In 1956, The New York Times published a short blurb teaching women how to clean automotive leather.
The instructions, published in the newspaper’s “Food, Fashions, Family Furnishings” section, are strange, but also wildly sexist — using kitchen analogies to explain the process.
It’s also inaccurate. Here’s what the blurb says:
“To clean leather car upholstery, the Cleanliness Bureau suggests the following method: Shampoo it with a soap or detergent solution made by beating the suds with an egg beater until stiff as meringue. Sponge this solution over the leather surface, wipe it off and apply a clean cloth wet with warm water.”
Of course, we know better today. In fact, Hyde Leather published an entire care guide on how to clean automotive leather.
According to Hydes, cleaning auto leather is a five-step process:
- Dissolve a very small amount of plain soap in lukewarm water.
- Moisten a soft sponge or cloth with the solution and gently wipe the stain.
- Wipe the entire area with a damp, soap-free cloth.
- Absorb any excess water (there should be almost none) with a clean towel.
- Allow to air dry. Do not dry leather with heat dryers, hair dryers, etc.
What’s more, Hydes warns that you should “never use saddle soaps, oils, abrasives, cleaners, furniture polish, varnish or ammonia water on your leather interiors.”
To read and download the full care guide, click here. It includes loads of useful (and accurate) information on how to safely clean leather interiors.