Best Leather Conditioners: Keep Your Leather Looking Show Ready

These top leather conditioners will restore your weathered leather to practically pristine in no time.

byLisa Conant| UPDATED Jul 15, 2022 9:01 AM
Best Leather Conditioners: Keep Your Leather Looking Show Ready
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Leather upholstery has been the top choice for high-quality automobile seating since the beginning of the auto industry. Even with major advances in modern technology that have revolutionized performance and reliability, leather has remained one of the best options when it comes to upholstery choices for your ride. 

Sure, it’s durable, long-lasting, and luxurious, but as with most things that are subjected to frequent use, it can start to show lots of wear and tear over time. Restore your leather upholstery to like new condition with these tried and tested leather conditioners. It’s a far more economical option than having to replace your leather seats altogether. As an added bonus, many of these leather conditioners can also be used on leather furniture, boots, purses, jackets, and more.

Best Overall

Mothers VLR

Summary
Versatile and an easy-to-use all-in-one spray liquid that cleans, conditions, and protects leather, vinyl, and rubber.
Pros
  • Outstanding performance on multiple surfaces
  • Excellent cleaning power
  • Perfect for combination leather and vinyl seats and upholstery
Cons
  • Some prefer using a separate cleaner and conditioner
  • Not compatible with hard plastics, painted trim, or window tint
Best Value

Lexol Leather Cleaner and Conditioner

Summary
Traditional two-step cleaner and conditioner that leaves leather supple and clean with excellent protection.
Pros
  • Two-step cleaning and conditioning process 
  • Softens and conditions leather without excessive shine
Cons
  • Separate cleaner and conditioner requires two steps
  • Classic leather scent not for everybody
Honorable Mention

Armor All Leather Care

Summary
Disposable leather care wipes that clean, condition, and protect out on the road or back home in the driveway.
Pros
  • All-in-one leather care on the go
  • Disposable
  • Compact package is easy to stow
Cons
  • Not ideal for larger jobs
  • Can dry out over long periods
  • May need a separate cloth to remove excess
Why Trust Us

Our reviews are driven by a combination of hands-on testing, expert input, “wisdom of the crowd” assessments from actual buyers, and our own expertise. We always aim to offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.

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Summary List 

Best Overall: Mothers VLR

Honorable Mention: Armor All Leather Care

Best All-in-One: Meguiar’s Gold Class

Best Leather Conditioner Package: Aero Cosmetics Leather Care Kit

Best Leather Conditioner and Accessories: Mothers Leather Conditioner

Our Methodology

When it comes to choosing the best leather conditioners available, I wanted to provide you with a well-rounded list that features a solid variety of reputable manufacturers with a history of providing high-quality, long-lasting products. I wanted to include a wide range of products from comprehensive all-in-ones to task-specific options. All products were tested on a 1987 Mitsubishi Starion. In fact, the seats were actually removed from the car and placed on sawhorses for a thorough and uniform review. The upholstery was a blend of pigmented leather and shade-matched vinyl. See which one you think out-performed the rest. For more info on our selection criteria, go to The Drive’s Gear About page, which explains our methodology further.

Best Leather Conditioner Reviews & Recommendations

Best Overall
Mothers VLR
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Specs

  • Size: 24 ounces
  • Formulated With: Neatsfoot oil and lanolin
  • Protects Against: UV damage, dryness, fading, and cracks

Pros

  • Works on leather, vinyl, and rubber
  • Performs equally well on all seat materials
  • Lifts away dirt
  • Tackles cleaning and moisturizing simultaneously

Cons

  • Can leave a light haze behind on some seats
  • Has a matte finish—not glossy—if shine is desired

Mothers VLR earned best overall choice for its versatility and performance. The all-in-one cleans, conditions, and protects leather, vinyl, and rubber. The best thing about this product is its balance of cleaning and conditioning power. After a vacuum and brush cleanup, I applied the product to a microfiber cloth and barely had to use another to remove any excess and buff the seat. VLR simultaneously lifted off unseen dirt and moisturized with each pass. It’s well-suited to most of today’s automotive leather seats and upholstery with adjacent vinyl panels, like the vintage seats I used for testing. The pH-balanced formula contains lanolin and neatsfoot oil and has a fresh, clean scent that doesn’t overwhelm the senses. Mother’s VLR is easy to use and doesn’t leave too much of itself behind in the process. A single application left my leather seats and vinyl clean, supple, and quiet with a perfect level of shine.

