Prevent & Repair Water-Damaged Leather Car Seats: What to Do if Leather Gets Wet

August 1, 2023

Fixing water-damaged leather car seats is a pain, so it's essential to prevent water damage — but if it's already wet, you can repair water damage, so your seats look new.

Did you forget to roll up your windows before a rainstorm hit? Did a loose cap on a water bottle result in a huge spill? Maybe you just discovered your air conditioner was slowly leaking water inside your vehicle. If your leather seats get wet, it's important to take prompt action to minimize potential damage. While water itself doesn't necessarily ruin leather, if left untreated, it can cause issues such as discoloration, stiffness, or even mold growth.

Troubleshooting water damage can be challenging. Here’s what to do if the inside of your car is wet.

  1. Soak up the spill. Use cloth towels to absorb the water. Make sure to pay particular attention to the nooks and crannies in your leather car seats that could trap water. If there is a significant amount of water, you might need to use a wet/dry vacuum to get the job done.
  2. Rely on airflow. Set up a fan in your garage to provide airflow and dry out the interior of your car. If the damage was extensive, leave the fans blowing for at least a day. You can also run a dehumidifier to remove moisture from the air and speed up the drying process. It may be helpful to use a blow dryer in hard-to-reach places to ensure they are moisture-free.
  3. Banish mold and odor. Put dehumidifier packs behind each car seat to absorb any remaining moisture and prevent odor or mold from taking hold.
  4. Rely on a professional. Once your car is dry, fixing any damage is best left to the professionals. They have the tools, techniques, and experience to make repairs.

Creative Colors International (CCI) specializes in providing auto reconditioning services, particularly in the area of interior repairs and restoration. Our technicians are trained to repair and restore a wide range of interior components such as leather, vinyl, fabric, plastic, and carpet. We can fix damages like scratches, tears, burns, stains, and fading, bringing the interiors back to their original condition. By making repairs, we save customers and car dealers up to 90% of replacement costs, and our technicians provide fast turnaround times to get you back out on the road.

Buyer Beware

CCI can return leather and vinyl stains from small spills to like-new condition, but flood-damaged vehicles need to be retired. Floodwater can cause mechanical, electrical, health, and safety issues in a vehicle, even if it was submerged for only a short time. Unfortunately, many unsuspecting car buyers may fall victim to purchasing a vehicle with flood damage. More than 400,000 water-damaged cars were on the road in 2022, according to CARFAX.

The number of flood-damaged cars increases after big weather events. Hurricane Ian hit southwest Florida as a Category 4 storm and caused widespread flooding and wind damage in its wake. The storm cost $109 billion in damage and was responsible for at least 155 deaths. Hurricane Ian also potentially damaged as many as 358,000 vehicles.

If you are purchasing a used vehicle, there are things to look out for to ensure it doesn’t have flood damage.

  • A musty odor in the interior, which sellers sometimes try to cover with a strong air freshener.
  • Upholstery or carpeting that may be loose, new, stained or that doesn't match the rest of the interior.
  • Rust around doors, under the dashboard, on the pedals, or inside the hood and trunk latches.

We Can Fix That!

If your vehicle has minor water damage, CCI can fix that. CCI is the leader in mobile leather and vinyl repair. Our technicians have the tools they need in their mobile vans to diagnose and repair the problem. Request a quote to fix water-damaged leather car seats today.