ValetPRO Leather Soap review

Keeping leather seats in cars looking clean is generally easier than fabric versions. So how and why do you clean car leather? Vehicle owners tend to take it for granted that a quick wipe down with a damp cloth will do the trick, but the trouble is that over time the leather does start to become stained from jean dye, grubby from dirty trousers should you use your car for work regularly, and generally slightly dirty from food and drinks being spilt onto them.

To show the sort of results you can expect from a high quality product, I was sent ValetPRO Leather Soap to test and review, and here are both the findings and how to use the leather cleaner.

Test time…

About the time I’d been sent ValetPRO’s Leather Soap, it happened to coincide with me buying a project car; a 1999 Lexus GS300 – a rough diamond that just needed some polishing to bring it back up to par. Clearly, it had been looked after for most of its life.

You can almost always tell if a car’s had a hard life by the condition of the leather. If it’s not that old but is badly cracked, ripped, worn and the paint finish badly faded, it’s not been treated well. Fortunately, the Lexus’ interior was surprisingly nice, and the leather just needed a really deep cleaning.

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So, this was to be the perfect test for ValetPRO Leather Soap. It would be up against a light ‘wheat’ coloured leather, the worst part of which was the driver’s seat, inner door and front armrest. The previous owner had been driving the car to and from a job where they clearly got dirty, and as a result that had transferred itself deep into the leather, which had gone from a pleasant cream colour to more of a soiled off-cream.

The grime had worked its way into the creases and slight cracks on the bolsters, and the flat surfaces had taken on a shiny, almost greasy appearance, while the stitching had turned almost black. Time to get cleaning!

ValetPRO describe their Leather Soap as a ‘gel formula designed to lubricate the dirt and grime found between leather grains, making it easier to remove with a little agitation. The gel formula also prevents over use which could cause the leather to become damp‘.

As you can see in the video I made, ValetPRO the products you’ll also need, all of which are sold at ValetPRO.eu; soft microfibre cloths, a couple of sponge applicators and their rather nice Leather Brush – an essential tool for the cleaning process.

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Following the instructions, I applied a good amount of the Leather Soap to the applicator, smeared it fairly thickly onto an area of the seat and allowed it soak for a couple of minutes. This allows the product to work its way into the dirt and lift it to the surface for easier cleaning. As a side point, I noticed there was no scent at all to the soap gel, which is good if you’re a valeter as clients may not want any particular smell left behind when the interior is cleaned.

A couple of tips; I recommend re-applying some more of the soap after the ‘soak’ time, as it tends start drying by that point. Also, work a small area of the seat at a time (a bolster, or a section of the centre), as this makes it more manageable. 

Using the brush, I worked in the Leather Soap, and within just a few goes over the first area I could already see the grime physically being pulled out of the hide. Once I’d worked a patch, I used a microfibre to wipe away the excess, and the grime that had come out of the seat was clear to see on the cloth.

Becuase the driver’s seat was particularly dirty I had to go work over over certain sections two or three time to make sure I’d removed all the really ingrained muck, but with the passenger and rear seats I only had to work each area once, as the Leather Soap is a highly effective product.

The results were certainly impressive, and you can see from the 50:50 comparison photographs just how well ValetPRO Leather Soap works. The hide went from looking worn, shiny, dirty and feeling tight, to going back to the original colour, taking on its factory matte finish and also took on a much softer and supple feel than previously, making the seats even more comfortable to sit on.

Once you’ve wiped away the excess Leather Soap, there’s no residue left over and the leather is immediately dry too, as ValetPRO’s formula won’t allow it to get overly damp during the cleaning process, which is apparently a common problem with a lot of cleaners.

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I like the fact that not only can you sit straight on the seats after wiping them over, but there’s also no slippery finish to them and the Leather Soap also leaves behind a protective barrier against further soiling. A bonus is that even the smallest-size 500ml bottle goes a long way, and I’ve still got plenty left even after cleaning every seat and panel in my Lexus’ cabin.

Overall, I was extremely happy with both the cleaning power of ValetPRO Leather Soap, and also the final look and feel of the upholstery.

Specs

Product  ValetPRO Leather Soap
Links  ValetPRO.eu
Features  Powerful-yet-gentle leather cleaner, unscented, leaves leather feeling supple with a natural finish, provides a barrier against further soiling
Prices (UK)  GBP: 500ml: £8.99 | 1 litre: £12.99 | 5 litres: £54.99

Words: Chris Davies | Photography: Chris Davies

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