Leather seat issue - anyone else?

Mikester86

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They’re supposed to be leather but to be honest, they feel less like leather than any other leather seats I’ve ever had. Don’t get me wrong. I still think they’re nice. I’ve seen other threads where people say it could be a mixture of other materials.
I agree, I think they are a mixture of materials too. If they were 100% leather, than I think conditioning would have been included in the user manual.
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griffinm

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FYI a "damp cloth and water" is not going to clean the seats. If you have black leather, you'll never know this because you can't see the staining that clothing dye causes, but it's obvious on lighter colored leathers, and water ain't taking that out. Good quality cleaners (like Lexol) can. Also, water cannot properly condition the leather. You need oil for that. I've spent a lifetime caring for automotive leather and i've adopted techniques from pros in the business...there are lots of products that are more than adequate (i.e. you do not need $50 per treatment wonder products) but you absolutely SHOULD be conditioning your leather at least a couple times a year or else you will have a cracked ugly mess by the time you hit 100k miles.

To the OP - when you apply the cleaner, do you brush? I use a horsehair brush to scrub the leather, and I am currently using the exact same cleaner. I have yet to find anything that it won't take out...but there's a first time for everything so who knows.
I applied Lexol cleaner with a clean microfiber cloth as instructed on the bottle. I may buy a horsehair brush and try that out. I noticed on one of the chemical guys videos that he used a horsehair brush. Good idea.
 

tjklein

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I have this exact issue on my leather seats. 2021 JLUR...I think it's from my wife and her sister's lotion/sunscreen on their legs. I haven't tried to get it off yet, but water and a rag won't do it. That much I know!
 
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I have this exact issue on my leather seats. 2021 JLUR...I think it's from my wife and her sister's lotion/sunscreen on their legs. I haven't tried to get it off yet, but water and a rag won't do it. That much I know!
Frustrating. Sorry to hear that. Mine definitely looks like some sort of lotion or oil caused a permanent reaction, but I swear I don’t wear any lotions or sunceeens and no one else has driven my Jeep. It’s crazy how my issue is only on one of the sections. One of the “stains” stops right at the seam of the section below it as if the lower section didn’t get affected. I just ordered a horsehair brush (suggestion from an earlier poster) so I’ll see if that and more Lexol leather cleaner work tomorrow. Who knows. Maybe my upper back sweats a unique acid sweat that only effects black Rubicon leather 🤔
 

mygreenkaw

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https://armorautoparts.com/

Been getting my Mopar products from here, prices seem reasonable and in stock. I use the total clean, purchased a gallon. Placed it in a spray bottle and it goes a long way. I had a dusty mess after the trip to Interlake and literally sprayed down everything on the interior with it. Cleans everything up nicely. I do have some leather wipes that are Armorall or similar that I used once or twice but only total clean for me from now on.
 

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There may be a coating on the stock leather that has been worn/cleaned off. In the past that’s what I’ve seen on some OEM leathers and may be why standard leather products aren’t advised.

Maybe try Lexol’s customer support for recommendations.
 

The Last Cowboy

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Keep in mind, unless you have a very high end vehicle your "leather seating surfaces" have a color coat and a clear coat applied. Both of those coats are synthetic and provide uniform color and texture. Too much cleaning and buffing will rub through those coats. Leather conditioner does nothing, as those coatings are a barrier that won't allow the conditioner to reach the hide.

Ford put uncoated seats in King Ranch trucks for a few years and got a ton of complaints due to staining. Most people do nothing to take care of their seats other than bush the food crumbs off.

A damp microfiber cloth is really all that's needed. If the seats are really dirty, I've put a couple of drops of conditioning shampoo in a small bucket of warm water, then rub the seats down with that.

A great many of the products sold to clean, detail and "protect" car interiors do more harm than good.
 
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GATORB8

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I think my next step would be to see if you can get it replaced under warranty, as long as you haven’t applied any solvents listed in the manual, you should be in the clear.

I’ve never had a seat done, but I’ve had leather steering wheels replaced under warranty with similar discoloration.
 
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griffinm

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I think my next step would be to see if you can get it replaced under warranty, as long as you haven’t applied any solvents listed in the manual, you should be in the clear.

I’ve never had a seat done, but I’ve had leather steering wheels replaced under warranty with similar discoloration.
Thanks. I may go that route before too long. I definitely haven't applied any solvents or abrasives. Just water, a drop of soap, and Lexol ... and only applied with a microfiber cloth with very minimal agitation.
 

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Keep in mind, unless you have a very high end vehicle your "leather seating surfaces" have a color coat and a clear coat applied. Both of those coats are synthetic and provide uniform color and texture.
Yup.

Too much cleaning and buffing will rub through those coats. Leather conditioner does nothing, as those coatings are a barrier that won't allow the conditioner to reach the hide.
However this is not true. The protective layer on automotive leather is not impervious. It is there to stop color fade and reduce physical wear, not seal out moisture. You can prove this by spilling water in a puddle on the leather, let it sit for a minute, then wipe it up. You will temporarily see a darker spot where the water was. Also, unless you are using very abrasive cleaning methods, you are not going to wear through the coating. You could rub with a cloth every day for 10 years and you wouldn't get through it. Sandpaper would work though.

