Can sweat affect your car's leather trim?

Stay dry this summer
by Manskee Nascimento | Mar 9, 2018

As the summer months approach and temperatures begin to shoot upward, we find ourselves perspiring more. Whether it’s adding extra hours at the gym to get that coveted beach bod or whatever we may be doing especially when outdoors, sweating is simply inevitable.

When you do find yourself sweaty and decide to go for a drive, your car’s leather lining might be in for some nasty trouble. As durable as leather may seem, it needs to be cared for and that includes keeping your sweaty hands and everything else drenched off of it. Why?

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Let’s first break down what perspiration is made up of. Sweat is mainly composed of water with traces of salt, minerals, urea, lactic acid, magnesium, potassium, and calcium. Tasty! Depending on your genetics, health and lifestyle, your sweat’s pH level may range from neutral to moderately acidic.

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Thing is, your car’s leather trim reacts to the components of sweat and its acidity. It may not affect it immediately, but I can almost guarantee you that over a period of time, your leather will begin to show signs of hideous deterioration from getting soaked with it.

Take for example my buddy’s SUV, which I detailed last year. He was wondering why the leather on his armrests and steering wheel were faded and cracked while the other leather parts remained intact. I asked him a few questions and turns out he perspires easily and suffers from a case of sweaty hands. Case closed.

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In another story, a gym-rat relative of mine had an expensive replacement done on his BMW coupé. This car was his usual commuter to the gym, and he would only change his workout shirt after the usual two-hour weightlifting session, four to five times a week. Unfortunately, he would still wear his sweat-soaked shorts on the drive home. Over time, that took a toll on the leather saddle and lumbar portion. In short, he had no choice but to get a new OEM seat since he loved his ride so much. Ouch!

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So, yes, sweat does have an adverse effect on your leather interiors. Always be mindful of keeping sweat and all sorts of moisture away from your vehicle’s leather bits. That includes always bringing an extra change of clothes when you go on drives, especially in scorching weather. Always carry a soft terry towel to wipe moisture off your trim and regularly apply leather protectant and conditioner to keep your leather lining looking great for years to come.

Oh, and if somehow you run into some gorgeous surfer gals fresh out of the ocean hitching a ride to the nearest cantina, pretend you didn’t see them and drive on!

Stay dry, keep your rides fresh and enjoy driving in the summer sun, folks.

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PHOTO: Manskee Nascimento
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