Today I thought I’d compare and test 4 leather cleaning products that fall into two different categories: leather wipes vs. leather cleaners/conditioners. p>
so I stopped by my local walmart and picked up some of these products (you can also find them on amazon) to see which one really did the best job.
I tried the following:
Reading: Armor all leather care wipes review
- Automotive Leather Wet Wipes – 27 count ($1.88 usd)
- Meguiar’s Gold Class Leather Wipes – 25 Count ($4.97)
- armor all leather wipes – 30 count ($5.84)
- lexol leather cleaner – product #1 – 16.9 oz ($5.97)
- lexol leather conditioner – product #2 – 16.9 oz ($5.97)
if you’ve used leather wipes in the past, you know they’re definitely convenient, but I was curious how they would compare to a slightly more premium leather care product like lexol.
how I compared these products
I started by taping off sections of my truck’s leather console (which was pretty dirty at first) and then cleaned each section with a different product.
Then, I let each product dry for about 10 minutes (which didn’t take long in the 90 degree heat).
as you can see below, I created four basic sections with painter’s tape to compare the clean surface to the dirty surface once the tape is removed.
the console was relatively dirty from normal use and had some crumbs and residue.
review: Meguiar’s Gold Class Leather Wipes
meguiar’s kind rich gold leather wipes (available here on amazon) impressed me the most out of all the wipes i tried.
These gave the most conditioner when used compared to the other two, which I think cleaned the surface a bit better. if you have a dirtier surface to clean, I’d probably pick these.
review: Self Driving Wipes & Armored Leather Wipes
I wasn’t particularly impressed with the automatic unit cleanup, along with all armor cleanup, and couldn’t really tell the difference. they mainly made things a little brighter, with little cleaning or foaming action.
from my experience, you also need quite a few wipes if you use them all over the interior of your car.
the unit auto wipes performed maybe a little worse than the armor all wipes, but they were also the cheapest i could find for less than 2 bucks.
the downside of leather cleaning wipes
One downside to using wipes that I found was the fact that they leave a slightly greasy appearance on the surface of the leather.
Although the pictures don’t do it justice, you can definitely tell the difference between the wipes and the cleanser.
Although I missed a few points in the lexol section, I thought this liquid product cleaned better and helped condition the leather back to its original finish.
In my experience, the wipes can also make the seats and steering wheel quite slippery due to the protector used on them.
Some have said that the wipes can also speed up cracking (especially on the dash), which I can’t deny or dispute based on my experience.
armor all makes a protective-only interior wipe, which I would not recommend using on leather. It is primarily designed to protect dashboards and vinyl trim.
my favorite: lexol cleanser and conditioner
in general, if you’re just looking to restore your leather to its natural, dull state, I’d go for lexol (which is used by many professionals) or another similar premium product.
you can find lexol’s cleaner and conditioner combo here on amazon for around $20, and for my 2010 silverado, i can honestly say it’s been the key to maintaining my interior for the past few years.
if you’re looking for a high-shine look, wipes do the trick, but not my preference personally.
should you ever use leather wipes?
I think wipes have a place if you’re not a car enthusiast and just looking for comfort.
it’s a little easier and more convenient to clean leather door panels or other hard-to-reach areas with wet wipes if you’re in a hurry.
the greasy appearance isn’t as noticeable after a couple of days, which is good, but they’re not designed for premium auto trim anyway.
If you spill something on a leather seat, it’s also good to have leather wipes on hand. in the past, i have used armor all and meguiar’s baby wipes just for that purpose.
for the non-retailers, it really comes down to personal preference and the quality of the leather you’re dealing with.
I definitely wouldn’t recommend leather wipes for high-end Italian leather or anything else exotic, but they’re fine for most vehicles.
In general, when comparing leather wipes to lexol’s specific leather cleaner and conditioner, I definitely prefer to use a cleaner and conditioner more frequently.
Especially when cleaning heavily soiled surfaces, it’s nice to be able to use more product and apply it liberally, instead of going through a bunch of wipes.
Using a microfiber towel also helps, as they are designed to lift substances from a surface (like paint or leather).
but then again, it’s good to have a container of leather cleaning wipes in the car when you travel. after all, spills happen.
For some more tips and techniques the pros use, check out my post 17 Interior Detailing Tips The Pros Keep Secret.