Just like the loved ones in your life, you have to treat your car seats right. Even your loved ones can eventually leave if you don’t pay attention to them, and the same goes to car seats.
A good seat adds a classy, elegant look to the vehicle, be it a car or a truck. However, if you don’t know how to protect car and truck seats, they’ll gradually turn dirty, ugly and torn.
But that shouldn’t be the case. The resale value of a vehicle vastly depends on the look and how well it was maintained.
In this article, we’ll discuss how you can keep your car seats in pristine condition. Don’t worry, it’s actually routine work, not a hassle.
Protecting Different Type Of Car Seats
“A rigid, one-size-fits-all approach usually ends up fitting no one.” – Patrick Lencioni.
The famous author said it right. You cannot protect car seats made of different materials in the same manner. What’s appropriate for one type might prove harmful for another.
Usually, there are 3 types of seats, or seat covers to be more precise used on vehicles, leather, fabric, and velvet. We will go through different ways of protecting each seat type separately.
How To Protect Leather Car And Truck Seat
Leather seat covers are generally used for cars rather than trucks. If maintained properly, they put together an unrivaled display of elegance no other seat type can match. On the other hand, lack of maintenance can make the seat covers brittle and cracked.
Below are some steps you can follow to keep them protected. No need to get overboard, just mark your calendar, set your alarm and do them once in a while.
1. Vacuum Your Leather Seats
Apart from wiping and cleaning your car seats with dust feather duster regularly, you should use vacuum from time to time. Debris and dust are stubborn and often find their ways between gaps.
The vacuum helps to make loose and remove these specks of dirt and dust from their hideouts. To avoid scratching the leather, use a vacuum cleaner with soft bristles.
2. Use A Gentle Cleaner
You know how leathers are, right? They tend to get dry and parched with time. You need to keep them moist and conditioned to avoid discoloration.
However, they need to be cleaned before being conditioned. You shouldn’t apply the conditioner when the seat is still dirty, because that’ll make a mess of a cleaning.
The best way to clean your leather seat is by using a professional cleaner. If you are too reluctant to use a cleaner, you can use a damp towel instead.
There are plenty of one-step cleaners that come in lotion or spray form. Use high-end products that gives the leather near to original, low gloss finish.
We don’t recommend using vinyl cleaners and cheap soaps. They usually come with silicone, glossing agents or petroleum-based solvents, which gives the seats too much of a shiny look. While it might look appealing instantly, it’ll damage the leather in the long run.
Apply the cleaner and wipe the seats with a clean towel. Concentrate on creases and areas where body hairs come into touch with the leather. Leave the seats for some hours and let them dry.
3. Condition Your Leather Seats
Here we are! The most important step of protecting leather seats. Even if you are too reluctant to use a specialized cleaner and use a damp towel instead, you must use a dedicated leather conditioner.
If you go for cheap products, you’re actually setting up the path for spending more when you’ll have to replace the leather seats. Make sure the conditioner is water based, high quality and with balanced pH.
Don’t forget to read information and instructions before buying. This’ll halt you from buying the wrong stuff. If your seat is already perforated, we advise avoiding lotion based conditioner. They tend to get stuck in the cracks and turn white, which will look dreadful.
Experts suggest using gentle oils as moisture. Apply the conditioner evenly in all areas, avoid focusing on one area too much. Leave the seats for 4-6 hours until the conditioner gets soaked and then wipe with a microfiber towel.
Repeat these steps every three months, if not every month. It will keep your seat moist and protect against UV lights.
How To Protect Fabric Car And Truck Seat
Shocking it might sound, but it only takes one accident to ruin your cloth seats.
Spilling coffee, canned food or coke, one of these is enough to turn your day into a nightmare. Even if you prohibit these from your car, sweaty palms, oily hands, dirty jackets can put stains on your fabric car seats. While cleaning them is only a wipe away for leather seats, that’s not the case for cloth seat covers.
Using a towel or blanket over the seat is a good solution, but it certainly won’t ‘look’ good. Below, we’ll give you tips to protect your fabric seats without hurting the style.
1. Use Seat Cover
If you think seat covers have lack of designs thereof, then you’re in for a surprise. They come with fixed and custom sizes, and a wide variety of designs. Depending on the possible way your seats can get dirty, you can buy specialized covers too.
Take waterproof seat covers for instance. They are great for people who love surfing or swimming. They usually come with protective backing so that the water doesn’t seep through the creases.
Pet owners face more versatile challenges. Being a pet owner is great, but it comes with some aggravations. Furs, hair, drools are some of the things you’ll confront on a regular basis.
