Armor All is a brand of cleaning products widely used by car owners to keep the interior and exterior of their cars clean and pristine.
There are many misconceptions about the intended use of Armor All and its effect on surfaces such as leather. You are doing more harm to your leather than good in the long run by using Armor All.
Armor All offers a wide variety of multi-purpose cleaners and wipes to use on your vehicle’s interior and exterior surfaces. You can also use the products on household furniture. They protect against oxidation and UV rays from sunlight.
The labels on these products specifically state that they are intended for use only on certain surfaces, such as cloth, plastic, rubber, and vinyl. Leather is not listed as a surface that regular Armor All products can be used on, and for good reason.
Armor All also makes products specifically for leather care. But, many users claim that they are ineffective; the leather wipes can potentially leave behind streak marks that last for days after use.
Let’s dive a little deeper into Armor All products’ intended use, the ingredients they are manufactured with, and how those ingredients can be harmful to your vehicle.
Most of these products contain chemicals such as silicone (dimethicone), diethylene glycol, and glycerin, according to the official patent owned by Armor All. The silicone in these products is specifically harmful to natural leather.
Many new vehicles feature leather seats and steering wheels or interior lining. Regular Armor All wipes prevent the pores within leather from breathing, leading to rot and mold build-up.
Applying traditional Armor All products to leather surfaces causes the leather to corrode and develop an oily coating. This effect happens because in dryer climates, glycerin draws out moisture from inside the skin of the leather and dries it out. This effect makes the material unable to breathe.
Over time, this causes a build-up of mold, which leads to the leather breaking down and produces an unpleasant odor. The oily coating left behind will make your car seats slippery and difficult to sit in.
Many consumers recommend not using regular Armor All to clean leather. The company does not list leather under the recommended surfaces you can use their regular products on for cleaning.
Synthetic leather is more affordable because it is manufactured using chemicals. It has no skin or pores, so it does not need to breathe like natural leather does.
Regular Armor All products will not affect faux leather the same way they affect natural leather. Normal leather dries out when it can’t breathe, which leads to cracks and molding. Faux leather does not need to breathe; however, it can still crack and fade over time.
Faux leather manufacturing creates toxic, non-biodegradable waste as a byproduct and creates a chemical odor when it is new. Armor All’s products share many of these non-environmentally friendly traits. This point brings us to another reason why Armor All products are less than desirable to use on leather.
You can use regular Armor All on leather if you want to clean it, but over time all the negative effects listed above will occur. You would be better off using Armor All’s products intended for leather. But, those products have problems as well, as stated above.
Armor All makes many products designed to clean your tires and prevent dirt build-up. There are drawbacks to these products as well. Most tire-care products come in aerosol cans. These cans contain chemicals that can cause harm to your tires over time, such as browning or cracking in the rubber.
This effect also occurs because the products are petroleum-based. They will dry out any plastic or rubber surfaces. The silicone within a petroleum-based tire cleaner leads to premature drying.
If you are not careful when applying these cleaners, you could get excess product on the brakes, which can cause damage to them. The excess product will then come off the tires and onto the vehicle’s paint if you begin to drive before the solvent is dry.
It is not bad enough that these petroleum-based solvents cause more damage than good in the long run. They also lead to environmental contamination and health hazards.
These cleaners are highly flammable and create toxic vapors that should not be inhaled. Direct contact with skin can cause dryness and irritation. This effect can worsen symptoms of pre-existing respiratory and skin conditions.
With these hazardous risks and side effects in mind, a question arises. Are there better options?
How are we supposed to keep our vehicles clean and shiny without the use of toxic and damaging products? There are better and more efficient alternatives than Armor All for cleaning and maintaining cars with leather interiors.
Other brands of car cleaning products reduce long-term damage to leather and tires. They are also environmentally friendly – specifically, products that are water-based.
Numerous homemade alternatives are more environmentally friendly and effective for leather and rubber care. Simple products such as dish soap and rubbing alcohol are perfect for cleaning tires and ensuring they last longer, unlike harmful Armor All products.
You can clean leather with lemon juice mixed with some of the same oils used in cooking, such as olive oil or coconut oil. After wiping the leather with one of these mixtures, be sure to dry the surface with a paper towel, and you’re all set.
Armor All products are abundant and convenient. But, there is clear evidence that their use damages the surfaces they are designed to clean and preserve. These products can also cause harm to people and the environment. If you have the time, it is more beneficial to use an alternative, non-toxic brand or to create homemade cleaning-care products like the ones listed above.