You decided to clean your vehicle's interior, but you aren’t sure if Armor All is the product to use on the seats. Does Armor All Damage Leather?
You want to be sure because the last thing you want is to end up with a sticky, slippery mess on the seats by using the wrong product. And to top it off, if your wife has to sit her posterior in something funky on the upholstery, you will never hear the end of it? You’ve heard horror stories about products that faded or cracked the leather and made the interior terrible, so what are the answers? Will Armor All hurt the leather, or is it just an attempt by the company to get you to buy another can so they can get more money from you?
While Armor All makes a specific cleaner for leather surfaces, it does not recommend its Multi-Purpose Cleaner for use on leather. However, most car enthusiasts feel that the cleaner is safe to use on leather and vinyl surfaces without causing any deterioration.
Armor All has been the go-to for cleaning and maintaining the interiors of automobiles, but it doesn’t mean you should use it on expensive high-quality upholstery. Could a product like this suit the refined leather you sit on every day? You know that the car's value will be less if there are stained or cracked leather seats, so you might want to ask these questions if you intend to maintain your car's interior correctly.
I decided to ask the questions so many of us are pondering. How long do the chemicals in Armor All last? Can I use them on the leather in my new SUV? Will it leave a slippery residue? Will Multi-purpose wipes hurt my interior? Let's see if we can find some answers.
Does Armor All Damage Leather?
If you are holding Armor All Multi-Purpose protectant, you may notice the warning label on the back. The cleaner is not for use on leather surfaces. The primary reason is that the chemical compound of Armor All has a silicone-based formula. Once applied to the surface, the cleaner can leave a sticky, slippery surface (perfect for attracting dirt, dust, and debris). In addition, the silicone can also develop dry spots on the leather, vinyl, or rubber surface, causing cracking or discoloration. (Armor All does say that its Original Protectant is safe for use on vinyl seats, dashboards, door panels, consoles, tire and trim, and even bumpers).
Armor All recommends wipes, sprays, or gel specifically designed for use on leather. There are several different kinds available, so depending on your need, they have you covered.
Why Does Leather End Up Cracking or Fading?
Genuine leather comes from animal skin and traps oils, dirt, and debris. These irritants can work their way into the leather fibers, breaking down the quality. Think about how a pair of leather shoes develop scuff marks. A stuff mark is a sign that the surface of the leather was irritated. Most leather needs to be lubricated 3-4 times per year to keep oils and dirt from breaking down the molecules.
Armor All makes a leather cleaner with beeswax and one with a ceramic shield, so depending on your needs, they should have you covered.
Which Cleaner is Better - Ceramic Shield or Beeswax?
Leather Care + Ceramic Shield
The protectant containing Ceramic Coating has a silicon - dioxide (SiO2) formula, a derivative of sand or quartz. First developed by DuPont to protect from paint rust on ships for the US Navy, in 1970, European auto manufacturers began to offer the protectant to the auto industry. Since then, scientific advances have continually improved the various compounds so that ceramic coatings are available on almost everything, including mobile phone screens.
The Ceramic Shield is very hydro-resistant, which means that it repels liquids exceedingly well. In addition, the coating repels dirt, provides a barrier against harmful UV rays and helps maintain leather's fantastic appearance. It provides a longer-lasting barrier to keep the leather protected from other cleaners.
Leather Care With Beeswax
Beeswax has been a staple resource for conditioning and protecting leather for centuries. The product is just what its name implies, the wax that honeybees make as they build a hive. The wax tends to lubricate the leather, making it soft while providing adequate protection from dirt and debris. It may not protect from liquids as well as its ceramic counterpart, but for most everyday drivers, it provides a good value for the money. (A word of caution - beeswax does not last as long and can leave a sticky leather surface if applied too often or excessively.
How Often Should I Use Armor All Leather Protectant?
Armor All recommends using the protectant every time you wash your vehicle. I am not in that camp, but I think an owner should routinely pamper the interior (after all, that is where you spend most of your time in a car). Most experts agree that treating your leather upholstery once a month is more than adequate.
Can I use Armor All on My Tires?
The Original Protectant is suitable for use on tires. Simply spray on the chemical and then wipe it off with a dry cloth.
How Long Does Armor All Last if Unused?
Armor All claims that its product will be effective from five years of the manufacturing date. Most chemical compounds begin to break down after a couple of years, so if the date is more than a few years old, you are better off buying a new bottle of cleaner.
Should I Use The Product in a Test Spot First?
It is always a good idea to test the viability of any cleaner in an inconspicuous area before slathering it onto your seats or dash. Simply spray a bit on the back or lower side of a seat, and apply as the directions dictate. If you see no trouble, then the product is probably safe to apply elsewhere.
About THE AUTHOR
I've spent many years selling cars, working with auto detailers, mechanics, dealership service teams, quoting and researching car insurance, modding my own cars, and much more.Read More About Charles Redding