A great many of the products sold to clean, detail and "protect" car interiors do more harm than good.
Very true...many of the "combo" products that promise to cheaply clean and condition leather are silicone based and will clog the pores in leather causing it to dry out. Classic Armor All is a great example.
 

webwbr

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That last thing you need is another opinion, but after staring at your picture for a bit, it almost seems to me that something has rubbed OFF your seats (the lighter areas) rather than something got ON them. Does that make sense? It looks to me like the light areas are where some of the leather finished was removed. I'm perplexed by the patter though... at it looks blotchy.

Sorry, that comment is of no help, but I will follow this thread every interested in your solution as I'm awaiting a Wrangler with the exact same leather seats.
 

PacNWJLGecko

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FYI a "damp cloth and water" is not going to clean the seats. If you have black leather, you'll never know this because you can't see the staining that clothing dye causes, but it's obvious on lighter colored leathers, and water ain't taking that out. Good quality cleaners (like Lexol) can. Also, water cannot properly condition the leather. You need oil for that. I've spent a lifetime caring for automotive leather and i've adopted techniques from pros in the business...there are lots of products that are more than adequate (i.e. you do not need $50 per treatment wonder products) but you absolutely SHOULD be conditioning your leather at least a couple times a year or else you will have a cracked ugly mess by the time you hit 100k miles.

To the OP - when you apply the cleaner, do you brush? I use a horsehair brush to scrub the leather, and I am currently using the exact same cleaner. I have yet to find anything that it won't take out...but there's a first time for everything so who knows.
You say that leather requires conditioning. Does this also apply to the mostly vinyl seats most vehicles have? What is the general makeup of most seats anyways? I'm asking because it seems like its your area of expertise, thanks!
 

JTsGarage

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I’ve had good luck with Meguiar’s All Purpose Cleaner on an occasion or two when I’ve needed something a little heavier duty to clean the black leather seats in my Gladiator. Dilute it with water in a spray bottle, spray it on a microfiber cloth and rub it on the leather. Wipe up any excess. You could also use a little on a detailing brush if you need to gently agitate the stain. I also use the APC on the inside of my doors, which with dogs hanging their heads out the window seem to get stained easily. Just don’t spray the APC directly on! Always use a cloth or soft detailing brush to apply and then wipe away with a clean microfiber. I also swear by TriNova leather cleaner for regular cleaning of the seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel, etc. It’s awesome stuff. Chemical Guys Silk Shine protectant is also excellent for the black soft plastic (or whatever it is) on the doors after cleaning with APC. All of the above can be found on Amazon.
 
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griffinm

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That last thing you need is another opinion, but after staring at your picture for a bit, it almost seems to me that something has rubbed OFF your seats (the lighter areas) rather than something got ON them. Does that make sense? It looks to me like the light areas are where some of the leather finished was removed. I'm perplexed by the patter though... at it looks blotchy.

Sorry, that comment is of no help, but I will follow this thread every interested in your solution as I'm awaiting a Wrangler with the exact same leather seats.
The picture is a little misleading. Due to the lighting and camera, it looks like the spots/stains are a lighter color. In person, they look shiney and like someone touched the seats with greasy fingers after eating buttered popcorn. But there's no "residue" to clean off as would be the case with buttered popcorn, grease, sweat, sunscreen, etc. (All of which I'm convinced is not the problem). My guess is whatever made those splotches somehow caused a reaction and the finish may be permanently damaged. I sure hope not. I appreciate everyone's opinions and responses. Since starting this post, I've ordered a horsehair brush and Mopar Total Care based on comments. I don't think that's going to fix the issue, but I also don't think they will make the problem worse so it's worth a shot. I will definitely stay away from Armor-all. I haven't used that since the 80's when it cause a dash to crack in my car. I've also reached out to Lexol customer support. If anything interesting transpires, I'll definitely post an update.
 

TheRaven

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You say that leather requires conditioning. Does this also apply to the mostly vinyl seats most vehicles have? What is the general makeup of most seats anyways? I'm asking because it seems like its your area of expertise, thanks!
No. Vinyl doesn't generally need anything...or at least you aren't going to find a "conditioner" that's actually going to provide any positive benefit. It won't hurt to use conditioner on the vinyl, but there's no positive function to it. I, for instance, clean the entire top and front facing surfaces of all my seats using the same regimen, even though half of those surfaces are vinyl, because after cleaning and brushing, conditioning and buffing, I end up with a uniform finish...rather than having the vinyl parts shinier than the leather parts. I only ever use a standard vinyl cleaner on the wraps (sides and backs).

Also - as I described on page 1, vehicles that do advertise "leather seating surfaces" do actually have real leather...just not that much of it. Usually the inserts are leather and the wrap is vinyl. You have to read the literature very carefully though...these days vinyl is creeping more and more up the vehicle trim level hierarchy. I can't remember for sure which car it was - I THINK it was the new Camry - but it no longer offers leather on any trim. Only vinyl. But this is a big part of why FCA, and probably other automakers, just tell you to use water for cleaning...the damage risk becomes less and less because the actual leather content continues to shrink, and they can rid themselves of possible warranty claims caused by bad "leather care" products.
 
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