A steamer uses heated water to clean surfaces. It is quick, powerful and can be used on many surfaces, including leather. When you put water in a steamer, a heating device heats the water. The hot water, then, acts as a cleaner. The pressure of the water will also remove debris hidden in the leather. Auto Laundry News says that steamers clean leather better than any other method. Steam does not burn leather.
A steamer does not leave your leather soaking wet. It uses a small amount of water, though some commercial steamers emit larger amounts, and should dry rather quickly. Excess water, especially in cars, can cause mold and mildew. While you can use chemicals to clean, the water itself usually has enough power to clean the leather.
Using the Steamer
If your steamer came with a brush attachment, use it on your leather. Spray your favorite upholstery cleaner on the leather. You can, of course, forgo chemicals and just use the pressure of the water to clean. Spray the steamer on the leather. Unless you are using a brush attachment, the steamer should not touch the leather directly. Move the steamer back and forth in a horizontal motion. Turn the steamer off and wipe down the leather. Make sure all of the cleaner is washed and wiped off if you used any.
Steamers emit hot water, and those used commercially can be quite powerful. Use caution while steaming your leather and never point the steamer near people or pets to avoid burns. Let the leather dry completely before allowing pets or people near it.
While Auto Laundry News states that leather does need dressing after it is steamed, dressing the leather is a final step that could help it last longer and stay moist. Dressings made for leather are lubricants that penetrate the leather and allow the fibers to move. It also inhibits oxidation, adding to the life of the leather. Search for a dressing that does not use animal fat, though, as this could cause the leather to deteriorate. A petroleum lubricant is an alternative to animal fats.