Meguiar's Leather Balm and Cleaner Put to Ultimate Test: My Old, Worn Seats

Besides the cleaning pads, leather cleaner and leather balm, Meguiar's sent over special cleaning cloths.EXPAND
Besides the cleaning pads, leather cleaner and leather balm, Meguiar's sent over special cleaning cloths.
Matt Coker

Impressed at a recent Long Beach car show by the restoration of car exteriors credited to Meguiar's products, I was excited to receive an email from the Irvine company about its new Ultimate Leather Balm.

That's because the inside of the 2003 Mercury I drive has seen much better days.

Could this be the miracle product I've been longing for? According to the company spin, "Meguiar’s Ultimate Leather Balm contains the very best ingredients, including natural botanicals, to provide the ultimate hydration and conditioning for leather seats and other leather interior surfaces."

So, I replied back to the email asking if the product being pitched is the best Meguiar's offers for older leather interiors, knowing from the Queen Mary demo that the company has several, highly specialized products for specific jobs inside and outside your ride.

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I was informed the new product could be used for that, but it would be better to go a different route.

"The 'old worn' leather may need to be cleaned using Gold Class Leather & Vinyl Cleaner prior to using Ultimate Leather Balm to ensure all the years of grime, dirt and oils are thoroughly removed before conditioning it with a product like Ultimate Leather Balm," the company responded.

One other thing: Would I like a sample?

A demonstration of Meguiar's exterior cleaning capabilities at May's Wekfest car show in Long Beach.EXPAND
A demonstration of Meguiar's exterior cleaning capabilities at May's Wekfest car show in Long Beach.
Meguiar's

I agreed to the freebie under the condition that they know I would write about my experience here, good or bad.

So here goes sumptin.'

In my mail, I was delighted to find a box filled not only Gold Class Leather & Vinyl Cleaner and Ultimate Leather Balm but Soft Foam Application Pads and new leather cloths.

The armrest between the two back seats is pulled down to demonstrate what the leather interior looked like originally.EXPAND
The armrest between the two back seats is pulled down to demonstrate what the leather interior looked like originally.
Matt Coker

I began by vacuuming the inside and cleaning the interior windows under the theory that any overspray could be sopped up when I wiped out the car before applying Meguiar's products.

First came the Gold Class Leather & Vinyl Cleaner, which I could see my long-neglected seats were sopping up as I used the cloths to clean the seats. Working in a counter-clockwise direction around the inside of the car, by the time I finished the last section, the first was by then dry enough for the Ultimate Leather Balm.

As instructed, I put dabs of the balm on a Meguiar's sponge and applied it to small portions of the seat in Mr. Miyagi wax-on, wax-off fashion.

Here is a seat before vacuuming, cleaner and balm.EXPAND
Here is a seat before vacuuming, cleaner and balm.
Matt Coker

Again, by the time the entire area of leather seats had a layer of balm on it, I went back to where I started and, with a different clean yellow cloth, buffed each seat from front to back.

By the time I was done, I was not only ready to fight the Cobra Kai but my leather seats now looked soft and plush rather than old and cracky.

That's not to say these Meguiar's products were miracle workers. They could not close up the biggest cracks that had opened up due to time, neglect and sun exposure.

But I think you'll agree from the before and after photos that the seats look much better than they once did.

Here is a seat after the treatment.EXPAND
Here is a seat after the treatment.
Matt Coker

Bonus: The inside of my car had a pleasing, coconut smell afterward. So I saved having to replace my palm tree air freshener.

Find out which Meguiar's product is best suited for your needs at meguiars.com.


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