Leather care is very important for this main reason. Dirt can get into the pores and fibers of your leather and there it acts like tiny razor blades to cut those fibers and then you get cracks, and once that happens, there isn't anything you can do.
To help avoid this, you must keep your leather interior clean. Do NOT use products made for vinyl or anything that says it is good for all interior surfaces. Leather takes special care and should be treated with the best. Lexol has been used by people in the leather craft industry for decades, and people with horses also know about Lexol and use it to keep expensive saddles and tack looking their best. Automotive interior leather has a different surface than most natural leathers, but the principal is the same. You must clean it without damaging the surface or the underlying leather fibers. Lexol does this.
CLEANING: Lexol Cleaner is a gentle, PH balanced product that will get almost any dirt/stain off your leather. Use a damp (NOT soaking) soft cloth like a washcloth or a VERY gentle/soft bristle brush to work the Lexol Cleaner into the leather. The bottle instructions say to work it to a lather, but I find this not possible most of the time, and you should not worry if you don't get a "lather." If your leather is really dirty, don't try to get everything out at once, do a normal/gentle treatment, apply the conditioner, and come back and do it again in a week or two. Several gentle cycles are better than one marathon scrubbing session. If your leather has cracks in the surface, go easy around them, no cleaner or conditioner can fix them, and you will just have to live with them. Gently cleaning on and around the cracks is the best you can do.
Wipe the cleaner off with a clean damp rag and then dry with a soft towel. Some leathers might darken slightly with moisture, don't worry, it will return to normal when dry.
CONDITION: Lexol Conditioner works wonders to keep leather looking right and feeling right. By "right" I mean natural. Many products on the market will give leather an artificial shine or make it slick or very sticky. Lexol leaves a clean looking, natural and soft surface. There will be a very slight sticky feeling for a short time after treatment, but don't worry, it will go away quickly.
SUPER TIP: Apply Lexol Conditioner with your BARE hands. Don't use a rag or cloth. The reason for this is a rag or cloth will soak up most of the product, and you want as much as possible on the leather. Spray the leather lightly and work in the conditioner till there is a slick surface all over the leather. NOTE: most modern "leather" interiors have side and back panels of vinyl. Don't bother using a leather product on these surfaces, Vinylex by Lexol is the product to use on these surfaces.
There is another good reason to put on Lexol conditioner with your bare hands. If you are like most car enthusiasts that love to take care of their cars, your hands spend a lot of time in soapy water, or with grease on them as you change oil. When I discovered that I could put on Lexol Conditioner with my bare hands, that very day, my wife commented how soft my hands were and she asked what I had done different. Now she enthusiastically endorses Lexol as a hand conditioner, and applies it to her horse tack leather the same way. Think about it, if Lexol is good for tanned/dead skin, it must be GREAT for live skin!
Completing the conditioning process, go around the entire interior applying the conditioner and when done, then go around again with a soft clean towel to buff the interior to a healthy glow.
Remember to clean and condition your leather wheel covers including our Wheelskin covers. Also use Lexol on leather shift knobs, shift lever boots and leather dashes if you have one.
Lexol is also great for any leather upholstery in your house and for most leather jackets. When in doubt, always check labels and make sure of the cleaning process before using any product on fine leathers.
There is more than one type of leather. Most American cars have a leather surface that is applied like a paint rather than soaked into the leather. This process closes off most of the pores and makes this type of leather less susceptible to spills and stains. Most European cars have a leather that has been dyed rather than coated. It is softer, but may stain more easily. Lexol will not soak into American type leather as easily, but it will still do it's job. Lexol will soak right into dyed leather much easier. It's great for either type, it will just feel different when applying it.
A final note about stains. Some stains will not want to come out of leather. One example is when I had to carry a brand new tire in my car for just about 1/2 an hour. The oils in the rubber stained the leather so that you could see the name of the tire on the seat back and the tread pattern on the cushion! I tried everything I could think of to remove the stain, but nothing touched it. I tried harsh solvents and went to every upholstery shop I could find. Nothing worked. So, I went home, applied Lexol in both parts to preserve the leather after all that harsh chemical treatment and just lived with the stains. Then about a year later, I noticed during yet another detailing session that the stains were gone! I had cleaned and conditioned that area several times, and eventually it came out. The lesson is to not give up. Many stains will come out with time, and patience.