Best leather cleaners 2023

Not all leather cleaners are made equal, and there are many different types and qualities available, from foam to cream or spray. We get the microfibre cloths out to find out which is best...

Best leather cleaners 2022

Leather upholstery used to be the preserve of the most premium new cars, but these days it appears on most models, either as an option or as standard. Taking care of it, and your car's leather should remain blemish-free for years, but which products do the job well, and which are more trouble than they're worth? That's what we're finding out in this product test.

Here, we reveal the very best leather cleaner you can buy today, while also highlighting which one you should avoid. You can read all about the leather cleaners in our test below, but right now, our top choice is the Leather Repair Company deep leather cleaner and conditioner. 

Leather cleaner product test

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1. BEST BUY - Leather Repair Company Deep Leather Cleaner and Conditioner

Leather Repair Company best buy

The Leather Repair Company’s leather cleaner is available only as a kit that comes complete with a 500ml bottle of cleaner and a 500ml bottle of conditioner. This is our favourite because it foams up nicely and gets ingrained dirt out of leather easily, even working effectively into the awkward nooks – especially if you use a brush to really work it in. More stubborn stains also come off without too much effort, and even if you don’t use the conditioner, the leather is left feeling supple and smelling good. It’s not the cheapest product here, but for the quantity and quality of product that you get, this is still our favourite choice. 

What Car? rating Five stars out of five

How we tested the leather cleaners

Starting with dry leather upholstery, we applied our products using a fresh microfibre cleaning pad, or the supplied applicators where appropriate. We followed each individual product’s recommended process. Our test car’s pale grey leather upholstery has seen a good 20 years of routine use, so it promised to be a good challenge.

We assessed how easily the product removed grime and general tarnish, as well as how good the leather felt and smelt afterwards. As ever, we also factored costs into our ratings.

2. RECOMMENDED - Primal Instinct Interior Leather Cleaner

Primal Instinct leather cleaner

Primal Instinct is a really effective, straightforward leather cleaner that also represents great value. It doesn’t come with applicators, but a microfibre cloth does the job, and it leaves leather smelling good and not feeling sticky or greasy. It works well on plastics and harder leather surfaces such as dashboards, too, and it’s easy to get into trickier spots thanks to the spray application. Others here leave the leather feeling more conditioned, but this is very hard to fault for the price.

What Car? rating Five stars out of five

Other leather cleaners to consider

3. Leather Master

Leather Master leather cleaner

This is another cleaning set that comes with separate cleaner and conditioner. It’s fairly odourless compared with most others here, but it foams up really nicely on the sponge that it comes with, and it gets rid of smudges and marks on the leather very easily to leave it smelling and looking very clean and fresh. Virtually on a par with the Leather Repair Company for removing worn-in smudges with minimal effort.

What Car? rating Four stars out of five

4. Diamond Shine System 2 in 1 Leather Cleaner and Conditioner

Diamond Shine leather cleaner

This is a conditioner and cleaner all in one, and it does a really fine job of making your leather look, feel and smell great. It’s easy to apply; you simply spray it on and use the pad to work it in, and it leaves the leather feeling supple and clean, with no sticky residue. It’s not quite as effective at getting the stubborn stains off as our more highly rated options, but this is a really effective leather treatment nonetheless.

What Car? rating Four stars out of five

5. Autoglym LC500 Leather Cleaner

Autoglym leather cleaner

This cleaner did a fine job of removing greasy marks and ingrained dirt in our leather seats and dashboard, and it has a really nice leather smell. It doesn’t come with its own cloth, but it’s one of those cleaners that just does exactly what you expect it to do. It’s not quite as effective as some others here on really tough stains, but it’s a solid general leather cleaner that represents good value.

What Car? rating Four stars out of five

6. Furniture Clinic Leather Ultra Clean

Furniture Clinic leather cleaner

This is another solid cleaner but it did need a little more effort than the others to get more stubborn marks off. It also dries quickly, so you have to work it in quite vigorously to avoid it getting a bit sticky. It still does the job but needs a bit more elbow grease to get the results you’d expect. The leather does feel really nice if you manage to get the job done before the product dries, but at the price there are better options.

What Car? rating Three stars out of five

7. Turtle Wax Luxe Leather Car Seat Cleaner and Restorer

Turtle Wax leather cleaner

This doesn’t remove ingrained dirt and more stubborn marks as well as some other products in this test. In fact, it feels more like a conditioner than a cleaner, and even with elbow grease thrown in, it leaves a few marks that the others manage to get out. The leather does feel nice and soft afterwards, though. It’ll do a reasonable job at softening and brightening leather that’s in decent condition, but you’ll need a stronger cleaner for older and more marked upholstery.

What Car? rating Three stars out of five

8. Meguiar's Gold Class Rich Leather 3 in 1

Meguiar's leather cleaner

The Meguiar’s is another cleaner and conditioner combined but, as with the Turtle Wax product below, it feels like a mild cleaner compared with some of the more effective products. It smells good and goes on well, but stubborn marks are more of an issue. It also leaves a nice shine and finish on the leather that, as per the ‘protector’ part of the 3-in-1 package, feels like it’ll keep the leather looking tidy. 

What Car? rating Three stars out of five

9. Leather Honey

Leather Honey leather cleaner

For the money, we expected better results from this. It isn’t the viscose, honey-like stuff that you might expect from the name; the formula is more liquid than that. It cleans well and leaves the leather feeling soft and smooth, but there’s not much noticeable benefit over usefully cheaper products. Because it’s a straightforward liquid rather than a spray or foam, it can be more difficult to get it into tight creases of the seats and stitching, too.

What Car? rating Two stars out of five

And the leather cleaner to avoid...

10. Nano Go Leather Foam Cleaner

Nano Go leather cleaner

This is the only foam cleaner in our test, and works well at cleaning the leather and getting stubborn dirt and marks out of leather. One niggle is that the foam runs very quickly down seatbacks and vertical surfaces, making it harder to clean with, but the flipside is that getting it into nooks is easy. This cleaner isn’t cheap, either, but it’s likely to go a long way, because you don’t need much to get decent results.

What Car? rating Two stars out of five

How we test products

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