Specs

  • Size: 8-ounce cleaner, 8-ounce conditioner
  • Formulated With: Fine oil droplets
  • Protects Against: Cracking, drying, and stiffness

Pros

  • Softens and conditions
  • Restores a natural, gloss-free finish to leather
  • Comes with a gentle pH-balanced cleaner
  • Pleasant scent

Cons

  • Leather can absorb the conditioner very quickly
  • More time consuming than an all-in-one product

Lexol leather cleaner and conditioner is an old favorite, and the 30-year-old leather test seats are a testament to Lexol quality and performance. In fact, this cleaner and conditioner has been used on these seats for over a decade. This product is a two-step kit, and it includes Lexol’s All Leather Deep Cleaner and All Leather Deep Conditioner plus two applicator sponges. The pH-balanced cleaner is powerful but still gentle, and the conditioner leaves leather supple with a natural look. Lexol penetrates and softens the leather without leaving behind an excessive shine even after long-term use. The formula knocks down glossy buildup and gives the leather a quality look and feel with a classic scent reminiscent of a well-kept vintage Jaguar. This Lexol leather cleaner and conditioner set offers great value because it includes everything you need at an affordable price and it gets to work in mere minutes. You’ll have nourished leather (and no greasy residue) as soon as your leather soaks up the liquid conditioner. Plus, it’s nicely versatile; you can put the conditioner to use on leather old or new, worn or still in great shape.

Specs

  • Size: 30 wipes per container; two containers per set
  • Formulated With: Cleansing agents, conditioners, and blocking agents
  • Protects Against: Stains, spills, cracking, discoloration, and premature aging

Pros

  • Wipe-style application is easy to master
  • Formulated with cleaning and conditioning agents
  • Portable and sealed for long-term freshness
  • Works on leather and vinyl

Cons

  • Even with sealed canister lid, wipes can dry out
  • Two wipes are needed for every use
  • Can leave behind streaks on some leather and vinyl

Leather and vinyl can dry out, especially if you’ve been detailing your dash and seats with hand disinfectant wipes while waiting for a Filet-o-Fish at the drive-thru. These Armor All Leather Care Wipes are self-contained, all-in-one leather care that you can easily stow on board for quick cleanups. The disposable wipes clean, condition, and protect in just one step. They lifted off hidden grime with ease and conditioned the leather to a rich sheen. Disposable wipes have a cleaning advantage that’s easy to see, and easy to use. For best results, use one wipe for cleaning and a fresh one for conditioning. The main drawback to all of these disposable wipe products is that, like leather, the wipes can dry out over time. There’s something so frustrating about pulling your car care products out of winter storage and discovering a dry canister.

Specs

  • Size: 15.2 ounces
  • Formulated With: Premium conditioners and aloe
  • Protects Against: Aging, drying, cracking, and color fading

Pros

  • Works to clean, condition, and protect leather with every use
  • One-step application process
  • Softens leather
  • Restores a moderate amount of shine

Cons

  • Does leave behind a slightly greasy feel that disappears within days

Meguiar’s Gold Class is a premium leather care kit in a single bottle. The 3-in-1 formula cleans, conditions, and protects in one step and predictable liquid spray is an excellent choice for overall maintenance. Testing Gold Class on one of the rear seat panels proved that it lived up to its all-in-one promises. Sprayed on a bright yellow microfiber cloth for cleaning, it extracted unseen crud and dirt like a boss. Flipping the towel over to a clean section with each pass will shift cleaning to conditioning and allow the product to penetrate into the leather. Give the product a few minutes to sit and then buff off any excess. Gold Class left the leather soft and clean with a moderate level of shine that was easy to adjust with additional buffing. Meguiar’s Gold Class has a fresh, clean scent with a touch of fruity citrus.

Specs

  • Size: 16 ounces
  • Formulated With: Water-based, biodegradable ingredients
  • Protects Against: UV damage, drying, and cracking

Pros

  • Alcohol- and ammonia-free formula
  • Creates a barrier that repels dirt and protects from UV rays
  • Works on leather and vinyl

Cons

  • Fragrance may be strong for some users
  • Formula is a bit watery in consistency

Aero Cosmetics Leather Care is a premium product that’s highly effective without being harsh on your car’s leather surfaces. Formulated with no harsh ingredients like alcohol or ammonia, this water-based leather conditioner will leave behind a natural look and feel. If your goal is soft-to-the-touch leather, this product can deliver. Plus, it offers a premium level of protection once applied. It’ll create a protective barrier that keeps UV rays, dryness, stains, and other kinds of damage at bay. This conditioner was tested on the driver's seat with impressive results. The driver’s seat sees the most use and was the worst of the bunch in the test car (and probably in yours, too)—the Starion’s seat had some scuffing on one of the side bolsters. A brush and the cleaner lifted off dirt and grime and prepped the leather. Applied on a microfiber cloth, the conditioner was worked into the upholstery, let soak for a couple of minutes, and then the excess was wiped off with a damp and then dry cloth. Aero Cosmetics leather care left the leather soft and supple without unwanted noise or excessive sheen. The conditioner has a fresh scent that lessens with a buff.

