luxury vehicles. However, cleaning perforated seats is challenging because of the tiny holes on the surface of the seats.

We’re going to take you through everything you need to know about cleaning perforated leather seats. We’ll also provide you with tips to maintain the leather.

Skip Ahead:

What Are Perforated Leather Seats? 

Where Is Perforated Leather Found In Vehicles?

Perforated leather can be found in many places inside vehicles.

While perforated leather is typically found on the surface of the driver and passenger seat, it can also be found in the back of vehicles. In luxury cars and SUVs perforated leather back seats are not uncommon.

In fact, they’re becoming more popular as the cost of perforated leather decreases. Perforated leather can also be found on the steering wheel. A perforated leather steering wheel provides better grip and prevents sweaty hands. 

Benefits of Perforated Leather Seats 

Perforated leather seats have become a staple of modern luxury vehicles and sports cars for a reason. These seats add comfort and style to cars and they’re worth the extra cost. Below are the benefits of perforated leather seats:

Overall, perforated leather seats perform better than leather seats in almost every category.

How to Clean Perforated Leather Seats 

Cleaning perforated seats is similar to cleaning leather seats. The difference is that you need to be more careful with perforated leather because of the small holes.

Being too rough with the perforated leather can lead to the holes becoming damaged, clogged, or larger. Follow the steps below to learn about how to clean perforated leather seats.

1. Vacuum the Seats

First and foremost, start by vacuuming the perforated leather seats.

Vacuuming the seats loosens up dirt and debris that’s on the surface of the seats. You can use a shop vacuum or regular vacuum but make sure it has enough power to remove debris like dirt and rocks. When vacuuming the seats we also recommend using an attachment that makes the nozzle smaller. Doing so will help you remove dirt from the holes.

2. Wipe Down the Seats

After vacuuming the seats it’s time to wipe them down. Use a microfiber cloth to remove excess dirt and debris that remains on the seat after vacuuming.

When you’re wiping down the seats it’s important to be gentle. Applying too much pressure can cause debris to get stuck in the holes. Furthermore, too much pressure can move debris in a way that scratches the seat.

3. Perform a Patch Test

Performing a patch test is one of the most important parts of cleaning perforated leather seats. A patch test can help you determine if you’re using the right type of leather cleaner for your seats.

To perform a patch test, apply a small amount of leather cleaner to the localized area of the leather seats. Then, let the cleaner sit on the leather for about 5 minutes.

During this time, observe the leather cleaner and the leather seat. If there is an adverse reaction, you’ll have to use a different leather cleaner.

4. Dab the Seats

If the leather cleaner passed the patch test you can begin cleaning your perforated leather seats. To do so, use a microfiber cloth and add the leather cleaner to the cloth. The cloth shouldn’t be damp but there should be a decent amount of leather cleaner on the cloth. Instead of scrubbing the seat with the cloth, dab the cloth on the leather seat to apply the leather cleaner. You want to evenly distribute the cleaner across the leather seats to make the next step easier, which is brushing.

5. Scrub the Leather Seats

Use a Leather brush to scrub the leather seats. Make sure you scrub in a circular motion and don’t apply too much pressure. Applying too much pressure can damage the seats and lead to tearing. Also, make sure you’re using a brush designed for leather.

Using regular brushes can lead to damage to the surface of the seats and ruin the cleaning process. The better you do with brushing the seats, the less work you’ll have to do in later steps. So, make sure you apply enough pressure to remove debris without damaging the seats.

6. Remove the Leather Cleaner

After scrubbing and brushing the perforated leather seats it’s time to remove the leather cleaner. Use a microfiber cloth to remove the excess leather cleaner from the seats. Be gentle as you remove the leather cleaner to avoid damaging the seats. You should also use a fresh microfiber cloth to avoid getting more leather cleaner on the seats.

7. Dry the Seats

Next, it’s time to dry the perforated leather seats. You should use another fresh microfiber cloth to dry the leather seats one more time. If you can’t remove everything with the cloth you can use a vacuum to speed up the drying process. Moreover, you can use the vehicle’s heat settings to remove excess water or leather cleaner that won’t come off of the leather seats.

8. Remove Debris From the Holes

Once the perforated leather seats are clean, it’s time to get technical. Because perforated leather has many tiny holes, the holes can become clogged and filled with dirt, grime, and debris. Removing debris from these holes can be tricky but there are a few tools you can use to help.

You can use an air compressor to blow dirt from the holes, a steam cleaner to loosen debris that’s hardened in the holes, or even a dental brush.

We recommend using a dental brush once everything is cleaned and removed to get out any remaining debris. That said, make sure you’re gentle with the brush to avoid damaging the seats or holes.

How to Maintain Perforated Leather Seats 

Maintaining perforated leather seats can help you keep them clean and extend their lifespan. Unfortunately, it takes more to maintain perforated leather seats than just being careful with them. We’re going to take you through some maintenance tips to keep your perforated leather seats looking fresh and new.

Condition the Leather 

Conditioning leather helps leather maintain its appearance. There are many types of leather conditioners available, so we recommend checking your vehicle’s owner’s manual to determine the conditioner that’s the best for your seats. You can condition perforated leather when you clean it but we also recommend conditioning perforated leather once per week if you want to clean the seats less. Conditioning perforated leather also hydrates the leather, which gives it a healthy shine and fresh appearance.

Polish the Leather 

One of the best ways to maintain perforated leather seats is to polish the leather. Polishing the leather can be done with a microfiber cloth and some extra leather conditioner. We recommend polishing leather seats after they’ve been cleaned or else you’ll be moving dirt and debris around the surface of the seats. To polish the leather, simply wipe the leather conditioner on the seats with a microfiber cloth in a circular motion.

These tips can help you maintain your perforated leather seats, which will make it easier to clean them.

Final Thoughts 

Perforated leather seats add style and comfort to modern vehicles. While perforated leather seats are becoming more popular, cleaning them is not getting any easier. Luckily, following our steps will help you clean perforated leather seats without the hassle.

You’ll also be able to properly maintain perforated leather seats and ensure that they last well beyond their intended lifespan. That’s the beauty of perforated leather, it can be as durable as you want it to be; as long as you take care of it.

Jed Lehman

Jed Lehman is a born gearhead who has been working on cars since he could crawl. He inherited his love for auto from his grandfather who owned a maintenance shop in Carlsbad, California. Jed is the driver behind Gearshift, and started this site to provide straightforward, helpful automobile information. From maintenance tips to product reviews, you can find it all here.