The more serious matters are scratching and biting. If they see a small glimpse the foam underneath, it’s like playtime for them. They can do some serious tearing in pursuit of unwrapping the foam.
Use specialized pet seat covers to avoid that. There are covers that completely wrap between sets and form a resting place for your pet. These covers allow hair and furs to stay in one place so that you can remove the cover and clean them later.
As for biting and scratching, use headrest or armrest covers that’ll take the abuse and keep your seat protected.
2. Spray Fabric Protector
Sounds counterproductive, right?
Why use a spray while all we are trying to avoid is putting stains on the seats? Well, if you get to know how fabric protectors work, you’ll understand the reason.
You see, fabric protectors form an additional layer to build a barrier from dirt and stain. The barrier does not let stain, coke, or oil settle on the seat, which makes it easy to wipe and remove them.
Before applying, read the instruction carefully and make sure the product is not expired. Put a cloth on dashboards (dashboard protectors review available here) and seat in-betweens. Apply one coat evenly on all seats and leave them to dry. If you are skeptical, apply another light coat afterward. Keep all of the car doors and windows open.
How To Protect Velvet Car And Truck Seat
Velvet is another form of fabrics, although softer and cozier. While cleaning velvet seats, you have to make sure of not crushing the fiber that makes velvet attractive and comfortable. Remember, velvet is subtle and gets easily damaged if handle inaptly.
1. Use Fabric Protector
This is similar to the previous use we mentioned for fabric seats. However, the difference is you have to be more careful.
First, Make sure the cleaner doesn’t wreak harm on the fabric. Use on a discrete area for a test, the underside or back of the sofa is good to go with. Wait for some time and check if any discoloration happens.
Secondly, do not use it on anything other than polyester or cotton velvet.
Finally, apply the product with a soft sponge. Do not rub it harshly. Rather, use the sponge gently, without disturbing the pile of velvet.
2. The Wet Method
The liquid has been spilled on the seat and you’re getting a moment of panic.
That even disgusts us to think about it, right? However, if the vile thing happens, what can you do to protect your velvet seat cover? Let me take you through the process.
Soak the liquid with a cloth or paper towel. Make sure no debris or food particles remain there.
Mix a small amount of soap and water on a bucket. Soak a cloth on the sudsy water. Start rubbing the surface gently with the wet cloth. Rub it in a circular motion until the stain disappears eventually.
Let the surface dry. It’s important that the velvet doesn’t stay wet for a long time. You can use a fan or hair dryer to accelerate the process.
Should I Scotchguard My Car?
Using Scotchguard on your car is one of the two options you can choose to protect the seats. Another one is using seat covers. But is Scotchguard worth using? We’d say it is.
Using a Scotchguard once in a while wouldn’t hurt your wallet since it is cheap. As for the effectivity, it makes you seat waterproof and stain proof to a degree. Removing stains will be a lot easier if you have Scotchguard applied on the seats.
However, make sure the seat is clean before applying it. If the seat color is turning darker, it might be a good idea to deep clean it first.
You might feel the seat to be slightly stiffer once Scotchguard is applied, and some smells will emit. However, the smell dissipates after some time and you won’t notice the upholstery protector once the smell is gone.
How Often Should You Scotchgard?
The use of Scotchgard isn’t limited to just vehicle seats. You can use it for car carpets, mats and trunk.
That being said, it’s beneficial that you use Scotchgard once in a while. Apply it every time after you clean your car with water or any other solvent based cleaner. If you’re still not sure about the timing, manufacturers suggest using it at least once in 6 months.
How Long Does Scotchgard Spray Last?
Scotchgard spray can give you great value for the money since it lasts for a long time.
The spray in the can itself can stay in usable condition for up to 3 years. However, you must keep temperatures below 120° and make sure the can doesn’t get punctured.
It sets almost instantly on the surface after applying. Since it is applied right after a water-based solvent cleaning, it gets dry by the time the surface dries.
As for longevity, it depends on how frequent your car seats are used. Depending on their usage, the application can last from 6 to 18 months. Obviously, it will last longer if there’s no children or pets that use the car.
Remember, the spray gets weaken once you do a thorough steam cleaning on your seats. The manufacturers recommend reapplying it every time you do that.
Being a vehicle owner not only comes with its fair share of delight and fulfillment but also with responsibilities. Like all things in the world, if you don’t cherish your car dearly, it’ll fade down to a stinky, dirty pile of junk.
Car seats, along with many other factors, determine how comfortable your journey will be. Sitting on a stained, reeking car seat will bring ignominy for both the car owner and the rider.
To avoid that, learn how to protect car seats. With a little maintenance, you’ll be able to keep the new look and resale value of your car up for a long time.