Which one is better for your car seat: Cloth or Leather?


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Struggling between choosing Cloth or Leather seats for your car? You've come to the right place! The post below will elaborate on each material's merits and give our advice.

You might have encountered this thought once or twice, usually when you're out shopping for clothes, footwear or headwear, whether you should go for leather or cloth. But let us introduce you just one more item in this "battle" - car seats.

We probably have to warn you beforehand. If your mind is fixed on a lower-priced model such as the Toyota Corolla 2001, you don't have much of a decision to make here, since cloth is the only option and leather doesn't appear on the list at all. On the other hand, some cars in high segments like the Audi S8 don't come with a cloth option. You can only choose between one type of leather or an upgraded version of this material.

leather interiors inside a car

For hi-class models, you have no other choice but luxury leather

For other situations, you can totally choose what the interiors of your car look like. Normally, cloth is included in the standard option and you can pay few more bucks to have your car upgraded with leather seats.

Some people say that leather was simply a waste of money and nothing more than a way to show off. We, of course, have to disagree. That's why we decided to put down these 10 factors which might be pros and cons of 1 in 2 options from different perspective so that you'd be able to make the decision on your own.

Factor 1: Allergies

If you have pet allergies, flower pollen allergies or allergies of any kind, opting for leather is a no-brainer. Cloth fabric can hold all of those mentioned allergens and you can never get rid of. With leather seats, you can simply wipe them all off. As most cars have carpets which also hold allergens, leather seats can't solve the whole problem for you, it can only reduce the chances of that happening.

Our conclusion: Leather.

someone cleaning dog's hair off a cloth car seat

Cloth seats and pet fur allergy: a deadly combination

Factor 2: Maintenance

For something luxurious as leather, one would expect that it takes some effort to take care of it. It is true that they don't hold stains or smells for too long, but that ability would go away if you don't treat it with special treatment every few weeks. Speck of dust would gather inside the leather's pores, harden it and eventually the surface will crack. Also, it needs periodical vacuuming and conditioning, which requires more care than the cloth.

Our conclusion: Cloth is much more convenient.

>>> You might want to check out: Leather interior maintenance A-Z 

Factor 3: Stains

Imagine spilling oil or water on your favorite leather jacket and on the living room cushions, which do you think will be a disaster? Cloth is the obvious answer here. While it's relatively easy to clean leather (maybe with some detergent), it's almost impossible to wipe some stains off cloth entirely,  especially those caused by machine oil or ink.

Our conclusion: Leather is the clear winner.

>>> You might also want to check out: 5 spots in the car that you often forget to clean

stained car seats

Spilling some engine oil on cloth seats would ruin it forever

Factor 4: The status of owner

We don't know where this thought originated from, but leather just makes you and your belongings look a little bit "extra", from the vintage jacket to the smooth, flawless cap or the chair in your office.  So when you put on leather, others would likely make an "educated" guess about your status in the society, and thus you feel great about that.

On the other hands, cloth fabric is often considered plain, cheap and simple.

Our conclusion: Leather is love, leather is life.


Factor 5: Price

Getting an upgrade package from cloth to leather seat will cost you somewhere between N300,000 and N900,000, or even above 1 million with high-end type. Usually, buyers in Nigeria consider leather seats to be of a higher segment and also more luxurious. Knowing this, some dealers might hike the price in the hope to profit from the high demand.

Our conclusion: Cloth is more budget-friendly.

leather car seats

Leather material is not particularly cheap.

Factor 6: The weather

Not only is leather more expensive, it's also much hotter. I mean literally. Legend has it that if you left a leather car seat under direct sun for too long, you can fry eggs on it. For those who don't believe me, try leaving the car windows down for a couple of hours or even 30 minutes and come back later to check. The black color of leather absorbs heat very efficiently, so efficient that your skin can suffer serious burn if you don't let the seat cool down first. It's not only highly unrecommended, we are worried about your health!

Our conclusion: Cloth refreshes our souls.

Factor 7: Smell

If you spill something on your leather cushion, it will likely go away in a couple of days after being cleaned properly. Cloth, on the other hand, "remembers" every smell of the things that came into contact with it. Also, many enjoy the soothing smell of leather, not only on cars but on other things as well.

Our conclusion:  Leather wins again.

>>> Also check out: 5 sources of bad smells in your car

a spilled bottle on a car seat

The smell on cloth seats seems to last forever

Factor 8: Level of comfort

Cloth seats and cushions often feel good on your skin. If anything, it's similar to a cotton shirt, and that quality doesn't change much with the weather.

Conversely, only high-end leather seat feels good but the cheaper one is hard and sometimes even slippery.

Our conclusion: You can't go wrong with cloth.

Factor 9: Resale

As mentioned in factor, your car would likely be sold for more bucks if it's furnished with leather seats. But most Nigerian and Tokunbo buyers only want a relatively good vehicle with a good price, especially old vehicles. Having said that, some still want to spend extra on clean leather seats.

Our conclusion: Leather is better financially.

>>> Read more: 10 factors that reduce your car’s resale value

Factor 10: Morality

With the vegetarianism becoming more prevalent, we thought some of you might be against killing animals for leather. Leather is usually harvested from cattle. Manufacturers like Mercedez or BMW  often use leather from goats, lambs, and sheep ( a.k.a Nappa leather) on their products because of its softness and flexibility.

Our conclusion: Cloth is more moral.

cloth seats on car

Go for cloth if you care about "animals"


So, do we have a winner here?

To this point, both cloth and leather gain 5 points. But those are just OUR opinions, different people would reach different decisions. Don't hesitate to browse through our list once or twice more before you make the decision. It's worth the time.

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>>> See more articles like this at Tips & Advice on Naijauto.com

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