Specs

  • Size: 16-ounce cleaner, 16-ounce conditioner
  • Formulated With: Vitamin E and aloe extracts
  • Protects Against: UV damage, dirt, oils, and drying

Pros

  • A little conditioner covers a lot of area
  • Finishes leather so it’s soft to the touch
  • Creates a satin finish

Cons

  • Does take time to penetrate leather
  • Can require multiple applications for a quality final result

Chemical Guys leather cleaner and conditioner uses a slightly different approach to leather care and delivers superior results. The odorless, colorless, and pH-balanced cleaner removes dirt and leaves nothing behind to get in the way of conditioning. The results were easy to see. Chemical Guys leather conditioner creme goes on differently than liquids and a little goes a long way. The conditioner was applied with a microfiber applicator and a folded microfiber cloth. The creme conditioner was found to be easier to control than liquids. The more it was worked in, the better it got. It was given some time to penetrate in between applications and just enough was used for a soft touch and satin finish. Use a little more if you like more shine. Chemical Guys leather conditioner has a fresh scent of new leather without the overwhelming olfactory assault of new car smell.
Best Leather Conditioner Package
Aero Cosmetics Leather Care Kit
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Specs

  • Size: 4 ounces Wash Wax All, 16 ounces soap, 16 ounces conditioner
  • Formulated With: Water-based, biodegradable ingredients
  • Protects Against: Cracking, drying, stiffness, and dirt

Pros

  • Gets rid of even stubborn dirt and grime
  • Waterless cleaner is easy to apply
  • Leather conditioner restores softness, suppleness
  • Includes all of the detailing products you need

Cons

  • Doesn’t offer the UV protection that competing products do

The Aero Cosmetics Leather Care Kit is the way to go for an all-inclusive leather cleaning, conditioning, and preservation package. The kit comes in its own carrying bag with a spray bottle of Leather Soap and Leather Care, blue microfiber Aero Towels, a mini Aero Scrubber pad that punches way above its size, and a sample size bottle of the company’s world-famous Wash Wax All waterless wet or waterless car, boat, or airplane cleaner. The Aero Towels worked well for cleaning, applying, and buffing, and the non-scratch Aero Scrubber gently lifted off stubborn grime. A complete car care kit can save time and money. Getting everything you need at once makes it easy to get the job done without an additional order or trip to the store. The package deal is an economical way to try out some Aero Cosmetics or any car care product without the commitment of buying a larger size.

Specs

  • Size: 18 ounces
  • Formulated With: Professional-grade cleaning and conditioning chemicals, including cutting polishing compound
  • Protects Against: Creases, damage, and signs of wear

Pros

  • Fragrance- and dye-free
  • Restores suppleness and softness to leather
  • Formulated with top-tier ingredients for premium results
  • Leaves behind a moderate satin finish

Cons

  • Does need to be left alone to soak into leather
  • Included applicator sponge is small and may need to be upgraded

Carfidant’s professional-grade leather cleaner and conditioner gets lots of love for what it lacks: any fragrances or artificial colors. It’ll protect and maintain new leather or restore the softness and flexibility of old leather in need of a refresh, and if you work with the cleaner, you’ll be able to lift away embedded dirt and grime. The conditioner will infuse much-needed moisture into the leather too, so it’s soft to the touch. The cleaner and creme conditioner were both easy to work with and left the upholstery with a consistent medium-to-satin sheen, a natural feel, and nothing more than the traditional scent of clean and conditioned leather. Carfidant left the old leather upholstery with a classic look and feel, and no unpleasant fragrances. Reach for Carfidant leather conditioner and roll with the royal luxury of Lord Hesketh’s Rolls-Royce Corniche or the Duke of Edinburgh's Aston Martin Lagonda 3-liter drophead coupe.
Best Leather Conditioner and Accessories
Mothers Leather Conditioner
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Specs

  • Size: 12 ounces
  • Formulated With: Lanolin and neatsfoot oil
  • Protects Against: Sunlight, wear and tear, and stains

Pros

  • Brushes make getting into nooks and crannies easy
  • Cleaner pulls and loosens dirt embedded in leather
  • Conditioner is easy to manage once applied

Cons

  • Leather can feel a bit slick or slippery after use

Mothers VLR earned the best overall choice with its versatile multi-surface performance, and the company also offers a full range of leather care products and cleaning accessories. Mothers also sent along its standalone cleaner, conditioner, and some additional tools from the lineup. The premium microfiber towels, detailing brushes, and microfiber applicators proved a pro-level leather cleaning and conditioning tool team. Using a detailing brush and vacuum cleaner together extracted unseen dirt from folds, and the stitching and the brush handle end doubled as a crevice cleaning tool. Load up a brush with Leather Care cream like a giant toothbrush, hit all the creases and stitching, and then work the rest of the seat with the microfiber applicator. The tools, cleaner, and conditioner together delivered superior results.

