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BMW 3-Series and 4-Series Forum (F30 / F32) | F30POST > Technical Forums > Cosmetic Maintenance: Wash, Wax, Detailing, Repairs > Leather Cleaning
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      10-27-2020, 11:33 AM   #1
paul e
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Leather Cleaning

I realize the BMW leather is coated/sealed.

Is there any point in using the specialty leather cleaners such as Lexol, Leatherique, etc?

They all say they penetrate the leather but Iím thinking thatís if they arenít sealed or coated.

My Venetian leather is in great shape, so Iím just wondering here.

Thanks.
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      10-27-2020, 12:36 PM   #2
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I'm torn on this topic.

I've never seen any real difference between a leather product and a general interior product on my seats, but I do notice a big difference on surfaces like my steering wheel, shift knob, and brake release.
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      10-27-2020, 06:05 PM   #3
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I haven't seen great results with Leatherique conditioning on the coated leather of BMW seats after approx mid-90s manufacture. Their cleaner, as well as Lexol, does a decent job.
I'm happy using the Sonax & Leather Master products in the E39, E46s & F22. Zymol & Zaino also have good products.
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      10-28-2020, 12:50 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Desertnate View Post
I'm torn on this topic.

I've never seen any real difference between a leather product and a general interior product on my seats, but I do notice a big difference on surfaces like my steering wheel, shift knob, and brake release.
Iím thinking those surfaces arenít sealed/coated like the seats.
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      10-28-2020, 02:41 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paul e View Post
Iím thinking those surfaces arenít sealed/coated like the seats.
Most likely, which is also why they wear out faster too.
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      10-28-2020, 06:13 PM   #6
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Most likely, which is also why they wear out faster too.
I've never had those items wear on me. Only thing that should wear would be the bolster on the seats.
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      10-29-2020, 08:58 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by rjd598 View Post
I've never had those items wear on me. Only thing that should wear would be the bolster on the seats.
Do you have the manual transmission? The steering wheel and brake lever look great, but not the shift knob.

My car is 2016 which I bought last year CPO. With only three years and roughly 27K miles when I bought it, the manual shift knob was already showing signs of wear where the palm of your hand makes contact with the knob.

Fortunately, the knob hasn't got any worse because I don't drive with my hand always on the knob, but a driver who always drives with one hand on the lever and one on the wheel could wear it our pretty quickly. The material seems softer and less durable than what was wrapped around the manual shift knob on my E46.
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      10-29-2020, 03:23 PM   #8
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+1 for Sonax Leather Foam, and also Sonax Alcantara Cleaner.

Used regularly, the foam keeps my Dakota Ivory White seats nice, and the cleaner works great on the black Alcantara bits, if they get dirty.
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      10-30-2020, 08:47 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by visionaut View Post
+1 for Sonax Leather Foam, and also Sonax Alcantara Cleaner.

Used regularly, the foam keeps my Dakota Ivory White seats nice, and the cleaner works great on the black Alcantara bits, if they get dirty.
Ivory white?! You're brave! I couldn't imagine trying to keep that clean. I recently had a dealer loaner 5 series with the same color and I was nervous the entire time I drove it.

Leather that color is a good test bed for cleaners. Glad to hear you like it. What do you apply as a protectant after you clean them with the Sonax?

The product I use is no longer made, so I'm always looking for ideas for what to buy next.
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      10-30-2020, 11:27 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Desertnate View Post
Ivory white?! You're brave! I couldn't imagine trying to keep that clean. I recently had a dealer loaner 5 series with the same color and I was nervous the entire time I drove it.

Leather that color is a good test bed for cleaners. Glad to hear you like it. What do you apply as a protectant after you clean them with the Sonax?

The product I use is no longer made, so I'm always looking for ideas for what to buy next.
Ha! Nate, bravery has nothing to do with it. Masochism, maybe...
If I know thereís a chance itíll get really dirty, or someone has new jeans on, I throw a slip-cover towel over Ďem.

I donít use anything except the Sonax Foam on the leather. Itís a cleaner & conditioner. Works nicely...

Tom
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      10-31-2020, 11:48 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by visionaut View Post
Ha! Nate, bravery has nothing to do with it. Masochism, maybe...
If I know thereís a chance itíll get really dirty, or someone has new jeans on, I throw a slip-cover towel over Ďem.

I donít use anything except the Sonax Foam on the leather. Itís a cleaner & conditioner. Works nicely...

Tom
This stuff?

https://www.sonaxusa.com/car-leather...googleproducts
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      10-31-2020, 11:52 AM   #12
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Quote:
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This stuff?
Yup.
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      11-06-2020, 11:51 AM   #13
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Coated or not leather is a natural product. I prescribe to the theory that protecting/moisturizing the leather on a REGULAR basis is the key. I give my leather a quick spray/wipe with leather protectant once a month. I feel the key is not WHAT you use but HOW you use it. I have tried some of those leather wipes from Meguires and they work fine...they are convenient which is key. I grab some interior spray from the cupboard and a leather wipe and it takes 2 minutes to give seats a quick wipe.
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      11-06-2020, 01:10 PM   #14
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I think the big debate is whether the various types/levels of coatings on the leather allow the conditioning/moisturizing products to actually penetrate into the leather or does it never make it past the coating.

For me, I've had mixed results depending on the leather. Some are noticeably softer/more pliable after using a leather product, while others showed no change at all.

On my F32, it's a mixture of the two. The seats show no sign of any difference, but the shift knob, MSport steering wheel, and brake lever handle not only look different, but feel better afterwards.
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      11-09-2020, 10:34 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Desertnate View Post
I think the big debate is whether the various types/levels of coatings on the leather allow the conditioning/moisturizing products to actually penetrate into the leather or does it never make it past the coating.

For me, I've had mixed results depending on the leather. Some are noticeably softer/more pliable after using a leather product, while others showed no change at all.

On my F32, it's a mixture of the two. The seats show no sign of any difference, but the shift knob, MSport steering wheel, and brake lever handle not only look different, but feel better afterwards.
If your gear stick, steering wheel, and other leather looks shiny/slick - that's because it's gunked up with oils, skin particles, and sweat.

Clean BMW leather is slightly tacky, with some texture to it.
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      11-09-2020, 10:53 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by AspektUSA View Post
If your gear stick, steering wheel, and other leather looks shiny/slick - that's because it's gunked up with oils, skin particles, and sweat.

Clean BMW leather is slightly tacky, with some texture to it.
And that is exactly what I do. Turns out nicely just like you describe.

Seats never seem to change much with the same efforts, which leads me to wonder if the coating on those surfaces doesn't allow the leather products to work the same way.
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      11-09-2020, 10:58 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Desertnate View Post
And that is exactly what I do. Turns out nicely just like you describe.

Seats never seem to change much with the same efforts, which leads me to wonder if the coating on those surfaces doesn't allow the leather products to work the same way.
This Sonax leather kit is probably the best value on the internet today: https://www.autogeek.net/sonax-premium-leather-kit.html

I bought my BMW as a CPO, and this made a huge difference to the appearance of the leather, as well as getting off wayward nail polish from the steering wheel leather.
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