Why do leather car seats crack after washing | Latest Guide 2024

Why do leather car seats crack after washing

Leather car seats are a luxurious and stylish addition to any vehicle, but they can also be quite delicate and require special care to maintain their appearance. One common issue many car owners encounter is why do leather car seats crack after washing, and is there any solution to this problem? 

It can be a frustrating and unsightly problem, but understanding the reasons behind it can help prevent it from happening.

Leather car seats can crack after washing due to a variety of reasons. The main reason is that when leather is exposed to water, it can become saturated and lose its natural oils. It can cause the leather to dry and become brittle, leading to cracking.

It’s important to note that not all leather is the same, and some are more resistant to cracking than others, and also, the quality of the care and maintenance of the leather play a big role too.

So in this article, we study the complete guide on why leather car seats crack after washing.


Important factors on why do leather car seats crack after washing in 2023

Here we discuss some of the main factors that cause leather seats to be cracked after washing.

Suppose you want to prevent your leather seat, so it’s important to understand these factors before washing your car’s leather seats. These include the following:-

Type of Leather

One of the main reasons why leather car seats crack after washing is the type of leather used in the seats. Some types of leather, such as full-grain leather, are more prone to cracking and drying than others, such as top-grain or corrected-grain leather.

Full-grain leather is the most natural and pure form, meaning it is not treated or buffed before being used in car seats. This type of leather is more porous. Therefore it can soak up more dirt, dust, and sweat. As a result, it needs to be cleaned more frequently, which can lead to cracking.

Cleaning Solution

Another important factor is the cleaning solution used to wash the seats. Many commercial leather cleaners contain harsh chemicals that can strip the natural oils from the leather, leaving it dry and prone to cracking.

Additionally, using water and soap to clean leather seats can also cause damage, as the water can penetrate the leather and cause it to dry out and crack. Leather seats should be cleaned with a pH-neutral cleaner specifically designed for leather.

Frequency of Washing

Another factor to consider is the frequency of washing the seats. Leather seats that are washed frequently are more likely to crack and dry out than those that are washed less frequently.

This is because frequent washing removes the natural oils that protect the leather from drying out and cracking. It is important to clean the seats only when necessary when they are visibly dirty or smelly.


Another important factor to consider is the environment in which the car is stored. If the car is stored in a hot, dry, or sunny location, the leather seats are more likely to dry out and crack.

This is because heat and sunlight can cause the leather to lose its natural oils, making it more susceptible to cracking. Parking the car in a garage or covered parking can minimize exposure to heat and sunlight.


Finally, the age of the seats can also be a factor in why the leather cracks after washing. As leather seat age, they lose some of their natural oils and become more prone to cracking. This is a natural process, and it is important to maintain the leather seats with regular conditioning to keep them supple and durable.

Why do leather car seats crack after washing

Tip to prevent car leather seats from cracking after washing.

However, there are several tips you can follow to prevent your car’s leather seats from cracking after washing them. These tips include:

  • Use a leather conditioner: After cleaning the seats, apply a leather conditioner to keep the leather moisturized and supple, which can help prevent cracking.
  • Avoid harsh cleaning products: Use mild, pH-neutral cleaning products specifically designed for leather seats to avoid damaging the leather.
  • Use a microfiber cloth: Use a microfiber cloth to clean the leather seats, as it is gentle and less likely to scratch the leather.
  • Avoid direct sunlight: Park your car in a shaded area or cover the seats with a towel to avoid prolonged exposure to direct sunlight, which can dry out and crack the leather.
  • Regular cleaning and conditioning: Regularly clean and condition your car’s leather seats to maintain their appearance and prolong their lifespan.
  • Avoid using abrasive materials or tools: Avoid using wire brushes, steel wool, or other abrasive materials or tools when cleaning the seats, as these can damage the leather.
  • Use a leather seat protector: Use a leather seat protector to shield the seats from dirt, spills, and UV rays, which can cause damage over time.

Do seat covers keep leather from cracking?

Seat covers can protect your leather seats and help keep them from cracking, but they are only a partial solution. Seat covers can protect the leather from scratches, spills, and UV rays, which can contribute to cracking over time.

However, it’s important to note that seat covers can trap heat and moisture, which can cause the leather to dry out and crack if left in place for a long period. Therefore it’s important to remove seat covers and let your leather seats breathe and dry out if they get wet or sweaty.

It’s also important to regularly clean and condition your leather seats, even if you have seat covers on them, as this will help to keep the leather supple and moisturized, which can help to prevent cracking.

In summary, seat covers can protect your leather seats but are not a substitute for proper care and maintenance. Use seat covers with regular cleaning and conditioning to keep the leather in good condition and prevent cracking.


  • Is Vaseline good for cracked leather?
    • Yes, Vaseline can be used to treat minor cracks in the leather. It can help moisturize and condition the leather, making it more supple and preventing further cracking. However, it is important to apply it sparingly and evenly to avoid causing any discoloration or damage to the leather. It’s also recommended to test the Vaseline on a small, inconspicuous sure, and it does not adversely affect adverse effect on the leather.
  • Does genuine leather crack?
    • Yes, genuine leather can crack over time due to exposure to elements such as heat, sun, and dry air, as well as the natural aging process. However, well-maintained leather can last for many years without cracking.
  • Which oil is best for leather?
    • There are several oils that can be used to treat leather, including Neatsfoot oil, Olive oil, Mink oil, and Leather conditioner. Each oil has unique properties and benefits, but Neatsfoot oil and Leather conditioner are commonly considered the best options for conditioning and protecting leather. Neatsfoot oil is a traditional treatment that softens and moisturizes leather, while Leather conditioner is specifically formulated to protect and maintain the leather.
  • Can you rehydrate cracked leather?
    • Yes, it is possible to rehydrate cracked leather. One method is to apply a leather conditioner or oil to the surface using a soft cloth, working it into the cracks and allowing it to soak in. Another method is to mix equal parts of white vinegar and water and apply it to the leather with a cloth, then let it dry naturally. 
  • What is a good natural leather conditioner?
    • A good natural leather conditioner for leather is one made from safe ingredients that won’t damage or discolor the leather. Some popular options include Beeswax mixed with oils, Coconut oil, and Mink oil.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, various factors can cause cracked leather car seats after washing. As we mentioned before, the water can cause the fibers in the leather to swell, making the material stiff and brittle. 

Additionally, if the leather is not properly dried or treated with a waterproofing agent, mold and mildew can form, further damaging the material. Furthermore, the detergents, soaps, and other cleaning products used during the washing process can strip the natural oils from the leather, leaving it dry and prone to cracking. 

To avoid this, it’s important to use appropriate cleaning products specifically designed for leather and ensure the seats are thoroughly dried and conditioned after washing.

Lastly, the quality of the leather seat itself is also a factor. Lower-quality leather will be more prone to cracking than high-quality leather. Therefore, it’s important to consider the quality of the leather when purchasing a car or when replacing the seats.

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