Our Verdict

When it comes to the ideal combination of product reliability, ease-of-use, and price point, the top overall pick has to be Mothers VLR. This all-in-one cleans, conditions, and protects leather, vinyl, and rubber and offers an excellent balance between cleaning and conditioning power.

For a more budget-friendly, but still high-quality option, check out the Lexol Leather Cleaner and Conditioner. This product is a two-step kit, and it includes Lexol’s All Leather Deep Cleaner and All Leather Deep Conditioner plus two applicator sponges, all at an affordable price.

Things to Consider Before Buying Leather Conditioners

Leather conditioner sure might seem simple at first glance, but you can’t just wipe any old conditioning product on your precious leather seats and get flawless results. You’ve got to choose the right kind of conditioner — one with quality features and benefits suited for your leather’s needs. 

Type of Leather Condtioner

Oil: Typically made from lanolin or neatsfoot, oil-based leather conditioners penetrate leather materials deeply so that the oils actually soak into and moisturize the leather from the inside out. Using this type of product too judiciously can run the risk of actually weakening the leather over time, so be prudent with how often you condition your leather with oils.They can also darken the leather and leave a greasy finish if not rubbed in all the way. However, if you have dry, cracking, or stiffened leather, this product is your best choice.

Cream: Cream leather conditioners are similar to applying lotion to your skin. They can moisturize and soften leather’s surface without penetrating too deeply into the fabric. Cream leather conditioners are ideal for keeping leather pliable and supple. The downside? Cream conditioners can evaporate faster than oils, so you will need to apply them more frequently. They can also leave a greasy residue if you use too much and don’t rub it in all the way.

Wax: Formulated with natural waxes, wax leather conditioners are less common than oils and creams. They provide a great protective barrier against spills and stains. Wax leather conditioners are a bit more finicky to use, however, since the wax tends to sit on the surface and not penetrate into the leather as well as the other choices.

Application Method

Try to select a leather conditioner that you’re comfortable working with and can apply efficiently and thoroughly without taking all day to do it. If you’re pressed for time, choose a handy all-in-one product, spray-on, or disposable wipe. However, if you want to give a thorough and protective application, it’s tough to beat a good hand job that requires liberal amounts of elbow grease. Consider the amount of time you want to spend conditioning your leather and choose your product accordingly.

Versatility

Versatility is another key feature of any leather conditioner. The more versatile a conditioner is, the more benefits it can potentially offer. Some leather conditioners are only designed for one job: conditioning. However, others can do more. You’ll find combination cleaner and conditioner products (or product sets), along with all-in-one products that’ll do your cleaning, conditioning, and protecting all at once. 

Leather Conditioner Pricing 

You can find plenty of great-quality leather conditioners priced under $10. In fact, most single bottles, along with quick-use wipes, fall within this price range. If you’re looking for mult-step products or kits that include application tools, expect to spend closer to $15 to $25. 

FAQs 

You’ve got questions. The Drive has answers.

Q: What if my leather is cracked, discolored, or peeling?

A. An extensive cleaning and conditioning can salvage dried-out or dirty leather, but it won’t fix tears, delamination, pigment loss, large cracks, heavy abrasion, or punctures. Look into a leather repair and pigment kit for minor pigment loss, abrasion, or peeling. Consult a professional upholsterer for more severe damage.

Q: Can I use a household furniture leather conditioner in my car?

A. Your car seats are not the same as your sofa. Automotive leather upholstery and conditioners have to stand up to searing heat, sub-zero cold, relentless direct sunlight, flying fast food, and miles of road grime. They won’t work the same and you could damage your car’s interior if you use the wrong product.

Q: Can I use a leather conditioner on vinyl?

A. Yes, automotive leather conditioners will not harm vinyl, and most all-in-one conditioners are formulated for use on leather and vinyl. The ever-increasing demand for leather upholstery means automakers use vinyl and leather together on the same seat. Avoid overspray. That said, leather conditioners can cause spotting on hard plastic and painted surfaces.

Q: How often should I condition leather?

A. If you’re using a cream or wax leather conditioner, applying once a month is a great schedule. If you’re using an oil conditioner that penetrates deeply and can weaken your leather over time, consider using it just a couple of times per year and supplementing with a cream or wax conditioner in between.

Q: Does leather conditioner permanently darken leather?

A: Oil-based leather conditioners can definitely darken your car’s leather, so be sure to test them in an inconspicuous spot before committing to completely covering your entire front seat in an oil conditioner. Wax or cream leather conditioners are far less likely to permanently darken your leather.